GBBO's Ian Cumming in Shippea Hill station mince pie quest

Image caption Ian Cumming has never visited Shippea Hill

A former Great British Bake Off finalist is to serve mince pies at England's quietest railway station in a bid to boost passenger numbers.

Ian Cumming will offer a pie to anyone who disembarks at Cambridgeshire's Shippea Hill station on Christmas Eve.

But with just two trains during the day - 12 hours apart - mince pie fans will have to find alternative means to get home or commit to a day in the Fens.

The station was used just 12 times in the last financial year.

Image copyright Ashley Dace/Geograph
Image caption Trains stop at Shippea Hill once in the morning and once in the evening - and only on Saturdays

Mr Cumming, a travel photographer from Great Wilbraham in Cambridgeshire, said he and his family planned to board the 07:00 service from Cambridge, arriving at Shippea Hill 25 minutes later.

Anybody who gets off at the station with him will get one of his mince pies.

"But they have got to get off and stay off - they can't just hop off and get back on again," Mr Cumming said.

He encouraged people to either run or cycle back - or to ask a "nice person" to pick them up.

Otherwise, they will have to wait for the next train at 19:27 GMT.

He said: "It's just a bit of fun for Christmas Eve.

"Have a pie and get a bit of exercise at the same time."

Mr Cumming, a Great British Bake Off finalist in 2015, will be making a total of 38 mince pies, some with a Viennese topping.

If all 38 are earned by travellers, Shippea Hill stands a good chance of relegating its nearest rival - Greater Manchester's Reddish South - into the quietest station slot.

Christmas Eve in the Fens:

Image caption Shippea Hill station is perfect for people who love the great outdoors

With just one train in and one train out at Shippea Hill on Christmas Eve, those taking advantage of Ian Cumming's mince pie offer could have some time to fill.

So if you enjoy a walk then you are in luck, because Shippea Hill is surrounded by countryside - although not much else.

The most notable attraction in the surrounding region is the cathedral city of Ely, a mere two-and-a-half hour walk away.

The cathedral dates back to 1083 and is known locally as "the ship of the Fens" because of its prominent position above the surrounding flat landscape.

But other than that, well... there's always the pub.

Littleport and Lakenheath - both less than six miles (9.6km) away - probably provide the most accessible options for food and drink.

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