Berney Arms: Quietest rail stop sees eight-fold passenger rise

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Berney Arms in Norfolk was used by just 42 passengers in the year to 2020 but had a massive increase in the following 12 months

A railway station once dubbed the UK's quietest has seen passenger numbers increase eight-fold after the line serving it reopened.

Berney Arms in Norfolk saw 348 passengers in the year to March, compared with 42 the previous year.

It was the biggest year-on-year increase of any UK station, according to the Office of Rail and Road (ORR).

Travel vlogger Geoff Marshall said it was a "beautiful quirk of Britain's railway system".

Feras Alshaker, ORR director of planning and performance, said the increase was "likely due to railway enthusiasts taking the opportunity to visit this station over the past year".

The lines serving Berney Arms were closed for most of the period between April 2019 and March 2020 due to work to upgrade signalling.

Image source, Greater Anglia
Image caption,
Berney Arms is the only station on its section of the Greater Anglia network, defined as a "limited service route"

Mr Marshall, whose video on the station has been viewed more than 250,000 times, said it had never been a busy station but was close to returning to pre-pandemic levels.

"It is served more on weekends, which is an oddity, so it's a leisure destination," he added.

The station, which is only accessible on foot, is a request stop on the line between Norwich and Great Yarmouth.

Much like buses, passengers wanting to board at Berney Arms have to stick an arm out, and to alight they must "inform the conductor or the driver of your intentions in good time".

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Berney Arms Windmill is currently closed for maintenance work

The station is close to the River Yare and surrounded by the RSPB's Berney Marshes and Breydon Water reserve.

Also close by is the Berney Arms Windmill, a Scheduled Ancient Monument under the care of English Heritage.

Cambridge remained the busiest station in the East of England with 2.3 million entries and exits in the year to March, but this was an 80% decrease in 2019-20 passengers numbers.

Chelmsford (1.7 million), Watford Junction (1.7 million), Grays (1.5 million) and St Albans City, Hertfordshire (1.3 million), are the other top five stations in the region.

Stratford railway station in London was the most used station in Britain, recording nearly 14 million entries and exits in 2020-21.

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