If you go sightseeing in Central London, at some point you'll almost certainly pass through the Waterloo or Victoria rail station—those are the closest stops to attractions like Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, and the London Eye. It's no surprise, then, that Waterloo and Victoria are the busiest stations in Britain's complex rail network, with a combined 180 million passenger exits and entries in 2015-2016, according to a report by the Office of Rail and Road.
But for those who would like to get away from London and take the rails less traveled, Britain has a number of "ghost stations" that receive less than 200 annual exits and entries.
Stations like Shippea Hill in Cambridgeshire, which averaged one passenger per month in the last year, and Reddish South in Greater Manchester, which averaged three, are serviced infrequently by overwhelmingly empty trains.
Of course, these ghost stations don't serve booming metropolises, but the quaintness of the towns they do serve is part of the appeal. Ely, the cathedral city that Shippea Hill serves, is home to a history museum inside a 13th-century jail. And a trip to Denton station in Greater Manchester, which averaged six passengers per month, will allow travelers to pop into Fletchers Arms, a family pub less than two miles from the station.
Since service can be as limited as one round-trip per day to a single one-way trip per week, travelers will have to stick to strict schedules to make it to these deserted stations. And it can be difficult to even find schedules for some of the more obscure "parliamentary ghost trains"—so named because the trains are still running due largely to the cost, not to mention the time and paperwork, involved in closing a line.
For travelers willing to make the trip to Coombe Junction Halt, Barry Links, or another of Britain's quietest stations, getting to the stop is just the first leg of the adventure; getting to nearby accommodations or attractions is the second.