Tuesday, 13 July 2010

In perpetuity: Berney Arms railway station


YOU might like this article in The Guardian on the tiny railway station at Berney Arms. Journalist David McKie meets a man on the train who can’t understand why people would want to walk to the isolated Berney Arms pub. “What's the point?” the man asks. “There are plenty of decent pubs in Yarmouth.” He’s obviously not a Wherryman’s Way fan. The station  is famously isolated, and since there are very few trains and no public road, you are likely to walk a long way back home. McKie continues:

‘The question "what's the point?" has been asked about Berney Arms station ever since its creation in the 1840s. One might assume the pub was the reason for putting it there, but that isn't the case. It is there because Thomas Trench Berney, who owned the land, was ready to sell to the railway company only on the condition that a station be put there "in perpetuity".So the station opened, with a row of cottages built alongside it, one of whose rooms served as the ticket office. And right from the start, hardly anyone used it; so much so that within a decade the company announced its trains would no longer stop there. What about our agreement? Berney protested. Ah, said the railway company, what we promised was that the station was there in perpetuity. We didn't say that our trains would stop there in perpetuity.’

After a row trains did start stopping again – and they have done ever since. Moreoever against all the odds the pub and a windmill have also survived in this most desolate of spots. Will they continue – in that marvellous phrase - in perpetuity? Let’s hope so.

* Photo pinched from Branchline Britain

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