Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Lost in Dorking - and Elsewhere

Reading a piece about underused railway stations - nominally 'open', but only to keep a line in service - I was happy to see that the second least frequented station in the land (after Teesside Airport - well worth the trip, I'm sure) is in my own neck of the woods: it's Dorking West, through which in the year 2012 a total of 16 passengers passed.
 I once had myself dropped at Dorking West, having seen a Station sign: 'I'll make my way home from here,' I cheerily assured my lift, assuming that this was a real station. I was soon disabused, and found myself wandering at length, hopelessly lost, through the Dorking Badlands (I'd no idea Dorking had such things) until I finally made it to Dorking Proper.
  I once had a similar chastening experience in Ghent, having taken the train from Bruges ('Ay Marieke Marieke, je t'aimais tant Entre les tours de Bruges et Gand...'). I was armed with a map showing the route from the station into town - but alas, the route I had mapped out was not from the main station but a second station in some remote corner of the city (perhaps a goods station). By dutifully following this route, I therefore steered straight into the Ghent Badlands - considerably more extensive than Dorking's - where we wandered hopelessly for what seemed much like an eternity, before at last finding a way into the centre of town. Mrs Nige, as you may imagine, was highly impressed.
  The mystery remains of how anyone with eyes to see could miss the route into the centre of town from Ghent's main station - but this is the man who managed to visit Tournai (again by train) and somehow miss the main square with all its cafes and restaurants and end up eating in a back-street pizzeria in the middle of nowhere. Once again Mrs N was much impressed. On a later visit to Tournai, I was able to work out how this particular feat had been accomplished - by a remarkable combination of bad luck and looking in the wrong direction at certain key moments. At least I didn't manage to miss the cathedral (though it was, of course, closed). 

4 comments:

  1. Dorking West is more used than the statistics suggest but that's because they're counting tickets allocated to the station and all the factors here mean it's nearly impossible to obtain a ticket that gets allocated to Dorking West.

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