The Top 10: Oddly named railway stations

·3-min read
The rail network across the UK has some interesting stops... you may or may not consider Bristol Temple Meads (pictured) to be one of them (PA)
The rail network across the UK has some interesting stops... you may or may not consider Bristol Temple Meads (pictured) to be one of them (PA)

Thanks to Andrew Denny for this idea. He had to plan a trip to the first on the list, which reminded him of the second, now closed.

1. Whatstandwell, Derbyshire.

2. Wait-A-Bit, Jamaica. Named after the Wait-A-Bit tree, with long hooked horns, so called because it takes time to disentangle yourself if caught on one.

3. Hall i’ th’ Wood, near Bolton. Named after a nearby museum, “with spelling rightly done in the local dialect”, said James Blanchard.

4. Recess, County Galway. Conor Downey also likes the now closed Inch station in County Wexford, and Tattynuckle, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. “Also sadly closed.” He reminded me that the Russian for railway station is “vokzal” (воксал), because the first Russian line went between St Petersburg and Pavlovsk, whose station, which also served as an entertainment venue, was called “Vokzal” after the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens in London.

5. Bat and Ball, Kent, named after a long-gone pub; or Bowling, Dunbarton. Nominated by James Blanchard and Stewart Slater.

6. Blackrod, in Bolton. “Satisfyingly close – knocking on the door, even – to Mr Speaker’s Chorley constituency,” said James Blanchard.

7. IBM, west of Glasgow, serving the former computer factory. Currently closed, but hoping to reopen. Andrew Ruddle, who also thinks it odd that Transport for Wales has two stations called Garth, about 40 miles apart.

8. Besses o’ th’ Barn. Now on the Bury tram line, previously the Bury to Victoria line. More dialect spelling. “I like to think there are other Besses on the line, whose stations may now be defunct but whose presence required such precision in the name,” said Richard Troth.

9. Quogue, on the Long Island Rail Road. And Mastic-Shirley. Not far from Speonk. Thanks to Topaz Amoore.

10. Haltwhistle, Northumberland. “I’ve checked and it’s nothing to do with halting or whistling. Shame. It is the centre of Britain, though,” said Emmabella Murray. Etymologically, it is hal-twistle (high bit between two streams), but its claim to be the centre of Britain is ingenious: it is equidistant from North Orkney and Portland, Dorset, and from Wallsend to the east and Bowness on Solway to the west.

No room, then for Ang Mo Kio, Singapore, which translates as White Man’s Bridge – ang mo being local slang for a westerner. “It is thought to derive from John Turnbull Thomson, a red-headed British engineer who built a bridge there, as the term meant ‘red hair’ before being applied more widely,” said Stewart Slater.

Or for Four Lane Ends on the Tyne and Wear metro system. “It is at the junction where four lanes do end, but the “s” is added to the end, not the lane,” said David Bell.

Honourable mention for Absolute Shower, who said he thought it odd that Waverley station, Edinburgh, is named after the series of novels by Sir Walter Scott.

Next week: Actors who were younger than you’d think, such as Lionel Jeffries, 42 when he played Grandpa Potts, six months younger than Dick Van Dyke, his fictional son in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Coming soon: Wizards.

Your suggestions please, and ideas for future Top 10s, to me on Twitter, or by email to

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