08 August, 2017

Dorking West Station

Shadows at Dorking West
Opened in 1849 as "Dorking" station (later "Dorking Town), and historically the home of a large goods yard (it's now an industrial estate), this sleepy station is one of the quietest in the country.

Interestingly the road that leads into the old goods yard is called "Old Char Wharf", hinting that both the goods yard had something to do with fire/charcoal and also that Pipp Brook (a tributary of the Thames that runs right through the area) used to be a little more substantial than it is today.

Believe it or not official figures show only ~16 regular passengers per year.  At normal commuter time in the morning there is only one really viable train for the 9-5 crowd that stops here - and from that me and three or sometimes four other people disembark. At home time it's the same sort of thing, just the one train and on that it's me and 5 other people who regularly get on - so if anything 16 seems like a bit of a stretch of the imagination...just compare that to the 53.8 million annually entering and exiting at London Bridge (which was my previous regular destination).  Makes you wonder why they continue to run services here actually...

Still, overheads are low, there isn't even a ticket machine, the only listed facility for the station is a bike rack, and as far as I can see I'm the only person that ever uses it - to sit on while I wait - looking at the back of "International Rescue" who are slowly taking over all the units backing onto platform 2 and filling them with dry suits, RIBs, fire engines and ex-special forces personnel.

There is obviously a vibrant night-life at the station, as the tunnel (partially pictured) is regularly strewn with miniature gas bottles & deflated balloons, empty kebab/fish and chip wrappers, NHS sourced shooting paraphernalia, signs of small fires, copious amounts of used wet wipes and hundreds of partially crushed cans of "Relentless" (and occasionally traces of unimaginative spray painting).

Once a week a very tired looking Peter Griffin look-a-like waddles between the platforms in an endless quest to keep the place looking respectable (and does a good job to be fair)...honestly, I think more people come to Dorking West to pick blackberries than do to actually catch a train - but I would rather be here than anywhere in London.

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