Confusing station name could be changed with council money

Wickham Market station

Marked as Wickham Market on timetables, the station at Campsea Ashe continues to cause confusion for users. - Credit: Archant

Suffolk County Councillor Alexander Nicoll has offered to spend some of his locality money to buy new signs for the railway station at Campsea Ashe to accurately record its position.

Alexander Nicoll

Alexander Nicoll said passengers continue to be confused about the location of the station. - Credit: Suffolk County Council

But that would depend on Greater Anglia and Network Rail renaming it - it has been called Wickham Market for decades even though it is two and a half miles from the town.

And rail staff unfamiliar with that part of East Suffolk seem unaware of its position - and have directed passengers to the wrong place.

Mr Nicoll and other councillors and community leaders have compiled a dossier of occasions when the name has caused confusion.

These include:

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A family from London who had no car booking a holiday cottage in Wickham Market after being told the town had a station so they could access other parts of Suffolk - only to find they needed to hire a taxi every time they wanted to catch a train.

A potential employee needed to buy a ticket to get to a care home in Campsea Ashe for an interview. When he asked where the nearest station was, the ticket office told him to go to Woodbridge and get a taxi. One he arrived at the home he found it was a short walk from the station.

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Volunteers at the Station House centre have had numerous occasions when passengers have arrived at the station expecting to walk to an address in Wickham Market, only to find they are a long way from the town.

Mr Nicoll said they had talked to Greater Anglia about this and seemed to be making progress, but now everything has gone quiet.

He added: “What benefit do GA as a train operator get (their fare payers who hope to arrive at Wickham Market are negatively affected) by continuing to insist on calling a station a destination name when that destination itself is some miles via difficult roads, certainly for pedestrians, from the station named for it?”

The station sign does describe it as Campsea Ashe (in very small letters) for Wickham Market - but all timetables and on-train announcements call it simply Wickham Market.

Campsea Ashe sign

The station signs already show it is in Campsea Ashe - but it is labelled as Wickham Market on timetables and on-board announcements. - Credit: Greater Anglia/Community Rail Partnership

A Greater Anglia spokeswoman said: "Any decision to rename a station would need to be taken in conjunction with rail industry partners and wider local stakeholders. 

“It would be dependent on the necessary funding being available and approval being secured from the Department for Transport. Renaming a station is a very complex process and involves much more time and investment than simply changing the signs at the station.

“The station sign does reference Campsea Ashe. Until now, we’ve had very little feedback about changing the name, however we are always interested in hearing any feedback or suggestions from customers.”

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