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Wickham Market or Campsea Ashe? Railway station's name befuddles passengers

PUBLISHED: 19:30 24 June 2019 | UPDATED: 15:36 25 June 2019

Complaints about the station's name have been running for over 150 years Picture: SIMON PARKER

Complaints about the station's name have been running for over 150 years Picture: SIMON PARKER

Confused travellers are reportedly being left stranded in the remote Suffolk village of Campsea Ashe - because railway signs are leading them to believe they are in Wickham Market.

Rosamund Webb with one of the cast Lion heads which were restored at Campsea Ashe Station House when it was turned into a community hub Picture:  SIMON PARKERRosamund Webb with one of the cast Lion heads which were restored at Campsea Ashe Station House when it was turned into a community hub Picture: SIMON PARKER

Wickham Market is a stop on the East Suffolk Line between Ipswich and Lowestoft.

But, confusingly, the station is actually in Campsea Ashe - meaning those thinking they are getting off at Wickham Market are actually 2.4 miles away.

Equally, many people have arrived in Wickham Market hoping to catch a train - but find they are a long way away from the platform.

With no bus route between the two, people have no way to get to their intended destination without paying for a taxi.

Wickham Market station, which is located in Campsea Ashe Picture: SIMON PARKERWickham Market station, which is located in Campsea Ashe Picture: SIMON PARKER

Greater Anglia has said it is looking into altering the station's name - but highlighted that any change could potentially cost thousands of pounds in altering signage.

Rosamund Webb, from The Station House in Campsea Ashe, said: "We are here all day, every day so we witness people coming in, thinking they have arrived and realising they are in Campsea Ashe.

"There are people using the station now from all over the place."

In one case Mrs Webb said a businessman arrived in Wickham Market hoping to catch the last train of the day, only to find he was in the wrong place.

Restoration of the station received The Taylor Woodrow Partnership Award 2017 presented by the National Railway Heritage Awards to Station House Community Connections Picture: NRHARestoration of the station received The Taylor Woodrow Partnership Award 2017 presented by the National Railway Heritage Awards to Station House Community Connections Picture: NRHA

Desperate to make the train, he reportedly walked all the way to Campsea Ashe - only to miss it and end up spending the night on a platform bench.

In other cases Mrs Webb said families had been left to foot expensive taxi fees in order to enjoy what were supposed to be budget holidays in Wickham Market and the surrounding attractions.

There have been similar problems for passengers who intended to travel to Campsea Ashe in the first place.

One man heading to the village for a job interview is said to have been told that the nearest train station for the village was Woodbridge and was advised to take a taxi for the remaining journey.

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The trip cost him £23 one way, while a return ticket between the two stations can cost as little as £4.30.

"It makes sense to change the name," said Mrs Webb.

"For the area it needs to happen."

Complaints about the station's name date back as far as 1860, when a local rector demanded change from the railway authority.

The idea was raised again five years ago, at the time Greater Anglia said it had no plans to change the name of station but was happy to listen to local people's ideas.

Suffolk County Council (SCC) also identified the station's name as a problem in its 2015 Rail Prospectus.

SCC noted in the report that the name "causes confusion" and that it expected the name to be changed "as soon as possible or at the very least at the start of the new rail franchise."

A Suffolk County Council spokesman said: "Suffolk County Council supports the need to change the name of Wickham Market train station to Campsea Ashe. We are working with representatives from Wickham Market train station and Greater Anglia to determine the level of work and funding required to change the name of the station."

A spokesman for Greater Anglia said: "We have received an enquiry about the feasibility of re-naming Wickham Market station as Campsea Ashe and we are evaluating the steps that would be necessary to implement such a change.

"The key factor in the likelihood of a re-naming is likely to be funding the costs of changing all the railway systems (commercial and operational), signage and information involved.

"Similar schemes elsewhere have costed tens of thousands of pounds to complete and there are currently no organisations (public, private or third sector) funded to deliver such a change.

"Given that altering the station name won't of itself generate additional revenue, the challenge in taking such a proposal forward is finding the funding necessary to deliver it.

"We will continue to assist those putting forward the proposals, but the critical issues will be securing the money to cover the costs involved and ensuring that all local stakeholders support it."

Have you had problems travelling to Wickham Market station? Get in touch.

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