Berney Arms railway station

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Berney Arms
National Rail
Berney Arms railway station 1.jpg
Berney Arms railway station in 2004
LocationBerney Arms, Broadland
Grid referenceTG460053
Managed byGreater Anglia
Other information
Station codeBYA
ClassificationDfT category F2
Original companyYarmouth and Norwich Railway[1][page needed]
Eastern Counties Railway
Pre-groupingGreat Eastern Railway
Post-groupingLondon and North Eastern Railway
Key dates
1 May 1844Opened[1]
2015/16Decrease 1,016
2016/17Increase 1,126
2017/18Decrease 966
2018/19Decrease 442
2019/20Decrease 42[a]
Passenger statistics from the Office of Rail and Road

Berney Arms railway station is on the Wherry Lines in the East of England, serving the remote settlement of Berney Arms on the Halvergate Marshes in Norfolk. It is 15 miles 71 chains (25.6 km) from Norwich and is the only station on a short stretch of single line between Reedham and Great Yarmouth. It is managed by Greater Anglia, which also operates all trains serving the station. The limited number of services timetabled to stop do so on request only. [2]

Berney Arms is one of the most remote and least-used stations in Great Britain. In 2020 it officially became the least used station in the country, with only 42 visitors in a year-long period, although this is largely due to the line between Reedham and Great Yarmouth being under possession by Network Rail between October 2018 and February 2020 while resignalling of the Wherry Lines took place.[3] Trains had only started to serve the station again for one month before the country was placed into lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is several miles from the nearest road and thus is accessible only by train, on foot,[2][4] or by boat, as it is a relatively short walk from the River Yare, where private boats can moor. It was adopted in 2010 as part of the Station Adoption Scheme.[5]


Berney Arms station in the 1970s

The Bill for the Yarmouth & Norwich Railway (Y&NR) received Royal Assent on 18 June 1842. Work started on the line in April 1843 and it and its stations were opened on 1 May 1844. Berney Arms opened with the line and is situated east of Reedham and west of Great Yarmouth (originally Yarmouth Vauxhall). The Y&NR was the first public railway line in Norfolk. A local landowner, Thomas Trench Berney, sold the land on the marshes to the railway company on the condition that Berney Arms station be built.[6] A few years later, the railway stopped serving it, saying that there had been no agreement for trains to actually call at the station that they agreed to build. However, after lengthy legal proceedings, it was agreed to serve the station in perpetuity.[7]

The Y&NR was the first public railway line in Norfolk. On 30 June 1845 a Bill authorising the amalgamation of the Y&NR with the Norwich & Brandon Railway came into effect and Berney Arms station became a Norfolk Railway asset.[1][8]

The Eastern Counties Railway (ECR) and its rival the Eastern Union Railway (EUR) were both sizing up the NR to acquire and expand their networks. The ECR trumped the EUR by taking over the NR, including Berney Arms, effective 8 May 1848.

By the 1860s the railways in East Anglia were in financial trouble, and most were leased to the ECR, which wished to amalgamate formally but could not obtain government agreement for this until an Act of Parliament on 7 August 1862, when the Great Eastern Railway (GER) was formed by the consolidation. Actually, Berney Arms had become a GER station on 1 July 1862 when the GER took over the ECR and the EUR before the Bill received its Royal Assent.[9]

The system settled down for the next six decades, apart from the disruption of World War I. The difficult economic circumstances that existed after the war led the government to pass the Railways Act 1921 which led to the creation of the so-called "Big Four" companies. The GER amalgamated with several other companies to form the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER). Berney Arms became an LNER station on 1 January 1923.

Upon nationalisation in 1948 the station and its services became part of the Eastern Region of British Railways.

The post office at Berney Arms Station, which had opened in 1898, was closed in 1967.[10]

On privatisation the station and its services were transferred to Anglia Railways, which operated it until 2004, when National Express East Anglia won the replacement franchise, operating under the brand name 'one' until 2008. In 2012 Abellio Greater Anglia took over operating the franchise.

The former Berney Arms signal box is preserved at Mangapps Railway Museum in Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex.


The station is located around 600 metres (0.37 mi) from the River Yare in an area of exposed grazing marsh. The surrounding marshland is managed as the RSPB Berney Marshes reserve and is adjacent to Breydon Water, a major site for wildfowl. Berney Arms Windmill, owned by English Heritage, is located on the Yare near to the station, as is the Berney Arms public house (currently closed[11]). The Weavers' Way and Wherryman's Way long-distance footpaths both pass near the station.


Berney Arms station without shelter
The station on a busier day: 64 passengers embark on a Class 156 train for Norwich as part of a Rail Ale Ramble

The line is on part of the Wherry Lines currently operated by Greater Anglia. Services are formed by Class 755/3s. The station is a request stop for two trains per day to Norwich and two to Great Yarmouth; the service is increased on Sundays to four trains in each direction. Service frequencies generally increase slightly during the summer period, to three trains in each direction per day and five in each direction at the weekend.[12][13] During the winter months up until the end of March, the last train from Great Yarmouth to Norwich does not stop at Berney Arms. This is because of the lack of light at the station and its surrounding area. After the clocks go forward, the last trains are timetabled to stop again (17:54 Mondays to Saturdays, 16:24 Sundays).

In October 2018 the line between Great Yarmouth and Reedham was closed for a major upgrade of the signalling system, as part of works on all the Wherry Lines. While the line was closed the station remained open, although no replacement service was available due to the remote location. Its reopening was delayed until February 2020,[14] with the station reopening on 24 February 2020.[15]

Least used station[edit]

On 1 December 2020, Berney Arms was officially announced as the least used station in Great Britain for the 2019/20 period (between April 2019 and March 2020). This is mainly due to the station being closed for major signalling works along the line, but also caused by the local pub being closed down. This is also one of the main causes of why the figures have been falling dramatically since the 2016/17 period.[16]


  1. ^ a b c Butt, R. V. J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations: details every public and private passenger station, halt, platform and stopping place, past and present (1st ed.). Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 978-1-85260-508-7. OCLC 60251199.
  2. ^ a b "Berney Arms (BYA)". National Rail Enquiries. Archived from the original on 2 August 2013. Retrieved 1 September 2013.
  3. ^ "Estimates of station usage" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 1 December 2020. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  4. ^ "Getting to Berney Arms". Berney Arms Station adopter. 2010. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 17 April 2011.
  5. ^ "Berney Arms Station". Berney Arms Station adopter. 2010. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 17 April 2011.
  6. ^ "Berney Arms Railway Station". Berney Arms Web. Archived from the original on 4 May 2009. Retrieved 17 April 2011.
  7. ^ McKie, D. (11 July 2010). "The rail to nowhere". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 18 January 2017. Retrieved 17 April 2011.
  8. ^ C.J. Allen[full citation needed]
  9. ^ Allen, C.J. Great Eastern. p. 46.[full citation needed]
  10. ^ Post Office Circular. 12 April 1967. Missing or empty |title= (help)[full citation needed]
  11. ^ "Home page". Berney Arms Web. Archived from the original on 5 December 2006. Retrieved 9 November 2018. The current situation with the pub is that it remains closed until further notice, but local efforts to purchase, restore to a working pub are slowly being looked at. The planning authority (The Broads Authority) have refused an application for it to be converted to a dwelling.
  12. ^ Norwich to Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft. Greater Anglia. December 2013.[full citation needed]
  13. ^ Route Details for any journey from or to Berney Arms, accessible through "(home)". National Rail Enquiries. Archived from the original on 25 February 2011.[full citation needed]
  14. ^ "Norwich, Yarmouth, Lowestoft re-signalling". Network Rail. Archived from the original on 16 March 2020. Retrieved 10 February 2020.
  15. ^ "Trains temporarily suspended from station - hours after line reopens following 18 month closure". Eastern Daily Press. Archant. Archived from the original on 24 February 2020. Retrieved 24 February 2020.
  16. ^ Lawrence-Jones, Charlie (27 August 2021). "Eerie train station 2.5 hours from London that only 42 people used last year". MyLondon. Retrieved 29 August 2021.


  1. ^ Significant decrease due to the station being closed for a large portion of this period.

Further reading[edit]

  • "Unlikely Survival". The Railway Magazine: 132–133. April 1984.
  • "Trains stop only on request: Berney Arms". Hidden Europe Magazine (11): 10–11. November 2006.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°35′24″N 1°37′51″E / 52.59000°N 1.63083°E / 52.59000; 1.63083

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Reedham   Greater Anglia
Wherry Lines
  Great Yarmouth