Shippea Hill railway station

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Shippea Hill National Rail
Shippea Hill station, old signal box and crossing (November 2012).jpg
Shippea Hill railway station in 2012
PlaceBurnt Fen
Local authorityEast Cambridgeshire
Grid referenceTL641841
Station codeSPP
Managed byGreater Anglia
Number of platforms2
DfT categoryF2
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2013/14Decrease 12
2014/15Increase 22
2015/16Decrease 12
2016/17Increase 156
2017/18Increase 276
1845Opened as Mildenhall Road
1885Renamed Burnt Fen
1904Renamed Shippea Hill
National RailUK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Shippea Hill from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.

Shippea Hill railway station[pronunciation?] is on the Breckland Line in the east of England, serving the Burnt Fen area of Cambridgeshire and Suffolk. The line runs between Cambridge in the west and Norwich in the east.

Shippea Hill is a request stop 77 miles 17 chains (124.26 km) from London Liverpool Street via Cambridge, in one of the few areas within Burnt Fen which rise just above sea level. The station is on the A1101 road between Littleport and Mildenhall.

Least-used railway station[edit]

Shippea Hill has been recorded as one of the least-used railway stations in Britain, along with Teesside Airport. According to Office of Rail and Road estimates, it was the least-used railway station in 2013/14 (with 12 passengers),[1][2][3] 2014/15 (with 22 passengers),[4][3] and 2015/16 (with 12 passengers).[citation needed] In 2016/17 there was an increase to 156 passengers.[5]

Due to its unusual status, it sometimes attracts attempts to boost its numbers, such as in December 2016 when a finalist from The Great British Bake Off attracted 16 people there by handing out free mince pies.[6] In June 2017, 19 people travelled from Shippea Hill for All The Stations, a video documentary project to visit every station in Great Britain.[7]

Simon Usborne of The Guardian has observed:

It's hard to imagine a more desolate place to get off a train. Shipping containers for sale stand in a muddy yard behind the far platform, opposite the pitched-roof signal box, now shuttered. Otherwise the view is of field after field, some showing maize stumps, others now peat-black and ploughed.[2]

In late 2018 the station was surpassed by Redcar British Steel as the least used station in Britain.[8]


The station was opened in 1845 as Mildenhall Road. In 1885 its name was changed to Burnt Fen, and in about 1904 it adopted its current name, Shippea Hill.[9]

On 7 April 1906, a passenger train was derailed due to excessive speed. Eight passengers were injured, two seriously.[10]

Ordnance Survey maps from the 1920s show a network of narrow-gauge horse-drawn feeder agricultural tramways running south west from the station yard onto the Hiam Estate. There was also a standard gauge private railway branch running east to a chicory factory, which in turn had a network of narrow gauge agricultural tramways running south east onto the Chivers Estate.

On 3 December 1976, at about 4 pm, a passenger train collided with a lorry on an unmanned level crossing at Shippea Hill. The train driver, Robert (Bob) Hitcham, was killed and eight of his passengers were injured.[11]

The wooden level crossing gates at Shippea Hill used to be operated manually by the signalman in the local signal box. In 2012, the signal box was closed and the crossing was renewed with automatic barriers and warning lights.


Shippea Hill is a request stop, so passengers must signal to the conductor or driver if they wish to alight or board.

As of December 2016 the station is served by one train per day to Norwich, Monday to Saturday only. Additionally, on Saturdays only there is one train to Cambridge.

There is no Sunday service.


  1. ^ Scott, Patrick (6 December 2016). "Britain's most and least used train stations revealed, with one getting just 12 passengers a year". Retrieved 13 March 2018 – via
  2. ^ a b Usborne, Simon (9 December 2016). "A brief encounter at Britain's least-used railway station". the Guardian. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Revealed: Britain's busiest and quietest stations". BBC News. BBC. 15 December 2015. Retrieved 15 December 2015.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 13 February 2006. Retrieved 2 March 2006.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ Office Of Rail and Road. "Estimates of Station Usage 2016 - 17" (PDF). Office Of Rail and Road. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  6. ^ "GBBO mince pie station bid entices 16". 24 December 2016. Retrieved 13 March 2018 – via
  7. ^ "Shippea Hill station: Least visited site joins challenge". BBC. 3 June 2017. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  8. ^
  9. ^ "City of Ely: Introduction - British History Online". Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  10. ^ Lt. Col. P G von Donop / Board of Trade (7 May 1906). "Great Eastern Railway" (PDF). Railways Archive. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  11. ^ "Report on the Accident that occurred on 3rd December 1976 at Chivers Occupation Level Crossing (No. 1) between Lakenheath and Shippea Hill in the Eastern Region British Railways". The Railways Archive. Retrieved 4 February 2014.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°25′48″N 0°24′47″E / 52.430°N 0.413°E / 52.430; 0.413

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