When most people think of a train journey vacation, this is not what they envisioned, but sometimes the greatest journeys come from the most extreme ideas
By Annabel Fuller
On your mark, get set, swipe your Oyster card.
Running for the train is a part of the dreaded daily commute for most UK residents, but for Geoff Marshall and Vicki Pipe, its all part of the fun.
Geoff is a freelance transport video producer for the Londonist and his own YouTube has twice held the world record holder for travelling to all Underground stations in the fastest time possible. Vicki, a museum education professional by trade, has presented in videos for Londonist and on Geoff’s YouTube channel on a range of topics from history to Harry Potter. Her interest in railways lays with the stories of people, social change and how the railways impact on our sense of space and surroundings. Together the pair decided to visit every station in the UK.
During the spring and summer of 2017, the pair set out on the journey of a lifetime. Travelling to ALL of the national railway stations in Britain in just three and a half months (14 weeks, six days and 22 minutes to be precise).
Geoff and Vicki, who are clear railway enthusiasts, wanted to complete the mammoth feet while documenting it on youtube to capture Britain’s rail history, producing a snapshot of today’s railways for posterity.
Within the next decade, changes to the rail network will be more pivotal than ever, and the pair hope their 59 episode docu-series will keep the legacy alive of the current railways.
Before setting out on their journey, Geoff and Vicki clearly defined the parameters of the project.
What counted as a station?
1. At the time of planning the Great Britain Office of Rail and Road (ORR) list of stations named 2,557, by the time of filming the series five new stations had opened, bringing the total to 2,563.
2. London Underground, Tyne, and Wear Metro, Glasgow Subway, heritage railways and stations and abandoned stations (e.g. Newhaven Marine) were not included as stations.
What counted as having visited each station?
1. To count a station as visited Geoff and Vicki had to arrive or leave on a scheduled train that was timetabled to stop at each station – fast trains that passed through did not count.
2. They didn’t have to get off the train at every station, but they did choose to get off at some of the more exciting stations to capture footage for their vlog.
3. Request stops had a special rule. As long as the train they were on was able to stop, if requested, then it was counted as visited, even if no one actually got on or off.
4. It wasn’t a race to do this in the fastest time possible; it was a team effort between two people to cover all the stations, with the cameras rolling.
ALL THE STATIONS
All 2,563 railway stations in Great Britain was not an easy track, but Geoff and Vicki completed the task in less than 15 weeks. Click the link to explore All the Stations.
The entire trip was a highlight for the pair who love railway travel. However, the journey had its ups and downs. Vicki said that her favourite aspect of her time on the tracks was learning the history of each station. She said she enjoyed visiting places she had studied in her job as a museum worker. Likewise, Geoff enjoyed the entire journey but claimed his greatest joy came from the people they met. He enjoyed meeting railway workers, commuters and fans who followed the pair on some legs of their trip. Both Geoff and Vicki said they loved seeing the beautiful scenery. It was exhausting at times, but they found the trains relaxing, and they are so passionate they encourage all fans to visit as many stations as they can.
“We wanted to do something memorable” – Geoff Marshall
Apart from the pairs youtube channel, they also have a twitter feed, Instagram, and extra ‘bits’ on Geoffs personal channel. But for mega-fans of the railway travellers meet and greets around the UK, a book and even a podcast have been published to satisfy the need to know all things stations.
Many UK and Global Media outlets have shown interest in the pair, with the train enthusiasts appearing on radio interviews, on broadcast television and in online articles.
Here is the full list of Media appearances for station fans:
Geoff and Vicki aren’t done yet. There are still more stations to visit … well in Ireland that is. The pair are currently planning on visiting all 144 stations on the Iarnród Éireann network and 54 stations on Northern Ireland Railways, giving them a total of 198 stations to visit. They plan to visit every Irish station in eleven days, starting in the UK spring of 2019.
The same rules will apply as last time but the pair will not be including the Luas tram system in Dublin but may attempt to travel on it if time allows. Nor will they include any disused sections on the network (e.g. the Waterford to Rosslare line) where the track and stations are still in place, but services no longer run.
To help Geoff and Vicki visit and document all the stations of Ireland donate to their Kickstarter here!
All images: @Allthestations