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Birders are the only passengers flocking to Lakenheath station

Lakenheath Railway Station ''Picture Mark Westley
Lakenheath Railway Station ''Picture Mark Westley

A Suffolk rail station has achieved the status of being one of the least used in Britain.

Lakenheath once boasted staff, a signal box and a freight service but is now reduced to use only at weekends, handling just over 400 journeys a year.

Figures from the Office of Road and Rail show that in 2015-16, the station on the Breckland Line was used for 414 journeys, but as the vast majority were return tickets the actual number of people is almost half that figure and in a list of the 30 least used rail stations in the whole of Britain, Lakenheath has ranked as 28th.

Now a request stop, it serves only the adjacent RSPB Lakenheath Fen nature reserve despite there being 10,000 people living within a five mile radius of its two under-used platforms.

The station is three miles from Lakenheath village and following decline in passenger numbers it became an unstaffed halt in 1967, the year after freight services ended.

Originally listed in Victorian railway timetables as The Hiss, after a nearby farm,

Lakenheath station saw an all-time low in passenger numbers in 2004-5 when just 103 journeys were recorded.

Despite its ranking Lakenheath has avoided the fate of Shippea Hill - the next station on the line to Ely - where last year there were just 12 passengers, making it the least used station in the country.

Rail Future, which is campaigning for better passenger and freight rail services in the UK, if RAF Mildenhall is used for housing when the USAF leave, Lakenheath station could provide valuable park and ride services to Cambridge, just 25 minutes away.

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