Just a few minutes after getting on the train at Coombe, it was time for me to alight again, as we pulled into the next station on the Looe Valley Line. I actually waved goodbye to the guard as the train departed, a level of friendliness from me which is quite abnormal. It must have been the country air.
I was at St Keyne Wishing Well Halt, a station name which could have come straight out of an Enid Blyton novel. I half expected to see a load of kids with amusing names like Dick and Fanny, along with several unpleasant racial stereotypes.
“Halt” is a railway term which has fallen into disuse. In times gone by it signified a station with no staff and only rudimentary passenger facilities. Of course, nowadays that description applies to half the stations on the network, so the word is usually unnecessary. St Keyne is one of only two stations on the whole National Rail system which still has the suffix applied. I can’t remember where the other one is.
St Keyne is certainly a simple station, but it’s clean, tidy and ample for the handful of passengers who use it. Even without the name, it would be a charming place, helped no end by the copious use of Gill Sans on the replica signage, and the Great Western Railway emblem embedded in the metalwork of the bench on the platform. Continue reading