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Railway worker ‘pining for own bed’ after visiting almost every station in UK

A railway worker who set out to visit all 2,580 train stations in the UK in just six weeks said his challenge has gone “really well” but he is “pining” for his own bed as the journey comes to a close.

Dave Jones, 34, set off from Three Bridges in West Sussex in mid-February and, after averaging 62 stations a day, will complete his challenge on Sunday after raising more than £2,300 for charity.

Mr Jones told the PA news agency that there had been “a few hiccups because of the weather” which had led to flooded stations and prevented him from visiting 14 stops along the way.

Dave went on annual leave to complete the bulk of his journeys. (Dave Jones/PA)
Dave went on annual leave to complete the bulk of his journeys. (Dave Jones/PA)

The rail enthusiast has been hopping out of the train carriage at each station to step onto the platform and taking a photo of each station sign.

Mr Jones has slept overnight on some trains with beds and stayed in hotels but, he added: “There have been a couple of times where I’ve used normal services that run throughout the night and I’ve just been getting as much sleep as I can.”

He undertook the first two weeks of his challenge while working, before going on annual leave to complete the bulk of his journeys.

Mr Jones’s challenge has not been all smooth sailing.

“There’s been heavy rainfall so some of the stations have been washed away and flooded out,” he said.

“There’s a couple of times I’ve been able to get a bus replacement service and the driver has actually been quite good and let me get off where the bus pulls up by the station, get a quick photo and get back on.”

Dave’s colleagues tracked his progress on a map (Dave Jones/PA)
Dave’s colleagues tracked his progress on a map (Dave Jones/PA)

He added: “Sometimes I haven’t been able to (get off the train) when it’s been early morning for the commute and when the school kids have gotten on, it’s just so packed that you can’t move.”

Having visited almost every train station in the UK, Mr Jones said that his least favourite stop was “probably Croydon, just with the sheer volume of people”.

“I used to be train crew around East Croydon in the morning and you can’t move for people. It’s the London way of life, where people are just head down, they’ll barge people out of the way, they’ll be ignorant. It’s just not my cup of tea,” he said.

On the flip side, the railway worker is most fond of the station at St Ives in Cornwall.

He said: “When you come in on the train, it curves around and you see the pier and the beach and you see the reasons why that area is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Cornwall and it provokes memories of being a small child and going on holidays.”

The reaction to his challenge has largely been positive, he said.

Dave’s challenge hasn’t been all smooth sailing (Dave Jones/PA)
Dave’s challenge hasn’t been all smooth sailing (Dave Jones/PA)

“A lot of friends think it’s bonkers what I’m doing, purely because of the long days, the early starts, the late finishes, but a lot of them are really supportive and they are rather quite impressed by the amount of planning I’ve done,” he said.

His colleagues have been tracking his progress using a large map of the UK in their office.

He said: “Essentially, I needed a map to start planning so we decided that we would print the real map off the National Rail site and blew it up to six foot by two foot height.

“They decided to stick that up on one of the walls and they’ve got a couple little cut outs of me which they are moving around the map as I keep them updated.”

Mr Jones has used his challenge to raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital and the Children’s Intensive Care Unit at Oslo’s University Hospital, the latter of which “looked after and saved the life of one of my friends over the summer last year,” he explained.

Reflecting on his journey, Mr Jones said: “I’m ready to head back. It’s been so much fun and I’m looking forward to the stations I’ve got left but I’m pining for my own bed and some home comforts.”

To donate to Mr Jones’s GoFundMe, visit gofundme.com/f/stop-at-all-2579-railway-stations-in-the-uk