From WEE to POO. The A to Z of train station abbreviations.

‘You’re off to POO then?’

The guard and I enjoyed a quiet giggle over my train ticket to Poole but he must have seen the abbreviation many times before. For me it was the first time, and it sparked an interest in train station codes.

Quite a BIG (Billinghurst) interest!

CRS or Computer Reservation System codes were first introduced to our rail network in 1979 to enable station-based seat reservations. They’ve changed their collective name since then but the abbreviations have remained the same.

You’d need to be a train BOD (Bodmin Parkway) to understand them all.

For some reason it seemed, on a rainy day last week, like a good idea to go through the list of UK station abbreviations. You’d be amazed what I found out.

I even started planning BAD (Banstead) train journeys because of them.

Station toilets

Flickr, Warren Pearce

For example, to travel from WEE (Weeley) to POO (Poole) would take me around five hours and cost £133 if I wanted to travel first class.

I feel it’s a journey I should make with a PAL (Palmers Green).

Perhaps we should get a WEE POO team together. But we’ll all have to cross our legs until we reach POO because WEE doesn’t have a LOO (Looe).

Neither, by the way, does LOO, which I think is probably an advertising standards issue.

A train to the Not-So-Big Apple

Flickr, Karen Jackson

Another journey-based question I found myself asking concerned apples. Cooking apples to be precise. I wondered how many apple crumbles I could eat in the 4.5 hours it took me to travel from Bramley in Hampshire (BMY) to Bramley in West Yorkshire (BLE).

To make the crumble (and the journey) more interesting I could perhaps travel via Plumley Station (PLM).

Old MacDonald had a train station

Flickr, Geoffrey Morell

Having found out during my research into taking dogs on trains, that livestock were not usually permitted. I was somewhat surprised to find out how many animals had been used to represent train stations.

If MacDonald (we really shouldn’t call him ‘old’) were feeling bereft of inhabitants for his farm, all he would need to do would be hop on a train. He could visit.

And if he was keen on looking after his soil health, he could even make a purchase at Burgess Hill (BUG).

He should however avoid Bury St Edmunds (BSE) once he’s picked up his new Cuddington (CUD) chewing Cookham (COO).

Can you hear it MOO (Muir of Ord)?

In fact, it’s amazing what you can arrange by train. If MacDonald played his cards right, he might even pick up a new Monks Risborough (MRS) along the way.

My new train wish list

I could go on for ages about my exciting new hobby but I’ll save a few juicy titbits for another day. There are plenty of UK station abbreviations I’d like to visit but for now, here are my current favourites.

That should make for a great adventure by train! 

WOO  WOO (Wool) (still Wool)!!





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