So it’s good to know that Geoff Marshall and Vicki Pipe are doing their bit to sustain our global reputation for being ever so slightly off center. This batty twosome has announced they want to be the first couple to visit every train station in Britain.
In fact, as you’re reading this blog post, they could be passing through a station near you, as they started their quest last month and have given themselves three months in which to complete the task. Should they succeed – and we have a sneaky suspicion that they will – they’ll have visited all 2,653 stations that are dotted around the country and that stretch from John O Groats to Lands End. But this is no leisurely amble around the countryside. To do it in the three month time frame they’ve set themselves, they’ll need to average over thirty stations a day!
The rules are, to visit a station, they’ll have to arrive or leave on a train that’s scheduled to stop there, so they’ve had to do quite a lot of advance planning and poring over timetables. (For that alone, they deserve a medal).
Their quest is costing them £10,000 in fares, but they are clearly astute as well as eccentric as they’ve set up a crowdfunding site for their challenge that has attracted more than £38,000. By our reckoning that leaves them with £28,000 for onboard sandwiches – which given the prices charged by most train operators, they’ll need – as well as numerous coins needed to access the station conveniences.
For those readers who may be ever so slightly tempted to follow in their footsteps, they are buying multiple All Line Rover tickets from National Rail, which costs £745 each and allow unlimited travel for 14 consecutive days. Given the amount of publicity that the couple has received, we think National Rail should’ve given them the tickets for free.
The fact that Vicki is taking a sabbatical from her job at the London Transport Museum to do the journey and that Geoff already holds the world record for visiting every London Underground station in the fastest possible time may not surprise you.
And given our love for eccentrics you probably won’t be surprised to learn either that the couple have been offered places to stay by fellow passengers who have been touched by their story.
Vicki and Geoff. We salute you. Most couples set themselves rather less challenging goals. Like going on a beach holiday together.
And we admire your relentlessly positive attitude toward Britain’s railway system. It gets plenty of knocks but your recent comment in the Daily Mirror summed it up when you said, “The railway gets some negative attention but it really is brilliant, there’s so much to explore and see by train”. Hear hear.