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Last Updated: Monday, 12 May, 2003, 12:55 GMT 13:55 UK
Just one train passenger each day
Rail passengers
Although 16 trains stop daily at the station, very few get on or off.

Kempston Hardwick railway station in Bedfordshire may be one of the quietest in England, with only 38 passengers a month - or just over one each day.

But the line runs behind Interchange Retail Park, where shops have asked for a local train station to serve customers and staff, who must walk from Bedford St John's station two miles away.

A member of staff at Next said: "A station would be great; a lot of our staff are young and can't drive so it is difficult for them to get to the shop because the bus service is poor.

"Anything that brings in more customers is good."

There is not what you would call a rush hour
Rail worker on
Kempston Hardwick

One mother with a baby said: "The town centre branch of Mothercare closed in Bedford; I've not got a car and the buses are awful so a train would be ideal."

When Kempston Hardwick was built it formed part of the 77-mile Oxford to Cambridge line, but most of that was closed in the 1960s, and all that is left of the track is a 16.5 mile stretch running from Bletchley in Buckinghamshire to Bedford.

One rail worker said: "I have been here all week and have seen about five people use the station - there is not what you would call a rush hour."

Graham Bashford of Silverlink, which runs the branch line, said: "There would have to be an assessment of the need for a new station.

"Most people go to these out-of-town shopper centres in their cars and load up."

Stephen Sleight, the Field Transport Officer of Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity, said Bedfordshire County Council was considering a new station at the back of the Interchange Retail Park.

But both Silverlink and Mr Sleight said they would oppose the closure of the little-used Kempston Hardwick station.




SEE ALSO:
Rail projects facing cash squeeze
30 Jan 03  |  UK News
The view from our rail champ
27 Jan 03  |  UK News


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