A train nut from Wigan has visited every rail station in the country – after four years of trying.
Madcap Andrew Dowd, 23, challenged himself to visit all 2,548 stops on the 21,000 mile British Rail network after spotting a Southport train station sign in the background of a family photo in 2009.
The trainee teacher embarked on a journey to Southport before driving to every other mainland station in Britain.
Andrew said: “I had a picture with the family when I was 19 and we could see a train station sign in the background.
“It was a complete fluke that it was in the picture and I just thought it would be a great challenge to try and visit every station in Britain.
“I used to get the map out and plan my journeys so I could visit as many stations in one go as possible.”
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED: Andrew Dowd has finally completed the epic journey (picture courtesy of Mercury Press)
Andrew has taken pictures with the signs at every station he has visited, including Llanfairpwllgwyngyll station on Anglesey in north Wales, home to the longest place name in Europe.
HERE, THERE & EVERYWHERE: Just a few of the stops along the way (Picture courtesy of Mercury Press)
He completed his epic four-year journey only days before the New Year with a trip to Horsley station in Surrey.
“The best station by far was St Pancras in London because I went there a week before the Olympics started and there was a real buzz around the place,” he said.
“But I’ve been to some pretty bad places too.
“I think Gainsborough Central was the worst. You wouldn’t want to get stuck there on a rainy day.”
TOP TO BOTTOM: Andrew went from Penzance (top right) all the way to Thurso (bottom right), on opposite sides of the country (Picture courtesy of Mercury)
The aspiring maths teacher is currently midway through a two-year teacher training course and plans to return to studying to achieve his dream of becoming a school teacher.
Andrew added: “I’m pretty confident that I haven’t missed any stations out and I feel really proud that I’ve done it all in such a short space of time given that I’ve been studying.
“Surprisingly it hasn’t cost me all that much either because I’ve driven to a lot of the stations and I had a railcard for when I wasn’t driving.
“But I need to think about my career now so I’m putting all of my efforts into studying but who knows, I might try and visit any new stations in the future.”“I once visited 75 different stations in south Wales all in one day and that cost me around £100 in petrol whereas if I went by train it would have cost me a fortune.
Images courtesy of Mercury Press, with thanks