NOWADAYS, when a railway station is located outside of the area it purports to serve, the chances are you’ll find the word ‘parkway’ affixed to its name.

The Great Western Railway station of Bodmin Parkway, known as Bodmin Road until 1989 and located approximately three miles outside of Bodmin is a good example of this; its location born less out of a desire for multi-mode connections, in this case a bus, than it was a result of the whims of rich landowners, specifically whether the railways being built would be permitted to cross their land. 

Sometimes, railway stations would be permitted to be located on pieces of land if there was a benefit for the landowner, such as the provisions of private use for their benefit whether in facilities or the specific location of said station. 

A more modern example of a ‘parkway’ lies in the proposed Okehampton Parkway railway station, which is intended to specifically enable multi-modal transport, being a place where people seeking to travel elsewhere will leave their car and go on public transport. 

However, for reasons mostly lost in the mist of history, in some instances, out-of-town railway stations named after a nearest settlement, ended up having communities growing up around them and thus named after the area the railway was – for example, near to Otterham is the hamlet of Otterham Station, a community which grew out of the railway being a distance from the place it was originally named after.

Another example lies in the railway station seeking to serve the North Cornwall town of Camelford. Much like the aforementioned Bodmin Road, it was located a distance away from the town which bore its name, and while its distance from the town meant that patronage levels were hardly spectacular, some saw the opportunity to build a new community around the station, thus, the hamlet of ‘Camelford Station’ was born, although today thanks to expansion it is virtually indistinguishable from the town it once purported to serve. 

In the case of Camelford station, it was located approximately two and a half miles from the town centre, in a location described by authors Vic Mitchell and Keith Smith in the 1995 book ‘Branch Line to Padstow’ as being “at a road junction in wild country almost devoid of trees”. 

While located on a single-track railway, at Camelford Station was a place where trains going in different directions could pass each other thanks to the construction of a passing loop, taking the form of a second platform. 

Camelford Station, located 240 miles and 56 chains from London Waterloo, opened to the public on August 14, 1893, with the signs at the station boasting of the nearby settlements it served which did not have a direct rail connection. It stated “Camelford, for Boscastle and Tintagel”.

Its opening came as part of a phased construction plan by the London and South Western Railway (LSWR), with the railway arriving at Camelford in 1893 from Tresmeer, with a section from Camelford towards Delabole opening on October 18, 1893. The town was later connected onwards to Wadebridge, located 10 miles and 68 chains away on June 1, 1895.

Alongside the passing loop, the station included a station building with a canopy and a signal box on the up platform, with all the buildings constructed from local stone. 

One thing that the new station did not have, similar to other stations on the line, was a footbridge connecting the two platforms, meaning that passengers seeking to cross had to do so across the railway line. 

Perhaps pertinently for a line serving mostly agricultural areas, what the station was lacking in platform crossing amenities it made up for in facilities for the farming communities, namely cattle pens on a single siding, near to a goods shed located on a loop between the said siding and the headshunt. 

Even in the dizzy heights of the railway era, patronage at Camelford Station was never high, with an average of 20 tickets issued from the station on a daily basis, with 35 collected on the same basis during the year of 1928. These numbers declined as the years wore on, with improvements in public road transport seeing the already low passenger numbers decline further. 

Like the rest of the North Cornwall line, the death knell for Camelford Station’s railway life came as a result of the Beeching Report of 1963. 

The station’s sidings were closed near to the end of 1965, with its final day of service on November 30 of that year. The rest of the station would shortly follow, with the signal box and passing loop remaining operational until October 3, 1966. 

After its closure as a railway station, the building’s public use did not end there, with its reinvention for a time as a celebration of a different type of transport, namely cycling, for it became the home of a British Cycling Museum for a time. 

However, after the closure of the museum, the station building became a private residence, a use which still remains nearly 130 years after it first opened to the public.