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Passengers seeking to access what must be one of the most godforsaken stations in the land have to get there on a bus that trundles round the back roads of north Staffordshire.
Disused sidings are shrouded in dying buddleia as we pass an old-fashioned wooden signal box and even more antiquated semaphore signals sited incongruously near a gigantic modern waste transfer station.
I appear to be the only passenger on board, outnumbered by the driver and the guard – and there's a definite chill in the carriage.
Is there a fault in the heating system, or are diabolical powers at work?
"You're at the wrong station, mate," the man in the booking office tells me when I try to buy a one-way ticket. That's where the Gerrards Cross trains go from." When I argue, he raises his eyebrows wearily and takes a long swig from a mug of tea.
It's only when I refuse to budge, and after some consultation of dusty ring-binders, that a ticket is finally produced.Yet these zombie services have a very real existence in the minds of the bureaucrats who control our rail system, since they help to maintain a fiction that a railway line is still open, when it has effectively been abandoned.