From dizzying altitudes to the middle of deserts, we go in search of the most remote railway stations in the world.
1. Cook Railway Station, Australia
Cook railway station by WikiWookie, CC BY-SA 3.0 licence | Cook. A ghost town in South Australia by Johndarrington, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons | The Nullarbor by Amanda Slater, CC BY-SA 2.0 licence
Cook Railway Station, in South Australia is located along the longest straight railway track in the world, somewhere in the middle of nowhere!
Part of the Indian Pacific Railway, which spans almost the entire width of the country, the Trans-Australian Railway from Port Augusta to Kalgoorlie crosses the vast Nullarbor Plain. Flat, arid and almost treeless (hence its name, from the Latin, nullus arbor) , this may seem an odd spot for a railway station, but Cook was once an important stopping point on the long journey.
Now more or less abandoned, and reportedly with a resident population of just four people, the railway station in this ghost town is used to refuel trains and as a rest stop for their drivers.
2. Corrour Station, Scotland
Rannoch Moor from Corrour Station by Thomas Bryans, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 | Fort William train leaves Corrour Station by Russel Wills, CC BY-SA 2.0 | Corrour Estate, © Corrour Station House | Rannoch Moor by Richard Szwejkowski, CC BY-SA 2.0
Located on the famous West Highland Line, at the end of Rannoch Moor, the Corrour Estate draws walkers out to this remote spot to explore the wilderness. Lucky that, since there's no access by road!
The Corrour Station House is attached to the railway station to help weary travellers refuel after a long hike on the moors. But don’t worry if you have one too many, there are beds close by at the B&B in the former signal box.
3. Jungfraujoch Railway Station, Switzerland
Hidden underground, inside a mountain, Jungfraujoch is the Bond villain's lair of railway stations! It's the end of the line for the Jungfraujoch Railway, a pioneering feat of engineering which saw teams of men dig their way through the Bernese Alps.
Otherwise known as the 'Top of Europe', Jungfraujoch is the highest station in Europe at 3,454 metres above sea level. After alighting the train, passengers can climb to the peak for incredible views of the Aletsch Glacier and the mountains beyond.
4. Cascada de la Macarena Station, Argentina
Cascada de la Macarena near Ushuia, Argentina, is the southernmost functioning railway station in the world. Also known as Estación del Fin del Mundo (End of the World Station), it attracts tourists keen to explore Tierra del Fuego National Park.
Ushuaia, at the southern tip of Argentina, sells itself as “The End of the World”. But once upon a time this narrow gauge railway was used to transport timber (and prisoners!) to and from a remote penal colony on the outskirts of Ushuaia.
5. The Hurricane Turn, USA
The Hurricane Turn doesn't technically have a railway station, but the line itself is certainly among the most remote. This is the last true 'flag stop' train in the US that allows passengers to hop on and off as they please by flagging the train down from a milepost alongside the track.
The train serves as a lifeline for Alaskans living off grid and away from the road system in the wilderness between Talkeetna and Hurricane - the latter being the northernmost station in North America. Operated by the Alaska Railroad, there is no set timetable since it depends on how many passengers want to get on and off along the way. Don't forget to pack your hanky so you can flag it down!
6. Tanggula Train Station, Tibet
Tanggula Mountain Railway Station is the highest in the world sitting at the dizzy height of 5,068m above sea level! Apparently, its location was specially chosen for the view from the platform and no doubt for the record-breaking altitude.
The station can be found along the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, the first route linking Tibet and China, and the world's highest railway. As a defence against the effects of the thin air at altitude, carriages on the train are equipped with oxygen masks for passengers and specially designed windows to filter the strong UV rays from the sun.
7. Caojiawan Metro station, Chongqing, China
Images via NetEase, all rights reserved.
Located on on the outskirts of Chongqing, Caojiawan Metro Station on Line 6 is about as remote as you can get in modern China. Part of an extension to the city's Metro, the station, now overgrown with grass and weeds, appears to have been built in the middle of nowhere.
Amazingly, this seemingly abandoned railway is open to the public, and inside it's the same as any other Metro station - just without any commuters! Apparently, town planning and transport are managed by different governmental departments in Chongqing, and the pace of building the Metro has outstripped the city planning team. But one day it seems the city will extend to Caojiawan Station.
8. Berney Arms, England
Accessible only by train, on foot, or by boat from the nearby River Yare, Berney Arms Railway Station in Norfolk is as tiny as it is remote. There's a rudimentary platform, with a basic wooden hut, but it's so short that even the two-coach train which stops (a couple of time a day, by request only) on its way to Great Yarmouth is longer than the platform.
There's little more than marshland and a heritage windmill in Berney Arms, so it's a wonder that trains still call here at all. That's thanks to one Thomas Trench Berney, who owned the land in the 1840s, and permitted the development of the railway on the condition that a station be put there "in perpetuity". Good that, since there's a nice walk south along the river to the pub in Reedham.
9. Okuoikojo Station, Japan
Okuoikojo Station is located on a peninsula that juts out over a lake created by the Nagashima Dam on the Ōi River in Shizuoka, Japan. The railway was initially built to transport materials for construction of the dam, but due to its spectacular location, nestled between mountains in the Okuoi national park, a station was added to the line.
Okuoikojo has since become popular with tourists who alight from the train to take a few selfies and ring the 'happy bell' before hiking into the mountains or continuing their journey north to Kanaya Station, where the Oigawa steam locomotive departs for a scenic ride through mountain hamlets and fields of tea.
9. Karskaya Station, Russia
Obskaya-Karskaya line © Yamal Expedition. All rights reserved.
As if we needed further proof that oil and gas exploration knows no bounds, this station built by Gazprom is the furthest north in the world that you can reach by rail!
Karskaya station in the Arctic Circle is the end of the Obskaya-Karskaya rail line that connects the Russian mainland with Bovanenkovo, the largest gas field on the Yamal Peninsula in Siberia. Built to transport goods and people to and from the gas field, the line was extended to Karskaya in 2011. This year, it is set to be extended further still to the Arctic port of Sabetta.
10. Choûm, Mauritiana
You'd be forgiven for missing the railway station in Choûm. Deep in the desert of the Western Sahara, it doesn't have any platforms and its waiting room is one of just a few buildings in town.
The station lies part way along the 700km route of the Mauritiana Railway, which carries extraordinarily long locomotives - some stretching 2.5km - each carrying wagon-after-wagon of iron ore, from the plant in Zouérat to the port of Nouadhibou. The train travels up to 3 times a day, one of which includes a passenger carriage.
11. Canfranc International Railway Station, Spain
Tabloids delight at the 'abandoned Nazi railway station' in the Pyrenean mountains, and it's true that there's a certain mystery surrounding the old railway station at Canfranc. Opened in 1928, the station was an impressive example of Franco-Spanish cooperation that welcomed cross-border trains that emerged from the Somport mountain pass through the Pyrenees.
However, the size and splendour of the art nouveau station stems, not from the proceeds of smuggled Nazi gold, but from the practicalities of transferring passengers, luggage and cargo between trains as the gauge of the tracks changed at the border. The station's story came to an abrupt halt in 1970 when a train derailment destroyed a bridge on the French side of the mountains. It now lies abandoned, while a much smaller station (immediately in front of the old facade) connects to nearby Zarragoza.
These are just a few of the world's most remote stations. If you have any suggestions, we'd love to hear from you so please add your suggestions to the comments below.
Main banner image and thumbnail: Corrour Station House ©. All rights reserved