When it comes to travelling, lots of us will close our eyes and picture ourselves on a warm beach – not sat with a satisfied grin at Ormskirk Railway Station.
But that’s because we’re not on a quest to visit all 2,574 train stations in Great Britain like customer service advisor, Daniel.
He’s our very own train guy and he’s only got 50 stations left to tick off his list.
“It all started when I was young boy,” explains Daniel. “I had a view of a train line from my bedroom window and was always interested in the different types of trains that passed by and where they were going.
“I spent many a night sat with my dad, watching the trains and waving to the drivers. Then when I was seven, I started looking at track diagrams and station layouts and seeing some of the incredible places where railways had been built.
“I’ve got a really vivid memory of seeing a picture of the train line along the sea wall at Dawlish and just being desperate to go and see it in person. I’d gone from wanting to look at trains to wanting to be on them and actually see places.”
On a quest
With trainspotting a seemingly thankless task to Daniel (“it’s just impossible to see everything”), he began criss-crossing the country in a way that makes Michael Portillo look a rank amateur.
In the process, he’s made friends for life, seen incredible sights and been mistaken for the messiah.
He says: “I was on an overnight sleeper train from Cornwall to London, when a random guy came and sat next to me at 5am and was convinced that I was the reincarnation of Jesus. It was certainly news to me.
“Then there was the occasion when I travelled the West Highland Line from Glasgow to Mallaig in Scotland. We pulled into Arisaig Station (the westernmost station in Great Britain) and waiting on the platform were two people and a stag. The two people got on, presumably the deer didn’t have a ticket.”
Perhaps the ticket was too expensive for the stag – you could say it was too deer (… ahem).
Now the end is in sight, what’s next for Daniel?
“My next project will be a fairly small one in comparison,” he says. “I’ve got 60 London Underground stations left to cover so that will be my next task. Then I’ve got a wedding to save for next year, so I don’t think I’ll be doing too much now until 2022!”
To find out more about Daniel’s incredible feat and learn some of his top tips for rail travel, keep an eye on Stay in Touch.
Got an obsession of your own? We want to hear about it. Tell us your story using the form below.