If I ever get around to writing my auto-biography, not that anyone would be interested in my life, ‘The Road to Wooden Gate Junction’ would be a great title. It sounds exotic, it tells of a journey to unknown places and it leaves the reader enthralled at the prospect of going there with me.
Until today though, it is a place that I had never heard of. It’s one of those strange stories. I was checking my phone to see whether the trains from Morpeth to Newcastle were running on time (I wrote this a while ago). They have not been great of late. The 8 o’clock seemed fine but I checked where it was coming from just to make sure it was actually running and not just a guess.
Sure enough it started off at Chathill, north of Alnwick and made its way south. Somewhere between Alnmouth and Acklington the train was due to stop at somewhere called WNGTJN. Now I know the region quite well and there are no stations between Alnmouth and Acklington, indeed there are no settlements worthy of a stop but my interest was truly piqued.
I do what I always do in this instance and went on my favourite search engine (Duck Duck Go as you have asked). WNGTJN stands for Wooden Gate Junction which again I had never heard of yet sounded like something out of a wild west movie, somewhere where there would be a shootout. I looked on Google maps, which begs the question why I hadn’t searched for it on Google and could find no stations in the area. I even went to an old Ordnance Survey map, in hard copy, to see if I could find it. No luck there either.
The timetabling was odd as well. The time between the two stations was about 23 minutes while the time between the next two stations, over a similar distance was only 7 minutes. Clearly then the train must have to wait at Wooden Gate Junction to let another train pass and pick up its path again.
I wondered if I could get on or off there to see what it was like… and then I realised I was late for work.