For many "ghosties", the North of England offers ghost train paradise – or hell if you are one of the few passengers dependent on them.
There are only four services a day between Helsby and Ellesmere Port in Cheshire.
This two-coach diesel railcar is one of the rarest trains in Britain, leaving Stockport at 9.22am, on Fridays only, for the short journey around south Manchester.When I get off at Gerrards Cross, I find I am no longer alone.The ethereal figure at the end of the deserted platform, pointing a camera at the front of the train, is not the Ghost of Railways Past but Dave, an off-duty train driver, who is one of the "ghosties" – rail enthusiasts who travel the land "copping" [spotting] the "parliamentary" trains."Actually," he tells me, "they use this route for crew-training in case Marylebone is shut and trains are diverted." He explains that the "parly" trains originated in the Railway Act of 1844, which brought in a maximum third-class fare of a penny a mile and higher safety standards after some stonemasons were catapulted to their deaths from an overturned third-class carriage.There is no return service, which may be just as well, since many of the "ghosties" who pack the services each week find themselves waylaid at Stalybridge by the legendary real ales and homemade black puddings at Britain's most famous railway buffet.An even rarer service runs between Frodsham and Runcorn, which has only one train a week – on Saturdays in summer.For these reasons the ghost trains are sometimes known as "parliamentary trains".