Is this the longest rail station name in the world?
The first station you stop at (or, more likely, pass through) on reaching Anglesey (Ynys Mon) when heading for Holyhead is Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. This is certainly the longest place name in the United Kingdom, at 58 letters (51 if the double-letter Welsh characters are taken into account), and therefore the longest station name as well. But is there a longer name on a station platform anywhere else in the World?
When translated into English the name means "St Mary's church in the hollow of the white hazel near to the rapid whirlpool and St Tysilio's church by the red cave". For practical purposes the village is more commonly known as Llanfairpwll or Llanfair P. G.
A touch of artificiality!
However, all is not quite as it appears. This is not a name that goes back into the mists of time like most place names in Wales and the rest of the United Kingdom. The original name was Llanfairpwllgwyngyll, and the extension to the full version was only made in the 19th century in a deliberate attempt to create a tourist attraction, an effort that succeeded in its aims!
As to who created the name, there is some dispute. Some say that it was cobbled together by a local shoemaker, others that it was stitched in place by a tailor. Either way, the name has stuck, and indeed, were it not for the name, the railway station might well have gone the way of many others in rural Wales and been closed down years ago.
Today's visitors will find an unstaffed station, much of the building being used as a craft studio, a large souvenir and gift shop, and coachloads of other visitors queuing to have their photos taken on the station platform. The nearby monument to the 1st Marquess of Anglesey is worth a visit, as are the Menai (road) and Britannia (rail and road) bridges, but this must be one of the few places where people go just to see a name!
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