Some Early Lines
Old Railway Companies
Stratford & Moreton Railway
Tramway bridge over the River Avon at Stratford-upon-Avon
Photograph of the bridge over the River Avon in Stratford-on-Avon opposite the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.
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This horse-drawn tramway (16 miles), authorised on 28 May 1821, linked Moreton-in-Marsh with the Stratford Canal and was laid to what appears to be one of the earliest uses of ‘standard’ gauge. It opened on 5 September 1826, and a branch to Shipton-on-Stour was authorised on 10 June 1833, opening on 11 February 1836. The Act incorporating the Oxford, Worcester & Wolverhampton Railway included a clause for permanent lease at £2,537-10s per annum, and it took possession on 1 May 1847, from 1 January 1852 assuming entire management. It upgraded the line, re-opening it on 1 August 1853, but the northern end became redundant when the Oxford, Worcester & Wolverhampton Railway’s Stratford-Honeybourne line opened on 12 July 1859, and was probably little used after the turn of the century. Lifted during the Great War, it was officially abandoned in 1928. The Shipston section, thanks to public opposition to the West Midland Railway which wanted to close it, was retained, horse-drawn until 1882. The GWR obtained powers to upgrade it and use steam on 7 August 1884 – the original Act forbade this. Re-opened on 1 July 1889, passenger traffic was withdrawn on 8 July 1929, though a goods service lasted until 3 May 1960. The line was lifted in July of the following year.
Incorporated on 10 August 1857, this mixed gauge line, nine miles long, ran from Hatton (GWR) to Stratford. Built by the GWR, it opened on 10 October 1860. The Alcester Railway was vested in it, jointly with the GWR, on 22 July 1878, and the Company was itself absorbed by the Major one from 1 July 1883 (Act of 29 August).
Later: Ex-GWR 2-8-0 No 3515 proceeds past Hatton West signal box with a fitted freight train for Stratford on Avon in 1950. Built by Swindon works to Lot 328 in March 1940 No 3515 remained in service until July 1965 when it was withdrawn from 6C Birkenhead shed. The single line to Stratford on Avon started at this junction until the line was doubled in 1939. The bracket signal on the left is controlling, from left to right, the 55 wagon loop siding opened in 1901, the north junction line opened on 23rd July 1897 and the original branch line to Hatton opened in 1860. The gradient from Stratford on Avon was more severe than on the main line requiring heavy trains to be assisted by banker. The bankers would ease off at this point so that they could use the above crossover to return tender first to Stratford on Avon. – WarwickshireRailways.com