Category Archives: Some Early Lines

Posts about lines and branches which ceased operations – some restored, some sadly lost for ever.

Some Early Lines, Old Railway Companies, Birmingham & Gloucester Railway, Birmingham West Suburban Railway

Some Early Lines

Old Railway Companies

61Brighton Road station, Birmingham, was opened on 1 November 1875, and was just under 3 miles from the Birmingham & Gloucester Railway’s junction with the London & Birmingham Railway. A Midland Railway train hauled by a Johnson 0-6-0 No.3694 passes the timber platform during the second decade of the last century.

Birmingham & Gloucester Railway

Originally conceived to link Birmingham with docks at Gloucester, a lengthy debate on the route resulted in a line (authorised on 22 April 1836) which avoided Tewkesbury and Worcester, though public pressure forced a diversion to Cheltenham. Its main bugbear was the Lickey Incline, 2.5 miles at 1 in 37.5 – built as an economy, it kept the Company in debt for all of its independent life. The line opened from Cheltenham to Bromsgrove on 24 June 1840, Bromsgrove to Cofton on 17 September, Cheltenham – Gloucester on 4 November, Cofton – Camp Hill on 17 December, and to Curzon Street Birmingham, on 16 August 1841. It was leased by the Midland Railway with effect from 1 July 1845, which absorbed the Company on 3 August 1846.

Big Bertha 2 cropBig Bertha – Lickey Incline

Birmingham West Suburban Railway

Incorporated on 31 July 1871 to build south from Albion Wharf to King’s Norton, with a junction with the ex-Birmingham & Gloucester Railway, the 6.75-mile single track was vested in the Midland Railway from 1 July 1875. It was opened on 3 April 1876, and widened and extended following authority of 18 July 1881; Midland Railway expresses were diverted along it from 1 October 1885. In 1892 a triangular junction was built at Lifford (authorised on 24 July 1888), to make a circular suburban service possible.

EPSON scanner imageBournville Station.
View northward, towards Birmingham New Street; ex-Midland Birmingham – Bristol main line (Birmingham West Suburban section), now electrified (to Redditch) — seen in pouring rain. Worcester & Birmingham Canal is beside the line on right, Cadbury’s Factory behind camera.
Date 4 September 1962  Source From  Ben Brooksbank  This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Some Early Lines, Old Railway Companies, Bedford Railway, Bedford & Cambridge Railway

Some Early Lines

Old Railway Companies

EPSON scanner imageBedford St Johns railway station.

Cambridge – Bletchley line, which was closed on 1/1/68, view SW towards Bletchley (left), the connection to Bedford Midland Road being to the right. This station survived as a terminus until on 14/5/84 a replacement station was opened on the loop to Midland Road station and Bletchley trains then terminated there.
Date 4 June 1962  From  Author Ben Brooksbank

Licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license.

Bedford Railway

An 1836 plan for a line between Cambridge and the London & Birmingham Railway via Bedford was dropped, but in 1844 George Stephenson visited Bedford to discuss a branch which, when authorised on 30 June 1845 and opened on 17 November 1846, was a line from Bletchley to Bedford. It was built by the London & Birmingham Railway, and absorbed by the London & North Western Railway on completion as provided for by the authorising Act, though the Company was not dissolved until 21 July 1879. It became the basis for the Bedford & Cambridge Railway.

Bedford & Cambridge Railway

60The fine Midland-type canopy of the Bedford & Cambridge Railway at Potton, Beds. When this picture was taken, in July 1987, restoration was in hand with a view to use as a museum

Incorporated on 6 August 1869 as a 29.5-mile line between the two towns, the route used the track-bed of the Sandy & Potton Railway which the Company bought out. Opinions differ on the date of opening, some citing 1 August 1862, others October of that year. The Company had close ties with the London & North Western Railway, with which Working Agreements were made under an Act of 23 June 1864, and which absorbed it on 5 July 1865. The line closed to passengers on 1 January 1968.

millbrook(harden4.1966)5Disused Stations:Millbrook Station
The attractive blue paviours were also used at a number of stations on the Bedford and Cambridge Railway.

Some Early Lines, Old Railway Companies, Bangor & Caernarfon Railway

Some Early Lines

Old Railway Companies

Bangor & Caernarfon  Railway


Incorporated on 20 May 1851 to build between the two towns, the junction with the Chester & Holyhead Railway, which was authorised to work the line, was actually a Menai Bridge. It was an 8.5 single line, with a one-mile branch to Port Dinorwic (Y Felinheli), which opened on 1 March 1852 for goods. The line opened throughout for passengers on 1 July and for goods on 10 August. Agreement to lease the line to the Chester & Holyhead Railway for 999 years was made with effect from 1 July 1852, but the Company was instead transferred by an Act on 10 July 1854; dissolution was delayed until 15 July 1867. The line was doubled in 1872, re-singled in 1966, and closed to goods on 4 August 1969, though there was a respite when Caernarfon became a temporary freight terminal during the rebuilding of the Britannia Bridge in 1970-72.

The old Britannia Bridge on a postcard from the private collection of Jochem Hollestelle

The old Britannia Bridge on a postcard from the private collection of Jochem Hollestelle

Andrew Dixon. Location: Britannia Bridge taken from the Nelson memorial on the Menai Strait, Anglesey

Andrew Dixon.
Location: Britannia Bridge taken from the Nelson memorial on the Menai Strait, Anglesey – 2005

Britannia Bridge is a bridge across the Menai Strait between the island of Anglesey and the mainland of Wales. It was originally designed and built by Robert Stephenson as a tubular bridge of wrought iron rectangular box-section spans for carrying rail traffic. Following a fire in 1970 it was rebuilt as a two-tier steel truss arch bridge, carrying both road and rail traffic.

A view looking west from the island platform at Menai Bridge in August 1964. The goods train is standing at the up Afon Wen line platform which was used by passenger services travelling towards Bangor. To the left can be seen the down Afon Wen line platform. The platform that can be seen to the right served trains travelling towards Holyhead. Photo by Bevan Price

A view looking west from the island platform at Menai Bridge in August 1964. The goods train is standing at the up Afon Wen line platform which was used by passenger services travelling towards Bangor. To the left can be seen the down Afon Wen line platform. The platform that can be seen to the right served trains travelling towards Holyhead.
Photo by Bevan Price

JOHN POWELL COLLECTION × 452Search by image Caernarfon Station, 10th August 1962. Engine No 42487 arrives with a train for Afonwen.

JOHN POWELL COLLECTION × 452Search by image
Caernarfon Station, 10th August 1962. Engine No 42487 arrives with a train for Afonwen.

Caernarvon railway station was a station on the former Bangor and Carnarvon Railway between Caernarfon, Gwynedd and Menai Suspension Bridge near Bangor. The station was closed to all traffic in January 1972. The station has since been demolished and the site redeveloped.


Some Early Lines, Old Railway Companies, The Ashby and Nuneaton Joint Railway

Some Early Lines

Old Railway Companies

Ashby & Nuneaton Joint Railway

58The Ashby & Nuneaton Joint Railway was the only joint MR/L&NWR project. Market Bosworth station, now used as a garage, was, at this time, also the southern limit of the Battlefield Line, which aimed to extend along the track-bed beyond the station towards Shenton and Bosworth battlefield.

The London & North Western Railway proposed a line from Ashby to Nuneaton via Market Bosworth in conjunction with the Nuneaton – Wigston line opened in 1864, but the Midland Railway had already obtained powers for an identical line in 1846, which had lapsed at the time of the purchase of the Leicester & Swannington Railway. Now, however, it revived the plans the result being a joint project, authorised on 1 September 1873, was worked by both partners, becoming part on the London, Midland & Scottish Railway in 1923. Three miles of track-bed between Shackerstone and Market Bosworth are now part of the preserved ‘Battlefield Line’.

Market Bosworth 1905Midland Railway train behind 0-4-4 tank No. 2081 at Market Bosworth in around 1905

The Battlefield Line is the last remaining part of the former Ashby and Nuneaton Joint Railway which was opened in 1873. It runs from Shackerstone via Market Bosworth to Shenton in Leicestershire and is operated by the Shackerstone Railway Society.

Shackerstone Station is at the northern end of the line, and is the headquarters of the railway with museum, Victorian tea room souvenir shop, loco shed and main rolling stock located here. There is ample free parking, and the Ashby Canal is just a stones throw away.

Our remarkable railway captures the very essence of a country line, with steam, diesel and railcar train services along with small stations meandering along a single track line. It really does convey something of the feeling and atmosphere of heady days past.

For anyone who retains a sense of nostalgia for times gone by, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at this place – one of Leicestershire’s best kept secrets, not just a train ride but a journey into history as well.

DSCF9028 DSCF9035 DSCF9056

Some Early Lines, Old Railway Companies, Alloa Railway

Some Early Lines

Old Railway Companies

Alloa Railway

Authorised on 11 August 1879, this 3-mile branch ran from the Caledonian Railway’s South Alloa branch, across the river Forth to Alloa. The Caledonian Railway paid for the line, absorbing the Company with effect from 1 September 1884, the Act (14 July) also authorising extension. The line opened on 1 October 1885 – the North British Railway had running powers.

57A glassy River Forth and a line of bridge stanchions, reflecting, perhaps, on times past. They once carried the Alloa Railway to the industrial town on the north bank.

The Alloa railway was connected to the Stirling and Dunfermline Railway by a connecting line from Longcarse Junction built by the North British Railway in exchange for reciprocal running powers.

British Railways added a second connection from Longcarse Junction to Alloa Marshalling Yard (parallel with the S&D line) in 1957. This made the turntable at Alloa passenger station redundant.

Alloa Swing Bridge
The swing bridge across the Forth was opened on 1 October 1885. It was subsequently closed twice due to storm damage in 1904/5 and 1920/1.

Old Alloa Station - early 1900s

Old Alloa Station – early 1900s

Some Early Lines, Old Railway Companies, Aberdeen Railway

Some Early Lines
Old Railway Companies

Aberdeen Railway

Aberdeen, Gateway to Royal Deeside.  LNER/LMS Vintage Travel posyers

Aberdeen, Gateway to Royal Deeside. LNER/LMS Vintage Travel posters  Frank H.Mason

The Aberdeen Railway was a railway that ran mainly along the North East coast of Scotland south from Aberdeen to Guthrie on the Arbroath and Forfar Railway. There were branches to Montrose and Brechin.

015329_7130a675The sidings and railway lines Aberdeen railway station
View taken from near the top of College Street car park. The station itself is off to the bottom left of the photo.
Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved] © Copyright Lizzie and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Incorporated on 31 July 1845 for a line from Guthrie (Arbroath and Forfar Railway) to Aberdeen, with branches to Brechin and Montrose, it was promoted by  Great North of Scotland Railway supporters, who arranged for amalgamation should it be thought appropriate.  However, by the time half the capital was paid up and spent, the Companies had drawn apart.  It was worked by the Scottish Central Railway between 12 May 1851 and31 July 1854, and the Company amalgamated with the Scottish Midland Junction Railway on 29 July 1856 to form the Scottish North Eastern Railway, connecting Perth to Aberdeen. This latter company was absorbed by the Caledonian Railway on 10 August 1866, which in turn became part of the LMS on 1 July 1923.


1 February 1848 – Guthrie (Arbroath and Forfar Railway) to Montrose
1 November 1849 – Dubton to Portlethen
1 April 1850 – Portlethen to Aberdeen Ferryhill
2 August 1853 – Aberdeen Ferryhill to Aberdeen Guild Street station currently standing was built as Aberdeen Joint Station between 1913–16, replacing an 1867 structure of the same name, on the same site. The station and the new Denburn Valley Line enabled the main line from the south and the commuter line from Deeside to connect
with the line from the north. The lines from the south had previously terminated at the adjacent Aberdeen Guild Street. Even this had not been Aberdeen’s first railway station, that distinction belonging to a previous terminus a short way south at Ferryhill. After the construction of the Joint Station, Guild Street Station became a goods station. Some of its tracks remain, but the vast majority of the site was cleared in 2005.

This image was taken from the Geograph project collection. See this photograph’s page on the Geograph website for the photographer’s contact details. The copyright on this image is owned by Stanley Howe and is licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license.

Some Early Lines, Old Railway Companies, London, Midland & Scottish Railway

Some Early Lines

Old Railway Companies

1393 LMS Coat of ArmsIn Chasewater Railway Museum

London, Midland & Scottish Railway

Formed by the amalgamation, with effect from 1 January 1923, of the Furness Railway, Glasgow & South Western Railway, Highland Railway, London & North Western Railway, Midland Railway and North London Railway. Many smaller companies were absorbed at the same time including several in Ireland, previously owned by the Midland Railway. The Caledonian Railway and the North Staffordshire Railway, because of certain legal requirements not completed by the due date, entered the fold from 1 July 1923. This gave the LMS lines stretching from Thurso to Bournemouth (via the Somerset & Dorset Railway) and from Holyhead to Lowestoft (via the Midland & Great Northern Joint Railway), and access to Southend (LT&SR) and South Wales (via the ex-Neath & Brecon Railway).

Under the Transport Act 1947, along with the other members of the “Big Four” British railway companies (GWR, LNER and SR), the LMS was nationalised on 1 January 1948, becoming part of the state-owned British Railways.

The LMS was the largest of the Big Four railway companies serving routes in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

800px-LMS_shield_on_station_in_leedsLMS shield carved into stonework on station building in Leeds
Date  17 September 2007 (original upload date)

Source:  Transfered from en.wikipedia Transfer was stated to be made by User:oxyman. Author  Original uploader was Redvers at en.wikipedia
(Original text : Redvers)  Licensing:  This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

Some Early Lines, Old Railway Companies, Wellington & Drayton Railway

Some Early Lines

Old Railway Companies

EPSON scanner imageLocal train from Crewe approaching Market Drayton Junction, Wellington View NW, towards Market Drayton, Nantwich and Crewe: ex-GW Wellington – Nantwich ( – Crewe) line, which was important especially for freight but was closed 9/9/63 for passenger traffic, 11/5/67 completely. Here the 13.02 from Crewe is headed by the engine which when withdrawn from service in 11/66 had the distinction of being the very last GW (standard gauge) locomotive to run on BR: ‘8750’ c

Wellington & Drayton Railway

Incorporated on 7 August 1862, this line linked the GWR at Wellington with the Nantwich & Market Drayton Railway (LMS). It opened on 16 October 1867, and though an Act of 14 July 1864 had authorised transfer of the Company to the GWR on completion, full amalgamation was not ratified until an Act of 12 July 1869, after an agreement dated 16 December 1868. Traffic was never heavy along the line’s 16.25 miles, its passenger service ceasing on 9 December 1963, but it became a diversionary route during the West Coast Main Line electrification. It closed completely on 8 May 1967.

Only the first mile or so lies within Telford, and that is now the northern end of the Silkin Way footpath which begins at Coalport Station and follows old railway lines for much of its distance.

Its junction with the Shrewbury – Wellington line was opposite Orleton Park School, the Shrewsbury line approaching from the right of the picture and the Market Drayton line being the footpath to the left. It passed under Admaston Road and Shawburch road at Admaston, although there was no station: presumably the station on the Shrewsbury line was thought sufficient. It crossed the end of Bratton Road near The Gate pub, where the bastions of a bridge and the remains of an embankment can be seen, and its first station was opposite the site of the creamery in Crudgington.

6330 Drayton Junction, Wellington October 6 1951No.6330 at Drayton Junction, Wellington, October6, 1951  – shropshirestar

‘Fight to re-open Railway’ – From the ‘Brownhills Gazette, December 1989 – via Brownhills Bob, David Evans and Brian Stringer

Fight to re-open Railway

From the ‘Brownhills Gazette, December 1989 

via Brownhills Bob, David Evans and Brian Stringer

This was taken from Brownhills Bob’s latest post (28-10-2014) and is of particular interest to railway followers in the Lichfield, Walsall, Brownhills area.

On a personal level – when I first started school (a few weeks ago now!), I used to travel from Brownhills to Lichfield by train (steam, obviously), and later, when I started work, I travelled in the other direction, from Brownhills to Walsall (steam or diesel) – hence my interest in the line.  John (CWS).

Page 1 B-Hills Bob 28-10-2014Page 2

 Next year (2015) will be the fiftieth anniversary of the closure of the line!


Some Early Lines – Old Railway Companies – Wallingford & Watlington Railway

Some Early Lines

Old Railway Companies

Wallingford & Watlington Railway

Incorporated on 25 June 1864, this was the first
standard gauge branch of the GWR. It failed to reach the length authorised (9 miles), stopping short of Wallingford and abandoning the river crossing. Opening on 2 July 1866, the line was worked by the GWR, which bought the Company for £16,750 under an Act of 25 July 1872. The line was closed on 1 June 1981, and is the site of a preservation scheme, the Cholsey & Wallingford Railway, now authorised to run into Cholsey station.

800px-Watlington_(Oxon)_Railway_StationWatlington railway station, Oxfordshire
Date  Postally used 9 October 1919
Source Old postcard Author  I.J. Cook, Watlington

The Cholsey and Wallingford Railway Preservation Society (C&WRPS) aims to preserve the branch as a Heritage Railway. After years of hard work by our members, the line is now open all the way from the main line station at Cholsey to Wallingford and passenger services have been restored. Acheivements include the relaying of various sections of track and sucessfully preserving the line into Wallingford when the new town bypass was built.

In addition to the regular maintainance and restoration of the line and its rolling stock, the Society is now chanelling its efforts into the re-development of the Wallingford station site. A major project to improve the permanent way is also currently underway, to ensure the line continues to be fit for passenger trains. More members are needed to help with this major project. See the membership page and volunteer today!

The current Wallingford end of the Cholsey and Wallingford Railway, with locomotive 701.
Date  1 April 2005
Author  Chris Wood  Copyright (c) 2005 Chris Wood. Uploaded by the copyright holder under the terms of the GFDL (see below).
Licensing  This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Barclay 701 leaving Brownhills West, Easter 20072009_06270017 1964The ‘big’ Barclay – 1964/1929, also known at Chasewater as ‘701’ – goodbye and thank you!

After spending some time at Cholsey & WallingtonRailway, ‘701’ went to Chasewater Railway in Staffordshire, appearing firstly as 701, then in GWR livery and finally in NCB colours.