Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Vauxhall (VXH)

Information
Type: National Rail (South Western
Main Line) 
Station code: VXH
Opened: 1848
Platforms: 8
Vauxhall is a station in Central London on the approach to London Waterloo in the Vauxhall district of South West London. The station was opened as Vauxhall Bridge by the London & South West Railway in 1848. Although a through station Vauxhall is ticketed as a London terminus.

It is a busy station (over 20 million passengers a year) with services along the South Western Main Line passing through to and from Waterloo. A tube station was built next to it on the Victoria Line in 1971.

The station is a major interchange station also with buses, the adjacent Vauxhall bus station is the second busiest in London.
SWT 455 712 heads off to conclude its journey at Waterloo

View across the platforms

A SWT 458 on the far platform

Platform  6 canopy

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Whitlocks End (WTE)

Information
Type: National Rail (Shakespeare Line)
Station code: WTE
Opened: 1936
Platforms: 2
Whitlocks End is a station on the North Warwickshire or Shakespeare Line between Shirley and Wythall in the West Midlands. The station was opened by the GWR in 1936 to serve the hamlet of the same name and the nearby village of Hollywood.

The station was opened as Whitlocks End Halt [1] but this changed in 1968 when the Halt was dropped. Since the station has been built the number of housing nearby has increased notably.

As well as through services to Stratford-upon-Avon a number of services every hour terminate at Whitlocks End. These return to Birmingham from Platform 2 travelling "wrong way" until crossing over just North of the station.

Originally the station had short and low timber edged platforms [2]. The station was rebuilt in 1999 and has had a number of ramps added to aid accessibility as the station is in a cutting below the road bridge which allows interchange between the two platforms.
A terminating service from Snow Hill prepares to return to Birmingham

Recently added ramps for accessible access 
Station sign

View down the platform towards Stratford

[1] Vic Mitchell & Keith Smith, Stratford-upon-Avon to Birmingham (Moor Street) (Middleton Press, 2006) p. 70
[2] Ibid p. 69

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Cardiff Queen Street / Caerdydd Heol y Frenhines (CDQ)

Information
Type: National Rail (Valley Lines)
Station code: CDQ
Opened: 1840
Platforms: 5
Cardiff Queen Street (Caerdydd Heol y Frenhines) is the second busiest station in Wales. The station was opened in 1840 as Crockherbtown by the Taff Vale Railway.

It gained its current name in 1887 following a rebuild. The station was much changed in 1973 following another rebuild where the overall roof and Taff Vale Railway frontage was removed. Further rebuilding work took place in 2014 where the 2 platforms were reinstated bringing the total to 5.

Cardiff Queen Street is a major transport hub in Cardiff being the centre of the Valley Lines network. The station is also the terminus of a branch line to Cardiff Bay.
ATW 142 075 stands at Cardiff Queen Street

Two varieties of Pacer

Platform signs 
Cardiff Bay shuttle

Monday, 20 March 2017

Yardley Wood (YRD)

Information
Type: National Rail (Shakespeare Line)
Station code: YRD
Opened: 1908
Platforms: 2
Yardley Wood is one of the stops on the Shakespeare (or North Warwickshire) Line out of Snow Hill. It was opened by the GWR in 1908 as Yardley Wood Platform. By the First World War the Platform part of the name had been dropped [1]. Unlike some of the other stations on this line Yardley Wood never had goods facilities and is remarkably unchanged from its earliest days.

When built Yardley Wood was built in a very rural area with few houses nearby though now is a suburb in the South East of Birmingham (though is not to be confused with Yardley in the East of the city).



Despite still having the original (and decent sized) main station building still being in place on the up platform the ticket office is on another building at road level.
A LM Class 172 pauses on a service to Whitlocks End

Main station building

Shelter on the down platform

Looking down towards Stratford

[1] Vic Mitchell & Keith Smith, Stratford-upon-Avon to Birmingham Moor St (Middleton Press, 2006) p. 79

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Leicester Square (ZLS)

Information
Type: Transport for London
(Northern & Piccadilly Lines)
Station code: ZLS
Opened: 1906
Platforms: 4
Leicester Square was opened in 1906 by the Great Northern, Brompton & Piccadily Line followed the next year by platforms for the Charing Cross, Hamstead & Euston Railway. Originally Leicester Square was to be called Cranbourn Street which is where one of the entrances are [1].

The two lines were renamed the Piccadilly and Northern Lines as time went on and got busier especially as the Northern Line was extended. The station was rebuilt in the 1930s to cope with greatly increased numbers. A sub-surface ticket hall was added and escalators were installed to replace the lifts. The escalators were claimed at the time to be some of the longest in the world [2].

Film sprockets have been painted on the walls along each platform (see photo below) as Leicester Square (the place above) has a number of cinemas and often hosts film premieres. Leicester Square is a typical very busy Zone 1 tube station with nearly 45 million entries and exits a year.
One of the Northern Line platforms 
Cranbourn Street entrance

[1] Desmond F. Coombe, The Piccadilly Line (Capital Transport, 1998) p. 15
[2] Ibid p. 49

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Stafford (STA)

Information
Type: National Rail (West Coast Main Line)
Station code: STA
Opened: 1837
Platforms: 5
Stafford is a major interchange on the West Coast Main Line and is at the junction of the Trent Valley and Rugby-Birmingham-Stafford lines. The original Stafford station was opened by the Grand Junction Railway in 1837 but lasted less than 10 years being rebuilt in 1844.

There was a further rebuild in 1862 and exactly 100 years later the current station was built with its rather pleasing Brutalist architecture. There are 5 platforms though they are numbered up to 6, platform 2 no longer exists being a bay platform next to the station building (now used as a siding).



A Royal Mail platform still exists next to platform 6. Stafford is a busy station with regular Virgin Trains, London Midland and Cross Country services as well as freight.
Two Class 90s bring a freightliner train through the station

A convoy of Class 66s pass the pain station building

A Virgin Trains Pendolino approaches

A Class 70 passes a London Midland Class 350

A Class 325 at the former Royal Mail platform
Gatwick Express 387 223 heads through on a test run

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Redditch (RDC)

Information
Type: National Rail (Cross-City Line)
Station code: RDC
Opened: 1859
Platforms: 1
Redditch is the Southern terminus of the Cross-City Line (the other end being Lichfield Trent Valley). The station was opened in 1859 at the end of a new branch line built by the Midland Railway from the Birmingham & Gloucester Line at Barnt Green.

Later on the Evesham & Redditch Railway built a line South from Redditch via Evesham to Ashchurch. This line was closed to passengers in 1962 and closed completely two years later. The line from Barnt Green was also nearly a victim of the Beeching cuts but survived thanks to a local campaign. Services were greatly improved when the Cross-City Line was inaugurated in the late 1970s with more regular services to Birmingham.

The station was moved in 1992 to make space for a new bus station and shopping mall, this was done as part of the Cross-City Line's electrification upgrade. Redditch is one of only two stations on the line to have a single platform though does have a booking office and waiting room.
LM 323 218 has just arrived

General view of the station

Station building

Looking down the platform

LM 323 218 preparing to return up the line

Sunday, 5 March 2017

London Cannon Street (CST)

Information
Type: National Rail
(South Eastern Main Line)
Station code: CST
Opened: 1866
Platforms: 7
London Cannon Street is a terminus in the City of London serving destinations in South East London and Kent on the South Eastern Main Line. Cannon Street is on the North bank of the Thames, trains enter the station by the Cannon Street Railway Bridge which crosses the river. The station is one point in a triangular configuration with London Waterloo and London Bridge.

The station was opened by the South Eastern Railway in 1866 though most of the current structure dates from port-war rebuilding, the original train shed being demolished in the late 1950s. The two Thames facing towers which once flanked the shed remain and are along the few remnants of the original structure.

Closure of the station was mooted in the 1980s with the station having a reduced service for many years including no Sunday or evening services. Though in 2015 Cannon Street became a 7-days a week station again. All services from the station are operated by Southeastern though the station itself is managed by Network Rail. Next to the station is a London Underground station of the same name.
Southeastern 376 003 stands at Cannon St

Main concourse on a Saturday mid-morning, not the busiest of the London termini!

Southeastern 376 017 and 012

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Ravenstor

Information
Type: Preserved Railway
(Ecclesbourne Valley Railway)
Opened: 2005
Platforms: 1
Ravenstor is the Northernmost point of the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway, being the terminus of a half mile long branch line from Wirksworth. The line originally served local quarries and was not used for passenger services until Ravenstor was opened in 2005 by the EVR.

The line is rather steep, being a 1 in 27 incline! Ravenstor was built at the base of another incline which linked up to the now closed Cromford & High Peak Railway but is now the home of the National Stone Centre.


Ravenstor is a very basic station, just being a platform and a few signs. The line to Ravenstor is operated on weekends and special events and often has steam haulage.
Steam hauled brake van ride at Ravenstor

End of the line

Class 101 at Ravenstor

Brake vans at the Southern terminus of the Cromford & High Peak Railway near Cromford