Sunday, 30 April 2017

Tackley (TAC)

Information
Type: National Rail (Cherwell Valley Line)
Station code: TAC
Opened: 1931
Platforms: 2
Tackley in Oxfordshire is on the Cherwell Valley Line between Heyford and Oxford. The station was opened by the Great Western Railway in 1931 and is nowadays managed by the modern successor of the same name.

Tackley has no footbridge or subway, to get between platforms (and also cross the railway line) a foot crossing is provided and manually operated gates. As non-stopping trains can pass through the station at high speed people crossing always need to be pretty alert. Approaching trains sound their horns but anyone crossing has only a few seconds before the train passes through.


A fatality in 2009 prompted Network Rail to review the arrangements at Tackley. Warning signs have been improved and fences reduced in height to improve visibility though as yet the pedestrian crossing remains in place.

Most trains that stop at Tackley are GWR services between Banbury and Oxford though a few services also go straight through to Paddington. One Chiltern Railways service for Banbury a day also stops at the station.
GWR 165 123 on a Banbury bound service

Facilities on Banbury platform

Shelter on Oxford platform

Foot crossing

Cross Country Voyager powers through

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Monks Risborough (MRS)

Information
Type: National Rail (Aylesbury-
Princes Risborough Line)
Station code: MRS
Opened: 1929
Platforms: 1
Monks Risborough is a small station on the branch line between Aylesbury and Princes Risborough (which is nearby and the next station up the line). The station opened as Monks Risborough & Whiteleaf Halt under the GWR in 1929 [1]. Later on it was transferred to London Midland Region and is now managed by Chiltern Railways.

It is a simple station with just a single platform and a few basic facilities such as a ticket machine and a permit to travel machine. As well as the two destinations mentioned above some trains also go straight through to London Marylebone.

Monks Risborough and the branch line it lies on have always been fairly quiet. In steam days a single carriage autotrain was usually sufficient and the branch line became the last bastion of the British Railway first generation DMU with Class 121 "Bubble Cars" still operating on the line until this year [2].
Chiltern 165 005 departs bound for Aylesbury

In case you lose your bearings

Permit to travel machine

Looking towards Princes Risborough

[1] Kevin McCormack, The Western Around London (Ian Allan, 2004) p. 77
[2] "Bubbles blown for last time", Modern Railways (May 2017) p. 58

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Canning Town (CNT/ZCB)

Information
Type: Transport for London
(Jubilee Line & Docklands
Light Railway)
Station code: CNT/ZCB
Opened: 1847
Platforms: 6
Canning Town is a major interchange between the Jubilee Line and Docklands Light Railway and local buses in East London. The station was first opened in 1847 as Barking Road by the Eastern Counties & Thames Junction Railway.

The station was renamed Canning Town in 1873 and moved in 1888, with another move to the current site (the site of the former Thames Iron Works [1]) in 1995 as part of the new DLR line to Beckton. The biggest change came with the arrival of the Jubilee Line in 1999 as part of the Jubilee Line Extension Project which finally emerges into the daylight just before the station. In 2005 more platforms for the DLR's line to London City Airport were added.

Canning Town is a triple decker building with the booking hall below ground and the Jubilee Line platforms above it, the Beckton DLR platforms are on the top level [2][3]. The latest DLR platforms are on ground level next to the Jubilee Line - though passengers need to go down to the booking hall before they can come back up for interchange.
Jubilee Line 96ts 96024 at Canning Town

Looking down the Jubilee Line platform, stairs going up and down

City Airport branch DLR platforms

Jubilee Line train at the station

DLR train arrives at the City Airport branch platforms

Jubilee Line 96ts 96040


[1] Jason Cross, London Underground Guide 2017 (Train Crazy, 2017) p. 108
[2] Paul Moss, London Underground (Haynes, 2014) p. 166
[3] Mike Horne, The Jubilee Line (Capital Transport, 2000) p. 73

Monday, 24 April 2017

Euston tube station (ZEU)

Information
Type: Transport for London
(Northern & Victoria Lines)
Station code: ZEU
Opened: 1907
Platforms: 6
London Euston mainline station opened in 1837 and soon became very busy being one of the major routes into London from the North. Naturally taking advantage of the passenger traffic travelling through the station was attractive to the developers of London's underground railways in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Two companies gained approval to build underground links through Euston, the City & South London Railway and Charing Cross, Euston & Hampstead Railway. However the land was owned by the London & North Western Railway and the companies had to build separate station buildings [1]. The stations, although separate, were connected by passageways underground. In 1914 the two companies were united as part of the Underground Group and rationalisation began with one of the station buildings being closed. These two separate lines became the two branches of the Northern Line, Euston having platforms for both branches.

The biggest change came with the arrival of the Victoria Line in the 1960s (along with the major rebuilding of the mainline station above). A new larger ticket hall was built under the mainline station concourse and the one of the lines of Bank branch Northern Line was diverted to allow for new wider platforms replacing the original narrow island platform [2]. A number of the original passageways were closed off to the public though remain in use for staff use and storage. Some still retain posters from the 1960s. The main entrance into the tube station is now via the mainline station concourse.

Euston tube station is a very busy one with over 40 million entries and exits a year. It could get even busier in future if plans for a new Crossrail2 station connecting with the tube station are realised.
Northern Line 95ts train 51674 arives

One of the former passenger tunnels

Posters dating from the 1960s still in place in the non-public tunnels

Platform viewed from the air shaft



More posters and some of the original tiling
Former ticket office for people interchanging between the two separate lines

Victoria Line platform
[1] Chris Nix and Siddy Holloway, Euston Underground Station - the lost tunnels (London Transport Museum, 2016) p. 4
[2] Ibid p. 12

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Ledbury Town Halt

Information
Type: National Rail (Daffodil Line)
Opened: 1885
Closed: 1959
Ledbury Town Halt was opened by the Ledbury & Gloucester Railway in 1885. The line - also known as the Daffodil Line - was built over part of the Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal which was leased to the GWR in 1863. Work began in the 1880s on converting part of it to a railway which ran from Ledbury Junction (the current Ledbury station) to Gloucester.

Traffic on the line was light, the line being singled during the First World War, especially towards the end when a single railcar sufficed [1]. Closure of the line began in 1959 when Ledbury Town Halt was closed, though parts of the line did continue for freight until the early 1960s. Nowadays there is little trace of Ledbury Town Halt, the track bed is now a walking trail (the Ledbury Town Trail) which was filled in to bring to the same height as the surrounding land. Photos of the station can be seen on this web page.
Looking North towards Ledbury station

The station was just about here but no trace remains

[1] Michael Welch, Diesels on the Western (Capital Transport, 2013) p. 8

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Bewdley (BEW)

Information
Type: Preserved Railway
(Severn Valley Railway)
Station code: BEW
Opened: 1862 (Closed 1970)
Re-Opened: 1974
Platforms: 3
Bewdley is one of the stations on the Severn Valley Railway. It was opened in 1862 by the West Midland Railway on their line from Hartlebury to Shrewsbury, later becoming part of the Great Western Railway.

Originally Bewdley was a busy junction. The Tenbury & Bewdley Railway opened a line through the Wyre Forest in 1864 [1] and in 1878 a line down to Kidderminster was added by the GWR.



Bewdley began to be run-down in the 1960s along with much of the railway system. The Wyre Forest line closed in 1962 and the Severn Valley line in 1963. The remaining passenger services were ended in 1970 and the station closed. However by now the Severn Valley Railway project had already started and in 1974 the SVR bought Bewdley station as part of its expansion down from Hampton Loade. Bewdley is one of the main stations on the SVR and was its administrative base until recently. Nowadays it is the home of the SVR's wagon restoration works. The SVR's heritage DMU fleet is usually stabled at Bewdley.

Bewdley has 3 platforms, 2 and 3 being an island platform. These platforms are usually the only ones used except at galas when local trains from Kidderminster terminating at Bewdley or specials will use platform 1.

Changing rail usage patterns and commuter need have seen some interest from Network Rail and some train operators like Chiltern Railways to run through services from the network to Bewdley but at the moment (and likely will for the foreseeable future) the station remains part of a preserved railway!
40106 stands at Bewdley

Departing platform 1

Class 20 viewed from the footbridge

View of the island platform 
Main station building on the left as a Class 31 comes through 
A Western stands at an old "Western" station

[1] Michael Welch, Diesels on the Western (Capital Transport, 2013) p. 5

Sunday, 16 April 2017

London Euston (EUS)

Information
Type: National Rail (West Coast Main Line
& Watford DC Line)
Station code: EUS
Opened: 1837
Platforms: 18
London Euston is one of the busiest stations in the country and is the London terminus of the West Coast Main Line. It is also the terminus of DC electrified services from Watford.

Euston was opened in 1837 by the London & Birmingham Railway, later operated by the LNWR, LMS and British Railways. Nowadays it is managed by Network Rail.

The original station building was fronted by a huge Doric propylaeum called the Euston Arch and a train shed designed by Robert Stephenson. These were demolished in the late 1960s as the station was completely rebuilt [1], not without some controversy. The new station was a much less grand affair and has attracted criticism for its functional design though rebuilding was needed as the station could not be expanded anymore in its original state. The station was redesigned to aid passenger flow especially between the underground station (see Euston tube station) and the mainline station as well as enabling much greater retail space [2]. The original stated vision of the new station design was unfortunately never quite realised. In 1966 the electrification of the WCML was completed between Euston and Manchester/Liverpool [3].

Under plans for HS2 Euston could be rebuilt again adding more platforms, and maybe even the return of the arch.
Station frontage

Virgin Trains Pendolino

Main concourse

Virgin Trains 390 130



The arch is commemorated on this tile motif on the Victoria Line station platforms
[1] Chris Heaps, BR Diary 1968-1977 (Ian Allan, 1988) p. 16
[2] David Lawrence, British Rail Designed 1948-97 (Ian Allan, 2016) p. 86
[3] John Glover, BR Diary 1956-1967 (Ian Allan, 1987) p. 104

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Ambergate (AMB)

Information
Type: National Rail (Derwent Valley Line)
Station code: AMB
Opened: 1840
Platforms: 1
Ambergate station is just North of the Ambergate junction, a junction of the Midland Main Line and the Derwent Valley Line.

Originally opened in 1840 by the North Midland Railway, the station was moved a couple of times, in 1863 and 1876. This last move included a major rebuilding and Ambergate became one of only a small number of triangular stations in the country with platforms serving the Midland Main and Derwent Valley Lines and a short link between them.



Once a busy and important junction, the station declined in importance in the 1960s and 1970s with the cessation of stopping services along the Midland Main Line and the closure of these platforms. Now only a platform on the Derwent Valley Line remains. The station was listed for total closure by Beeching but has survived in this reduced state.

Nowadays Ambergate is a basic unmanned station with a bus shelter and a ticket machine. Ambergate is currently served by East Midland Trains services between Matlock and Nottingham or Newark Castle via Derby.
EMT 153 302 arrives at the station

Looking down towards Ambergate junction

Station facilities

An EMT Class 156 passes now a disused part of the platform

Station sign

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Conway Park (CNP)

Information
Type: National Rail (Merseyrail Wirral Line)
Station code: CNP
Opened: 1998
Platforms: 2
Conway Park is the newest station on the Wirral Line. It was opened in 1998 and is located between Birkenhead Park and Hamilton Square on the Wirral Line branches to New Brighton and West Kirby.

The station was built to provide a more convenient station for passengers for Birkenhead town centre than the two stations either side of it on the line.

The station was built by excavating down to the 19th century Mersey Railway built tunnel nearly 20m underground which brings the line from under the Mersey, and opening it out. Tunnel sections remain on both approaches to the station though the station itself is open air (if quite some way below ground level).
Green light means go

Platform view
Exterior view

Looking down the platform

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Guildford (GLD)

Information
Type: National Rail (Portsmouth Direct,
North Down & New Guildford Lines)
Station code: GLD
Opened: 1845
Platforms: 8
Guildford is a junction of the London Waterloo-Portsmouth Direct Line, the North Downs Line (between Reading and Redhill) and the New Guildford Line to London Waterloo via Epson.

The station was opened in 1845 by the London & South Western Railway. Southern Railway electrified the line to Guildford in 1925 [1] (though it had been part of LSWR plans before grouping). The station was enlarged and rebuilt in 1880 with another rebuilding by British Rail in 1980.


The station has 8 platforms though Platform 7 is not in use. Access between the platforms is either via a footbridge or a subway. Guildford is a busy station used by over 8 million passengers a year. Most services are by South West Trains with Great Western Railway, Southern and Cross Country also calling at the station.
SWT 450 088 stands at the station under the footbridge

Platform canopies 
A SWT Class 456 stands at the station

Station sign still showing now defunct Redstar parcel service logo

SWT 455 727

[1] David Brown, Southern Electric Vol 1 (Capital Transport, 2010) p. 42

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Jewellery Quarter (JEQ)

Information
Type: National Rail (Snow Hill Lines)
Station code: JEQ
Opened: 1995
Platforms: 2
Jewellery Quarter, serves the area of the same name just outside Birmingham city centre. The station was opened in 1995 as part of the restoration of cross-city services via Birmingham Snow Hill (which is the next stop on the line). No station had existed at this location previously though the former station of Hockley which closed in 1972 was located nearby [1].

In 1999 the Midland Metro began operating, a stop being adjacent to the railway station (and with access via the platform).



Most services to Jewellery Quarter are operated by London Midland but some Chiltern Railways trains also stop during peak hours.
Two London Midland Class 172s cross at the station

The footbridge and platform canopies

Midland Metro platform

Sign at entrance from the metro platform to the railway one, bit out of date now!

Chiltern Class 168 passes through

[1] Hockley station <http://warwickshirerailways.com/gwr/hockley_station.htm>