Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Coleshill Parkway (CEH)

Information
Type: National Rail (Birmingham to
Peterborough Line)
Station code: CEH
Opened: 2007
Platforms: 2
Coleshill Parkway is located in the Hams Hall industrial estate and serves Coleshill (though isn't especially close to it being a couple of kilometres away). The station was opened in 2007 as a parkway station though isn't the first station on the site.

The first station on the site was Forge Mills opened in 1842 on the Birmingham & Derby Junction Railway. This later changed its name to Coleshill in the 1920s though was closed in 1968.

The new Coleshill Parkway station opened 39 years later nestled deep in the industrial estate and located next to the Hams Hall Rail Freight Terminal. Naturally being a parkway station it has a 200 space car park. It is managed by London Midland though all of the stopping services are operated by Cross Country.
XC 170 108 pulls away on a service to Stansted Airport

Main entrance, ticket office (closed at time of the photo) on the right

View down the line towards Birmingham

General station view

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Walsall (WSL)

Information
Type: National Rail (Chase Line)
Station code: WSL
Opened: 1849
Platforms: 3
The first station in Walsall was Bescot Bridge in 1837 built near Bescot Stadium station, but in 1849 a proper city centre station was built in Walsall by the South Staffordshire Railway on a route to Dudley. Further routes and lines were added to Walsall over the following decades.

The current station buildings date from the late 1970s when the old station was demolished as part of a major retail regeneration project. The Saddlers Centre shopping mall has been built atop the station and is where the main entrance and concourse is. Another entrance is via station street.

Nowadays Walsall is host to services on the Chase Line between Birmingham New Street and Rugeley and services between Walsall and Wolverhampton (via New Street).
LM 323 221 stands at Walsall

Platform 1

Platform 3

Station street

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Ropley

Information
Type: Preserved Rail (Mid-Hants Railway)
Opened: 1865 (Closed 1973)
Re-Opened: 1977
Platforms: 2
Ropley was originally opened by the Mid-Hants Railway in 1865 and later leased and then owned by the LSWR and the Southern Railway. It was closed by British Rail in 1973.

It was re-opened 4 years later by the preserved Mid-Hants Railway (also known as the Watercress Line) and is one of the intermediate stops on their re-opened line between Alton and Alresford. Ropley is the engineering centre of the preserved railway with the line's main locomotive shed and workshops next to the station. Ropley has footbridges at either end of the station, one of the bridges allows access to the workshop area.
The line is home to preserved steam and diesels like 33 053

Main station building, the workshops can be seen behind

View of the station from one of the footbridges

Ropley signalbox

British Railways 9F 92212 brings an Alton bound train in

Monday, 22 May 2017

Erdington (ERD)

Information
Type: National Rail (Cross-City Line)
Station code: ERD
Opened: 1862
Platforms: 2
Erdington serves the district of the same name in North-East Birmingham. As a typical suburban commuter station it hosts an endless stream of Cross-City line EMUs (currently Class 323s). The only other services through the station are diversions or empty stock workings. From Erdington as well as to Birmingham New Street you can also go to destinations like Sutton Coldfield, Lichfield City, Redditch and Longbridge.

The station is situated on Station Road near the High Street and was built by the London & North West Railway (an alternative route for a railway through Erdington was proposed in the mid-1800s to go along what is now the Tyburn Road and Wood End Lane and have a station on Orphanage Road). The station was later owned by the LMS (and LMS lettering can still be seen on the railway bridge next to the station entrance) and of course British Rail. Nowadays it is managed by London Midland.

There are two platforms with a manned ticket office and waiting room on one of them, the other buildings being bus-shelter style buildings. Access to the station and between the platforms is via a ramp down to the street. Like many small stations Erdington did once have a goods siding and unloading wharf though this is long gone [1].

The only serious rail accident at the station occured in 1875 when a stationary goods train was hit from behind by a passenger train though there were luckily no fatalities or serious injuries [2]. Another potentially serious incident was averted in 1966 when a passer-by noticed a barrackade had been built across the track and they alerted the nearest signalbox [3].
LM 323 208 arrives with a Lichfield bound service

Entrance to the station is on the right

XC HST passes through, only LM local services stop at the station

Platform shelter

A cat crosses the tracks, the main station building can be seen in the background

RHTT track machine passes through



[1] Correspondence. Birmingham Daily Post (Birmingham, England), Friday, June 12, 1891; Issue 10287. 
[2] Railway Accident at Erdington. Birmingham Daily Post (Birmingham, England), Friday, February 5, 1875; Issue 5169. 
[3] Rail wreckers build a 'wall' across line. Daily Mirror, Thu 20 Oct 1966 Page 17.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Harrogate (HGT)

Information
Type: National Rail (Harrogate Line)
Station code: HGT
Opened: 1862
Platforms: 2
Harrogate, on the Harrogate Line between Leeds and York, was opened by the North Eastern Railway in 1862. However it isn't the town's first station, Brunswick was opened by the York & North Midland Railway in 1848 though was less central than the new Harrogate station. Brunswick was closed when Harrogate opened.

The current station buildings date from a complete rebuild in the mid-1960s with the footbridge and the station frontage being replaced in the 2000s. Although Harrogate has a platform 1 and 3. Platform 2, a bay platform, is no longer used.
Northern 142 021 stands at Harrogate on a service from York

Footbridge with another bridge part of an adjoining complex now above it

Station frontage

Harrogate North signalbox

General station view

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Bicester North (BCS)

Information
Type: National Rail (Chiltern Main Line)
Station code: BCS
Opened: 1910
Platforms: 2
Bicester North in Oxfordshire was built as a stop on the GWR Chiltern Main Line. It was Bicester's second station (the other being the London & North West Railway's Bicester London Road, then Bicester Town and now Bicester Village on the line to Oxford).

The station as built was far more elaborate than the station which exists now. Like many stations before the cuts of the 1960s Bicester North had a goods yard and a couple of through roads. The Chiltern line drastically cut back in the late 1960s, being singled for a lot of its stretch though a loop was retained at Bicester North [1]. The track was redoubled in the early 2000s and remodelled through the station to allow for higher speeds. The space formally occupied by the through road became the new Up (London) bound track through the station. The platform was widened as a result (which is why the waiting rooms and other buildings on that platform are so far back!)

The main station building is little changed since the opening of the station with the original canopy. The footbridge has been changed over the years though is largely as it was since the station was built, though lifts have been added. Originally the bridge had to span 4 tracks hence its width!
Chiltern 165 002 pulls into the station on a Marylebone bound service 
Main station building

View of the footbridge, note the width of the Up platform

View towards Banbury

Platform shelter, advertising Chiltern services to Stratford-upon-Avon

[1] Vic Mitchell & Keith Smith, Princes Risborough to Banbury (Middleton Press, 2001) plate 63

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Alton (AON)

Information
Type: National Rail (Alton Line) &
Preserved Railway (Mid
Hants Railway)
Station code: AON
Opened: 1852
Platforms: 3
Alton is the terminus of the Alton Line but also one of the termini of the preserved Mid-Hants Railway (also known as the Watercress Line). The station is shared between National Rail and the preserved railway with platforms 1 and 2 being used by NR and platform 3 for the preserved line.

The station was opened by the London & South West Railway in 1852 though moved to its current site (immediately adjacent to the old site which now forms the car park) in 1865. Under the guise of the Southern Railway the line from Woking was electrified down to Alton in 1937.

The Mid-Hants Railway was a separate line built by the Mid-Hants Railway Company from Winchester in the 1860s, it opened in 1865 and shared the same Alton station as the line from Woking. The line was closed by British Rail in 1973 after a long period of decline (the lack of electrification meaning that through-trains were not possible) but re-opened as a preserved line in 1977 as far as Alresford. However services were not restored through to Alton until 1985.
Two SWT 450s just after arrival, the footbridge grants access between the platforms 
Old and new, SWT trains viewed from the Mid-Hants platform

A steam train approaches

Vintage signage in place on the Mid-Hants platform

Buildings on the Mid-Hants platform

Friday, 12 May 2017

Worcester Shrub Hill (WOS)

Information
Type: National Rail (Cotswold &
Snow Hill Lines)
Station code: WOS
Opened: 1850
Platforms: 2
Worcester Shrub Hill is the larger of Worcester's 2 railway stations though is not in the city centre unlike Worcester Foregate Street. Shrub Hill is a much grander station though that dates from 1850 and was a joint project of the Oxford, Worcester & Wolverhampton and Midland Railways. The current station building dates from 1865.

The station has 2 platforms connected by a footbridge though people who can't use the stairs have to cross the track (under supervision). The former platform 3 was a bay platform that is no longer in use but used to host services to Cheltenham Spa. Shrub Hill is adjacent to Worcester TMD with a number of stabling sidings behind the station. The station is host to a number of fine semaphore signals.

As well as London Midland services to/from Birmingham and Malvern the station has regular GWR services to Paddington, Hereford and other destinations like Westbury.
GWR HST led by 43 189

Fine semaphores

View down the line

View from the footbridge, both platforms occupied
GWR Class 166 
London Midland Class 177 and a GWR Class 166 in the background

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Liverpool Lime Street Low Level (LVL)

Information
Type: National Rail (Merseyrail
Wirral Line)
Station code: LVL
Opened: 1977
Platforms: 1
The mainline station Liverpool Lime Street was joined by an underground Lime Street in 1977 when the Wirral loop was opened. The loop is a single track tunnel with trains (from the Wirral) first stopping at Liverpool James Street before progressing clockwise around the loop to Moorfields, Lime Street, Liverpool Central and then back to James Street and then back under the Mersey[1].

Entrance to Liverpool Lime Street Low Level is via the main concourse in the mainline station above. The station is entirely underground including a ticket hall and a shop. Note: the station is usually publicly referred to as just "Lime Street".
508 114 pulls into the station

Wirral Line map

507 007 heads off

[1] Chris Heaps, BR Diary 1968-1977 (Ian Allan, 1988) p. 114

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Liverpool Lime Street (LIV)

Information
Type: National Rail (West Coast Main Line &
Local Lines)
Station code: LIV
Opened: 1836
Platforms: 9
Lime Street is Liverpool's oldest and largest station being the Liverpool end terminus of the West Coast Main Line. The first terminus was opened at Crown Street, Edge Hill in 1830 but was replaced by the much more central Lime Street a few years later. The station was opened by the Liverpool & Manchester Railway in 1836 [1].

The station is down a fairly steep incline from Edge Hill (up to 1 in 83). Early steam locomotives were not powerful enough to handle such an incline meaning that early trains were rope hauled as far as Edge Hill until 1870. The approach to the station was cut into the bed rock, originally a tunnel but later on opened out to allow for more tracks and for smoke (and later fumes) to escape. The line was electrified in the early 1960s with electric services from Liverpool to Crewe starting in 1962 [2].

Over the station was built an arched roof in the 1860s to cover the concourse and most of the platform length. A second parallel roof was added in 1879.

An underground station was built at Lime Street in 1977 for the Wirral Line (Liverpool Lime Street Low Level). Liverpool Lime Street is a busy station with services by Northern, Virgin Trains West Coast, London Midland, East Midland Trains and Trans Pennine Express.
TPE 185 121

Northern 142 057 at the tail of a train departing the station

LM 350 123 and Northern 142 040 at the buffer stops on Platforms 8 and 9

A good view of the overall roof

A Northern Class 319 arrives

Northern 319 377 at rest

[1] Jonathan Cadwallader & Martin Jenkins, Merseyside Electrics (Ian Allan, 2010) p. 54
[2] Ibid p. 56

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Amersham (AMR/ZAM)

Information
Type: Transport for London (Metropolitan
Line) & National Rail
Station code: AMR/ZAM
Opened: 1892
Platforms: 3
Amersham is right at the top left edge of the London Underground tube map and is the second furthest station from the centre of London after Chesham. Amersham is a terminus of the Metropolitan Line though also is host to National Rail services from Aylesbury to London Marylebone operated by Chiltern Railways.

Amersham was opened by the Metropolitan Railway in 1892, later becoming joint owned with the Great Central Railway (later LNER and finally BR). Although Amersham and the Metropolitan Railway became part of the London Underground in 1933 the line was not electrified until 1960. The new EMU stock for the Metropolitan Line at the time was called the A60 Stock, the A after Amersham.


The station has 3 platforms with buildings and canopies over both. There is a footbridge linking the platforms. Metropolitan Line trains terminate here, after checks the train moves forward just outside the station before switching over to the other track and beginning the long journey back to the big city.
One of the furthest (official) LU station roundels you'll see from London!

Chiltern 168 001 departs heading for Marylebone

Main station building

S Stock train begins the long journey back to London

Footbridges

Aylesbury bound Chiltern 165 008 arrives