Thaxted

Thaxted was the terminus of the Elsenham & Thaxted Light Railway running from Elsenham on the West Anglia Main Line.

Information
Type: Great Eastern Railway
Opened: 1913
Closed: 1952
Platforms: 1
Thaxted was opened in 1913 as part of a new branch of the Great Eastern Railway [1]. The station was built just over a kilometre from the town of Thaxted to avoid the expense of having to build a crossing over the River Chelmer [2].

Like the other stations and halts on the Elsenham & Thaxted Light Railway Thaxted was a fairly modest affair with a single platform. However as it was a terminus it also had a run-around loop, some freight sidings and a small engine shed. The station also had a cattle dock. As with other stations on the line an old GER coach body was used as part of the station buildings. There was no ticket office, tickets were always issued on the train [3]. The station did have toilets however.

Passenger services ceased to Thaxted (along with the rest of the line) in 1952, freight continued until 1953 when the line was closed completely.
Thaxted station, postcard view (public domain image)
Station layout
Thaxted station at it's opening, public domain image [1]

[1] "New branch on the Great Eastern Railway", Railway Times (April 5th, 1913) p. 343
[2] Vic Mitchell, Broxbourne to Cambridge including the Thaxted Branch (Middleton Press, 2012) Map XVIII
[3] Mitchell Fig. 78

All Saints (ZAS)

All Saints is a station on the Docklands Light Railway Stratford-Lewisham Line and one of the original stations on the DLR when it opened in 1987.

Information
Type: Transport for London
(Docklands Light Railway)
Station code: ZAS
Opened: 1987
Platforms: 2
All Saints was built on the site of Poplar station which was opened by the North London Railway in 1866 and was closed in 1944. All Saints was opened in 1987 on the original Dockland Light Railway's Stratford route [1] which reused much of the North London Railway line. The station is named after a nearby church. The station signs advertise Chrisp Street Market which is opposite the main entrance.

All Saints is near to the DLR's Poplar depot and two sidings from the depot are adjacent to the station. All Saints follows the standard pattern of stations on this line with standardised canopies and platform infrastructure.
DLR #119 stands at All Saints

Look down the platforms, both have extensive canopies

Station sign advertises the local market

A train is in, heading South

DLR #143 departs heading for Stratford

[1] Stephen Jolly & Bob Bayman, Docklands Light Railway (Capital Transport, 1986) p. 26

Kenilworth (KNW)

Kenilworth is the only intermediate stop on the line between Coventry and Leamington Spa.

Information
Type: National Rail
(Coventry-Leamington Line)
Station code: KNW
Opened: 1844 (Closed 1965)
Re-opened: 2018
Platforms: 1
The station was opened by the London & Birmingham Railway in 1844 and later became part of the London North Western Railway. The station was closed in 1965 as part of the Beeching cuts. However the line remained open though was singled in the early 1970s.

In 2008 proposals were announced to re-open the railway station and planning permission was granted in 2011. However funding was refused until 2013 when it was finally granted with the aim of opening the station in 2016. The opening date slipped a number of times but Kenilworth finally re-opened at the end of April 2018.

The re-opened station is completely new. It has a ticket hall in a new building based on the old one (parts of the old building did survive and were reused in a non-railway building nearby). Although the station has only a single platform it does have two footbridges! These give access across the railway line.
West Midlands Railway 153 364 departs for Leamington Spa


Original Kenilworth station, public domain image [1]

View down the platform

Station frontage

One of the footbridges, this has lifts too

The other footbridge

[1] "The railway station problem", Railway & Locomotive Engineering Vol. XL (December 1927) No. 12, p. 348

Milford (MLF)

Milford serves the village of Milford (though is nearly a kilometre and a half away from it) on the Portsmouth Direct Line, the station is between Godalming and Witley. The station is sometimes referred to as Milford (Surrey) in timetables and other displays.

Information
Type: National Rail
(Portsmouth Direct Line)
Station code: MLF
Opened: 1859
Platforms: 2
The station was opened in 1859 and was the first passing place on what was originally a single track line from Godalming to Havant [1]. The station building is original though the canopy was a later addition. An unusual feature of the station building is that access to it only available from the platform. There is a booking office though it is only open in on weekdays.

Due to a level crossing at the Portsmouth end of the platforms a signal box was provided though it was finally closed in 1973. The station once had a siding for Hambledon Rural District Council though it (and indeed the council) are now long gone.

Access between the platforms is via a footbridge, this is also the preferred way for pedestrians to cross the level crossing. The station is managed by South Western Railway who provide an hourly service in both directions between Haslemere or Portsmouth Harbour and London Waterloo.
Station building

Portsmouth bound SWR 444 005 departs

Station view from the footbridge

Station building view from the opposite platform, the footbridge can be seen on the left

Looking towards Portsmouth, the level crossing and footbridge can be seen

[1] Vic Mitchell & Keith Smith, Woking to Portsmouth (Middleton Press, 1985) Fig. 46

Stoke-on-Trent (SOT)

Stoke-on-Trent is on the Stafford-Manchester branch of the West Coast Main Line and is also the hub of a number of local branch lines.

Information
Type: National Rail
(West Coast Main Line)
Station code: SOT
Opened: 1848
Platforms: 3
The station was opened by the North Staffordshire Railway in 1848 as Stoke station (sometimes referred to as Stoke Junction), the name changing to Stoke-on-Trent in 1910 when the county borough was created [1]. The original station building was also used by the North Staffordshire Railway as it's headquarters with the board room and directors on the first floor.

Much of the station is unchanged since opening apart from the obvious like signage though two centre roads (which had been mainly used for storing stock) have been lifted. This was done to make space for electrification masts.

Access between the platforms is via a subway. The station is nowadays managed by Virgin Trains and is served by them, Cross Country, London Northwestern, Northern and East Midlands Trains.
LNWR 350 377 arrives with a North bound service

Under the roof

EMT 153 381 arrives with a Crewe-Derby service

South end of overall roof

Station frontage

Northern 323 229 waits with a North bound service

[1] Vic Mitchell & Keith Smith, Derby to Stoke-on-Trent (Middleton Press, 2016) Fig. 68

Birmingham New Street (BHM)

Birmingham New Street is the largest railway station in Birmingham and the central hub for the railway network outside of London. It is the sixth busiest station in Britain and the busiest interchange outside of London.

Information
Type: National Rail
(West Coast Main Line &
Other trunk and local lines)
TfWM Midland Metro
Station code: BHM
Opened: 1854
Platforms: 13 (+2 Metro)
The station was first opened in 1854 by the London & North Western Railway and was very different to the station as it is now. When built it had the largest single span roof in the world (London St Pancras took this title from New Street in 1868 [1]). This roof was badly damaged by bombing in the Second World War, temporary canopies being built after the war when the remains of the original roof were dismantled [2].

The station was completely rebuilt in the 1960s as part of the West Coast Main Line electrification and modernisation programme. The new station design was a complete departure from the old one, as with other station rebuilds of the period British Rail were keen to integrate retail into the rail travel experience and the station was built with a shopping precinct on top of it. The new station was intended to show how concrete could be used "with strength and delicacy" [3]. However the public was a bit sceptical about this especially as the new low concrete roof over the platforms made them rather dark and depressing [4] and the station has frequently featured in polls for Britain's worst buildings!

By the twenty first century Birmingham New Street was becoming rather tired and was struggling to cope with greatly expanded passenger numbers. Work began on a major redevelopment of the station in 2010 with a new concourse, a high roof over that concourse and improved retail facilities (Grand Central). At platform level things have also improved somewhat though the problems with an overall low roof remain. The Midlands Metro was extended from Birmingham Snow Hill to New Street in 2016. This is the current terminus of the light rail network and harks back to New Street pre-World War 2 when the Birmingham tramway network had it's hub outside of the station [5].
LM 350 116 stands ready

Despite recent refurbishment at platform level the station can still be a bit dark and dingy

Station concourse

New Street is a hub for local services including this LM 323 
Two Class 170s peer out into the light

A Midlands Metro tram stands outside New Street

[1] Mark Norton, Birmingham New Street Station Through Time (Amberley, 2013) Stp. 6 
[2] Vic Mitchell, Birmingham to Tamworth & Nuneaton (Middleton Press, 2014) Fig. 4
[3] David Lawrence, British Rail Designed 1948-97 (Ian Allan, 2016) p. 101
[4] Norton p. 56
[5] Vic Mitchell, North of Birmingham (Middleton Press, 2014) Fig. 71