Station Name: ASHCHURCH

[Source: Nick Catford]



Date opened: 24.6.1840, 15.5.1864 (Tewkesbury platform) 1.10.1864 (Evesham platform)
Location: On the north side of the A46
Company on opening: Midland Railway
Date closed to passengers: 14.8.1961 (Tewkesbury platform) 17.6.1963 (Evesham platform) 15.11.1971
Date closed completely: 15.11.1971
Company on closing: British Rail (Western Region)
Present state: The main line from Birmingham to Gloucester is still open.The overgrown remains of the Evesham platform is still extant. About 400 yards of track still remains on the branch serving the army's Base Vehicles Depot at Ashchurch. It appears to be rarely used.
County: Gloucestershire
OS Grid Ref: SO926333
Date of visit: December 2004

Notes: North of Ashchurch there used to be a connecting curve linking the two branches, crossing the main line on the level just north of the station, 'flat crossings' were seldom built, this curve closed in 1957. There was an extensive goods yard to the south and to the north west a large grain store.

The line to Tewkesbury, Upton-upon-Severn and Malvern, closed beyond Upton in December 1952, Ashchurch to Upton following on 14th August 1961. At this time Ashchurch station was renamed Ashchurch for Tewkesbury. Goods services were withdrawn on 1st June 1964 and Ashchurch station was unstaffed from 14th September 1970 and closed
completely on 15th November 1971.

A new station was built on the site of the old station and this was opened on 30th May 1997 and os still open.

BRIEF HISTORY OF THE 'GLOUCESTER LOOP' LINE
The line between Barnt Green and Ashchurch was built in four stages between 1859 and 1868, providing an essential link for the various communities. The main line from Birmingham to Gloucester had failed to serve such centres as Redditch, Evesham and Alcester. The line also formed an major diversionary route running
parallel to the main line this was particularly important in the days of steam as the route bypassed the notorious Lickey incline.

In July 1858 the Redditch Railway Act authorised a line between Barnt Green & Redditch which opened on 18th September 1859. Authorisation to build the Ashchurch and Evesham Railway was given under the Midland Railway (New Lines) Act of 1861. It opened to goods traffic on 1st July 1864 and to passengers on 1st October 1864.

The gap between those two lines was filled by the Evesham and Redditch Railway which was authorised in 1863. The stretch between Evesham and Alcester opened to goods traffic in June 1866 and to passengers on 17th September 1866. The remaining section between Alcester and Redditch opened on 4th May 1868 running into a new station at Redditch 1/4
of a mile south of the original site.

From the start the service was provided by the Midland Railway. The Redditch Railway was bought by the Midland Railway in 1865 while the middle section between Redditch and Evesham was taken over by the Midland in 1882.

From Redditch the line ran south through Evesham to a junction at Ashchurch rejoining the Birmingham & Gloucester Railway; the line became known as the Birmingham & Gloucester Loop. There were intermediate stations between Redditch and Evesham at Studley & Astwood Bank, Coughton, Alcester, Wixford, Broom Junction (for the Stratford-on-Avon and Midland Junction Railway), Salford Priors, and Harvington. Between Evesham and Ashchurch there were intermediate stations at Bengeworth, Hinton, Ashton-under-Hill and Beckford.


Although some stations on the line had closed during the 1950's. The Evesham to Redditch section of railway line was closed to passengers on a temporary basis on 1st October 1962 because of the poor condition of the track and substitute bus service was introduced. Goods traffic was retained at Studley and Alcester. The
passenger service between Evesham and Redditch was withdrawn from 17th June 1963 and the line closed completely on 6th July 1964 with the track being lifted by January 1965.

On 1965 there was an attempt to close the remaining section between Redditch and Barnt Green but the line was reprieved. Redditch station was moved to north side of Bromsgrove Bridge into the former goods yard. This allowed the former station site to be cleared for the construction of a new bus station as part of the Kingfisher Shopping Centre development.

In February 1990 the Cross City Line between Redditch and Litchfield was authorised. This involved electrification of existing lines including Barnt Green to Redditch and the rebuilding of Redditch Station, with a new brick station building and an extension to the platform to accommodate 6 car trains. This section of the former Ashchurch line is still open forming an
important part of Centro's line to Birmingham New Street and Litchfield.

Today much of the former track bed can still be traced; part of the line has been incorporated into the Evesham Country Park while another short section south of Redditch now forms part of the realigned A441.

Route map drawn by Alan Young.

Further reading: An illustrated History of Ashchurch-Barnt Green Line by R.J. Essery published by Oxford Publishing Company 2002 ISBN 0860935620. Tickets from Michael Stewart

To see the other stations on the 'Gloucester Loop' line click on the station name: Redditch, Studley for Astwood Bank, Coughton, Alcester, Wixford, Broom Junction, Salford Priors, Harvington, Evesham, Bengeworth, Hinton, Ashton-under-Hill & Beckford


Jubilee Class 4-6-0 5685 Barfleur hauls a Newcastle - Bristol express through Ashchurch
in March 1948.
Photo by Ben Brooksbank



Looking north towards Ashchurch station in May 1957. The Tewkesbury line branches to the left and Evesham line to the right. The 08.06 Sheffield - Gloucester express is seen pulling out of the station hauled by a Stanier Class 5 4-6-0. An ore train can b e seen approaching the Evesham platform bound for south Wales. Note the new signal box under construction. . The goods loading dock
is seen on the far left.
P
hoto by Ben Brooksbank

Ashchurch Station in July 1961
Photo by John M Cramp (from 30937 Photographic Group web site)


Ashchurch Station - Tewkesbury platform in July 1961
Photo by John M Cramp (from 30937 Photographic Group web site)

4614 on Evesham branch train at Ashchurch Junction with DMU on main line in June 1963
Copyright photo by W.Potter - from the Bernie Holland Collection

BR Standard 4MT 4-6-0 No. 75003 is in charge of a demolition train at Ashchurch in July 1966. The line from here to Evesham had been closed and was being dismantled, the steam crane in the train being used to recover parts from the signal bracket in the background.
Copyright p
hoto by Geoff Plumb from his Plumb Loco web site

Looking north towards Ashchurch station in August 1989. The disused Tewkesbury platform (left) and Evesham platform are seen. The disused goods loading dock is seen bottom left.
P
hoto by Ben Brooksbank

The new Ashchurch looking north in December 2004 - this was a three way junction, the line to Evesham is on the right. There is no evidence of the line to Tewkesbury that was on the left.
Photo by Ian Day


Click here for more pictures of Ashchurch station


 

 

 

[Source: Nick Catford]


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