Station Name: BECKFORD

[Source: Nick Catford]

Date opened: 1.10.1864
Location: On the east side of Station Road
Company on opening: Midland Railway
Date closed to passengers: 17.6.1963
Date closed completely: 1.7.1963
Company on closing: British Rail (Western Region)
Present state: Unknown
County: Worcestershire
OS Grid Ref: SO981356
Date of visit: 17.8.2005
The line between Barnt Green and Ashchurch was built in four stages between 1859 and 1868, providing an essential link for the various communities along it. The main line from Birmingham to Gloucester had failed to serve such centres as Redditch, Evesham and Alcester. The line also formed an important 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 where it rejoined 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 (junction for The Stratford-upon-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 the 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.

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

Route map drawn by Alan Young. 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 & Ashchurch

The 9.40 am Ashchurch - Birmingham New Street train waits to depart from Beclford station in April 1958. Working a class B stopping train is 42383, a Fowler designed class 4 passenger tank was built by the LMS at Derby works. Entering service on 7.7.1932, this 2-6-4 tank is carrying a 21A, Saltley shedplate where it was allocated to from November 1954 to April 1960, after which it was moved to Toton, from where it was withdrawn in October 1961 and scrapped by
Looms of Spondon on 8.8.1962
Copyrighht photo by H C Casserley

1:2,500 1902 OS map

Beckford station looking south-west c. 1950s.

Beckford station looking north-east in April 1958. The large bick
goods shed is seen in the background.
Copyrighht photo by H C Casserley

Beckford station forecourt in April 1958.
Copyrighht photo by R M Casserley

Beckford Station looking north east in Ocftober 1960.
Photo by Ben Brooksbank

Beckford station looking north-east in June 1962 as a train waits to depart for Ashchurch.
Photo by Geoff Skelsey

4614 calls at Beckford with a single coach from Evesham to Ashchurch in May 1963. 4614 was built by the GWR in 1942 at Swindon works. This 57XX pannier tank entered service in February of that year, at KDR, Kidderminster shed. It had spells at 85A Worcester, 85D Kidderminster and 85C Gloucester Barnwood before being withdrawn in July 1964 from 85B Gloucester Horton Road, to be cut up by Birds Morriston in December of that year.
Photo by Michael Symons from Bernie Holland collection

Beckford Station in June 1963
Photo by M. Mensing

Beckford station looking north-east in March 1978.
Photo by Martin Potter

Beckford Station house in August 2005
Photo by Mike Burns

September 1977


Click on thumbnail to enlarge




:[Source: Nick Catford]

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