Station Name: BILLING

[Source: Nick Catford]

Date opened: 10.12.1845
Location: West side of Billing Road, north of its junction with Station Road.
Company on opening: London & Birmingham Railway
Date closed to passengers: 6.10.1952
Date closed completely: 1.6.1964
Company on closing: British Railways (London Midland Region)
Present state: The main station building/house is still extant. Until recently it was a commercial premises owned by Shadowfax Engineering. The platforms have been demolished and the signal box on the opposite site of the road was burnt down and removed many years ago.
County: Northamptonshire
OS Grid Ref: SP815607
Date of visit: July 2005

Notes: The station did not open with the line first appearing in the company timetable on 10th December 1945 and in Bradshaw in January 1846.

There was a derailment early in the station's history when a storm blew the level crossing gates shut; the signalman tried to open them in time for the train to clear the crossing but was unsuccessful and was killed.

The station opened as Billing Road and was renamed Billing on 1st April 1893. The two-storey stationmaster's house which incorporated the booking office was a very plain rectangular building. There was a timber waiting room on the on the up platform with no buildings on the down platform.
The station was provided with a small goods yard on the up side of the line east of the level crossing. Access to the yard was controlled by a signal box which was on the down side, east of the level crossing. The yard consisted of a loop giving access from both directions, and a single siding.

Billing was an early closure losing its passenger service on 6th October 1952 although it retained its goods service until 1st June 1964.

BRIEF HISTORY OF THE NENE VALLEY RAILWAY
The London & Birmingham railway was completed by the autumn of 1838 and immediately started considering expanding its territory to Northampton (which it by-passed by some 5 miles due to the hilly nature of the town) and then down the Nene valley to Peterborough. In 1843 the L&BR was given parliamentary assent to construct a line from Blisworth in Northamptonshire to Peterborough.

Twelve stations were built in an old English or Tudor style: the names on opening (some changed later) were Northampton, Castle Ashby, Wellingborough, Ditchford, Higham Ferrers (later renamed Irthlingborough), Ringstead, Thrapston, Thorpe, Barnwell, Oundle, Wansford and Overton. The line shared the Peterborough terminus with the Eastern Counties Railway in return for 'running powers' over the line to Northampton, giving it access to the Midlands and the North.

The Northampton to Blisworth section was officially opened on Tuesday 13 May 1845 and the complete track was opened on Monday 2 June 1845.

On 16 July 1846 the London and North Western Railway was formed by merging the London & Birmingham Railway with a number of other companies and during the mid 1800's, the development of iron ore mining in the area was reactivated having been suspended for 200 years by law due to the lack of wood for charcoal. All available wood being required for the Navy.

The Great Northern Railway opened a line from Stamford to a junction with the Nene Valley line just east of Wansford on 9th August 1867 and Wansford became a major junction when the LNWR opened their new

line from Yarwell Junction (just west of Wansford) to Seaton on 1st November 1879. The 1923 grouping took the line into the London Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS).

With the closure of many of the mines and the popularity of the car both passenger and freight traffic was in decline after WW2 and in July 1963 the withdrawal of passenger service between Northampton Castle and Peterborough East was announced. Despite a vigorous campaign against closure culminating in a public meeting at Thrapston, little could be done. A
petition was started and action committee appointed but when the committee asked for a collection to meet their expenses only £1 18s 3d was raised! The line was formally closed on Monday 4 May 1964.

Iron Ore trains continued to use the line until 1966 with through freight traffic finally being withdrawn by British Rail in 1972.

In 1974 the Peterborough Development Corporation bought a section of the Nene Valley line between Longville and Yarwell Junctions and leased it to the Peterborough Railway Society to operate the railway. Between 1974 and May 1977 the line was upgraded to passenger standards and on 24 May the Railway Inspector passed the railway as fit for passenger carrying operations and the Nene Valley Railway between Wansford and Orton Mere was officially opened on 1 June 1977.

In 1986 the line was eastwards to a new terminus at Peterborough Nene Valley just short of the East Coast Main Line making a total running length of 7.5 miles and a new station is currently under construction at Yarwell Junction at the western end of the line. There are also proposals for a link with the ECML which would allow trains to run into Peterborough Station.

Bradshaw from Nick Catford. Route map drawn by Alan Young.

See also: Nene Valley Railway web site
Further reading: The Nene Valley Railway by Christopher Awdry ISBN: 1 85895 170 4

To see other stations on the Nene Valley Railway click on the station name: Northampton Bridge Street, Castle Ashby & Earls Barton, Wellingborough London Road, Ditchford, Irthlingborough, Ringstead & Addington, Thrapston Bridge Street, Thorpe, Barnwell, Oundle, Elton, Wansford, Castor, Orton Waterville, Peterborough Nene Valley & Peterborough East


Billing station looking east in 1953, a few months after closure to passengers.
Photo from John Mann collection



1900 1:2,500 OS map.

D5572 passing Billing station in April 1964 with the 5.05pm Northampton Castle to
Peterborough East service.
P
hoto by Peter Fleming

42970 passing Billing goods yard with the 3.50pm from Peterborough East to Northampton Castle. The goods yhard closed a few weeks later.
Photo by Peter Fleming

Billing station looking east from the site of the waiting room in the 1960s.
Photo from John Mann collection

Billing station looking east from the up platform in the 1960s.
Photo from John Mann collection

The short Class J goods train is headed by Stanier 8F 2-8-0 No. 48147 approached
Billing station in May 1965.
P
hoto by Ben Brooksbank

Looking south along Billing road towards the level crossing in May 1965.
Photo by Ben Brooksbank

Billing station looking west in July 2005
Photo by Bruce Varney

Aerial view of Billing station confirming that only the station building itself remains
Photo received from Phil Langdon of Shadowfax Engineering (former owner)

 

 


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[Source: Nick Catford]


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