Station Name: DITCHFORD

[Source: Nick Catford]

Date opened: 2.6.1845
Location: East side of Ditchford Road
Company on opening: London & Birmingham Railway
Date closed to passengers: 1.11.1924
Date closed completely: June 1952
Company on closing: London Midland & Scottish Railway
Present state: Demolished - an access road to a sewage works has obliterated the station site..
County: Northamptonshire
OS Grid Ref: SP930685
Date of visit: July 2005

Notes: Ditchford was an early closure, losing its passenger service on 1st November 1924. After closure to passengers the station remained open for freight until 15th May 1950 and was also used by railwaymen and their families until at least June 1952, possibly later..

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).

During the first half of the 20th century the line formed an important connection from Norwich, Cambridge and eastern England to

Northampton and the Midlands. The line was generally acknowledged to be a secondary mainline and regularly saw heavy through traffic but operating costs were high with a large number of manned level crossings.

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.

 

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, Billing, Castle Ashby & Earls Barton, Wellingborough London Road, Irthlingborough, Ringstead & Addington, Thrapston Bridge Street, Thorpe, Barnwell, Oundle, Elton, Wansford, Castor, Orton Waterville, Peterborough Nene Valley & Peterborough East


Ditchford Station in September 1952 shortly after unadvertised passenger use by railwaymen ceased.
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection



The site of Ditchford Station looking east in July 2005. The level crossing was in the centre of the picture, the white sign and railings being on the site of the station.
Photo by Bruce Varney

Click on thumbnail to enlarge

 

 

 

:[Source: Nick Catford]


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