Station Name: HAVERHILL

[Source: Nick Catford]

Date opened: 1.6.1865
Location: On the east side of Wratting Road at end of short access road.
Company on opening: Great Eastern Railway
Date closed to passengers: 6.3.1967
Date closed completely: 6.3.1967
Company on closing: British Railways (Eastern Region)
Present state: Although the site has been derelict for many years and the bridge over Wratting Road demolished, sections of the platforms probably might exist beneath the infill and undergrowth. The regains of the cattle dock is still visible and the goods shed is now used as a council depot. The whole station site was acquired by Tescos in 2003 for a new supermarket but development of the site has been delayed.
County: Suffolk
OS Grid Ref: TL673458
Date of visit: September 1969, July 1975 & 2.8.2005

Notes: The station was opened as Haverhill. It was renamed Haverhill North between 1.7.1923 and May 1952 when it reverted back to Haverhill.

BRIEF HISTORY OF THE STOUR VALLEY RAILWAY
In 1846 the Colchester, Stour Valley, Sudbury & Halstead Railway was authorised by parliament to build a 12 mile line between Marks Tey and Sudbury. On 1.6.1847 further Acts were obtained allowing the company to extend from Sudbury to Clare with a branch from Melford to Bury St. Edmunds. The company was leased to the Ipswich & Bury St. Edmunds Railway which was in turn absorbed by the Eastern Union Railway the following month.

The line from Marks Tey to Sudbury opened on 2.7.1849 and on 1.1.1854, the Eastern Counties Railway (ECR) took over the Eastern Union Railway. In July 1860, the newly formed Sudbury & Clare Railway Company revived the 1847 Act and by a new Act of July 1860 they were empowered to build a line from Sudbury to Clare via Melford. However, as soon as the powers were obtained, the ECR took over and immediately sought extended powers to build from Sudbury to Shelford on the London-Cambridge main line, plus a branch from Melford to Bury St. Edmunds. At the same time, the Colne Valley Company, anxious to be independent from the ECR, sought approval for a line to Cambridge.

A bitter struggle between the two companies ensued but the Colne Valley Bill was rejected while the ECR received approval to go ahead. However, further changes were imminent and in August 1862 an amalgamation of companies including the ECR came about and the Great Eastern Railway (GER) came into being.

The Act renewed the authorisation for the proposed ECR lines to proceed with the addition of a connecting line at Haverhill between the Stour Valley and Colne Valley railways. The first section between Shelford and Haverhill opened on 1.6.1865. The remaining lines from Haverhill to Sudbury followed on 9.8.1865.

During the period prior to the First World War, the line saw some of its best traffic with through trains between Cambridge and Clacton via Sudbury. The war brought little reduction in traffic but by the 1920's the familiar pattern of road competition was setting in although rail traffic continued quite healthily for some years; some economies were made but many excursion trains continued to run.

When the Second World War came, the situation changed dramatically. Passenger services were reduced although freight services remained active. When the allied bomber offensive began, the lines assumed new importance with airfields being established throughout the area.

After the war excursion trains returned once again to Clacton and other seaside resorts. Changes came when British Rail announced a modernisation programme. From 1.1. 1959, steam was scrapped and replaced by diesel Railbuses and Multiple Units. Although passenger traffic showed some improvement, it was not enough to overcome the increasing losses being incurred.
In April 1965, the British Railways Board gave notice of their intention to close the line from Marks Tey to Cambridge with total closure planned for 31.12.1966. The Minister of Transport refused permission to close the Sudbury to Marks Tey section because of commuter needs and planned development at Sudbury.

The freight service was withdrawn from all the stations on the Stour Valley line during the 1960's; the last station to lose its freight service was Haverhill on 31.10.1966. Closure of the Sudbury - Cambridge passenger service was delayed while local councils considered providing annual subsidy; this was eventually refused because of the high cost. The line from Sudbury to Shelford closed entirely on 6.3.1967. In November 1969 the contract for the removal of the permanent way was awarded to A. King and Sons of Norwich and the track was lifted the following year.

The line to Sudbury survived several further attempts to close it and after the 1974 energy crisis and the threat of petrol rationing it was reprieved in the interests of the local community.

The Cambridge to Sudbury Rail Renewal Association was formed in 1995 to campaign for the restoration of the rail service between and Sudbury and Cambridge. A full feasibility study was commissioned in 2003 which showed that 73.2% of people surveyed would use the railway. It was then decided to form a limited company to present a more professional approach.

The aim of the Cambridge to Colchester Railway Development Company is to reopen the line in two stages. Initially the line will be reinstated between Cambridge and Haverhill with the remainder to follow at a later date. It is intended that the new line should carry both passengers and freight.

For further reading see: 'The Stour Valley Railway' by B D J Walsh. Published 1978 by Stour Valley Railway Preservation Society. ISBN 0 95064733 0 (£1.20 from Amazon)

The Ongar to Haverhill excursion refers to the Central Essex Light Railway which obtained its Light Railway Order in 1902 (scheme abandoned in 1914).  It was to run from Ongar to Sible Hedingham on the CVR near Haverhill, via Dunmow (Flitchtown on the postcard) and Bardfield (to where there was a proposed extension from the Thaxted branch).    Received from Les Lamb

To see the other stations on the Stour Valley Railway line click on the station name: Pampisford, Linton,
Bartlow, Sturmer, Clare, Cavendish, Glemsford, Long Melford, Sudbury, Bures & Chappel & Wakes Colne

See also Colne Valley Railway
Long Melford - Bury St. Edmunds Branch Line
Bartlow - Audley End Branch Line


Haverhill Station before July 1906
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection



Haverhill Station in 1960s

Haverhill Station in September 1969
P
hoto by Nick Catford

Haverhill Station in 1971 taken from the same viewpoint as the picture above
Photo by Ian Baker

Little remains to be seen at Haverhill in August 2005
- a section of the cattle dock is the only platform remnant remaining.
P
hoto by Nick Catford

Click here for more photographs of Haverhill Station


 

 

 

:[Source: Nick Catford]


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