Station Name: NORTHAMPTON BRIDGE STREET

[Source: Nick Catford]

Date opened: 13.5.1845
Location: West side of Cotton End (A508)
Company on opening: London & Birmingham Railway
Date closed to passengers: 4.5.1964
Date closed completely: 1972
Company on closing: British Railways (London Midland Region)
Present state: The overgrown track is still in place although the line which served a number of industrial sidings closed in June 2005. No evidence of the station remains. The signal box was internally damaged by fire in June 2006 and has now been demolished.
County: Northamptonshire
OS Grid Ref: SP754595
Date of visit: July 2005 & 25.6.2006
Notes: The station was opened as Northampton and was the first station serving the town. The station was renamed Northampton Bridge Street in 1876. After 1881 Northampton (Castle) became the main station with the opening of a new curve allowing Blisworth trains to reach the Market Harborough line which at opened in 1852. After this date Bridge Street's
importance declined.

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.

Tickets from Michael Stewart, 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: Billing, 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



Northampton Bridge Street in 1847
Engraving from Illustrated London News




1901 1:2,500 OS map shows Bridge Street station with a substantial goods station on the
east side of Cotton End.


Northampton based Fowler 4F 44239 with a Cotton Yards to Down Sidings inter-yard freight at Northampton Bridge Street in December 1960
Photo by Brian Denny

B1 61095 with self weighing tender on the 12.28 Northampton Castle to Peterborough Eas leaving Northampton Bridge Street in April 1962
Photo by Ron Gamage

Northampton Bridge Street station in September 1965, a year and five months after closure to passengers.
Photo by John Evans

Northampton Bridge Street station in 1970.
Photo by Norman Daley

The site of Northampton Bridge Street station in 1998.

The site of Northampton Bridge Street Station looking west in July 2005
P
hoto by Bruce Varney

1959

1960

c.1996

2005

Click on thumbnail to enlarge


 

 

 

:[Source: Nick Catford]


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