[Source: Nick Catford]

Date opened: First in timetable April 1847
Location: East side of Ham Lane
Company on opening: London & Birmingham Railway
Date closed to passengers: 5.10.1942
Date closed completely: 28.12.1964
Company on closing: London Midland & Scottish Railway
Present state: Although the station has been demolished, a small brick building still stands in the former goods yard, this was probably the coal office.
County: Northamptonshire
OS Grid Ref: TL152970
Date of visit: 3.6.2006

Notes: The station was opened as Overton and was renamed Orton Waterville on 1.8.1913.

The station was an early closure losing its passenger service in 1942 but unadvertised use by railwaymen continued until June 1962 or later. The station remained open for freight until 18th December 1964

With the opening of the Nene Valley Steam Railway in 1977 a new station called Ferry Meadows was opened immediately east of Orton Waterville to serve the Nene Country Park. The station building is the original Great Northern goods office from Fletton Yard on the East Coast Main Line. The station has now been renamed Overton for Ferry Meadows on 1 June 2017 as part of the Nene Valley Railway's 40th anniversary celebrations.

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.

Route map drawn by Alan Young. Ticket from Michael Stewart.

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, Ditchford, Irthlingborough, Ringstead & Addington, Thrapston Bridge Street, Thorpe, Barnwell, Oundle, Elton, Wansford, Castor, Peterborough Nene Valley & Peterborough East

Overeton station looking west circa first decade of the 2oth century. Station staff stand in front of the down platform waiting shelter, the lady is probably the stationmaster's wife. There was a similar shelter on the up side behind the photographer.
Photo from Nene Valley Railway archive

1889 1:2,500 OS map shoes the layout of the station and goods yard. The main station building which incorporates the stationmaster's house is on the up side adjacent to the level crossing. A waiting shelter was provided on both platforms. The goods yard comprised a single siding running alongside a dock at the back of the up platform. The signal box is at the back of the stationmaster's house.

Orton Waterville Station looking west in May 1960. Railwaymen continued to use the station until at least June 1962.

The site of Orton Waterville Station from a similar viewpoint to the picture above in June 2006
Photo by Nick Catford

Ferry Meadows Station looking west in June 2006. Orton Waterville Station was sited beyond the Ferry Meadows platform just before the level crossing.
Photo by Nick Catford

Ferry Meadows station looking east towards Peterborough at dusk in summer 2017.
Photo by Adam Paice, stationmaster at the station.

Overton station looking east towards Peterborough in June 2017, shortly after the station was renamed from Ferry Meadows. The very fine newly completed canopy is seen.
Photo by Adam Paice, stationmaster at Overton.

Click on thumbnail to enlarge        




[Source: Nick Catford]

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