Station Name: OUNDLE

[Source: Nick Catford]

Date opened: 2.6.1845
Location: North side of Station Road (A427)
Company on opening: London & Birmingham Railway
Date closed to passengers: 4.5.1964
Date closed completely: 6.11.1972
Company on closing: British Railways (London Midland Region)
Present state: After standing derelict for some years the main station building has been renovated as a private residence. The up platform is also extant but now grassed. A housing estate occupies more of the station forecourt.
County: Northamptonshire
OS Grid Ref: TL046890
Date of visit: August 1982 & 30.7.2005

Notes: The station was designed by J.W.Livock and constructed in Jacobean style from local stone. Originally the line was single with a teo-storey station house with three gable ends facing on to the platform. The line was doubled in 1846 and a second platform contained simply a waiting room. The two platfrorms were staggered with no overlap.

In common with stations built on this line the goods yard was on both sides of the line and was accessed by wagon turntables connected by a line across the running lines at right angles to them. The platforms were offset and this line ran between them, with a large goods shed adjacent to the main building. Later a further running line was added in the Peterborough
direction and more sidings were added curving away into a new goods yard, using double slips off the running lines. The yard also had a 5-ton crane.

Initially there were three trains a day, rising to six by 1883. Since the station lay outside the town an omnibus or post horse could be hired from the Talbot Hotel.

By 1926 the goods yard had been changed with new sidings and a new goods shed. Now the yard was sited largely on the up side of the line so the two wagon turntable were no longer required and were removed.

After closure in 1964 the station was used for schools specials at the start and end of term at Oundle School until 1972. The station closed to goods traffic on 6.11.1972

The final passenger train into Oundle was organised jointly by Peterborough Railway Society and the RCTS, It was booked to use two three-car Class 125 DMUs, based at Finsbury Park. Unfortunately, in the event, only five vehicles arrived - a complete three-car unit and a second one that was missing a driving motor - leading to considerable overcrowding! This was the
last train, other than track recovery trains, to run between Peterborough and Oundle.

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. Route map drawn by Alan Young.

See also: Nene Valley Railway web site. Ticket from Neil Shepherd
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, Elton, Wansford, Castor, Orton Waterville, Peterborough Nene Valley & Peterborough East

Oundle station looking south before 1907

Copyright photo from John Alsop collection

1885 1:2,500 OS map. Note the two wagon turntables to allow wagons to be moved quickly across the running track. As with many stations on this line the goods yard was sited on both sides of the line.

1926 1:2,500 OS map.The goods yard has now been altered with new sidings and a new goods shed and is now largely on the up side of the line. The twqo wagon turntables have been removed.

Oundle station looking looking south before September 1910.
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection

The down platform seen here in Mayt 1910 was added when the line was doubled in 1846. It is staggered from the up platform with no overlap. Thed water column seen in the foreground is at the north end of the up platform. The goods dock is seen on the right with the station's 5-ton crane to the rear. A large water tank on a stone tower is seen behind the waiting shelter.

An LMS 'Black Five' No. 44936  hauls a northbound goods train through Oundle station in April 1964, shortly before the station closed to passenger traffic. The Carlisle based loco was withdrawn from service and scrapped in 1967. The goods yard is seen on the left, some of the sidings had already been lifted by this date. The two sheds are both standing on staddle stones to deter rodents.
Oundle Station looking north in June 1967
Copyright photo by John Alsop

The final passenger train in to Oundle was a special railtour from Perteborough North on 4 November 1972. It was organised jointly by the RCTS and the Peterborough Railway Circle and it was advertised as the 'Last Train to Oundle'.
hoto by John Evans

Main station building on the up platform at Oundle Station c.1975

Photo by Clive Richardson from Carol & Clive Richardson LRPS web site

Oundle Station looking north in August 1982
Photo by Nick Catford

Oundle station in July 2005

Photo by Bruce Varney

Oundle station forecourt in January 2006

Photo by Michael Lumb




[Source: Nick Catford]

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