World Railways Photograph Catalogue - Restoration & Archiving Trust


The thumbnails below the text on this page all relate to the Stratford Branch southwards from Wilmcote to Honeybourne at present.

StratBrmap What came to be known as the Stratford Branch by the Great Western Railway was built as two separate branches to the town by competing companies. The first line into the town, a standard gauge branch from Honeybourne was built by the Oxford, Worcester & Wolverhampton Railway and first opened to a terminus near Evesham Road on 12th July 1859. Work had already started by this time on construction of the mixed gauge Stratford upon Avon Railway from Hatton which opened to its own terminus alongside Birmingham Road on 9th October 1860. The following year the OWWR branch was extended to connect with the line from Hatton and this through route was opened on 24th July 1861, with a new joint station being opened on the present day site on 1st January 1863. Broad gauge trains from Hatton had not been very common and after the opening of this new station they became very rare indeed, with the line becoming standard gauge only from 1st April 1869.


It was nearly 40 years before there were any major changes to these facilities but during the first decade of the 20th century the Great Western Railway obtained the powers to construct its new line from Birmingham to Bristol which involved the construction of two new sections of double track main line and the doubling of the Stratford Branch from the junction with the new North Warwickshire line at Bearley through to Honeybourne where it connected with the other section of newly constructed line through to Cheltenham. The whole route was opened to through traffic from 1st July 1908.
After doubling of the line south of Stratford, Long Marston station remained unchanged as this had been a passing loop on the original single track branch with two platforms, but a new station was built at Milcote on the north side of the level crossing. On 6th September 1937 a new halt was opened at Pebworth which lasted until it was closed to passengers along with Milcote and Long Marston from 3rd January 1966, although the services to and from Worcester that used to serve them continued passing through until 5th May 1969.
The line continued in use for through freight traffic until August 1976 when a derailment at Winchcombe precipitated its closure, apart from the short section from Honeybourne to Long Marston which remained to serve the Ministry of Defence site there. The tracks between Evesham Road crossing and Long Marston were lifted early in 1980 and the line between Honeybourne and Long Marston was singled in 1981 with a new connection provided into the MOD exchange sidings at the south end of their yard. All track was then lifted through Long Marston station site which was then sold for redevelopment by the BR Property Board in spite of supposed planning protection for the formation as a through route.
The branch from Honeybourne to Long Marston continued in use until 1999 when the MOD facility was closed following which it was mothballed. The subsequent sale of the site to a property company and its use for storage has subsequently generated some traffic once more.

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