Saturday, 27 August 2016

Pigeon House Farm

After passing under the bridge at Brotheridge Green, the Malvern-Ashchurch line continued eastwards towards Upton-on-Severn along a comparatively low embankment. This section of the route was exclusively rural, dividing farms to the north from land held on the south of the line. Many thanks to John Clements (Pigeon House Farm) and Richard Bennalick (Yew Tree) for allowing me onto their land to photograph this section of the route.


Today, the old railway embankment is still easily recognisable but has nonetheless been substantially altered, with a couple of sections having been removed entirely to provide access for farm vehicles. Elsewhere, the embankment has found a curious second career, having been raised still further to provide a barrier to reduce the noise emanating from the South Worcester Shooting Ground. I think this feature may actually be unique to the sections of line I have seen so far: elsewhere, we have seen the line removed and cuttings infilled completely to allow development (as at the Three Counties' Shuttlefast Lane site) and we have also seen original sections preserved completely for other uses (as at Brotheridge Green nature reserve or at Worcestershire Golf Course public footpath). This is the only instance I have encountered where the original railway earthworks have been augmented and advanced to serve an entirely new purpose. It's certainly an innovative approach!


Please note that my work on this section of line is not yet complete. My first attempt to photograph here was on a very blustery and wet August(!) morning, so I skipped the first 200m and final 300m or so of this stretch. The raised embankment south of Pigeon House Farm also has only a very narrow path on top and is heavily overgrown with brambles, making photography very challenging. Please also note that, owing to the lie of the land, it was easier to shoot these photographs walking back towards Malvern, rather than my usual method of walking towards Upton.

The walk begins directly behind Pigeon House Farm. This is the view eastwards after scrambling to the top of the very steep embankment created by raising the railway embankment. The brown mound of earth in the distance sits on the far side of a gap which has been driven through the embankment to allow farm access to the shooting ground.
Turning round to face towards Malvern, the height of the embankment becomes clearer, as does the thickness of the undergrowth! The climb up here is extremely difficult now, as brambles and bushes have taken hold.
Looking west towards the Malverns. The top edge of the embankment is no more than four feet wide, far narrower and higher up than the original railway construction. Walking is all but impossible along this ridge now.
The embankment is overgrown with brambles and weeds, but the earth is also full of old bricks and other railway rubble.
I gave up on the ridge and came back down to earth. This is the view looking back along the embankment from further west.
The embankment crossing the hedge line at the western end of the first field behind Pigeon House Farm.
Through the hedge and out the other side to the start of the second field...
Looking across the shooting ground at the embankment as it continues towards Malvern.
Along this section, it is far easier to walk alongside the embankment than to climb it!
A stile marks the boundary of the second field.
My first of two authentic railway finds of the day: an old brick drainage culvert at the end of the second field.
A closer look at the brickwork.
No-one home.
At this point, it is possible to clamber back on to the embankment above the culvert. This is the limited view east towards Upton.
Looking over the side to give an indication of height.
The view westwards toward Malvern.
A similar shot taken about thirty feet further west. The ridge is still very narrow but the overgrowth here is not so severe, making this one of the very few sections of the embankment top that is actually walkable.
Back down to earth again - this is the same stile from the pictures above, taken from the start of the third field.
Continuing westwards towards Malvern.
At this point the embankment ends abruptly, and has been flattened completely for a couple of hundred yards to produce the field behind Yew Tree Farm.
Turning round to look east towards Upton from the end of the third field.
The hedge line continues in the fourth field, although the embankment behind has been removed, 1/2.
Hedgerow in the fourth field, 2/2.
Leaving the fourth field to get back to Gilver's Lane, you need to walk north over the old line. This is the first of the old stock gates which mark the original farm crossing point.
Looking east, we see the embankment stump in more detail.
A closer look at the embankment end which gives a better indication of the proper height of the railway earthwork before it was raised further.
Two old telegraph poles found lying on the western side of the footpath. This field is still to be photographed and leads to the nature reserve at Brotheridge Green.
A plaque on the felled telegraph pole.
The second stock gate and the path north to Gilver's Lane.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Historical Locomotive Numbers

This is a list of all the locomotive shown on this blog. To avoid confusion between BR and Company class numbers, the number used in the original pictures has been given, leading to some duplicated listings. The data in this table has been taken from the LMS Engines List at Britishsteam.com. Clicking on the locomotive number will redirect you to the relevant entry in their database.

Midland/LMS Railway

Loco No. Class Wheels Built Withdrawn Appearances
1206 1P MR Class 690 0-4-4WT 1870 1928 Malvern Hanley Road
1880 1F MR Class 1121 0-6-0T 1899 1932 Malvern Hanley Road
3078 2F MR Class 1357 0-6-0 1881 1956 Tewkesbury Junction
Malvern Hanley Road
3373 3F MR Class 1873 0-6-0 1891 1960 Great Malvern Station
Tewkesbury Junction
5690 'Leander' 6P LMS Jubilee 4-6-0 1936 1964 Great Malvern Station
40116 3MT LMS 2-6-2T 2-6-2T 1935 1962 Great Malvern Station
Tewkesbury Junction
Peachfield Road
41061 4P LMS Compound 4-4-0 1924 1955 Ashchurch Station
42326 4MT LMS Fowler 2-6-4T 1929 1960 Ashchurch Station
43337 3F MR Class 1873 0-6-0 1892 1960 Tewkesbury Station
43373 3F MR Class 1873 0-6-0 1891 1960 Upton-on-Severn Station
Ripple Station
43506 3F MR Class 1873 0-6-0 1896 1956 Tewkesbury Station
43645 3F MR Class 1873 0-6-0 1900 1962 Upton-on-Severn Station
43754 3F MR Class 1873 0-6-0 1902 1962 Upton-on-Severn Station
45265 5MT LMS Black 5 4-6-0 1936 1962 Tewkesbury Station
46401 2MT LMS Ivatt Mogul 2-6-0 1946 1966 Tewkesbury Station
47506 3F LMS Jinty 0-6-0T 1928 1966 Upton-on-Severn Station
58051 1P MR Class 1532 0-4-4T 1886 1956 Great Malvern Station
Tewkesbury Junction
58071 1P MR Class 2228 0-4-4T 1892 1956 Malvern Hanley Road
Tewkesbury Station
58364 2F LNWR Cauliflower 0-6-0 1882 1951 Peachfield Road

Saturday, 20 August 2016

More Pictures from Malvern Wells

Only a short blog update this week with some more pictures of Malvern Wells Station. There will be a more substantial blog post next week, and hopefully also a new video showing the next section of the walk along the Malvern-Ashchurch line, so stay tuned for that. In the meantime, here are some fantastic old pictures of steam at the now-derelict station, from Robert Pritchard and Pete Evans.

'7904 Malvern Wells (closed) with 15.15 Paddington - Hereford, 28.6.1965'
'Malvern Wells signalbox and closed ex-GWR depot, 15.6.1966'
'Malvern Wells GWR with Station Master's House'
Wyche Cutting, date unknown, probably late 1950s.
The Malvern Wells platform sign now in use at the GWSR's Toddington Station.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

The Talbot/Collins Photograph Collection: Malvern Hanley Road

This week's blog entry comprises a series of family photographs which have been generously lent to the project by Heather Talbot and Marguerite Collins, two members of the fantastic Malvern History Page on Facebook. Marguerite is the grand-daughter of Tommy Nice, a former soldier who left the army at the end of World War One to become a railway porter at Malvern Hanley Road, a position he held until his death in 1950. Heather's great aunt Alice later married Tommy, at that stage a widower with two sons. These pictures will be added with their full descriptions to the Malvern Hanley Road page, so head over there to see the whole story (this might involve a little scrolling, as that page is getting rather large!). I am deeply indebted to the contributors who make their family photographs available to my project: without their generosity it would be impossible to continue. If you are reading this and have anything of your own which you would like to share, please do not hesitate to contact me in the comments below.

Saturday, 6 August 2016

More Pictures from Upton-on-Severn

This week I have some more old pictures of Upton station to show you, including a rare shot of the railway bridge across Old St at the very end of its life. These pictures have now been added to the main page for Upton-on-Severn station, so head over there to see the full post. Enjoy!


Saturday, 30 July 2016

Bewdley SVR Station

A slightly change from our usual programming this week as we look at Bewdley station on the Severn Valley Railway. Bewdley station opened in 1862, although the line connecting it with Kidderminster was not opened until sixteen years later. The station was hit by the rationalisation drives of the early 1960s, before closing completely to regular traffic in 1970.


Happily, the station only remained derelict for a few years as volunteers from the Severn Valley Railway were able to expand their existing route from Brignorth to Hampton Loade (operational since 1970) to Bewdley in 1974. The extension to Kidderminster was then added in 1984, completing the route over which the SVR currently presides. Today, Bewdley is a popular tourist destination and the station remains a wonderful time capsule of a small Worcestershire station during the age of steam.


I visited the SVR in early April 2016, and took a short return trip to Bewdley for the afternoon. The train was pulled tender-first by 34053 'Sir Keith Park', a rebuilt Battle of Britain 'Pacific' class that was sent for scrap at Barry in 1966 before being passed around a succession of collectors for the next three decades. The locomotive was finally restored by Southern Locomotives (the full story can be found at their site here) during the early 2000s, and Sir Keith has been on duty at the Severn Valley Railway since summer 2012.

'Sir Keith Park'


The 10.30 Kidderminster-Bridgnorth service waits to depart...
My seat for the short 14-minute journey.
34053 'Sir Keith Park' from the front.
Sir Keith lets off some steam at Bewdley.

Bewdley Station


In case you weren't sure!
The northern signal box.
The view south from the passenger footbridge.
The view north from the passenger footbridge, 1/2.
The view north from the passenger footbridge, 2/2.
The station building, 1/2.
The station building, 2/2.
The island platform at Bewdley.
The passenger footbridge.
Wagons sat in the bay siding, 1/4.
Wagons sat in the bay siding, 2/4.
Wagons sat in the bay siding, 3/4.
Wagons sat in the bay siding, 4/4.
One of the five Class 108 railcars based at Bewdley.
7812 'Erlestoke Manor'
Or else!

Outside the Station


Bewdley Station from the outside.
The ambulance carriage now in use as a classroom.
Assorted wagons, 1/5.
Assorted wagons, 2/5.
Assorted wagons, 3/5.
Assorted wagons, 4/5.
Assorted wagons, 5/5.