Hello! From February, this site will update on an as-and-when basis whenever I can find new material. If you have anything you would like to share, please get in touch!

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

About this Project

During autumn 2015, I was walking on Malvern Common trying to find the old Malvern Wells Great Western Railway station. Walking down to the north entrance of Worcestershire Golf Club to get onto the embankment next to the existing Worcester-Hereford line, I noticed a public footpath leading down the eastern side of the golf course that I had never seen before. Closer inspection revealed it to be an old railway line, with a few old fenceposts and a very clear embankment carved into the earth. Looking for more information about this old line, I discovered that it was the trackbed of the Midland Railway's old Malvern-Ashchurch branch which ran from Great Malvern station through Upton, Ripple and Tewkesbury through 13 miles of Worcestershire and Gloucestershire until 1952. Later, I also found this article from the Gloucestershire Echo explaining how part of the remaining embankment at the Mythe in Tewkesbury had been demolished to open up the floodplain in an attempt to prevent a recurrence of the flooding which submerged the town in 2007.

Finding useful information on the line hard to come by, I decided to get out and walk the route myself, and to photograph anything left standing after sixty years of neglect. With pictures piling up on my computer, I decided to set up this website to enable others to find out about the line without hours of trawling the internet. Malvern's Lost Railway is an attempt to put all my research in one place, and has three main goals, namely:

1. To photograph and film what remains of the route before time, nature and council planning officers damage it any further.
2. To collect any historical photographs, documents, memories or other items all in in one place.
3. To help walkers by making a note of points of interest and highlighting how to get close to them (legally!) using public footpaths and bridleways.

As such, this site is intended not just to help fans of old railway lines or those interested in local history, but has also been put together to show off some of the most beautiful countryside in the West Midlands, and indeed the United Kingdom. I hope you enjoy it.


Acknowledgements

 

Since this project began, I have been overwhelmed by the help of the following people who have offered their photographs:

Glen Beadon
Ben Brooksbank
Roger Carpenter
Richard Casserley
Michael Clemens (Michael Clemens Railways)
John Clements (Pigeon House Farm) 
David and Charles Publishing
Marguerite Collins
Martin and Frances Collins
Tim Farebrother
Martyn Goodacre
David Guy
Bob Hobbs (na3t.org)
Richard Moreton
John Mudge
Jean Pratley 
Adrian Putley
David Rawlings
Eric and Christopher Shallow
Keith Smith
Heather Talbot
The Stephenson Locomotive Society
The Railway Correspondence and Travel Society
Cora Weaver
Sarah Weaver

... and also to those who have offered their knowledge and ideas:

David Bagley
David B
Stephanie Belcher (Communications Office, Three Counties Society)
Richard Bennalick (Yew Tree Farm)
Bill Burton
Rupert Chambers
Peter Clement (Friends of Malvern Railway)
Sue Douglas (Network Rail)
Roger Hall-Jones
Andy Johnson (Logaston Press)

Roy Loach (Bridgecote)
Caroline Mathews
Diana Partridge (Lumber Tree Farm)
Rob Pierce (Hill Court Farm) 
Faith Renger (Curator, Malvern Museum)

Jackie Surtees (http://upton.uk.net/)
Katie Theaker (Loan of Camera!)
Sam Walter
Tia Walter
John Wilesmith (Estate Manager, Three Counties Society)
Chris Wilkinson (Worcester Locomotive Society)
Ned Williams
Malvern Library
Worcestershire Public Records Office  

28 comments:

  1. It is also interesting to review the line n Uckinghall, where it crossed the river via a sliding bridge, passes the old oil terminal, and under two bridges to Ripple station. From then on it follows Bow Lane, and until recently, the original railway bridge was still in place, now removed to , I believe, a heritage railway site. If you take the steep lane down the side of Tewkesbury garden Centre, you see the line's route, and the entrance to the tunnel [400 yds ?? } that emerges on the other side of the A38, near the STW plant It is from here that part of the embankment was removed in recent flood works. But probably you are aware of all of the above. Mike Ostick.

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    1. Hi Mike, thanks a lot for getting in touch. My next post is actually going to be on the old railway bridge at Upton Ham, so look out for that next weekend. Your information is really useful - I haven't ventured across the Severn yet, but hope to get down to Ripple and Tewkesbury later this year. Plenty of historical pictures to show of both!

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  2. You need to contact Chris and Adrian Taylor in Upton as their Father was the station Master at Upton. Chris had, don't kmnow if he still does a scale model of the station at Upton. Stallards, coal merchants, were the main user of the yards. There was also a large cattle movement, not sure where to. As kids this was our playground. The Upton station was the main route for working men to get to Dowtys and the army camp at ashchurch. From memory there was a service in the morning and evening plus one lunch time which tended to be goods.

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    1. Hi, thanks very much for the suggestion, I will look into getting in touch with the family soon. And thanks also for sharing your memories from the railway in Upton - it's a real shame that the line was removed, but it gives me something to search for in the undergrowth!

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  3. Martin, nice to read the history of the 'lost' railway being recovered from the undergrowth! I have a DVD of black and white cine film of trains in this area of the midlands which includes some sections of Upton, Malvern and Ashchurch. Happy to send you a copy if it helps you?

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    1. Hi Peter, thanks for getting in touch, glad you like the site. The DVD sounds very interesting - where's it from? If you'd like to drop me a line at martintheaker1989@gmail.com then I can arrange to send you the P&P and my address. Thanks!

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  4. As a local upton resident of some 50+ years i can just about remember seeing the old railway line being removed from upton to the railwaybridge at the end of the ham, also i can remember looking down onto the railway from a farm in ripple which at that time was owned by the howard family at tunell hill in upton, i am so pleased to finally find a site all about upton station..please keep up the good work and i look forward to knowing more about the line.

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    1. Hello! Thank you for your comment, I'm very pleased you like the site. There will be plenty more to come from Upton in the coming weeks, including some shots of the railway bridge in next week's post.

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  5. Simon Wilkinson10 April 2016 at 18:26

    Very detailed plans of the bridge over the Severn in "The Engineer" for May 7th 1869. Copy to be seen in The Tudor House Museum at Upton along with pictures. Also memories of Upton Railway Station by Chris Taylor: his sister, Enid Loynes, is speaking about "Childhood on the Upton Railway" at the Civic and Local History Society on May 12th.

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    1. Excellent, Simon, thank you for your input!

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  6. I am pleased to see that you are in contact with Rupert Chambers. In my capacities as a general local historian and museum trustee Rupert has always been the first person to whom I have turned over the last twenty years for any information on the Malvern Ashchurch line: he is the fount of all knowledge on the subject.

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  7. Martin, I have just remembered that one year [probably in the past six years or so] at the annual Warley MRC exhibition at the NEC, someone displayed a diorama model of Upton Station. I remember that I missed it among the many layouts on display !! You could contact the Secretary, Warley Model Railway Club, Unit 1F, Pearsall Drive, Oldbury, West Midlands, B69 2RA to see if they could give you details of who created it, and in all probability it is probably still in existence!! Regards Mike Ostick.

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  8. Martin .Check this out http://www.lmssociety.org.uk/news.shtml Dave Griffin displayed this model of Upton station at the 2012 Warley MRC exhibition stand F29. I am still looking for a video of it. Regards Mike.

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    1. Hello Mike! Thanks for sending me that, it's a lovely model. Do you know if it's still around?

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    2. Martin, I have done a bit more research. Seems this model has been on display at the Cheltenham model railway exhibitions in April 2007 and March 2013. The owner/modeller is a Dave Griffin. Try calling Mike Walker on 01242 517788 who manages the exhibition, and hopefully he can put you in contact with Dave Griffin, and he could possibly show you the model, and if you had a local event.....bingo!! Regards Mike.

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  9. Evening Martin
    I have Dave Griffin's details, The last time I did my exhibition on the line here in Upton On Severn he was very happy to attend, but was already booked up :( !
    regards
    R

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  10. I used to live at Hanley Swan and spent quite a lot of time riding around the local area including the stretch of railway track between Welland Raod and Upton, however, I digress.
    At the crossroads of the B4208/4209 (by the showground) there was a pair of cottages, one of which had an engine nameplate saying 'The Pershore Plum'. I know nothing more, maybe it was a train used on this line, who knows ?
    Just adding this 'for interest'.

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    1. MalvernRailway22 May 2016 at 23:07

      Hi David, thanks for getting in touch. I've heard about this plate from other sources - I was up that way recently to photograph the Blackmore Park Road section, but couldn't see anything. Will look into it!

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  11. I read a book a couple of years ago all about the U.S.Army hospital at merebrook and blackmoor park at hanley swan and it it had a section all about the hospital trains at malvern wells station, i think this would be a fasinating addition to your project as in the book they had a couple of photo's of ambulances meeting the exstensive hospital traffic to the hospitals at merebrook, i suggest that the hive in worcester may even have some local documents on this subject, please keep up the great work, looking forward to seeing your walk from upton station to brotheridge green as i am a local lad from upton with memories of the railway from ripple farm to upton.
    Best regards
    Barry j whelan

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    1. MalvernRailway5 June 2016 at 11:07

      Hello Barry,

      Thanks for the information - I've heard about this book but need to track it down and see where they got their photos from! I also need to organise the next stage of my walk in the next couple of weeks, but in the meantime I hope you enjoy next week's post, which will be on the railway embankment at Upton. Lots to see there!

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    2. I think this is the book i was refering to... Blackmore One and Blackmore Two, has been told in a book by the historian husband and wife team of Martin and Fran Collins called Blackmore Park in World War Two (Brewin Books £10.95). hope this helps
      Barry

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    3. MalvernRailway5 June 2016 at 12:28

      Aha, thank you! Just looked it up in Malvern Library, will nip up there tomorrow and have a look. Much appreciated, Barry!

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  12. Hi I have an old coloured postcard dated Christmas 1910 which was posted to my Grandma in Tewkesbury Christmas Eve 1910. I was looking for a link to post it as I thought it may be of interest Robert

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  13. Forgot to mention it was of Malvern Station

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    1. MalvernRailway9 July 2016 at 10:38

      Hello, is this Robert who mentioned the postcard (I think you may have deleted your previous post - it's showing in my email but not on here for some reason!) The card sounds very interesting, and if it's that old I should be able to use it on my site. Would you be able to send a scan or a link to martintheaker1989@gmail.com? Thanks!

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  14. Bernard Pritchard23 August 2016 at 11:56

    Dear Mr Theaker et al,

    Many thanks for making available all these resources that enable some of us to re-kindle happy memories of the area.

    As a Malvern lad, I spent many a happy hour trainspotting at Great Malvern Station in the '50s and early '60s, with a, albeit diminishing, fine array of Western steam power on offer. Now living elsewhere, I have lately visited Upton annually, and have enjoyed arriving by train via Paddington at the remarkably well-preserved Station once again, along some familiar old lines and former trainspotting locations.

    Anyway, one vivid memory is of a detail that is not apparently shown on the photos here at Gt Malvern - the many corks inserted along the telephone wires that spanned the Station. These were to notify birds of their presence, since a routine and fascinating activity was a uniformed member of the station staff releasing flocks of racing pigeons from large baskets sent to the Station. The signal box was also a prominent feature and source of interest too.

    Many thanks for all your good work!

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    1. Hello Bernard, sorry for the slow reply.

      I'm glad you like the site, thanks for your kind comments. Your recollections too are really welcome - I hadn't heard the pigeon story before. I am desperately trying to find some old pictures of Great Malvern signal box (demolished in 1965 I think) but for some reason they are proving hard to track down. Very strange when you think the view south from the road bridge must have been one of the more popular angles from which to photograph the station.

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  15. It would be great if this old line could be turned into a preserved railway!

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