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!

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Great Malvern Station

At the northern end of the old Midland branch line sat Great Malvern station, a stop which was shared with the Great Western's Worcester-Hereford line. Although the mile or so between the station and Tewkesbury Junction was operated jointly, the Midland Railway built its own bay platform at Great Malvern to allow its services to terminate before heading back to Ashchurch.


Today, the station is still used by over half a million passengers a year who join the regular services to Birmingham New Street, Birmingham Snow Hill, London Paddington, Bristol Temple Meads and Brighton. Indeed, it is still possible to get to Ashchurch directly from Malvern today, albeit via Worcester instead of Tewkesbury.


Great Malvern Station


Great Malvern station opened in 1860. The original temporary station was built by railway engineer J.G. Ballard for the Worcester and Hereford Railway (later GWR), and lasted only two years before it was replaced by the current Grade-II listed structure. There are very few pictures of the original station, but these two have been taken from the excellent collection of Ballard's original photographs hosted by Herefordshire History. The first shows the original hut, with a rare view of North Hill, unobstructed by any houses or trees.
 

While this picture shows a locomotive on construction work at the southern end of what is now Platform One:  


Below, we can see two shots of the 1862 Edmund Elmslie-designed station that replaced Ballard's wooden shed. Not much has changed in 45 years from this angle!

Great Malvern Station in 1967.
The same perspective in 2016.
This plaque from the foyer explains the station's history.

Missing Features


#1: The Midland Bay

The first missing feature from Great Malvern station is the 'down' bay platform used by the Midland Railway for its Aschurch services. The bay ran along the eastern side of Platform Two and behind what is now the station bookshop to stop directly in front of the passenger tunnel linking the station with Thorngrove Road. After the spur was removed, the easternmost strip of the land was eventually used to build bungalows in the 1980s, while the infilled bay itself now forms the bottom half of the small car-park on Thorngrove Road. These two pictures from the Britain from Above project provide an excellent aerial view of the bay.

'Malvern Girls' College, Great Malvern, 1921.' The bay can be seen containing two wagons.
'The railway station and environs, Great Malvern, 1930'
Shots of trains in the old bay are reasonably easy to track down, and generally show a single carriage with a tank engine or other small locomotive sat behind ready to pull the passengers out tender-first.

'Great Malvern Bay, 1948'
'Great Malvern Bay, 1951'
A similar view of the bay.
A much rarer perspective, taken from the eastern side of the Midland bay.
The fence in the distance marks the route of the old bay platform access line.
Final Destination: The end of the bay is now the lower level of the car park.
 #2: The Goods Bay 

The second 'missing feature' at Great Malvern is the old goods bay at the southern end of Platform One. The picture below shows the steps which led down to the trackside, where goods vans would be parked to be unloaded.

'Great Malvern, Facing Worcester, 9.9.49. 40116 with Ashchurch Train'
Twenty-five years later, this shot shows the now-disused bay, and the very short loading platform that ran alongside it. Note also the land on the right-hand side of the shot: the old bay has been removed but the land has not yet been sold for development.
 
'Cl 6P5F No. 5690 'Leander' on the 'Midlander' railtour at Malvern 5/10/74'
A good view of the bay is provided (briefly!) in this old video of a Ledbury train provided by the Huntley Film Archives on Youtube. Skip to 4:50 to see the bay.


Today, the bay is somewhat neglected and overgrown, but is still clearly visible at the south of the station. A quick tidy up would really bring this historical feature back to life.

Overlooking the disused bay from behind Platform One.
The view across from Platform Two. The short loading pier is still clear below the weeds.
 
#3: The Turntable

The third and final 'missing feature' at Great Malvern is the old turntable that allowed goods vans to be backed up from trains arriving into Platform Two and fed straight into the basement of the Imperial Hotel (more information below). This shot from 1949 shows a glimpse of the turntable spur, to the right of the train entering the station.

'Great Malvern, Facing Worcester, 9.9.49'
The same shot in 2016.

#4: The Signal Box

Another interesting feature at Great Malvern was the signal box that once stood at the end of Platform 2, sandwiched between the old bay lines and the remaining line. Pictures of this box are surprisingly rare and I am working on finding some to display here, but for now here's just one, as well as a picture of the original signal box sign.

The signal box during its heyday - Manby Road school is visible behind.
The original signal box sign at Malvern Museum.

The Imperial Hotel


This shot was taken in the 1870s, and shows the Imperial hotel on Avenue Road in its freshly-built state. The railway embankment has just been planted and the hotel sits alone on what would then have been the edge of Great Malvern. A couple of noteworthy railway-related features stick out, the first of which is the large wooden door sitting perpendicular to the track: this was attached to a small turntable which allowed coal trucks to be rotated ninety degrees and pulled directly into the hotel's cellar. The second is the corrugated iron tunnel leading up to the hotel: known as 'The Worm', this allowed first-class passengers coming into Malvern to alight on Platform 2 and walk straight into the hotel without going outside.

The Imperial Hotel during the 1870s. Used by kind permission of Keith Smith.
Fast-forward 140 years, and not too much has changed. The Imperial Hotel was taken over by Malvern Girls' College (since 2006 Malvern St James') in 1919 and has been in use as an independent school ever since. Architecturally, the front of the hotel has been widened with an additional wing, which now blocks the view of the offset staircase windows seen in the 1870s shot. The pointed roof has also been dismantled and replaced with a flat-top tower and flag pole. The tall trees and overgrowth make it tricky to see, but the coal door is still present but now defunct, while The Worm too is now somewhat delapidated, being unusable for its original purpose.

Malvern St James' School today.
The former Imperial Hotel from Avenue Road. Note the extra wing on the left.

Rowallan House


Sitting on the slope above Great Malvern station is Rowallan, a house often recorded as being the former Station Master's residence. Now divided into several flats, the house is nonetheless mostly untouched on the outside, and overlooks both the station and the former Imperial Hotel across Avenue Road.
 
Rowallan House from Avenue Road.

Importantly, however, Rowallan's history has been much debated, with some local historians arguing that the Station Master may never have lived there at all. The following text has been reproduced from an article that Cora Weaver wrote for the Malvern Museum newsletter in May 2011. I would like to thank both Cora for her permission to show her work here, and also Faith Renger at Malvern Museum for mentioning this research to me recently. If anyone has any further insights into the history of the house I'm sure we would all be interested to hear about it - many of the railway books I have read have taken it at face value that Rowallan was the Station Master's residence, but perhaps this is the result of authors reading eachother's works and taking what they read as fact. In any case, here is Cora's research:
"For years people have said that Rowallan, an imposing, detached house in Avenue Road, next to the railway station, was built for the station master. So many people have said this that surely it must be true. But where was the evidence? Great Malvern was a small provincial station and the station master was an employee. Employees didn't live in grand houses like Rowallan!  So my quest was to discover who did live at Rowallan, and where the station master really lived.

Directories are a useful guide to sorting out the upper classes from the middling and lower classes. The upper class were listed in Directories under 'Private Residents', and only private residents lived at Rowallan. In 1867, shortly after the house was built, the occupant was Richard Reader Harris Esq. The 1871 census shows 50-year-old brewer William Colman, his family, and four servants there, and for many years after that, Mrs Georgina Colt, widow of barrister George Colt, lived there with her family and servants.

The earliest mention I could find of Great Malvern's station master was in an 1868 Directory. Theodore Allen Berrow Cliffe was not a Private Resident. His previous job had been as a railway guard. The 1871 census shows him as aged 41 and living at number 5, Imperial Terrace, Manby Road, with his 23 -year-old wife Rosina and their three children aged 3, 2 and 1. Sharing the house with them was a general servant and two lodgers, both barmaids. Their neighbours were lodging house keepers and cabmen, which suggests that Mrs Cliffe took in lodgers to supplement her husband's wages. The 1871 census also shows 22-year-old railway clerk Thomas Richard Franklin lodging with a straw bonnet maker in Stourport .

By 1879 T.A.B Cliffe had died and T.R Franklin had become Great Malvern's station master. He and his wife Patience, daughter of well-known local grocer James Nott, and their one-year-old daughter, were living at 37 Lansdowne Crescent with a servant and three respectable lodgers. The house has been demolished, but it was probably one in a short terrace of three or four. By 1901 Thomas and Patience, their two children, two servants and five respectable lodgers were at Hatfield, a semi-detached house in Priory Road. It was a modest house compared with the magnificent mansions that littered the rest of the road.

Generally in the past, one's status was determined by one's class, and one's class determined where one lived. This brief investigation confirms that Rowallan was not built for the station master, and the station master never lived there. It also confirms that you should never believe everything people tell you....."

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Malvern-Ashchurch Route Maps

These have been taken from a 1946 one-inch map (Sheet 143) of Worcester to Gloucester, which is out of copyright as of this year. The image below shows the entire route of the Malvern-Aschurch railway from Great Malvern station, down to Hanley Road, Upton, Ripple, Tewkesbury and finally, Ashchurch, where the old route north to Bredon on the Birmingham-Gloucester line can also be seen. The route leading east out of Ashchurch is the now-defunct Ashchurch, Evesham and Redditch line of which only the first mile or so remains, serving the Ministry of Defence's storage facility for armoured vehicles. Click here for a large version of the map.


Looking more closely at the map, this image shows all four Malvern stations (Malvern Link, Great Malvern, Malvern Wells (GWR) and Malvern Wells/Malvern Hanley Road (MR) in all their glory:

1: Great Malvern to Malvern Hanley Road (Hi-Res Version)

2: Malvern Hanley Road to Upton-upon-Severn (Hi-Res Version)

3: Upton-upon-Severn to Ripple (Hi-Res Version)

4: Ripple to Tewkesbury (Hi-Res Version)

5: Tewkesbury to Ashchurch (Hi-Res Version)


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  

Original Document: Memorandum of Agreement between the Midland and Great Western Companies, March 1865

This agreement from March 1865 is a far more efficient working arrangement devised between the Midland and Great Western railway companies, who agreed to share amicably the short joint section of track which ran between the junction of their two lines and Great Malvern station. Perhaps most interesting, however, is the fourth clause, which allowed the Midland Railway to build its sheds and sidings at Tewkesbury Junction on Malvern Common. This document can also be found in the Local Studies section of Malvern Library, who have allowed me to reproduce it here.

The full text of the agreement reads:
Memorandum of Agreement between the Midland and Great Western Companies, March Twenty-third, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-five.

1.      The Midland Company to pay to the Great Western Company one-third of the cost of the Line, Stations, Sidings, and Works, between the point of the Junction with the Tewkesbury and Malvern Railway with the Great Western Railway to and including the Station at Malvern Link, such cost to be agreed upon or settled by Mr Thomas Harrison in case of difference.

2.      Each Company shall carry its Excursion Traffic to and from the Malvern Link Station only, and such traffic shall not be taken into account in dividing the Station expenses.

3.      Each Company to pay towards the maintenance of the Line and the working and other expenses of the aforesaid Stations and Sidings in proportion to the amount of Goods, Passenger, and other traffic conveyed by them, except the Excursion Traffic, as provided in Clause 2.

4.      The Midland Company to be at liberty to erect a Goods and Mineral Station at Malvern Common.

5.      Each Company to use the joint portion of the Line free of Toll.


(sgd.) W. E. Hutchinson

(sgd.) Richard Potter
 


Original Document: Agreement Between the Tewkesbury Railway, Midland Railway and the Worcester and Hereford Railway

This document is an agreement between the Tewkesbury, Midland, and Worcester and Hereford railway companies, which is undated but presumably was signed before the W&HR was absorbed into the West Midland Railway in 1861. The agreement amounts to a working arrangement to share the line and facilities between Ashchurch and Malvern, and is an exercise in overzealous Victorian legal jargon. The agreement can be found in the Local Studies section at Malvern Library, who have generously allowed me to reproduce the document here.
Page 1/3.


Page 2/3.


Page 3/3.

As you can see, small parts of the document are missing, and so I have filled in the blanks and transcribed it into more readable copy below:

 ...Tewkesbury Railway Company on the one hand, and each of the Midland Railway Company and the Worcester and Hereford Railway Company, so far, but so far only, as they respectively are interested, on the other hands. 

Firstly,- These Heads to be subject to the sanction of Parliament.  
Secondly,- The Tewkesbury Company, at their own expense, to make and complete the new Line, Buildings and Works, according to their Act, as a single Line, but, except as regards the Tunnel, with Land and Overbridges for a Double Line, and with Double Line where requisite, and all to the reasonable satisfaction of the Midland Company’s Engineer.
Thirdly,- The new Line and Works to be maintained by the Contractor for making the Railway for twelve months after completion, to the satisfaction of the Midland Company’s Engineer.
Fourthly,- After the new Line is authorised to be opened for public traffic, the Midland Company at all times, at their own expense, to maintain (without prejudice to the third Head), manage, man, stock, work, and use the new Line and Works, and to work and use the same so as properly to develope and accommodate not only the through traffic, but also the local traffic of the District to be served by the new Line.
Fifthly,- The Midland Company to pay Taxes, Government duty on Passengers, Rates, and all other Landlord’s and Tenant’s charges and outgoings, except Chief Rents (if any), Tithe, Tithe Rent charge, and Land Tax.
Sixthly,- The Midland Company to receive payment half-yearly for their Passenger Station accommodation at Tewkesbury such part of interest at Six pounds per cent per annum on the Midland Railway’s outlay for construction and maintenance on that accommodation chargeable to Capital as bears the same proportion to the whole of the interest as the Passenger traffic on the Tewkesbury Railway using that accommodation bears to the whole Passenger Traffic using that accommodation, and the working expenses of that accommodation to be borne in like proportion.
Seventhly,- The Worcester and Hereford Company, on like terms, to receive payment for their station accommodation at Great Malvern; and if the Tewkesbury Company elect to use their Station accommodation at Malvern Wells, then to receive payment for the same on like terms.
Eighthly,- The short Distance Charges for through Traffic to be as below, and no other:- (A) The Midland Mileage between the point of Junction at Tewkesbury and Ashchurch for traffic to, from, and through Malvern and intermediate Stations on the new Line to be calculated as Three miles. (B) The Worcester and Hereford mileage between the point of Junction (if any) near Malvern Wells Station and Great Malvern, for traffic to, from, and through Ashchurch and intermediate Stations on the new Line, including any Station at Tewkesbury and the Great Malvern Station, and the Link Station respectively to be calculated, as regards the Great Malvern Station, at Two miles, and as regards the Malvern Link Station, at Three miles.
Ninthly,- The Mileage charge for through traffic to be as follows:- (C) The Midland Company to receive their actual mileage (three miles the minimum) upon all traffic passing to, from, and over the new Line, and going beyond Ashchurch on the Midland Railway. (D) The Worcester and Hereford Company to receive their actual mileage (three miles the minimum) upon all traffic passing to, from, and over the new Line, and going beyond Malvern Link Station on the Worcester and Hereford Railway.
Tenthly, - The Tewkesbury Company to account to the Midland Company all receipts of the Tewkesbury Company from all traffic sources, tolls from third parties (except for traffic passing as regards the new Line compulsorily to, from, and over the Worcester and Hereford Railway) to be as between the Tewkesbury Company and the Midland Company estimated at the Parliamentary maximum.
Eleventhly,- From the total of the Gross Receipts for all traffic conveyed by the Midland Railway on or over the new Line for all or any part of the distance between the Malvern Link Station and Ashchurch, and the receipts to be accounted for under the tenth head, the following deductions to be made: (E) The payments for Passenger accommodation under the sixth and seventh heads. (F) The short distance charges under the eighth head. (G) The due proportion of the mileage charges under the ninth head. (H) Paid one and Clearing House Terminals, except at any Station on the new Line itself. and the residue shall be the receipts divisable between the Midland Co. and the Tewkesbury Company.
Twelfthly,- In estimating the Gross Receipts all traffic carried by the Midland Railway Company between the Great Malvern and Malvern Link Stations respectively on the one hand, and the Stations on the Midland Railway between Ashchurch and Bristol, both inclusive, on the other hand, be taken, as to one half thereof as passing via Tewkesbury, and as to the other half thereof as passing via Worcester.
Thirteenthly,- Fifty per cent of the divisable receipts to be paid to the Midland Company for their expenses of the maintenance, management, and working of the new Line, and the other Fifty per cent to be paid to the Tewkesbury Company.
Fourteenthly,- The division of the Gross Receipts to be made half-yearly, and accounts to be rendered half-yearly.
Fifteenthly,- The Midland Company to keep all proper accounts and vouchers, and to afford proper Inspections thereof to the Tewkesbury Co..
Sixteenthly,- All differences between the Companies, or any two of them, and all questions as to the carrying into effect of the provisions of the arrangement, to be determined by arbitration, under ‘The Railway Co.’s Arbitration Act, 1859’, by a single arbitrator, to be, if not agreed on, appointed by the Board of Trade, with ample powers.
Seventeenthly,- A formal agreement for carrying these heads into effect to be prepared on behalf of both Companies by John Bullar, Esq., with such details and incidental provisions as he thinks proper, and with such modifications as the Companies mutually agree on, and to be executed under Seal, and binding on them all.

Monday, 25 January 2016

Tewkesbury Junction (Malvern)

Tewkesbury Junction is the name given to the old sidings complex south of Great Malvern station where the surviving Worcester-Hereford GWR line met the defunct Midland/LMS branch line from Ashchurch. During its heyday the Junction was a hive of activity, with several sidings full of coal wagons standing alongside a water tower, turntable and engine shed.


Today, the site straddles what was the shared line running north into Great Malvern, with a large wasteground to the east still in the possession of Network Rail. At first glance the site appears desolate, but it is possible to find a few remains from the old site, including a storage shed and the outline of the turntable, if you know where to look.


Historical Pictures


While perusing the rather excellent Britain From Above site, which features hundreds of pictures of the UK taken from an aeroplane during the 1930s, I came across this shot of Malvern Common which clearly shows the junction of the old Midland Railway from Ashchurch with the existing Great Western Line to Hereford. Clustered around the junction (click the caption, not the picture itself, for the full high-resolution picture in a new window), we can see the engine shed and siding which sat opposite the Tewkesbury Junction signal box. Malvern Common itself is far balder than it is now, although little has changed at the Lees, Malvern College's houses overlooking the common.

[EPW041842] The Town, Great Malvern, from the South-east, 1933. © Historic England. Licensor: canmore.org.uk.
This is a really unique perspective of the line, and so far as I know, one of the very few images to show the junction between the GWR and MR lines at all. It is certainly a picture which this blogger will struggle to take an imitation shot of! Britain from Above also have a few other pictures of Malvern, with this 1947 view from over North Hill (shown in low resolution for licencing reasons) providing the opposite view of the first picture:

Great Malvern, 1947. The old Midland Line is at the top on the middle-right and can be seen running into Tewkesbury Junction.
The best image I have found of the Tewkesbury Junction site itself is this picture (below), kindly loaned from Malvern Museum, which was taken in 1938. The signal box is on the left, standing across the track from the Engine Shed and adjacent water tower. Just visible in the bottom right of the picture is the turntable used to reposition trains at what was also known for many years as the 'Coal Yard'.

Tewkesbury Junction, 27th May 1937. Great Malvern to Ashchurch train with Johnson 2F 0-6-0 Locomotive No. 3078.
This shot from Tim Farebrother, taken about 25 years later, shows how much the yard had already changed since its heyday: gone are the shed and signals belonging to the Midland line.


Probably the most well-known picture of the GWR signal box at Tewkesbury Junction is this one, which has appeared in several publications over the years. The matching shot beneath was taken from the Network Rail wasteground site on St Andrew's Road. More pictures of this site can be found further down the page.

Malvern and Tewkesbury Junction GWR signal box.
My matching shot from February 2016. Apart from the overgrowth and the colour of the gables on the College houses, not much has changed from this perspective.
One of my favourite pictures of the Junction is this one by Richard Moreton, who tells me that he took it while perched on the back fence of his father's house on St Andrew's Road. When the Midland Railway's cutting was filled in some years later, the houses adjacent were given the chance to purchase the spare land to extend their gardens: some did, but many did not, and so the odd tapered shape of the gardens is still clearly visible to walkers on the east side of Malvern Common.


A similar perspective is shown here, with The Lees clearly visible in the background:


...while this snowy scene taken in May(!) 1964 shows a Ledbury-Worcester train running north into Great Malvern. Note the Southern Rail carriage, too.


The next few shots have been chosen because they show off the outbuildings at Tewkesbury Junction more than the actual trains themselves. Note the array of sheds and the building work being done to dismantle the site.

'Stanier 3MT 40166 at Tewkesbury Junction with the 6.30pm Malvern to Ashchurch train'.
A freight train heading south. Note the dismantled turntable pit on the right.
Another good view of the sheds at the old junction site.
A simplified diagram of the junction complex.
Finally, there are also several wonderful pictures of the site as it was being wound down in the mid-60s. These three shots in particular show the Junction in its dying days after the closure of the Midland branch in 1952; note the decapitated signal box!

'Malvern and Tewkesbury Junction. Mid/GW looking south. MR. Cl. 1P 0-4-4T 58051 5.10p.m ex. Ashchurch', 26/07/52

The 'Coal Yard' and Modern Photographs


The eastern side of Tewkesbury Junction is now wasteground owned by Network Rail, who use the site primarily to store materials and to access the Worcester-Hereford line between Great Malvern and Colwall Stations. Don't go walking on here without permission: as you can tell from some of the pictures, I had to arrange a site visitor permit and was accompanied by a woman from NR. The site itself is largely derelict, being a concrete rectangle with severely overgrown borders dotted with heaps of rubbish, among which can be found a lot of railway rubble and the legacy of previous flytipping. Between the demise of the railways and the late 1980s, the site was also used as a coal yard and is was during this time that the large concrete walls seen below were erected. These two pictures from Martyn Goodacre show how the site looked during its second career:

Close-up of a coal hopper.
The view south along the railway line.
Looking south across the wasteground. This is a good match for Martyn Goodacre's second picture (above).
The view today looking north.
This concrete wall is not original to the railway and was installed during the yard's use for storing coal.
 
The site is dotted with piles of rotting old railway sleepers...
... and piles of new ones ready to be laid down when needed!
Some old iron joints, dated 'BR-1963'. Even these are too new to have been used on the Malvern-Ashchurch branch - they belong to the Hereford line.
Some old chain links and other railway debris.

The Turntable

Almost nothing remains of the turntable, which was filled in and levelled. If you look carefully, you can see the lip of the turntable on the right in this picture.
 
The old turntable at Tewkesbury Junction.
A closer view of the cracked top of what was once the turntable pit wall.

The Engine Shed

The engine shed has been obliterated almost as completely as the turntable - the image below shows what would have been the view along the line straight into the front door of the shed. Similarly, the water tower in front of the shed has been demolished.

 
The only part of the shed left standing is this single timber, which sticks out of the undergrowth at the northern end of the Junction site. I looked for other remains, but the jungle here is just too dense once the abandoned oil drums and beer cans are taken into consideration.

Stores Shed 2

After the disappointing discovery that the water tower, shed and turntable had all essentially been wiped out, I was pleased to find one gem lurking in the undergrowth. A small shed, labelled 'Stores Shed 2', lies nestled in the hedge on the eastern side of the site, and seems to have been protected by a mature tree which grows right in front of it. I have been saddened several times on this project to see the forensic lengths which the bulldozers went to to remove any trace of the original fixtures and fittings (the demolition of the fine old Hanley Road station was particularly criminal), but the idea that this most insignificant of buildings should be the last man standing is a nice irony. Perhaps they thought that it would fall apart by itself.

The shed is obscured by a three-foot high dump consisting of old rubber tyres.
Original buildings on this line are rare, so I clambered over the rubbish and under the tree (not easy!) to get closer to the shed. From the rear, it looks oddly like a guard's van, with a bowed roof, although the panelling is corrugated iron:



Once I got right up to the shed, it was in surprisingly good condition. The original markings on the door were still there, and the door bolt itself was still intact (both below):




The contents of Stores Shed 2: yet more tyres.

Nature to the rescue: the trees shielding the shed.



The Signal Box
As you can see from the picture at the top of this page, the Tewkesbury Junction signal box sat on almost the only 'flat' section of the route across Malvern Common, sited at the point where the embankment running down from the top of Thirlstane Road bridge declined into a cutting on its way to pass under Peachfield Road bridge. Today, the Common has considerably more trees, and the site of the original signal box is buried in trackside undergrowth.


The rear of the signal box stood just to the right of this tree, behind the patch of dead bracken. A two-storey brick building, it would have sat on either side of the current lineside fence (buried in undergrowth on the extreme right), with the front quite close to the tracks.


The above picture (taken from the reverse view, facing south) shows the only hint that a building ever stood here - the black patches of earth reveal a small man-made piece of raised ground which may be the foundations of the signal box. Without GPS and an old Ordnance Survey map, there would be no reason to suspect that this was anything other than the edge of a common.



Here we see the tracks on the same level as what would have been the ground floor of the signal box. Not much to see here - the fenced-off site opposite is the site of the old Tewkesbury Junction, complete with engine shed, siding and points.



This mound sits just north of the old signal box and is clearly man-made, although whether it formed part of the original site or is just a result of nature reclaiming a pile of rubble left by demolition is unknown. There is nothing else left of the signal box - the workers dismantling the site clearly went to great pains to eradicate the building completely, a feature common to much of the route.