Marston Green (MGN)

Marston Green is a stop on the West Coast Main Line in Solihull in between Birmingham International and Lea Hall. The station is literally at the end of the runway for Birmingham Airport though Birmingham International is the station for airline passengers.

Information
Type: National Rail
(West Coast Main Line)
Station code: MGN
Opened: 1838
Platforms: 2
The station was opened by the London & Birmingham Railway in 1838 on their line between Birmingham and Coventry. The station originally had two goods sidings and a refuge siding. The goods yard was closed in 1964.

Due to the proximity of Birmingham Airport (originally Elmdon Aerodrome) there were emergency signals at the station for the event of a plane landing on the railway line! Following electrification of the line in the 1960s and a rebuild of the station in the mid-1970s nothing of the original station now remains. The station is served by West Midlands Railway and London Northwestern Railway.
A LM 350 prepares to depart Marston Green, here we are looking down towards Birmingham

Two LM 350s heading towards Birmingham New Street

View from the footbridge, the airport is to the right just beyond the trees

LM 350 239 departs for London Euston

Covent Garden (ZCV)

Covent Garden is a Piccadilly Line station in central London between Leicester Square (just 250 metres or 0.16 miles away) and Holborn in the always busy West End.
Information
Type: Transport for London
(Piccadilly Line)
Station code: ZCV
Opened: 1906
Platforms: 2

The station was opened by the Great Northern, Piccadilly & Brompton Railway in 1907 (a few months after the rest of the line opened) [1] with a standard ground level Leslie Green designed station building.

Unlike most stations in the central section of the London Underground Covent Garden does not have escalators. The platforms are reached via lifts or stairs (for the fit/foolhardy - there are 193 steps![2]) Because of this the station is often overcrowded and on Saturday afternoons becomes exit only.

Interestingly the short journey from Leicester Square to Covent Garden with a Zone 1 fare (at time of writing £4.90) works out at over £30 per mile, one of the most expensive railway journeys in the country!
A Piccadilly Line 73ts train waits to depart

Former signal cabin from Covent Garden, the proximity of Leicester Square is evident (yellow boxes left centre)

Surface building

Platform view

The station name is displayed on the tile wall of the platform

[1] Desmond F. Croome, The Piccadilly Line (Capital Transport, 1998) p. 11
[2] Jason Cross, London Underground Guide 2017 (Train Crazy, 2017) p. 113

Little Kimble (LTK)

Little Kimble is one of two intermediate stops on the line between Aylesbury and Princes Risborough (the other is Monks Risborough) and serves the villages of Little and Great Kimble.

Information
Type: National Rail
(Aylesbury-Princes
Risborough Line)
Station code: LTK
Opened: 1872
Platforms: 1
Little Kimble was opened by the Great Western Railway in 1872 on a line which had originally been opened by the Wycombe Railway a few years earlier. The area around the station was only sparsely populated (that hasn't really changed a great deal nowadays) but the station still had a staff of two [1].

Nowadays the station is managed by Chiltern Railways who also run all services to the station.

Little Kimble has always been a small station, served by steam autocoaches and in latter years DMUs. However in 1998 Little Kimble hosted the Royal Train which had bought the wives of world leaders during the G8 Summit. held in the UK that year. to a reception at the Prime Minister's official residence Chequers which is a short distance away. So Little Kimble has always been a small station but has been used by Hilary Clinton and Cherie Blair!

The station is now unstaffed and the station building is a private residence. The only facilities are a Permit to Travel Machine, a Public Information Screen and some seats.
A Chiltern 165 prepares to depart for Aylesbury

Former station building

Station sign

Looking up towards Monks Risborough

Surviving NSE sign

A Chiltern 165 departs for Aylesbury

[1] Vic Mitchell & Keith Smith, Branch Lines to Princes Risborough (Middleton Press, 2003) Map. VII

Tamworth (TAM)

Tamworth is split into a high-level station on the Cross Country Route and a low-level station on the West Coast Main Line.

Information
Type: National Rail
(West Coast Main Line &
Cross Country Route)
Station code: TAM
Opened: 1839
Platforms: 4
The high-level part of the station came first, being opened by the Birmingham & Derby Junction Railway in 1839. The London & North Western Railway built platforms for it's Trent Valley Line in 1847 which ran underneath the earlier line. A new joint station was built and shared between the LNWR and Midland Railway [1].

This station was replaced by a modern design in 1962 [2], the Trent Valley Line (now part of the West Coast Main Line) was electrified at the same time. The high-level lines had to be raised to allow for the catenary.

The two parts of the station were officially named "high-level" and "low-level" in 1924, this naming convention remaining until 1971 [3]. Both levels of the station once had numerous sidings, freight yards and the high-level had a turntable. These have all now gone including the once busy Royal Mail facility that would handle hundreds of mailbags a night and required twenty postmen [4].
A Cross Country 170 on the high-level line

LM 350 123 heads off for London Euston, the high-level platforms are above

Mayflower leads an excursion along the WCML

Both levels of the station see a lot of freight traffic, this one on the high-level...

And this one on the low-level

A Virgin Trains Pendolino heads through


[1] Vic Mitchell & Keith Smith, Tamworth to Derby (Middleton Press, 2015) Fig. 1
[2] David Lawrence, British Rail Designed 1948-97 (Ian Allan, 2016) p. 83
[3] Vic Mitchell, Birmingham to Tamworth and Nuneaton (Middleton Press, 2014) Fig. 66
[4] Ibid. Fig. 70

Stamford (SMD)

Stamford in Southern Lincolnshire is a stop on the Birmingham-Peterborough Line between Oakham and Peterborough.

Information
Type: National Rail
(Birmingham-
Peterborough Line)
Station code: SMD
Opened: 1848
Platforms: 2
The station was opened in 1848 by the Syston & Peterborough Railway, later part of the Midland Railway. The station was later renamed Stamford Town in 1950 to distinguish it from Stamford East. The name reverted to Stamford in 1966 [1] (the other station closed in the late 1950s).

Stamford is referred to as Stamford (Lincs) on tickets and timetables to avoid confusion with stations like Stamford Hill. The station is managed by East Midlands Trains though most services are operated by Cross Country.

Stamford has a fine Grade II listed main building in the Mock Tudor style. The station has just two platforms now but once had a bay platform (for services to Seaton) and a goods yard. Both have now closed, the latter replaced by a car park and housing. A retired signalbox is next to the station, this was moved there in 1988 to act as a store for a bookshop which was located in the main station building. The bookshop moved to the town in 2016 [2], the signalbox is now derelict.
XC 170 102 with a Stansted Airport service

Passenger footbridge

Station frontage

Under the canopy

Signalbox next to the station

View from the footbridge, the former bay platform was on the left

[1] Vic Mitchell & Keith Smith, Lines Around Stamford (Middleton Press, 2016) Fig. 38
[2] Ibid. Fig. 43