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

Penns

Penns was a station on the Sutton Park Line in Walmley. Now the route is just used for freight.

Information
Type: British Railways
(Sutton Park Line)
Opened: 1879
Closed: 1965
Platforms: 2
Penns was opened by the Midland Railway in 1879 on it's route from Water Orton to Walsall. The station was built to the standard MR design with a booking office on one platform and a waiting room on the other. The station had a goods yard though this was separated from the station by two bridges [1]. The station was renamed Penns for Walmley in 1936 though the name reverted to just Penns in 1955 [2].

The goods yard was closed in February 1965, a few weeks after passenger services ceased in mid-January. Little remains of Penns station now apart from a trace of one of the platforms. A religious building now occupies the site of the station.
All that remains of Penns is a trace of the platform on the right

A Freightliner 66 passes the site of Penns, the goods yard was just beyond the bridge

[1] Vic Mitchell, North of Birmingham (Middleton Press, 2014) Map. XI
[2] Ibid. Fig. 27

Lapworth (LPW)

Lapworth is a small station on the Chiltern main line between Dorridge and Hatton.

Information
Type: National Rail
(Chiltern Main Line)
Station code: LPW
Opened: 1854
Platforms: 2
The station was opened as Kingswood by the GWR (the station is actually in the village of Kingswood, Lapworth is another nearby village) but the name was changed to Lapworth in 1902 [1] to avoid confusion with another Kingswood in Surrey.

As well as being on the GWR's Oxford & Birmingham line Lapworth was originally the terminus of a branch line to Henley-in-Arden which closed in the First World War [2] (though there were plans to re-open it in the Second World War to carry munition trains, some track was relaid [3]). The Birmingham platform was originally an island platform and the now unused platform edge can still be seen through the railings as well as traces of the old trackbed. The footbridge still crosses where the two extra lines used to be. During the 1920s as many as ten or eleven men worked at the station. As with many stations Lapworth used to have a goods yard but these have now gone along with all buildings apart from a couple of "bus shelters".

Nowadays Lapworth is a sleepy unmanned station with trains every two hours stopping between Birmingham and Leamington Spa (some extra services stop in peak times and to Stratford-upon-Avon, and some London Marylebone bound services stop at weekends). Interestingly the station's Permit to Travel machine still carries Network South East branding.
Chiltern 165 019 departs on a Leamington Spa service


Platform shelter

NSE branded Permit to travel machine

Footbridge


Remains of the former bay platform
A Chiltern service prepares to depart
[1] Vic Mitchell & Keith Smith, Banbury to Birmingham (Middleton Press, 2004) Map. XVI
[2] Vic Mitchell & Keith Smith, Stratford-upon-Avon to Birmingham (Moor Street) (Middleton Press, 2006) p. 3
[3] Colin G Maggs, The Branch Lines of Warwickshire (Amberley, 2011) p. 152

Tutbury and Hatton (TUT)

Tutbury & Hatton is a stop on the Derby to Crewe Line, it is located in the village of Hatton though also serves the adjacent village of Tutbury.

Information
Type: National Rail
(Derby-Crewe Line)
Station code: TUT
Opened: 1848 (Closed 1966)
Re-opened: 1989
Platforms: 2
The station was opened by the North Staffordshire Railway in 1848 as Tutbury. The station was closed in 1966 but re-opened in 1989, this time as Tutbury & Hatton [1].

The original station had two facing platforms, one being an island platform with a bay for services to Burton-on-Trent. The current station has split platforms either side of a level crossing. The crossing is controlled by a signal box.

Tutbury once had extensive sidings both sides of it including for the condensed milk factory next to the line which is now owned by Nestlé (and makes coffee) [2]. Tutbury & Hatton is managed by East Midlands Trains who operate an hourly service in both directions between Derby and Stoke-on-Trent or Crewe. The station nowadays is a typical unmanned one with a couple of bus shelters and little else, the original station's buildings are now long gone.
A Crewe bound EMT service departs

Tutbury signal box

Station name sign

Down the line towards Stoke

Looking towards Derby, the coffee factory in operation

EMT 153 357 arrives with a Crewe bound service

[1] Vic Mitchell & Keith Smith, Derby to Stoke-on-Trent (Middleton Press, 2016) Fig. 16
[2] Ibid. Map. Va

Birkenhead North (BKN)

Birkenhead North is a stop on the Merseyrail Wirral Line close to Birkenhead North TMD. It is also close to the junction of the West Kirby and New Brighton branches of the Wirral Line.

Information
Type: National Rail
(Merseyrail Wirral Line)
Station code: BKN
Opened: 1888
Platforms: 3
The station was opened by the Wirral Railway in 1888 as Birkenhead Docks replacing the nearby Wallasey Bridge Road which had been the line's terminus up until then.

The station was renamed Birkenhead North in 1926 by the London, Midland & Scottish Railway (LMS). In 1938 the Wirral Railway, including at Birkenhead North, was electrified with the LMS third rail system [1].

Birkenhead North has retained three platforms since opening though one platform sees little use nowadays apart from trains in transit to and from the adjacent depot. In the 1970s services from Wrexham did come as far as Birkenhead North however since 1978 these services have terminated at Bidston. The station is now operated by Merseyrail and had a ticket office and over six hundred parking spaces as part of a Park & Ride service.
Merseyrail 507 005 and 508 138 cross at Birkenhead North

Main platform building, secure cycle storage is available

Merseyrail 508 127 heading South

Merseyrail 508 127

Looking down towards Birkenhead

Another view of 508 138

[1] Vic Mitchell & Keith Smith, Birkenhead to West Kirby (Middleton Press, 2014) Fig. 15

Meadowhall Interchange (MHS)

Meadowhall Interchange is a transport interchange station (as might be guessed from the name) in the North East of Sheffield. It combines heavy rail, light rail and bus and coach transport links.

Information
Type: National Rail
& Sheffield Supertram
Station code: MHS
Opened: 1990
Platforms: 4 (+2 Tram)
The station was opened in 1990 to serve the  Meadowhall Shopping Centre (then also new). Meadowhall Interchange is close to Brightside station which it replaced (Brightside closed in 1995). The four heavy rail platforms are in two pairs. One pair is on the Dearne Valley Line and the other on the Hallam and Penistone Lines.

The heavy rail and bus stations were joined by the Sheffield Supertram in 1994. Meadowhall is the terminus of the tram line from Fitzalan Square and is served by the Yellow Line, with peak time services on the Purple Line.
Northern 158 793 arrives with a Sheffield bound service

View of one set of platforms

Looking down the line towards Sheffield

Supertram terminus

Northern 142 022

Thaxted

Thaxted was the terminus of the Elsenham & Thaxted Light Railway running from Elsenham on the West Anglia Main Line.

Information
Type: Great Eastern Railway
Opened: 1913
Closed: 1952
Platforms: 1
Thaxted was opened in 1913 as part of a new branch of the Great Eastern Railway [1]. The station was built just over a kilometre from the town of Thaxted to avoid the expense of having to build a crossing over the River Chelmer [2].

Like the other stations and halts on the Elsenham & Thaxted Light Railway Thaxted was a fairly modest affair with a single platform. However as it was a terminus it also had a run-around loop, some freight sidings and a small engine shed. The station also had a cattle dock. As with other stations on the line an old GER coach body was used as part of the station buildings. There was no ticket office, tickets were always issued on the train [3]. The station did have toilets however.

Passenger services ceased to Thaxted (along with the rest of the line) in 1952, freight continued until 1953 when the line was closed completely.
Thaxted station, postcard view (public domain image)
Station layout
Thaxted station at it's opening, public domain image [1]

[1] "New branch on the Great Eastern Railway", Railway Times (April 5th, 1913) p. 343
[2] Vic Mitchell, Broxbourne to Cambridge including the Thaxted Branch (Middleton Press, 2012) Map XVIII
[3] Mitchell Fig. 78