Haslemere (HSL)

Haslemere is a stop on the Portsmouth Direct Line between London Waterloo and Portsmouth Harbour.

Information
Type: National Rail
(Portsmouth Direct Line)
Station code: HSL
Opened: 1859
Platforms: 3
Haslemere was opened in 1859, then in a rather rural location with the centre of the town of Haslemere being nearly a kilometre away. The line the station was on was built speculatively by an independent party with the London & South Western Railway leasing it to keep it out of the hands of the South Eastern Railway [1]. The station remained a rather sleepy station into the twentieth century.

In the 1920s the station became the hub for a number of rural bus routes and in 1937 the line through Haslemere was electrified [2] and a third platform added. The station became steadily busier due to the rise of commuter traffic.

Haslemere is nowadays served by four South Western Railway (who also manage the station) London Waterloo services an hour, some terminating at the station. Recent additions to the station include a new footbridge enabling step-free access between the platforms (the original footbridge is also still in use) and an improved car park. The station used to have a goods yard either side of the station but these have now long gone replaced by an industrial estate and the car park.
South Western Railway 450 104 and 560 at Haslemere

New footbridge

Station frontage entrance

The older footbridge

Haslemere signalbox

At the end of the platform

[1] Vic Mitchell & Keith Smith, Woking to Portsmouth (Middleton Press, 1983) p. 1
[2] David Brown, Southern Electric Vol. 2 (Capital Transport, 2010) p. 25

Maghull North (MNS)

Maghull North serves Ashworth Hospital and new housing in Maghull on Merseyside. The station is located between Maghull and Tower Green on the Merseyrail Northern Line branch to Ormskirk.

Information
Type: National Rail
(Merseyrail Northern Line)
Station code: MNS
Opened: 2018
Platforms: 2
After a number of false starts clearance to begin building Maghull North was finally granted in 2017. The station has been built as part of a new housing development in Maghull which will consist of three hundred and seventy new homes.

The station opened on June 18th 2018 and cost £13 million to build. It has a manned ticket office, a car park with spaces for one hundred and fifty six vehicles and step free access with lifts on both platforms [1].

The station is served by Merseyrail services between Liverpool Central and Ormskirk with services every fifteen minutes during weekdays and Saturdays.
Merseyrail 508 125 prepares to depart bound for Ormskirk

Footbridge and platform lifts

View down the platform towards Ormskirk

Station sign

View from the footbridge

Merseyrail 508 108 arrives with a Liverpool bound service

[1] "Maghull North open for business", Modern Railways (August 2018) p. 19

Tower Hill (ZTH)

Tower Hill is close to the Tower of London and is on the Circle and District Lines of the London Underground.

Information
Type: Transport for London
(Circle & District Lines)
Station code: ZTH
Opened: 1882
Platforms: 3
The first station on the site was Tower of London which was opened by the Metropolitan Railway in 1882 completing the Circle line (though it would not have a separate Circle Line identity until after the Second World War).

However this station did not last long, it was replaced in 1884 by Mark Lane a little further to the West [1]. This was due to the District Railway (with whom the Metropolitan had jointly built the line and the new larger station) not wanting to contribute to the cost of the original station [2].

This station was renamed Tower Hill in 1946 but was closed in 1967 to be replaced by a new Tower Hill built on the site of the original station. The station has three platforms, one being for terminating trains from the West (usually District Line trains from Wimbledon).

The station is very close to London Fenchurch Street and Tower Gateway DLR stations.
Entrance to the subterranean ticket hall

A District Line S7 train waits at the station

Waiting to depart

Terminating platform

Look down the platform

[1] Jason Cross, London Underground Guide 2017 (Train Crazy, 2017) p. 161
[2] Desmond F. Coombe, The Circle Line (Capital Transport, 2003) p. 23

Southend Victoria (SOV)

Southend Victoria is one of the stations serving Southend-on-Sea. It is on the Shenfield-Southend Line and is served by Greater Anglia services out of London Liverpool Street.

Information
Type: National Rail
(Shenfield-Southend Line)
Station code: SOV
Opened: 1889
Platforms: 4
The station was opened, as Southend-on-Sea, by the Great Eastern Railway in 1889 close to the existing London, Tilbury & Southend Railway station Southend Central. The station was renamed Southend-on-Sea Victoria in 1949 and twenty years later shortened to Southend Victoria.

The line was electrified in 1956, originally to 1, 500v DC overhead. British Railways had already decided however to standardise on 25kV AC overhead earlier that year [1]. The line was converted to AC in 1960, initially to 6.25kV and in 1979 finally to 25kV.

The station is a terminus and is next to carriage sidings. All four platforms can handle twelve-coach trains.
Looking down the platform away from the station building

Greater Anglia 321 327 on one of the storage sidings

Just arrived

Station sign

Greater Anglia 321 358 at the buffers

Station frontage

[1] John Glover, Eastern Electric (Ian Allan, 2003) p. 67

Liverpool James Street (LVJ)

One of the underground stations at the core of the Merseyrail system, Liverpool James Street (usually referred to as just James Street) is the oldest deep level underground station in the world along with Hamilton Square on the other side of the Mersey.

Information
Type: National Rail (Merseyrail)
Station code: LVJ
Opened: 1886
Platforms: 3
Originally James Street was the Liverpool side terminus of the line that ran through the railway tunnel under the Mersey. Later James Street became a through station as the network grew under Liverpool with the building of the loop (opening in 1977) [1] which linked the Wirral Line with the Northern Line. The station has three platforms though only two are in regular use, the other platform (platform 2) is only used if the loop under central Liverpool is closed, in these occaisions it is used for trains terminating from the Wirral.

Services from the Wirral stop at Platform 1, the trains then head onto the loop via Moorfields, Liverpool Central and Liverpool Lime Street (Low Level) before arriving back at James Street at Platform 3. From here services cross over to the Wirral and go to New Brighton, Ellesmere Port, Chester and other destinations [2].

The current surface building dates from the 1960s with major work on the station occuring in the 1970s (see above) and 2000s. Access to the platforms from the surface is via 4 lifts.
Merseyrail 507 028 arrives with a service for New Brighton

Surface entrance

Normally disused Platform 2

Platform 1 
Which way do you wanna go?

Merseyrail 507 008 arrives on a service for Liverpool Central

[1] Jonathan Cadwallader & Martin Jenkins, Merseyside Electrics (Ian Allan, 2010) p. 4
[2] Chris Heaps, BR Diary 1968-1977 (Ian Allan, 1988) p. 114

Bearley (BER)

Bearley is a stop (one of two stations on the line, the other is Claverdon) on the branch line between Leamington Spa and Stratford-upon-Avon. Bearley was once a much larger junction station but is now a simple single platform unmanned halt.

Information
Type: National Rail
(Leamington Spa -
Stratford-upon-Avon Line)
Station code: BER
Opened: 1860
Platforms: 1
The station was opened by the Great Western Railway in 1860 on a single track branch. A line to Alcester was added in 1876 [1], with Bearley being the junction of the two lines, some services along the Alcester branch starting and terminating at Bearley. Unusually for a GWR station a bay platform was not added for the branch [2]. The Alcester branch was closed in 1951.

The station also had a cattle pen and siding behind the station building and a signalbox, both were gone by the end of the 1960s [3]. Bearley now has just a bus shelter but prior to 1965 had quite a substantial stone station building.

The Leamington Spa-Stratford-upon-Avon line was doubled in 1939 (it was doubled South of Bearley in 1907 as far as Wilmcote). and a second platform added with a footbridge between the platforms. However the line was singled again in 1969.

The station is now an unmanned halt managed by West Midlands Trains though most services to the station are by Chiltern Railways.
Looking up towards Leamington Spa

The former second platform can be seen in the background

Station entrance

Edstone Aqueduct
A few hundred metres away from Bearley station is the Edstone Aqueduct, one of three on the Southern stretch of the Stratford-upon-Avon canal. It is the longest of the three being one hundred and forty five metres long. As well as a road it crosses the main Birmingham to Stratford-upon-Avon railway line. The canal (and the aqueduct) became the property of the Great Western Railway  in 1863. Water from the canal was used to top-up GWR locomotives from the aqueduct via a valve, originally a filter also being in place to stop fish getting into the locomotive water tank!
Edstone aqueduct

[1] Vic Mitchell & Keith Smith, Stratford-upon-Avon to Birmingham (Moor Street) (Middleton Press, 2006) Map. IV
[2] Colin G. Maggs, The Branch Lines of Warwickshire (Amberley, 2011) p.156
[3] Mitchell & Smith. Fig. 11

Chalfont and Latimer (CFO)

Chalfont & Latimer is a stop on the Metropolitan Line in Buckinghamshire serving the villages of Chalfont St Giles, Chalfont St Peter, Little Chalfont (where the station actually is) and the village of Latimer.

Information
Type: Transport for London
(Metropolitan Line) &
National Rail (London
to Aylesbury Line)
Station code: CFO
Opened: 1889
Platforms: 3
The station was opened by the Metropolitan Railway as Chalfont Road [1] in 1889 on it's extension to Chesham. The station became a junction in 1892 when the line was extended to Aylesbury, the line to Chesham becoming a branch line. Chalfont & Latimer used to the terminus of services along the branch before the London Underground introduced through running of the branch to London with the arrival of S8 Stock. The bay platform is no longer in use though still exists and is sometimes used for stock storage.

The station was renamed Chalfont & Latimer in 1915. It was served by steam hauled Metropolitan Line trains (the changeover from electric to steam being at Rickmansworth). The line was electrified through to Amersham in 1961. The station also handled freight with a coal yard behind the station for domestic consumption [2]. The goods yard closed in 1966.

The station is also served by Chiltern Railways services between Aylesbury and London Marylebone. The station is managed however by Transport for London.
An Amersham bound Metropolitan Line service arrives at the station

Look down the platform, the main station building is on the right

LU station roundel, the former bay platform is behind

Chiltern Railways 168 323 at the station

A London bound S8 Stock train arrives

This way for Chesham

[1] Jason Cross, London Underground Guide 2017 (Train Crazy, 2017) p. 109
[2] John Scott Morgan, London Underground in Colour since 1955 (Ian Allan, 2013) p. 33

London Paddington (PAD)

London Paddington is one of the iconic "Big 4" London terminuses and was the headquarters of the Great Western Railway. The GWR first built a station at Paddington in 1838 but this was a temporary site pending the building of the current station. This opened in 1854 with an impressive three span arched roof designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

Information
Type: National Rail
(Great Western Main Line &
Thames Valley Lines)
Station code: PAD
Opened: 1838
Platforms: 14
The station was enlarged with a fourth roof span in the early 1900s. In front of the station is the Great Western Hotel, built in the 1850s to form the main facade of the station, though this is now a Hilton. Currently London Paddington has fourteen platforms (not all are full length) with another six platforms in the adjacent London Underground stations.

It is the terminus of the Great Western Main Line, Thames Valley commuter services and Heathrow Express/Connect/TfL Rail services to Heathrow airport. Most services to the station are by Great Western Railway and Heathrow Express/Connect (which has being taken over by GWR), TfL Rail (to become the Elizabeth Line when the Crossrail station is completed). There are also a few Chiltern Railway services too.

As might be expected Paddington is a busy station with over thirty five million passengers passing through every year. A Crossrail Paddington station has been built and will open at the end of 2018.
The iconic HST at London Paddington

HEX and GWR services at Paddington

GWR 43 162, 43 032 and HEX 332 006

GWR Paddington signage still visible

GWR 165 104

HEX 332 006

Bridgnorth

Bridgnorth is the Northern terminus of the Severn Valley Railway and the home of it's steam locomotive depot.

Information
Type: Preserved Railway
(Severn Valley Railway)
Opened: 1862 (Closed 1963)
Re-Opened: 1970
Platforms: 2
Bridgnorth was originally a stop on the Severn Valley Line between Hartlebury and Shrewsbury opened by the Severn Valley Railway in 1862. Later on the line was taken over by the Great Western Railway. The station was closed in 1963 along with much of the rest of the line.

Bridgnorth became the headquarters for the fledgeling Severn Valley Railway Society in the late 1960s and work began on restoring the line to use. The first train ran from Bridgnorth to Hampton Loade in 1970 and since then the SVR has gradually extended down to Kidderminster. However the line North of Bridgnorth has never been restored and due to the trackbed being built on and other obstacles it is likely Bridgnorth will remain a terminus.

The station is currently undergoing a major improvement including a new building in the GWR style of the rest of the station and refurbished existing facilities. Adjacent to the station is Bridgnorth motive power depot and locomotive works. Access to the town is via a footbridge just outside the station.
7812 brings in a train from Kidderminster

Steam and diesel locomotives outside the MPD 
Inside the steam shed

Construction work at the station

Bridgnorth can seem pretty packed especially when two trains are in

A Warship heads off to the run around area beyond the station