Balham London Underground (ZBL)

Balham tube station is adjacent to Balham National Rail station, sharing an entrance with it.
Type: Transport for London
(Northern Line)
Station code: ZBL
Opened: 1926
Platforms: 2

Balham was opened by the City & South London Railway in 1926 [1] on it's Southern extension to Morden. Balham is in between Clapham South and Tooting Bec. In the Second World War Balham was badly damaged during a bombing raid in 1940 when a bomb exploded on the road above the station. This caused a partial tunnel collapse on the platform below. Over sixty people were killed (the station being used as a shelter) [2]. The station was re-opened within a few months.

The station has two surface buildings, designed by Charles Holden and built from Portland Stone as was common on the Underground in that period.
A Northern Line train in the station

Station roundel

View down the platform

[1] Jason Cross, London Underground Guide 2017 (Train Crazy, 2017) p. 100
[2] Mike Horne, The Northern Line (Capital Transport, 2009) p. 55

Four Oaks (FOK)

Four Oaks is a station on the Northern half of the Cross-City Line situated between Sutton Coldfield and Butlers Lane.

Type: National Rail
(Cross-City Line)
Station code: FOK
Opened: 1884
Platforms: 3
The station was opened by the London & North Western Railway in 1884 when it extended it's line from Sutton Coldfield to Lichfield City [1]. The station once had a number of sidings and a substantial main station building. The latter has now gone though the waiting room on the island platform with it's original canopies remains.

When the Cross-City Line was launched in 1978 Four Oaks was the original Northern terminus [2] though most trains go through to Lichfield these days. Some services still terminate/begin at Four Oaks and usually use Platform 3, a bay platform. The Cross-City Line was electrified in 1992.
LM 323 210 departs

Platform canopy


A Lichfield bound train prepares to depart

Island platform

LM 323 220 arrives
[1] Vic Mitchell, North of Birmingham (Middleton Press, 2014) Fig. 103
[2] John Glover, BR Diary 1978-1985 (Ian Allan, 1985) p. 19

Honeybourne (HYB)

Honeybourne is a stop on the Cotswold Line in Worcestershire. The station was once a busy junction with services between Cheltenham Spa and Stratford-upon-Avon as well as Worcester to London Paddington though was closed during the 1970s.
Type: National Rail
(Cotswold Line)
Station code: HYB
Opened: 1853
Platforms: 2

The station was opened in 1853 by the Oxford, Worcester & Wolverhampton Railway, within a few years becoming part of the Great Western Railway. A line South from Stratford-upon-Avon reached Honeybourne in 1859, the line being extended onto Cheltenham in 1908.

The station went into decline in the 1960s, the freight yard being closed in 1964 and the station closing entirely in 1969. The Stratford-Cheltenham line continued to be used for freight until 1976. The station was re-opened in 1981 after new housing was built nearby and a prison. Traditionally Honeybourne had generated very little traffic itself as the station was in a rural setting until later years, most passengers using the station as a junction.

The station had just a single platform in use until 2011 until the redoubling of the Cotswold Line between Evesham and Moreton-in-Marsh (the two stations either side of Honeybourne). Part of the line to Stratford is still in place as it is the rail access to Long Marston depot and storage area, there have been proposals to restore the line back to Stratford. There are also plans to extend the heritage Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway to Honeybourne.

The station has recently had it's platforms extended ready for the introduction of GWR Class 800 trains. GWR, who manage Honeybourne, operate all services to the station.
GWR 800 035 departs

Station sign

New accessible ramp

View from the footbridge

Footbridge with road bridge behind

A GWR Class 800 has arrived

Cosford (COS)

Cosford is a stop on the Wolverhampton-Shrewsbury Line in Shropshire which serves RAF Cosford and air museum.
Type: National Rail
Shrewsbury Line)
Station code: COS
Opened: 1927
Platforms: 2

The station was opened by the Great Western Railway as Cosford Aerodrome Halt in 1937 to serve the then-new Royal Airforce Base (which actually opened in 1938). The station was renamed Cosford in 1940. The station was originally on the GWR route between London Paddington and Birkenhead via Birmingham Snow Hill. After the closure of the original Snow Hill in the late 1960s trains ran to Cosford via Birmingham New Street instead.

The station was rebuilt in 2011-12 with new platforms replacing the original 1930s wooden platforms. The station is managed by West Midlands Railway who provide most services though a small number of Transport for Wales services also stop at the station.
A West Midlands Railway train arrives

Station entrance

View down the platform

A TfW service passes through

Platform shelter

RAF Cosford and Museum
RAF Cosford opened in 1938 and has remained to this day a centre of Royal Air Force flight and engineering training. Since 1979 the site has also housed RAF Museum Cosford. The museum has continued to grow and in 2007 the Cold War exhibit was opened.

RAF Museum

Narborough (NBR)

Narborough is a stop on the Birmingham to Peterborough Line near to Leicester. Like many stations Narborough was closed in the carnage of the 1960s but had a very quick reprieve.
Type: National Rail
(B'ham - Peterborough Line)
Station code: NBR
Opened: 1864
Platforms: 2

Narborough was opened in 1864 by the South Leicestershire Railway, within a few years it was part of the London & North Western Railway empire. Near to the station were a number of granite quarries, a branch line junction and exchange sidings being next to Narborough station. The quarries and finally the branch were closed by 1980 [1].

Narborough also had a couple of goods sidings but these were closed in 1966, the station closed completely in 1968 [2]. After support, including financial, from the local councils the station was re-opened in 1970. The station was refurbished in the early 2000s, the original station building remains though the ticket office is not always open and when the station is unstaffed the waiting room is locked.

Next to the station is a level crossing. A signal box still stands next to the crossing though is no longer in every day use. Although the station is managed by East Midlands Trains only Cross Country serve Narborough with a service usually every hour usually between Birmingham New Street and Leicester, but some also through to Stansted Airport.
A Freightliner trains heads through the station

A Leicester bound XC service stops at Narborough

Station entrance

XC 170 108 prepares to depart

Station sign

Footbridge, level crossing and signal box

[1] Vic Mitchell & Keith Smith, Coventry to Leicester (Middleton Press, 2017) Map. XXI
[2] Ibid. Fig. 60

Blackwater (BAW)

Blackwater is a stop on the North Downs Line between Reading and Redhill / Gatwick Airport.
Type: National Rail
(North Downs Line)
Station code: BAW
Opened: 1849
Platforms: 2

The station was opened by the Reading, Guildford & Reigate Railway as Blackwater & York Town in 1849 [1]. Early on the station was advertised as being the stop for the nearby Royal Military College at Sandhurst (though Sandhurst later had it's own station).

The station had a fine station building with some rather ornate brickwork, a cattle dock and other goods sidings controlled by a signal box. All these were gone by the early 1970s as Blackwater became an unstaffed station with bus shelters for waiting passenger comfort. Great Western Railway nowadays serves Blackwater with up to two trains an hour.
Bus shelter

Station sign

[1] Vic Mitchell & Keith Smith, Reading to Guildford (Middleton Press, 1988) Fig. 60

Cromford (CMF)

Cromford is a station on the Derwent Valley Line between Whatstandwell and Matlock Bath. Willersley Tunnel is just ahead of the station.

Type: National Rail
(Derwent Valley Line)
Station code: CMF
Opened: 1849
Platforms: 1
The station was opened as Cromford Bridge by the Manchester, Buxton, Matlock & Midlands Junction Railway in 1849. The station originally had two platforms but one was taken out of use when the line was singled. The station building on this platform is now a holiday cottage. The station building on the in-use platform is the original station building and is Grade II listed. It is now used as an office.

The cover of Oasis' 1995 single "Some might say" features the station and in particular the holiday cottage.
EMT 156 415 departs for Matlock

Station frontage

Holiday cottage on the disused platform

Willersley Tunnel

Station sign
The footbridge now just gives access to the cottage