Bridgnorth Castle Hill Railway

The Bridgnorth Castle Hill Railway or Bridgnorth Cliff ailway is an inland funicular railway linking the high and low level parts of the Shropshire town.
View down the hill

Type: Private Railway (Bridgnorth Castle Hill Railway)
Opened: 1892
Stations: 2

The railway opened in 1892 as an easier way for residents and visitors to Bridgnorth to travel between the high and low parts of the town. On foot the journey climbs over thirty metres and involves a climb of two hundred steps! The railway opened with two wooden cars using water and gravity to transfer the cars over the sixty one metre long line [1]. The funicular railway has a maximum gradient of sixty-four percent making it one of the steepest in the country.

The railway has remained open every since apart from a period of about a year in the mid-1930s when the railway was closed due to financial troubles. The railway was rebuilt in 1943-44 to use electricity to move the two cars. The original cars were replaced by the current aluminium cars in 1955. The cars have a maximum capacity of eighteen passengers. The track was renewed with bullhead rails in the early 1970s. The railway uses 1, 067mm gauge.

There are two stations at either end of the line with around two hundred return trips made every day. The journey takes just over a minute!

Although unconnected to any other railway the low-level station is close to the Severn Valley Railway's station in Bridgnorth.
One of the cars at the high level station

Entrance to the high level station

Entrance to the low-level station

[1] Martin Easdown, Cliff Railways, Lifts and Funiculars (Amberley, 2018) p. 14

Manchester Piccadilly (MAN)

Manchester Piccadilly is the largest station in Manchester and one of the busiest interchange stations outside of London.
TPE 185 148 will shortly be departing for Cleethorpes

Type: National Rail (West Coast Main Line, Welsh Marshes Line and other local and regional lines), Manchester Metrolink
Station code: MAN
Opened: 1842
Platforms: 14 (+ 2 Metrolink)

The station was opened as Store Street in 1842 by the Manchester & Birmingham Railway [1]. At opening it had only two platforms. Within a couple of years it was owned by the London & North Western Railway following amalgamations and the station was renamed Manchester London Road in 1847. The station was also served by the Manchester, South Junction & Altrincham Railway after 1849. The MSJ&AR later became the Great Central Railway and finally the LNER after 1923, the LNWR became the LMS.

By the 1850s the station was becoming overcrowded and the station was rebuilt and expanded in 1862 with the original trainshed roof built. However the respite did not last long and there was another rebuild and expansion in the early 1880s. The next rebuild came in 1960 [2] as part of the modernisation and electrification of the West Coast Main Line, the station was also renamed Manchester Piccadilly [3]. Much of the station was changed with one of the only (virtually) untouched parts being the Victorian trainshed roof.

Manchester Piccadilly gained two tramstops on the new Manchester Metrolink in 1992, the tramstops are in what was once the station's undercroft. The station was refurbished in 2002.

Manchester Piccadilly hosts a mixture of intercity, regional and local services. Twelve of the fourteen platforms terminate at the station while two are through platforms (the former MSJ&AR platforms) for services to North Wales, Scotland and Liverpool via Manchester Oxford Road. The station hosts services by a number of companies including Northern, Trans Pennine Express and Cross Country though is managed by Network Rail.
Northern 142 020 and 029 rest at Manchester Piccadilly

Northern 319 368 has arrived

View from the footbridge

Passengers walk towards the concourse

Northern 142 061 departs

[1] Steven Dickens, Chester to Manchester Line through time (Amberley, 2016) p. 90
[2] David Lawrence, British Rail Architecture 1948-97 (Crecy, 2018) p. 106
[3] Dickens p. 93

Cogan (CGN)

Cogan is a station near Penarth Marina, about four and a half kilometres South of Cardiff Central on the Vale of Glamorgan Line between Grangetown and Eastbrook.
Transport for Wales 142 085 arrives with a Cardiff bound service

Type: National Rail (Vale of Glamorgan Line)
Station code: CGN
Opened: 1888
Platforms: 2

The current station was opened in 1888 next to an existing station called Penarth Dock on the Penarth & Sully branch which was opened in 1878. This part of the station closed in 1962 though there have been proposals to re-open a platform on this line at Cogan.

The current station is a fairly standard suburban one with "bus" shelters, information displays and a ticket machine but no staff. Access between the platforms is via a footbridge. From Cogan there are regular services to Cardiff Central, Barry Island and Bridgend.
The station is served and managed by Transport for Wales

View down the platform

The old footbridge has been replaced by a temporary structure (as of Summer 2019)

Station sign

TfW 150 255 arrives at Cogan

Quorn and Woodhouse

Quorn and Woodhouse is a stop on the Great Central Railway in Leicestershire between Loughborough Central and Rothley.
Repton arrives with a North bound service

Type: Preserved Railway (Great Central Railway)
Opened: 1899 (Closed 1963)
Re-Opened: 1974
Platforms: 2

The station was opened by the Great Central Railway in 1899 on it's extension down to London and it's new terminus London Marylebone, the last new mainline built in Britain until HS1 in 2003. The Great Central Railway later became part of the LNER but post the Second World War the line began to decay and was gradually closed down North of Aylesbury in the 1960s. Quorn and Woodhouse was closed in 1963.

The station was re-opened as part of the preserved Great Central Railway in 1974 and is one of two intermediate stations on the line. The station has an island platform with an entrance on a bridge that crosses the lines and steps down the platform, there is also a foot crossing at the end of the platform. The platform contained a couple of well preserved station buildings.

There is a goods yard next to the station complete with goods shed and turntable, the latter however is not an original part of the station being originally at Preston Docks and installed at Quorn and Woodhouse in 2011. The station has been preserved as a typical rural LNER station in the 1940s.
View of the platform buildings

View down from the road bridge

Goods shed

On the platform

6990 arrives with a South bound service

Kenton (KNT)

Kenton is a stop on the London Underground Bakerloo Line and London Overground between South Kenton and Harrow & Wealdstone.
Southbound Bakerloo Line 3564 arrives at Kenton

Type: Transport for London
(London Underground Bakerloo Line &
London Overground Watford DC Line)
Station code: KNT
Opened: 1912
Platforms: 2

Kenton, which was opened in 1912 [1], was one of a number of stations built by the London & North Western Railway for it's New Line from London Euston to Watford Junction. The Bakerloo Line reaches Kenton in 1917 [2] and apart from 1982-84 have continued to serve Kenton ever since. The LNWR services were electrified and are nowadays the Watford DC Line of the London Overground.

Kenton retains it's original LNWR buildings with canopies, access between the platfoerms is via a footbridge at the Northern end of the platforms. The station is next to the West Coast Main Line though there have never been platforms at Kenton serving those lines. There was a goods yard the other side of the main line but this closed in 1965.
View down the platforms

London Overground 378 214 departs heading North

Station view from the footbridge

A London Overground train in the station

View from the Southbound platform

[1] Keith Scholey, Euston to Harrow & Wealdstone (Middleton Press, 2002) Map XViii
[2] Jason Cross, London Underground Guide 2017 (Train Crazy, 2017) p. 136

Ash Vale (AHV)

Ash Vale is a station in Surrey at the junction of the Alton and Ascot to Guildford Lines. It is between Aldershot and Brookwood or Frimley.
SWR 450 558 arrives with an Ascot bound service

Type: National Rail (Alton Line and Ascot to Guildford Line)
Station code: AHV
Opened: 1870
Platforms: 2

The station was opened as North Camp & Ash Vale in 1870 by the London & South Western Railway. The name was changed to Ash Vale in 1924 [1] (the actual North Camp station is a few hundred metres away on the North Downs Line).

The original station buildings were demolished in 1972 [2] due to subsidence with a new main building built as a replacement. The station, which is on an embankment with ground level access, is managed by South Western Railway.
SWR 450 118 arrives at Ash Vale

Station entrance

View down the platforms

Both platforms have canopies

[1] Vic Mitchell & Keith Smith, Woking to Alton (Middleton Press, 1988) Fig. 37
[2] Ibid. Fig. 43

Cardiff Bay / Bae Caerdydd (CDB)

Cardiff Bay (Bae Caerdydd) is at the end of the two kilometre long Butetown branch line from Cardiff Queen Street and serves Cardiff Bay and the various notable buildings in that area including the Welsh Parliament.
Transport for Wales 153 303 waits at Cardiff Bay

Type: National Rail (Butetown Branch Line)
Station code: CDB
Opened: 1844
Platforms: 1

The station opened in 1844 as Cardiff Bute Dock and later Cardiff Docks and Cardiff Bute Road. It was given its current name in 1994. The station has been reduced since its heyday with the station building boarded up (though is Grade II* listed) and only one platform now in use. A shuttle service operated by Transport for Wales and using a diesel multiple unit (often a single Class 153) runs between Cardiff Queen Street and Cardiff Bay every twelve minutes. Despite it's small size Cardiff Bay is the sixth busiest railway station in Wales [1].

The station building was originally used as the offices of the Taff Vale Railway and later used as a consulate by a number of countries, a staging post for wounded soldiers returning to the UK from the First World War and a museum. The station once had two platforms.

The current Cardiff Bay is likely to be replaced as part of a major upgrade of the branch line being planned by Transport for Wales. The branch line will be doubled and electrified, to be operated by tram-trains, with a short extension to allow for a new Cardiff Bay station to be built nearer to the bay itself. The upgrade will be carried out in the early 2020s with the new station expected to open in 2023. A new station/stop at Loudoun Square will also be added to the branch [2].
Station entrance

Station sign

In ATW days 153 362 waits at the station

[1] "South Wales Metro: the Transformation Begins", Tramways & Urban Transit (October 2019) No. 982 p.372
[2] Ibid. p. 371

Islip (ISP)

Islip is a stop on the London Marylebone to Oxford Line in Oxfordshire between Bicester Village and Oxford Parkway.
Chiltern 168 107 departs heading for London

Type: National Rail (London Marylebone - Oxford Line)
Station code: ISP
Opened: 1850 (Closed 1968)
Re-Opened: 1989
Platforms: 2

The station was opened by the Buckinghamshire Railway in 1850 later becoming part of the London & North Western Railway. The station had two platforms and a small goods yard [1]. An oil distribution depot was build next to the station before the Second World War, after the war it was taken over by Esso and used until 1974, two sidings were built to serve the depot [2].

The station however was closed in 1968 along with other stations along the line when British Rail ceases passenger services between Oxford and Bletchley. Network South East reopened Islip in 1989, this time as a single platform halt. The original wooden station buildings being lost. The station was rebuilt in the mid-2010s along with the upgrade of the line to Oxford with services through from London Marylebone.

Islip now has two platforms again and the usual collection bus shelters and information points of an unstaffed station. The station is in a shallow cutting with ramps from the road level. Access between the platforms is via a footbridge. The station is managed by Chiltern Railways.
Chiltern 168 215 headas through bound for Oxford

View from the footbridge

Station sign

View from the access ramp, the station is in a shallow cutting

Looking towards Oxford

[1] Vic Mitchell & Keith Smith, Oxford to Bletchley (Middleton Press, 2005) Map. VIII
[2] Ibid. Fig. 32

Solihull (SOL)

Solihull is a stop on the Chiltern Main Line in the West Midlands between Olton and Widney Manor.
WMR 172 339 departs with a Birmingham bound service

Type: National Rail (Chiltern Main Line)
Station code: SOL
Opened: 1852
Platforms: 2

The station was opened in 1852 by the Great Western Railway on it's line from London Paddington to Birmingham Snow Hill. The station originally had a pair of platforms [1] but in the 1930s the line was quadrupled between Olton and Lapworth. Solihull was rebuilt to have two island platforms. The line began to be run down in the late 1960s and one island platform was taken out of use when the line was reduced back down to a pair of lines, the disused platform still exists but is decayed and very overgrown now.

One island platform remains in use though the platform buildings have been reduced to a single structure, the original GWR canopies removed by British Rail [2]. New canopies have been restored around the building during improvements to the station in recent years.

The station platforms are on an embankment with the ticket hall and station entrance on the ground level. The station is managed by Chiltern Railway and served by them and West Midlands Railway.
Station entrance

Stairs (and lift) down to ground level

Between the platforms, the disused island platform can be seen in the background

Platform building

Chiltern 168 003 arrives with a London Marylebone service

[1] Vic Mitchell & Keith Smith, Banbury to Birmingham (Middleton Press, 2004) Map. XXI
[2] Ibid. Fig. 76