Church Stretton railway station

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Church Stretton National Rail
Church Stretton
The station, looking north – a train for Carmarthen stands at platform 2
Location
Place Church Stretton
Local authority Shropshire Council
Grid reference SO455935
Operations
Station code CTT
Managed by Arriva Trains Wales
Number of platforms 2
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2004/05   100,068
2005/06 Increase 104,206
2006/07 Increase 111,834
2007/08 Increase 125,955
2008/09 Decrease 125,024
2009/10 Decrease 117,812
2010/11 Increase 118,990
2011/12 Increase 119,274
2012/13 Increase 125,604
2013/14 Increase 0.126 million
History
1852 Opened
1914 Station moved
National RailUK railway stations
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Church Stretton from Office of Rail Regulation statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
Portal icon UK Railways portal

Church Stretton railway station serves the town of Church Stretton in Shropshire, England. The station is situated on the Welsh Marches Line, 12 34 miles (20.5 km) south of Shrewsbury railway station, while trains on the Heart of Wales Line also serve the station. All trains serving the station are operated by Arriva Trains Wales, who also manage the station.

The station lies on the highest point of the line between Shrewsbury and Craven Arms, and is the highest station in Shropshire. There is on the northbound platform a small plinth noting the station's altitude: 613 ft (187 m) above sea level.

History[edit]

The site of the original (1852) station, north of Sandford Avenue

The station opened on 20 April 1852 as part of the newly created Shrewsbury and Hereford Railway along with the rest of the line and stations. It was originally situated to the north of (what is now known as) Sandford Avenue and the old station building still remains, but is no longer in railway use. Sandford Avenue had been for centuries called Lake Lane and became Station Road with the arrival of the railway in the town, before becoming Sandford Avenue in 1884.[1] The original station building was designed by Thomas Mainwaring Penson.[2]

In 1914 the station was relocated just to the south of the Sandford Avenue road bridge, where it continues to the present day. New station buildings were erected, but these were demolished in 1970, the station having become unstaffed in 1967. Today the only station structures in use are two passenger shelters on the platforms and a footbridge.[1]

Today's station[edit]

The southbound passenger shelter on platform 2 (since replaced)

The station has two platforms, one for northbound services (platform 1) and the other for southbound services (platform 2), with a footbridge crossing the line connecting the two platforms. The platform shelters were replaced and electronic information displays were installed in the spring of 2011. CCTV was also installed at the time and together with the new shelters has resulted in anti-social behaviour becoming almost non-existent at the station.[3] In 2013 a ticket machine was installed at the station, on platform 1.

There are two small areas for car parking/dropping off, on either side of the line – one can be accessed from Sandford Avenue (the B4371), the other from Crossways (which comes off the A49).

Volunteering[edit]

The plinth on platform 1

The station has been "adopted" by local volunteers and is regularly kept tidy by them, including the garden areas behind both platforms.[4] In 2008 a group of volunteers undertook to transform the unattended station gardens and two years later were awarded the Station Gardens of the Year competition. In 2011 a tree sculpture depicting two owls was carved by David Bytheway.[5] There is also the Church Stretton Rail Users' Association.[3]

Services[edit]

King Edward I steam charter train at Church Stretton, passing a regular DMU service.

For a town of its size, Church Stretton is comparatively well served by trains, although services are less frequent on Sundays. A number of passenger services operating on the Welsh Marches Line do not stop at Church Stretton, particularly on weekdays (Monday to Friday).[6]

On weekdays, northbound trains run to Shrewsbury, and most continue to ultimate destinations such as Manchester Piccadilly, Holyhead etc. Southbound trains mostly run to Cardiff Central or beyond via the Welsh Marches Line, but four run to Swansea via the Heart of Wales Line.

Passenger use[edit]

The station has a large number of passengers using it considering the town has a population of just 3000; it is the 7th most-used station in Shropshire (the fifth for the Shropshire Council area).[7] The high usage can be explained by two reasons: the town is a popular tourist destination and many of its inhabitants travel to Shrewsbury and Ludlow for employment, education and shopping.

Infrastructure[edit]

Looking south, showing the now removed signal box, signal and crossover, as well as the three (extant) bridges crossing the railway in the town.

The track through the station is prone to flooding when heavy rain occurs as, although at the apex of the line, it is at the bottom of the valley which Church Stretton is found in. (Church Stretton effectively lies at a saddle point.) At one stage during the infamously wet autumn of 2000, the space between the two platforms resembled a canal and train services had to be cancelled along the line.

Following the serious flooding of the railway line in 2000, the signal box at Church Stretton (which was situated to the north of the Sandford Avenue bridge) was "switched out". The signal box at Church Stretton closed entirely in 2004 and the set of points at the station lay defunct for a number of years and were removed in 2009, together with the box (built 1872) and all signals.[1] The control of the line here has been transferred to Marsh Brook signal box, which is to the south.[8]

Bus connections[edit]

Church Stretton is served by the 435 bus route (the Shrewsbury-Ludlow service), run by Minsterley Motors, which runs Monday-Saturday.[9] This connects the town with some nearby villages including All Stretton, Dorrington, Leebotwood, Little Stretton and Marshbrook. In addition there are two Shropshire Hills Shuttles services that operate at weekends and on Bank Holidays during the spring and summer. One route runs over the Long Mynd to Ratlinghope & Bridges, Stiperstones, Habberley, Pulverbatch, Minsterley and Pontesbury. The other route, called the "Wenlock Wanderer", runs to Much Wenlock via Little Stretton, Marshbrook, Acton Scott, Ticklerton and then along the B4371 which runs atop the Wenlock Edge to the market town of Much Wenlock.[10] Bus services run to and from Beaumont Road, 300 yards (270 m) from the station (grid reference SO454937).

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Crowe and Raynor (2011) Church Stretton through the ages
  2. ^ Newman, John; Pevsner, Nikolaus (2006), Shropshire, The Buildings of England, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, p. 207, ISBN 0-300-12083-4 
  3. ^ a b South Shropshire Journal 24 February 2012
  4. ^ Church Stretton – Volunteering – Railway
  5. ^ Stretton Focus June 2011 page 11
  6. ^ "Arriva Trains Wales – Timetables". Retrieved 9 June 2012. 
  7. ^ Office for Rail Regulation Station usage figures
  8. ^ The Signal Box 'Section C' – 2004
  9. ^ Minsterley Motors 435 timetable
  10. ^ Shropshire Hills AONB Shuttle bus service

External links[edit]

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Craven Arms   Arriva Trains Wales
Welsh Marches Line
  Shrewsbury
Arriva Trains Wales
Cardiff-Holyhead
Arriva Trains Wales
Heart of Wales Line
Historical railways
Little Stretton
Line open, station closed
  Shrewsbury and Hereford Railway   All Stretton
Line open, station closed

Coordinates: 52°32′15″N 2°48′13″W / 52.5375°N 2.8035°W / 52.5375; -2.8035