Dunstable Branch Lines
|Dunstable Branch Lines|
The Dunstable Branch Lines were railway branch lines that joined the English town of Dunstable to the main lines at Leighton Buzzard and Welwyn. The two lines were under separate ownership and joined just east of the Dunstable North station.
The London and North Western Railway built the line from Leighton Buzzard station to Dunstable. This opened in 1848.
The Luton, Dunstable and Welwyn Junction Railway planned a connecting line from the Great Northern Railway at Welwyn. The line between Dunstable and Luton opened in 1858. The company then amalgamated with the Hertford and Welwyn Junction Railway to form the Hertford, Luton and Dunstable Railway. The track to Welwyn was completed in 1860 and the line was taken over by the Great Northern in the following year. It became part of the London and North Eastern Railway from 1923 until British Railways was formed in 1948.
Passenger services were withdrawn in 1965 under the Beeching Axe, and the track between Dunstable and Leighton Buzzard was removed. The line between Dunstable and the Midland Main Line at Luton remained open for freight until 1990. Dunstable is now one of the largest towns in the South East without a railway connection.
- 1 Stations
- 2 Passenger services
- 3 Freight services
- 4 Subsequent use of the line
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 Further reading
- 8 External links
Stanbridgeford railway station (Stanbridge.) was close to the village of
Dunstable North railway station was originally the terminus of the line from Leighton Buzzard.
Dunstable Town railway station (Hatfield. It served the town of Dunstable until closure in 1965. The station was immortalised in 1964 in the song "Slow Train" by Flanders and Swann. The station was on Station Road.) (originally Dunstable Church Street) was the terminus station on the spur off the Great Northern Railway from
Luton Bute Street
Luton Bute Street railway station () was the first to be built in Luton. It was opened in 1858.
Luton Hoo railway station () was opened in 1860 and originally called New Mill End. The name changed to Luton Hoo in 1891 and the station closed in 1965.
The station building and platform still exist, sited next to a sewage works.
Harpenden East (Harpenden, the other station which remains open being Harpenden Central. Originally named Harpenden, the East suffix was added in 1950 to distinguish it from the Midland Railway station.) was one of two stations serving the town of
The line was single track with a crossing loop.
The station opened in 1860 and closed in 1965. Since closure it has been demolished and housing has been built both on the site of the station and on the line in the immediate area.
Wheathampstead railway station (Wheathampstead.) served
Ayot railway station (Ayot St Peter. It opened as Ayott St Peters on 2 July 1877, and was named Ayott from 1 April 1878 until October 1878.) served the village of
The station was destroyed by fire in 1948 and never rebuilt. It closed on 26 July 1948.
Trains initially ran to temporary wooden platforms at Welwyn (on the site of the present Welwyn Garden City railway station). From 1 September 1860 trains ran on to Hatfield, and the temporary platforms were closed. The present station was opened in 1926.
The last passenger train, packed with enthusiasts, was hauled by Brush Type 2 D5589 on 24 April 1965.
A goods service serving the Bedford Trucks factory in Dunstable continued until well into the 1980s.
Subsequent use of the line
Within Leighton Buzzard, the line is now used as a footpath and cycleway which crosses the Grand Union Canal and River Ouzel. Between Leighton Buzzard and Stanbridgeford, it was used to build part of the A505 Leighton-Linslade Southern Bypass. National Cycle Route 6 follows the line between Stanbridgeford and Dunstable, including Sewell Cutting ( ) which is managed as a nature reserve by the local Wildlife Trust.
The line between Dunstable and Luton has never been legally decommissioned, the track has now been removed, to make way for the new Luton to Dunstable Busway, which will run as far as Dunstable Town and then divert via the old cement works.
- Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service, British Railways Board.
- Steam World, June 2006.
- Radford, B., (1983) Midland Line Memories: a Pictorial History of the Midland Railway Main Line Between London (St Pancras) & Derby London: Bloomsbury Books.
- Countryside Management Service, A Circular Ride from Welwyn.
- Wildlife Trust, Sewell Cutting.
- B. Simpson, The Dunstable Branch: Leighton Buzzard – Dunstable – Luton, Lamplight, 1998, ISBN 1-899246-03-7.
- G. S. Woodward, The Hatfield, Luton & Dunstable Railway (and on to Leighton Buzzard), Oakwood Library of Railway History, 1977, ISBN 0-85361-218-8. Second edition authored by S. Woodward and G. Woodward, 1994, ISBN 0-85361-458-X.
- S. Woodward and G. Woodward, Branch Lines to Dunstable, Middleton, 2008, ISBN 978-1-906008-27-7.
- Greenleas Rail History CLUTCH Club, Dunstable Branch
- Lost Lines, Hatfield–Dunstable–Leighton Buzzard (photos taken between 1989 and 2007)
- J. F. Williams, Memories of Dunstable North Station 1942–1965
- Dunstable Gazette, Picture the Past, Dunstable Bygones (photos of Church Street Station and the bridge over High Street North)
- Disused Stations, Luton Bute Street
- Disused Stations, Luton Hoo
- Disused Stations, Harpenden East
- Disused Stations, Wheathampstead
- Luton Council, Luton Dunstable Busway