Cheltenham Spa St. James railway station

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Cheltenham Spa St. James
Cheltenham Spa St James' station site geograph-3302710-by-Ben-Brooksbank.jpg
Site of Cheltenham Spa St James' station in 1986
Place Cheltenham
Area Cheltenham
Grid reference SO944225
Original company Cheltenham and Great Western Union Railway
Pre-grouping Great Western Railway
Post-grouping Great Western Railway
Platforms 4
23 October 1847 (1847-10-23) Opened as Cheltenham
9 September 1894 Closed and replaced by new station nearby
11 May 1908 Renamed Cheltenham St. James
1 February 1925 Renamed Cheltenham Spa St. James
3 January 1966 Closed to passenger traffic
31 October 1966 Closed for goods traffic
Disused railway stations in the United Kingdom
Closed railway stations in Britain
170433 at Edinburgh Waverley.JPG UK Railways portal

Cheltenham Spa St. James railway station was a station in the town of Cheltenham.


A 1910 Railway Clearing House map of railways in the vicinity of Cheltenham Spa St. James

The first station was opened by the Cheltenham and Great Western Union Railway (C&GWU) on 23 October 1847, as Cheltenham.[1] It was the terminus of the final section of that company's line from a junction with the Great Western Railway (GWR) at Swindon, which had opened in stages: to Kemble (and Cirencester) on 31 May 1841; to Gloucester on 12 May 1845, and finally to Cheltenham on 23 October 1847.[2] In the meantime, the C&GWU had been purchased by the GWR on 1 July 1843.[3] Originally, the station was laid to the broad gauge, but this was converted to standard gauge in May 1872.[4]

On 9 September 1894 it was replaced by another station also named Cheltenham,[1] on a nearby site, slightly to the east, which had two curved semi-island platforms;[5] two more were added later.[6] An imposing brick-built station building was constructed with a covered carriage approach fronting St. James' Square,[5] whilst a 204 ft (62 m) goods shed was constructed to the north of the site in a yard capable of accommodating 475 wagons.[7] In 1904 the station was able to handle goods, passengers, parcels, furniture vans, carriages, portable engines, machines on wheels, livestock, horse boxes, prize cattle vans and private carriages; there was a crane capable of lifting 8 long tons (8,100 kg).[8] The station was renamed twice, to Cheltenham St. James on 11 May 1908, and Cheltenham Spa St. James on 1 February 1925.[1] It was from this station that the GWR inaugurated the Cheltenham Flyer on 9 July 1923 which ran to London via Swindon.[9] The express covered the 77.3 miles (124.4 km) between Swindon and London in 56 minutes 47 seconds at an average speed of 81.7 miles per hour (131.5 km/h) on 6 June 1932,[5] then the fastest-timed train in the world.[9]

Although the GWR had absorbed the Midland and South Western Junction Railway (MSWJR) at the 1923 Grouping, the MSWJR trains from Andover, Swindon and Cirencester continued to run to the LMS (ex-Midland Railway) station at Cheltenham (Lansdown).[10] It was not until the British Railways period that these were eventually diverted to the former GWR stations at St. James and Malvern Road, this occurring from 3 November 1958,[11] but less than three years later, on 9 September 1961,[7] the services along the MSWJR line ceased entirely.[12] Closure of the route from Kingham followed on 15 October 1962.[13] The remaining services using St. James were insufficient to make the station's retention a viable proposition and, as Birmingham to Gloucester services could not use it,[7] Cheltenham Spa St. James station closed to passengers on 3 January 1966,[1] with the remaining passenger services being diverted to the less-convenient Cheltenham Spa (Lansdown).[14] General freight ceased at the same time, but coal continued until 31 October 1966;[15][16] by this time the station was worked as a long siding from Malvern Road East Signal Box after the closure in June of that year of St. James's Box.[17]


Preceding station Disused railways Following station
Terminus   Great Western Railway
Cheltenham and Great Western Union Railway
  Cheltenham Spa Malvern Road
Line and station closed

Present day[edit]

Waitrose supermarket constructed on station site.

A Waitrose supermarket now stands on the site of St. James station. A plaque has been affixed to the entrance of the store by Cheltenham Civic Society to commemorate the now-demolished terminus.[18] Prior to the construction of the superstore, which opened in 2002,[19] the trackbed was used as a cyclepath linking the town with Cheltenham Leisure Centre, and so when planning permission for the redevelopment of the station site was granted, a condition was imposed that the developer construct a new pedestrian bridge to ensure continued access to the remaining trackbed.[20] The bridge follows a section of former railway embankment which was removed to provide road access to the new store.[21]. St James House also occupies part of the site.


  1. ^ a b c d Butt 1995, p. 59.
  2. ^ MacDermot 1927, pp. 170,184,188.
  3. ^ MacDermot 1927, p. 174.
  4. ^ Baker 1994, p. 123.
  5. ^ a b c Maggs & Nicholson 1985, p. 69.
  6. ^ Mitchell & Smith 2009, fig. 116.
  7. ^ a b c Maggs & Nicholson 1985, p. 72.
  8. ^ RCH Handbook 1970, p. 117.
  9. ^ a b Baker 1994, p. 124.
  10. ^ Sands & Jenkins 1990, pp. 107,109.
  11. ^ Sands & Jenkins 1990, p. 113.
  12. ^ Sands & Jenkins 1990, pp. 113–4.
  13. ^ Mitchell & Smith 2009, Historical Background.
  14. ^ Cooke 1965, Cheltenham Spa closures, p. 728.
  15. ^ Mitchell & Smith 2009, fig. 120.
  16. ^ Clinker 1978, p. 28.
  17. ^ Baker 1994, p. 125.
  18. ^ Cheltenham Civic Society (2008). "Cheltenham Plaques". Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  19. ^ Scott Wilson Group. "Waitrose Development, Cheltenham". Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  20. ^ Cheltenham Daily Photo (2007-12-01). "Theme Day - Bridges". Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  21. ^ Development Control Sub-Committee (1997-07-08). "Redevelopment of the St.James site, Cheltenham". Gloucestershire County Council. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 


  • Baker, Audie (1994). The Stratford on Avon to Cheltenham Railway. Grasscroft, Oldham: Irwell Press. ISBN 978-1-871608-62-5. 
  • Butt, R.V.J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations. Yeovil: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 1-85260-508-1. R508. 
  • Clinker, C.R. (October 1978). Clinker's Register of Closed Passenger Stations and Goods Depots in England, Scotland and Wales 1830-1977. Bristol: Avon-Anglia Publications & Services. ISBN 0-905466-19-5. 
  • Cooke, B.W.C., ed. (December 1965). "Notes and News". Railway Magazine. London: Tothill Press. 111 (776). 
  • MacDermot, E.T. (1927). History of the Great Western Railway, vol. I: 1833-1863. Paddington: Great Western Railway. 
  • Maggs, Colin G.; Nicholson, Peter (1985). The Honeybourne Line: The continuing story of the Cheltenham to Honeybourne and Stratford upon Avon Railway. Cheltenham, Glos.: Line One Publishing. ISBN 978-0-907036-12-8. 
  • Mitchell, Victor E.; Smith, Keith (October 1998). Stratford upon Avon to Cheltenham. Country Railway Routes. Midhurst: Middleton Press. ISBN 1-901706-25-7. 
  • Mitchell, Victor E.; Smith, Keith (November 2009). Banbury to Cheltenham. Country Railway Routes. Midhurst: Middleton Press. ISBN 978-1-906008-63-5. 
  • Sands, T.B.; Jenkins, S.C. (1990) [1959]. The Midland and South Western Junction Railway. The Oakwood Library of Railway History (2nd ed.). Headington: Oakwood Press. ISBN 0-85361-402-4. OL16. 
  • anon (1970) [1904]. The Railway Clearing House Handbook of Railway Stations 1904. Newton Abbot: David & Charles. ISBN 0-7153-5120-6. 

Coordinates: 51°54′07″N 2°05′00″W / 51.901904°N 2.083468°W / 51.901904; -2.083468