Stratford-upon-Avon railway station

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Stratford-upon-Avon
National Rail
StratfordStation2020.jpg
New entrance to the station.
LocationStratford-upon-Avon, Stratford-on-Avon
England
Grid referenceSP194551
Managed byWest Midlands Trains
Platforms3
Other information
Station codeSAV
ClassificationDfT category D
Key dates
24 July 1861Opened
Passengers
2015/16Decrease 0.995 million
2016/17Increase 1.037 million
2017/18Increase 1.044 million
2018/19Decrease 1.036 million
2019/20Decrease 0.911 million
Location
Notes
Passenger statistics from the Office of Rail and Road

Stratford-upon-Avon railway station is the southern terminus of the North Warwickshire Line and Leamington-Stratford line, serving the town of Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire, England. The station is served by West Midlands Trains and Chiltern Railways.

Prior to August 1976, the station provided direct links to the south of the region via the Cotswold Line; however, the derailment of a freight train prompted British Rail to withdraw the link.

History[edit]

The first line to reach Stratford was the Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway branch from Honeybourne to the south, which opened a station at Sanctus Street on 12 July 1859.[1] This was soon followed by the Stratford on Avon Railway's branch from Hatton from the north, which opened on 9 October 1860. Both branches initially had separate termini, but they soon agreed to join the two branches and open a single station at the present site, which was opened on 24 July 1861. Both branches later came under the control of the Great Western Railway (GWR).

Map of railways in the area of Stratford-upon-Avon in 1908.

In 1908 the GWR opened the North Warwickshire Line, which incorporated parts of the two original branch lines into a new main line from Birmingham to Cheltenham. This put Stratford on a main line, and at this date, the station was expanded, and a third platform added.[2]

Through services to Gloucester were withdrawn in 1968,[3] and passenger services south of Stratford ceased altogether on 5 May 1969, when the service to Honeybourne, Evesham and Worcester Foregate Street was withdrawn. However the line remained open for freight until 1976, when a serious freight train derailment led to British Rail closing the line entirely, leaving Stratford as the southern terminus of the lines from Birmingham and Hatton.[4][5]

Between 1873 and 1952 Stratford was also served by Stratford Old Town railway station on the Stratford-upon-Avon and Midland Junction Railway (SMJR).

A new Stratford Parkway railway station north of the town, next to the A46 road was opened on 19 May 2013. It is intended to ease congestion, as passengers from outside Stratford will no longer need to drive into the town to catch a train. Rail services between Birmingham and Stratford have been increased from hourly to half-hourly in conjunction with the opening of the new parkway station.[6][7]

On 26 November 2015 it was announced that a second footbridge and lifts had been completed, meaning people with limited mobility would be able to use all the platforms. It was also announced that a new café, waiting room and retail area are planned.[8]

On 18 March 2019 a refurbishment of the station was started, funded by the Department for Transport and Warwickshire County Council. This refurbishment would include the rebuild of the ticket hall and improved seating areas on the platforms alongside better toilet facilities and bike racks.[9]

Former services[edit]

Prior to 2004, services towards Leamington Spa were operated jointly between Thames Trains (now known as First Great Western Link) and Central Trains, both being replaced by Chiltern Railways.

Thames Trains also operated services to London Paddington via Wilmcote, Hatton, Leamington Spa, Banbury, Oxford, Didcot, Reading, Slough and Ealing Broadway. It also occasionally operated shuttle trains between Stratford-upon-Avon and Leamington Spa, with a limited service calling at Bearley and Claverdon on weekdays. As with all of their services at the time, they were operated using Class 165 and 166 units.

Central Trains operated a shuttle service between Stratford and Leamington Spa, in conjunction with those operated by Thames Trains. Additionally, they also ran a limited Sunday service during summer. Central Trains services were operated using Class 150 units.

Services[edit]

A West Midlands Railway train at the station.
North Warwickshire Line
Birmingham Snow Hill Midland Metro
Birmingham Moor Street
Bordesley
Small Heath
Tyseley TMD
Tyseley
Tyseley Junction
Spring Road
Hall Green
Yardley Wood
Shirley
Whitlocks End
Wythall
Earlswood
limit of TfWM area
The Lakes Red flag waving.svg
Wood End Red flag waving.svg
Danzey Red flag waving.svg
Henley-in-Arden
Wootton Wawen Red flag waving.svg
Bearley Junction
Leamington–Stratford line
Wilmcote
Stratford-upon-Avon
Parkway
Stratford-upon-Avon

West Midlands Railway[edit]

West Midlands Railway operate twice-hourly services over the North Warwickshire Line to Birmingham Snow Hill, with services continuing to Stourbridge Junction. The following services run during off-peak hours:

The frequency of trains to Birmingham Snow Hill reduces to one per hour at night, with services only running via Whitlocks End. The last service of the day runs directly to Birmingham Snow Hill.

Passengers who wish to travel to Leamington Spa during off-peak hours can stop at Dorridge with a sufficient amount of time to switch platform. These services are operated by Chiltern Railways and continue to London Marylebone over the Chiltern Main Line.

A few trains running to Birmingham Snow Hill continue to Kidderminster, Worcester Foregate Street or Great Malvern during off-peak hours.

On Sunday, the frequency of trains running to Birmingham Snow Hill reduces to one per hour, with all services running via Whitlocks End. These services continue to Great Malvern or Worcester Foregate Street. All services stop running at night.

Chiltern Railways[edit]

Chiltern Railways operate a service approximately once every two hours over the Leamington-Stratford Line to Leamington Spa, with services continuing to Banbury or London Marylebone over the Chiltern Main Line. The following services run during off-peak hours:

On Sunday, all trains run to Leamington Spa via Claverdon, continuing to Banbury in the morning, and London Marylebone late in the evening. All services stop running at night.

Vintage Trains[edit]

A steam train service to Birmingham Snow Hill, occasionally serving Henley-in-Arden, is operated by Vintage Trains between July and September.[10]

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Stratford-upon-Avon Parkway   West Midlands Railway
Birmingham–Stratford line
  Terminus
Stratford-upon-Avon Parkway   Chiltern Railways
Leamington–Stratford line
  Terminus
Heritage Railways  Heritage railways
Henley-in-Arden   Vintage Trains
The Shakespeare Express
July–September
  Terminus
  Historical railways  
Wilmcote   Thames Trains
Cherwell Valley line
  Terminus
Disused railways
Wilmcote   Great Western Railway
Honeybourne Line
  Stratford-upon-Avon
Racecourse Platform
Terminus   SMJR
East and West Junction Railway
  Stratford Old Town
Heritage Railways  Proposed Heritage railways
Terminus   Honeybourne Line   Stratford-upon-Avon Racecourse
Line and station closed

Stratford-Honeybourne link[edit]

The Shakespeare Line Promotion Group is promoting a scheme to reopen the 6 miles (10 km) of line to the south of Stratford-upon-Avon, where it would link to the Cotswold Line at Honeybourne. The scheme (supported as a freight diversionary route by DB Schenker)[11] would make Stratford a through station once again, with improved connections to the south of the region. It would open up the possibility of direct services towards London Paddington, via Oxford, and also significantly faster services to Worcester, via Evesham.[12]

The scheme has been deemed economically beneficial in the long-term, being supported by former Prime Minister David Cameron and Network Rail.[13][14] It has also been overwhelmingly supported by the local community, consisting of rail users and local businesses;[15] however, the district council have opposed the scheme due to financial costs.[16]

In November 2020, it was announced that the scheme had been approved for up to £50,000 funding by the Department for Transport (DfT) under the second round of the Restoring your Railway Fund.[17]

Criticism[edit]

The station has often been criticised for having slow and infrequent connections. In particular, Chiltern Railways has faced criticism for their lack of services to London Marylebone and Leamington Spa,[18] with the RSC describing services provided by the company as “woefully inadequate” for an international tourist destination.[19] The absence of services running directly to Coventry and Birmingham International has also been noted.[20] Stratford-upon-Avon suffers from road congestion, which is worsened by poor connections in the area and below average usage of rail by visitors in the area.[21]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mitchell, Victor E.; Smith, Keith (October 1998). Country Railway Routes: Stratford upon Avon to Cheltenham. Midhurst: Middleton Press. map following figure 15. ISBN 1-901706-25-7.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  2. ^ "Stratford on Avon Station". Warwickshire Railways. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  3. ^ Passengers No More by G. Daniels and L. Dench Second Edition page 36
  4. ^ "Stratford Branch". GWR Archive. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  5. ^ "RE REGIONAL URBAN MARKET STUDY" (PDF). Network Rail. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
  6. ^ "New £7m Stratford Parkway railway station opens". BBC News, Coventry & Warwickshire. Retrieved 7 June 2013.
  7. ^ "Stratford Parkway". Warwickshire County Council. Retrieved 7 June 2013.
  8. ^ "Access for All as Stratford Rail Station footbridge opens". Warwickshire County Council. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  9. ^ Lugg, Ben (15 March 2019). "£1.5million Stratford Station refurbishment to begin". Stratford Herald. Retrieved 5 May 2020.
  10. ^ "The Shakespeare Express 2019". www.vintagetrains.co.uk. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
  11. ^ DB Schenker Rail (UK) Limited (November 2009). "Response to Network Rail's Great Western Route Utilisation Strategy Draft for Consultation (Published September 2009)" (PDF). Doncaster. pp. 14, 29. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  12. ^ Wilson, Matt (25 June 2013). "Campaigners' new report on Stratford to Honeybourne rail link". Stratford Herald. Archived from the original on 7 April 2014. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  13. ^ Smith, Chris (18 February 2016). "PM backs Stratford-Honeybourne train line". Stratford Herald. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
  14. ^ "New backing for Oxford to Stratford-Upon-Avon rail link". Oxford Mail. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
  15. ^ "Shakespeare Line: STRATFORD TO HONEYBOURNE". www.shakespeareline.com. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
  16. ^ Lugg, Ben (16 June 2019). "Developers should have to pay for rail study say campaigners". Stratford Herald. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
  17. ^ "Restoring your railway: successful bids - GOV.UK". assets.publishing.service.gov.uk. Retrieved 4 December 2020.
  18. ^ Lugg, Ben (20 August 2018). "Rail operator responds to criticism of Stratford service". Stratford Herald. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
  19. ^ "RSC urges GWR to provide Stratford improvements". www.railmagazine.com. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
  20. ^ https://www.stratford.gov.uk/doc/206646/name/Adopted%20Stratford%20Area%20Transport%20Strategy.pdf
  21. ^ "When shall these towns meet again?". www.railmagazine.com. Retrieved 18 July 2019.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°11′38″N 1°42′58″W / 52.194°N 1.716°W / 52.194; -1.716