Stratford-upon-Avon railway station

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Stratford-upon-Avon
National Rail
StratfordStation2020.jpg
Main entrance to the station.
General information
LocationStratford-upon-Avon, Stratford-on-Avon
England
Grid referenceSP194551
Managed byWest Midlands Railway
Platforms3
Other information
Station codeSAV
ClassificationDfT category D
Key dates
24 July 1861Opened
Passengers
2016/17Increase 1.037 million
2017/18Increase 1.044 million
2018/19Decrease 1.036 million
2019/20Decrease 0.911 million
2020/21Decrease 0.210 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 (WMT) 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-upon-Avon was the Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway branch from Honeybourne to the south, which opened a station at Sanctus Street on 12 July 1859. This was soon followed by the Stratford on Avon Railway branch from Hatton, which opened on 9 October 1860. Both branches initially had separate termini, but an agreement was made to join the branches into a single station at the present site, which opened on 24 July 1861. Both branches later came under the control of Great Western Railway (GWR).[1]

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

In 1908, Great Western Railway opened the North Warwickshire Line which incorporated parts of the two original branch lines into a new main line from Birmingham to Cheltenham. This placed Stratford-upon-Avon on the main line, which prompted the expansion of the station with a third platform being added.[2]

Through services to Gloucester were withdrawn in 1968, and passenger services south of Stratford-upon-Avon ceased altogether on 5 May 1969.[3] As a result, there were no longer services to Honeybourne, Evesham and Worcester Foregate Street. The line remained open to freight traffic until a derailment prompted British Rail to close the line entirely in 1976. Consequently, Stratford-upon-Avon became the southern terminus of the line from Birmingham and Hatton.[4][5]

Between 1873 and 1952, Stratford-upon-Avon was also served by Stratford Old Town railway station on the Stratford-upon-Avon and Midland Junction Railway (SMJR).[6]

A new parkway station was opened to the north of the town next to the A46 road on 19 May 2013. It was proposed that building the station would ease congestion, as passengers from outside the area were no longer required to drive into the town to access rail transport. In addition, services between Birmingham and Stratford-upon-Avon were increased from hourly to half-hourly in conjunction with the opening of the station.[7][8]

On 26 November 2015, a second footbridge and lifts were built, which gave people with limited mobility the ability to use all of the platforms. It was also announced that a new café, waiting room and retail area were being planned.[9] On 18 March 2019, a refurbishment of the station was started, which was funded by the Department for Transport and Warwickshire County Council. The refurbishment consisted of rebuilding the ticket hall, improving the seating areas, upgrading the toilet facilities and implementing bike racks.[10]

Stationmasters[edit]

  • William Hazzard Rigbey ca. 1862
  • John Mathews from 1866[11] - 1890 (formerly station master at Windsor)
  • Thomas Birchall until 1891
  • Edward Foster 1891 - 1892[12] (afterwards station master at Alcester)
  • Samuel Edwin Meredith 1892[13] - 1921 (formerly station master at Alcester)
  • Elliot P. Roberts 1921 - 1931[14] (formerly station master at Stourbridge)
  • William Edwin Davenport 1931 - 1945[15] (formerly station master at Hall Green)
  • Frank Upchurch 1945 - 1952[16] (formerly station master at Small Heath)
  • W.J. Bright until 1964[17]

Facilities[edit]

The station has a ticket office located next to the station entrance on platform one which can usually be accessed on each day of the week with varying opening hours. Tickets can be also be purchased from the self-service machine outside the ticket office which accepts card payments. If a person wishes to pay by cash or voucher when the ticket office is closed, they are advised to do so by asking a senior conductor or train manager.

Step-free access is available between the platforms by using the lifts on the footbridge. Station staff are able to provide assistance whilst the ticket office is open. Outside of these hours, information is available from the help points located on both platforms. Cycle parking is also available.[5]

Services[edit]

Station from a nearby footbridge. A Class 165 sits in platform 2.
Railway lines from Stratford-upon-Avon.

West Midlands Railway[edit]

West Midlands Railway provide twice-hourly weekday and Saturday services from Stratford-upon-Avon to Birmingham Snow Hill along the North Warwickshire Line which continue to Kidderminster, although some services during the early and late hours of the day terminate at Worcester Foregate Street or Stourbridge Junction. One service per hour runs via Shirley, and the other via Solihull. Later in the day, the frequency of services is reduced to once-hourly with trains only running via Shirley. The last service of the day terminates at Birmingham Snow Hill.

On Sunday, there is an hourly service to Worcester Foregate Street via Shirley and Birmingham Snow Hill. Some services terminate at Worcester Shrub Hill, and no services run via Solihull.

Chiltern Railways[edit]

Chiltern Railways provide a single service approximately every two hours to Leamington Spa via Hatton along the Leamington-Stratford line. On weekdays, some services terminate at Hatton or Warwick where connections are available to Leamington Spa. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, services would regularly extend to London Marylebone, but a change is now required at another station such as Dorridge or Leamington Spa. The last service of the day terminates at Banbury.

On Sunday, the frequency of services remains the same; however, they are only available from late morning to late evening.

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.[18]

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Stratford-upon-Avon Parkway   West Midlands Railway
Birmingham–Stratford line
  Terminus
  Chiltern Railways
Leamington–Stratford line
 
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
Line and station closed
Terminus   SMJR
East and West Junction Railway
  Stratford Old Town
Line and station closed
Heritage Railways  Proposed Heritage railways
Terminus   Honeybourne Line   Stratford-upon-Avon Racecourse
Line and station closed

Stratford-Honeybourne line[edit]

The Shakespeare Line Promotion Group attempted to promote 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)[19] 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.[20]

The scheme has been deemed economically beneficial in the long-term, being supported by former Prime Minister David Cameron and Network Rail.[21][22] It has also been overwhelmingly supported by the local community, consisting of rail users and local businesses;[23] however, the district council have opposed the scheme due to financial costs.[24]

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.[25] However, in June 2022, it was announced that the government had rejected the case to reopen the line.[7]

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 Leamington Spa and London Marylebone,[26] with the RSC describing services provided by the company as “woefully inadequate” for an international tourist destination.[27] The absence of services running directly to Coventry and Birmingham International has also been noted.[28] Stratford-upon-Avon suffers from road congestion, which is exacerbated by poor connections in the area and below average usage of rail by visitors.[29]

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.
  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. ^ a b "RE REGIONAL URBAN MARKET STUDY" (PDF). Network Rail. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
  6. ^ "Stratford upon Avon (Old Town) Station". www.railaroundbirmingham.co.uk. Retrieved 14 July 2022.
  7. ^ a b "New £7m Stratford Parkway railway station opens". BBC News, Coventry & Warwickshire. Retrieved 7 June 2013.
  8. ^ "Stratford Parkway". Warwickshire County Council. Retrieved 7 June 2013.
  9. ^ "Access for All as Stratford Rail Station footbridge opens". Warwickshire County Council. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  10. ^ Lugg, Ben (15 March 2019). "£1.5million Stratford Station refurbishment to begin". Stratford Herald. Retrieved 5 May 2020.
  11. ^ "1835-1910 Clerks Vol.3". Great Western Railway Operating, Traffic, Coaching Departments: 46. 1899. Retrieved 23 June 2021.
  12. ^ "1835-1910 Clerks Vol.5". Great Western Railway Operating, Traffic, Coaching Departments: 652. 1899. Retrieved 23 June 2021.
  13. ^ "1835-1910 Clerks Vol.5". Great Western Railway Operating, Traffic, Coaching Departments: 570. 1899. Retrieved 23 June 2021.
  14. ^ "Death on Way to Work". Birmingham Daily Gazette. England. 31 March 1931. Retrieved 23 June 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  15. ^ "A Stationmaster for 39 Years". Evening Despatch. England. 18 December 1945. Retrieved 23 June 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  16. ^ "Stationmaster Retires". Coventry Evening Telegraph. England. 16 May 1952. Retrieved 23 June 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  17. ^ "No Comparison". Birmingham Daily Post. England. 2 May 1964. Retrieved 23 June 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  18. ^ "The Shakespeare Express 2019". www.vintagetrains.co.uk. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
  19. ^ 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.
  20. ^ 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.
  21. ^ Smith, Chris (18 February 2016). "PM backs Stratford-Honeybourne train line". Stratford Herald. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
  22. ^ "New backing for Oxford to Stratford-Upon-Avon rail link". Oxford Mail. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
  23. ^ "Shakespeare Line: STRATFORD TO HONEYBOURNE". www.shakespeareline.com. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
  24. ^ Lugg, Ben (16 June 2019). "Developers should have to pay for rail study say campaigners". Stratford Herald. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
  25. ^ "Restoring your railway: successful bids - GOV.UK". assets.publishing.service.gov.uk. Retrieved 4 December 2020.
  26. ^ Lugg, Ben (20 August 2018). "Rail operator responds to criticism of Stratford service". Stratford Herald. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
  27. ^ "RSC urges GWR to provide Stratford improvements". www.railmagazine.com. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
  28. ^ https://www.stratford.gov.uk/doc/206646/name/Adopted%20Stratford%20Area%20Transport%20Strategy.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  29. ^ "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