Closure Pieces


The announcement of the Beeching Report in 1963 prompted a brief sort of nostagia, with a couple of songs and poems being written to list the proposed closures. To see how bad it actually got, our research team settled down to listen to these pieces and list which stations featured, which ones closed and which ones survive today. Finding information on this proved to be a long and boring job, so the page is incomplete.

1) The Slow Train - Michael Flanders and Donald Swann

Available on audio CD from EMI. Detailed by the Flanders and Swann website. Online version on Youtube.

Lyrics feature the following stations:

 Station  Route  Opened  Closed  Notes
 Miller's Dale  Midland Railway route from Ambergate to Buxton  1863  1967  Provided a through line between Derby and Manchester. Now on the Monsal Trail between Matlock and Buxton.
 Kirby Muxloe  Midland Railway route from Leicester to Burton-on-Trent  1859  1964  Line still in place; currently being considered for re-opening.
 Mow Cop and Scholar Green  North Staffordshire Railway route between Stoke-on-Trent and Congleton  1848  1964  Part of the West Coast Mainline between London and Manchester.
 Blandford Forum  Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway from Bath to Bournemouth  1860  1966  
 Mortehoe  London and South Western Railway route from Barnstaple to Illfracombe  1874  1970  Some distance from Mortehoe; also known as Mortehoe and Woolacombe.
 Midsomer Norton  Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway from Bath to Bournemouth  1874  1966  Home of the Somerset and Dorset Railway Heritage Trust.
 Mumby Road  Great Northern Railway route from Willoughby to Maplethorpe (a branch off the Peterborough to Grimsby line)  1886  1970  A particularly obscure bit of railway.
 Chorlton-cum-Hardy  Cheshire Lines Committee route from Manchester to Stockport  1880  1967  Railway remained open for freight until 1980. Not to be confused with still-open section of the West Coast Mainline. To be reopened as part of a Manchester Metrolink extension.
 Chester-le-Street  North Eastern Railway route from Durham to Newcastle  1868  N/A  Closure permission refused; now a successful station staffed by Chester-le-Track on behalf of operator Northern Rail.
 Littleton and Badsey  Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway route from Oxford to Worcester  1853  1966  Referred to in the song as "Littleton Badsey". Unlikely to re-open, but the still-open railway it was on is undergoing a renaissance.
 Openshaw  Sheffield, Ashton-under-Lyne and Manchester Railway route from Manchester to Glossup  1842  N/A  Part of the former Woodhead route from Sheffield to Manchester. Originally called Gorton; was Gorton and Openshaw when song was written; now returned to Gorton.
 Long Stanton  Cambridge and Huntington Railway route from Cambridge to St. Ives (Cambridgeshire)  1847  1970  Station and track remained intact until 2007, when the track was lifted and the station demolished to make way for a guided busway between Cambridge and St. Ives.
 Formby   Liverpool, Crosby and Southport Railway route from Liverpool to Southport  1848  N/A  Closure permission refused; now part of the Merseyrail network.
 Four Crosses  Cambrian Railway route from Oswestry to Welshpool  1860  1965  Song suggests that this and Formby are one station name.
 Dunstable Town  Great Northern Railway route from Hatfield to Dunstable Town  1858  1965  In use by freight traffic until 1990; now earmarked for a guided busway.
 Dogdyke  Great Northern Railway route from Boston to Lincoln  1848  1963  
 Tumby Woodside  Great Northern Railway route from Woodhall Spa to the East Lincolnshire Railway  1913  1970  The Great Northern had an extensive network serving very few people in Lincolnshire.
 Trouble House Halt  Great Western Railway route from Kemble to Tetbury  1959  1964  The actual railway had opened in 1889. The halt was named after the pub that it was built to serve.
 Audlem  Great Western Railway route from Market Drayton to Nantwich  1863  1963  The railway was just over a month short of its centenary at time of closure
 Ambergate  Midland Railway junction for trains from London via Derby to Manchester or Leeds  1840  N/A  Although one of the six platforms (arranged around the triangular junction) is still open the station has lost most of its importance, now only being served by trains bound for Matlock.
 Chittening  Great Western Railway route from Filton to Avonmouth  1917  1964  The railway itself had opened some time previously and today remains open to freight traffic.
 Cheslyn Hay  London and North Western Railway route from Walsall to Rugeley Town  1870  1965  Line remained intact and later re-opened to passenger traffic. Cheslyn Hay remains shut. Actually called Wyrley and Cheslyn Hay.
   Selby to Goole  1910  1964  Selby and Goole both remain open; they are just no longer linked by rail.
   St. Erth to St. Ives (Cornwall)  1877  N/A  Closure permission refused; railway is now very successful for carrying tourists to seaside St. Ives. St. Erth is Britain's farthest west junction. This was the last line to be built to broad gauge.
 Cockermouth  End of Cockermouth, Keswick and Penrith Railway route. Line west continued to Cumbrian Coast line.  1864  1966  Penrith to Keswick survived until 1972. Keswick to Cockermouth is now the A66. Re-opening proposals are being sat on.
 Armley Moor  Great Northern Railway route between Leeds and Bramley.  1854  1966  Leeds to Bramley line is still open as the Caldervale Line.
 Arram  North Eastern Railway route between Hull and Scarborough.  1853  N/A  Survived Beeching; now advertised as the Yorkshire Coast Line.
 Pye Hill and Somercoates  Great Northern Railway route between Kimberley and Pinxton  1875  1963  
 Windmill End Great Western Railway route between Blower's Green and Old Hill in the Black Country.  1874  1964  One of a string of stations on what was also known as the "Bumble Hole Line". It ran entirely through industrial landscape yet carried virtually no passengers.


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