·  LMS  ·  GWR  ·  LNER  ·  Misc  ·  Stations  ·  What's New  ·  Video  ·  Guestbook  ·  About

GWR Route: Hatton to Bearley and Alcester Branch

Bearley Station (33) Bearley East, West and North Junctions (50)
GWR Service Time Table - Instructions General instructions for Auto-Car Services

Bearley Station

Bearley station opened on 10th October 1860 and situated on the GWR line from Hatton to Stratford-on-Avon, about half a mile to the east of the village of Bearley. The station has undergone several iterations in the first 150 years of its existence. Originally one of three small rural intermediate stations (the others being Claverdon and Wilmcote), the opening of the line to Alcester on 4th September 1876 raised the importance of the station as it was the eastern terminus of the Alcester branch. It was during the Edwardian period of Bearley's existence that saw the greatest number of passengers using the station, details being given below. Bearley's prominence was further raised when the North Warwickshire Railway opened in 1908, although this was more associated with staffing levels required to man two signal boxes. It was during the period when the line was doubled between Bearley and Hatton that the station reached its most prominence although this was more in terms of goods traffic than passenger numbers. The downgrading of the route in the post Beaching era meant the line was singled and the station became an unmanned halt with a bus shelter on the single platform.

It is set amidst the open farm land and tree-lined hedgerows that typify this part of Warwickshire with road access being obtained off the Stratford upon Avon to Henley-in-Arden road, now known as Birmingham Road. When first opened, the line between the terminus at Birmingham Road, Stratford upon Avon to a junction at Hatton station, was a mixed-gauge single line of some 9¼ miles in length. Following a connection made at Stratford upon Avon with the Oxford, Worcester & Wolverhampton Railway's line from Honeybourne in 1861, narrow-gauge services were run through to Honeybourne and Worcester. Stanley C Jenkins and Roger Carpenter write in their superb book The Alcester Branch, Wild Swan, ISBN-10 1905184050, 'during the 1860s, Bearley station was a quiet country station with a crossing loop, a signal box, two brick-faced platforms, a modest-sized goods yard, goods shed, weigh- bridge and office and a station master's house, all constructed in red brick, with slate roofs. The original station building may well have been a brick-built structure in keeping with the adjoining stations at Claverdon and Wilmcote, but this was demolished in 1876 when Bearley became a junction for the Alcester Railway This resulted in alterations which included the provision of a new station building on the up side or east-bound platform and a smaller waiting room on the down side. The new station building was designed by William Clarke, the Alcester Company's engineer, and was constructed of red brick, with a gabled, date-covered roof in a style employed on other lines for which he was responsible, including the Newent Railway, the Ross & Ledbury Railway, the Bristol & North Somerset Railway, and the Leominster & Kington Railway. Trains to Alcester departed from Bearley's down platform and diverged north-westwards from the line to Stratford upon Avon line controlled by Bearley East Junction signal box.

When the North Warwickshire line was opened in 1908, part of the existing line between Wilmcote and a point south of Bearley was incorporated into the route and consequently doubled. The divergence of the new route involved the creation of a new junction, named Bearley West, to the south of the station and another two junctions to the west of the station, Bearley North and Alcester Branch Junction, where the new line joined, then left the route of the existing Alcester branch. The existing junction at the station for the Alcester branch was renamed Bearley East Junction; at the same time the line between the West Junction and the East Junction was doubled, and a new connection from the down line to the goods siding was put in, as was an additional siding in the goods yard. The station remained in this form through to the end of the 1930s when the layout was subject to yet more upheaval.

In the Edwardian period, Bearley typically issued around 14,000 tickets per annum. In 1903, for example, the station booked 14,551 tickets, whilst in 1913 there were 14,359 passenger bookings. These annual figures had fallen to around 10,000 bookings a year during the 1920s, although there were were, by that time, between 130 and 190 season ticket holders making regular journeys to and from the station. In 1937 Bearley issued 8,534 ordinary tickets, but there were also 301 season ticket sales, suggesting that the station had developed a healthy commuter business by the later 1930s. Freight traffic amounted to about 5,000 tons per annum during the early years of the 20th century and this figure remained more or less constant throughout the 1920s. Thereafter, the amount of freight traffic handled increased considerably, and in 1938 Bearley dealt with 18,690 tons of freight. By this time, the development of railway owned road delivery vehicles meant that certain stations gained extra traffic while others declined as their 'smalls' traffic was diverted to selected railheads and country lorry centres. The Railway Clearing House's Handbook of Stations states that in 1894 the station only handled passenger and general goods traffic with a fixed position hand-operated one and half tons crane being available within the goods shed. By 1928 the services on offer had increased slightly as the station could now handle livestock and Horse boxes and Prize Cattle Vans, however the crane inside the shed was down rated to lifting loads to a maximum of one ton.

Something of this nature had clearly taken place at Bearley although the station was not itself a country lorry centre. More importantly there was also an upsurge in roadstone and other mineral traffic during the later 1930s, and this type of bulk freight traffic amounted to 6,569 tons in 1936, 15,730 tons in 1937 and 14,353 tons in 1938. Domestic coal traffic was another form of inwards freight traffic, and in most years Bearley handled about 2,300 tons per annum. The coal was supplied by Warwickshire pits and distributed by locally-based coal merchants such as Mr Snell, who operated from Bearley goods yard. At this period, coal came from the pits of Baddesley, Newdigate and Coventry collieries. Other inwards traffic included animal feed, fertilizers and variable amounts of general merchandise. Throughout most of the 1930s, Bearley dealt with little more than 300 tons of general goods traffic per annum, but in 1938 this meagre figure increased to 1,052 tons, possibly because of the growth of carted 'smalls' traffic that had hitherto been handled at other stations.

Bearley's staffing establishment rose from seven in 1903 to eleven by 1913, following the opening of the North Warwickshire line and a consequent need for extra signalmen at Bearley North and Bearley West junctions. In 1925 the station provided employment for sixteen people including one Class 5 station master, four porters, eight signalmen, one gatekeeper (at Edstone Level Crossing), one part-time cleaning woman and one general clerk. This same basic establishment remained without major alteration for several years, and by the 1930s, the staff included one Class 5 station master, two leading porters, two porters, eight signalmen, one general clerk and one gatekeeper. There were no lorry drivers at Bearley itself, collection and delivery arrangements in the area being concentrated on the nearby 'country lorry centre at Stratford-upon-Avon. It appears that local collections and deliveries were handled by a vehicle from Stratford that was sent out to Bearley station on a daily basis, the drivers involved being based at Stratford rather than Bearley.

Bearley's station masters included John Twist, who was in charge of the station during the 1870s, and William Morewood, who remained at the station for over twenty years between the early 1880s and about 1905. By 1908, the station master was Charles Overbury but he left in 1909. and was replaced by Joseph Billington, who came to Bearley after previous service at Cropredy on the Oxford to Birmingham main line. Mr Billington was still at Bearley in 1916, though he had gone by the early 1920s, by which time the local station master was Joseph Tolley In 1938 the GWR embarked on a scheme to widen the Hatton to Bearley section to take double track. By this time, this route was becoming heavily used by freight trains bound for South Wales, chiefly iron ore workings from the Banbury area. It was also used for excursion traffic during the summer timetables, as well as a diversionary route to the North Warwickshire line for through passenger and freight workings to the west and South Wales. Work on the widening commenced in May 1938 and at Bearley station this entailed the rebuilding of the waiting room on the down platform and the addition of a footbridge linking the platforms. The new works were brought into use from 2nd July 1939. Finally, during the early part of the war, two new sidings were laid in on the down side for the delivery of materials for a nearby RAF establishment. After the war, these sidings were used to store wagons awaiting repairs.

We would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the source of much of the information used on this and associated pages as being derived from Stanley C Jenkins and Roger Carpenter's book, 'The Alcester Branch, Wild Swan, ISBN-10 1905184050'.

The Original 1860 Bearley Station

Looking towards Hatton from the Stratford end of the down platform with the main station goods and passenger facilities on the left
Ref: gwrb442
P Hopkins
Looking towards Hatton from the Stratford end of the down platform with the goods and passenger facilities on the left
Close up showing the goods shed and a rake of five open mineral wagons standing in front of the cattle dock
Ref: gwrb442a
P Hopkins
Close up showing the goods shed and a rake of five open mineral wagons standing in front of the cattle dock
Close up showing the down platform on the left with its original William Clarke designed main station building
Ref: gwrb442b
P Hopkins
Close up of the down platform on the left with its original William Clarke designed main station building
An Edwardian view looking towards Bearley Junction showing the original Bearley station with station master's house on the right
Ref: gwrb545
Lens of Sutton
A view looking towards Bearley Junction showing the original Bearley station and station master's house
A view of the original Stratford upon Avon Railway station looking towards Bearley Junction
Ref: gwrb440
LGRP
A view of the original Stratford upon Avon Railway station looking towards Bearley Junction

Close up showing Bearley East signal box at the Stratford upon Avon end of the original station
Ref: gwrb440a
LGRP
Close up showing Bearley East signal box at the Stratford upon Avon end of the original station
Close up showing the sidings in the distance and the mineral wagons adjacent to the goods shed
Ref: gwrb440b
LGRP
Close up showing the sidings in the distance and the mineral wagons adjacent to the goods shed
The platform to Stratford upon Avon with the station sign advising to change for Great Alne and Alcester
Ref: gwrb440c
LGRP
The platform to Stratford upon Avon with the station sign advising to change for Great Alne and Alcester
Bearley Station looking east towards Claverdon with the original down platform seen on the right circa 1920-22
Ref: gwrb770
Stations UK
Bearley Station looking east towards Claverdon with the original down platform seen on the right circa 1920-22
Close up showing beyond the platforms is the girder bridge carrying the railway over the main Birmingham to Stratford road
Ref: gwrb770a
Stations UK
Close up showing the girder bridge carrying the railway over the main Birmingham to Stratford road

Close up showing the Wilmecote end of Bearley Station building with the original Goods Shed on the left
Ref: gwrb770b
Stations UK
Close up of the Wilmecote end of Bearley Station building with the original Goods Shed on the left

The rebuilt 1939 Bearley Station

View from the new passenger footbridge looking along the new platform extensions towards Hatton
Ref: gwrb781
AT Locke/KRM
View from the new passenger footbridge looking along the new platform extensions towards Hatton
Close up of showing the new trailing cross-over beyond the road bridge and other more temporary connections
Ref: gwrb781a
AT Locke/KRM
Close up of showing the new trailing cross-over beyond the road bridge and other more temporary connections
View of the extended platform and new footbridge from the Bearley Junction end of the station
Ref: gwrb782
R Carpenter
View of the extended platform and new footbridge from the Bearley Junction end of the station
Close up showing the front elevation of the original 1876 main station building with porter's trollies on the platform
Ref: gwrb782a
R Carpenter
Close up showing the front elevation of the 1876 main station building with porter's trollies on the platform
Close up showing the station's rebuilt 1939 down platform building with its extended canopy and new footbridge
Ref: gwrb782b
R Carpenter
Close up showing the station's rebuilt 1939 down platform building with its extended canopy and new footbridge

The Hatton end of Bearley Station viewed from the road bridge, showing the new platform extensions on 19th May 1939
Ref: gwrb783
R Carpenter
The Hatton end of Bearley Station viewed from the road bridge, showing the new platform extensions
Close up looking towards Bearley Junction, with Alcester branch auto train in the up platform
Ref: gwrb783a
R Carpenter
Close up looking towards Bearley Junction, with Alcester branch auto train in the up platform
Looking towards Hatton along the up platform with the main station building located on the up platform and the goods shed on the left
Ref: gwrb439
Lens of Sutton
Looking along the up platform with the main station building and the goods shed located on the up platform
Close up showing Bearley station's down platform and the station sign which has been changed to read just Bearley
Ref: gwrb439a
Lens of Sutton
Close up of Bearley station's down platform and the station sign which has been changed to read just Bearley
Looking along the rebuilt station's up platform towards a deserted goods yard and Bearley Junction in 1959
Ref: gwrb441
Lens of Sutton
Looking along the rebuilt station's up platform towards a deserted goods yard and Bearley Junction in 1959

Close up showing Bearley East Junction Signal Box and the signal gantry controlling the line to Stratford on Avon and the north curve
Ref: gwrb441a
Lens of Sutton
Close up showing Bearley East Junction Signal Box and the signal gantry controlling the line to Stratford on Avon
View showing the extensions to both platforms and on the left, the buffer stop erected at the end of the siding
Ref: gwrb2342
Stations UK
View showing the extensions to both platforms and on the left, the buffer stop erected at the end of the siding
Rear elevation of main station building showing the original weighbridge office and part of goods shed
Ref: gwrb784
AT Locke/KRM
Rear elevation of main station building showing the original weighbridge office and part of goods shed

Locomotives and trains seen at or near Bearley Station

GWR Collett 48xx class 0-4-2T No 4801 is seen standing at Bearley having arrived from Alcester on 16th September 1937
Ref: gwrb780
RJ Buckley
GWR Collett 0-4-2T No 4801 is seen standing at Bearley having arrived from Alcester on 16th September 1937
GWR 48xx Class 0-4-2T No 4801 assembles a mixed train at Bearley's up platform before working through to Alcester
Ref: gwrb771
MJ Deane
GWR 0-4-2T No 4801 assembles a mixed train at Bearley's up platform before working through to Alcester
Close up showing the mixed train being assembled by the station porter who is standing ready to couple up the van
Ref: gwrb771a
MJ Deane
Close up showing the mixed train being assembled by the station porter who is standing ready to couple up the van
The 9:36 am mixed train for Alcester is seen waiting to depart from Bearley circa 1938
Ref: gwrb772
Bert Bromwich/KRM
The 9:36 am mixed train for Alcester is seen waiting to depart from Bearley circa 1938
Close up showing the goods wagons being shunted forward into the goods yard by the 0-4-2T locomotive
Ref: gwrb772a
Bert Bromwich/KRM
Close up showing the goods wagons being shunted forward into the goods yard by the 0-4-2T locomotive

GWR 0-4-2T No 4814 with a Stratford Mop Special mixed train can be seen waiting at Bearley
Ref: gwrb773
Bert Bromwich/KRM
GWR 0-4-2T No 4814 with a Stratford Mop Special mixed train can be seen waiting at Bearley
Collett 48xx class 0-4-2T No 4816 arrives at Bearley with a mixed train from Alcester on 2nd August 1938
Ref: gwrb777
Anon
Collett 48xx class 0-4-2T No 4816 arrives at Bearley with a mixed train from Alcester on 2nd August 1938
GWR railway photo
Ref: gwrb438
P Hopkins
GWR 4-4-0 No 3314 'Mersey' a Bulldog class locomotive is seen here on an up goods train leaving Bearley

Ordnance Survey Maps

Bearley Station and Bearley East Junction

An 1885 25 inch to the mile Ordnance Survey Map of Bearley Station and Bearley East Junction on the left
Ref: gwrb3857
Library of Scotland
An 1885 25 inch to the mile Ordnance Survey Map of Bearley Station and Bearley East Junction on the left
A 1904 25 inch to the mile Ordnance Survey Map of Bearley Station and Bearley East Junction on the left
Ref: gwrb3859
Library of Scotland
A 1904 25 inch to the mile Ordnance Survey Map of Bearley Station and Bearley East Junction on the left
A 1923 25 inch to the mile Ordnance Survey Map of Bearley Station and Bearley East Junction on the left
Ref: gwrb3861
Library of Scotland
A 1923 25 inch to the mile Ordnance Survey Map of Bearley Station and Bearley East Junction on the left

Bearley Station and the branch to Alcester

An 1885 25 inch to the mile Ordnance Survey Map of Bearley Station and with the line to Alcester on the left
Ref: gwrb3858
Library of Scotland
An 1885 25 inch to the mile Ordnance Survey Map of Bearley Station and with the line to Alcester on the left
A 1904 25 inch to the mile Ordnance Survey Map of Bearley Station and with the line to Alcester on the left
Ref: gwrb3860
Library of Scotland
A 1904 25 inch to the mile Ordnance Survey Map of Bearley Station and with the line to Alcester on the left
A 1923 25 inch to the mile Ordnance Survey Map of Bearley Station and with the line to Alcester on the left
Ref: gwrb2345
Library of Scotland
A 1923 25 inch to the mile Ordnance Survey Map of Bearley Station and with the line to Alcester on the left