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Evesham Road Crossing Halte

GWR Route: North Warwickshire Line

Evesham Road Halte (sic) was located on the section of line which joined together two branch lines which ran into Stratford Upon Avon. The branch from the south was built by the Oxford , Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway (OWWR) when it opened a branch from Honeybourne to Stratford-upon-Avon on 12th July 1859. The branch from the north was opened by the independent Stratford-Upon-Avon Railway Company on 9th October 1860. The GWR operated this latter branch line, which was broad gauge until 1869, although most trains were standard gauge after 1863. The connection between the two branches came into use on 24th July 1861. The Stratford-Upon-Avon Railway became part of the GWR in 1883. The Oxford , Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway became the West Midland Railway in 1860 and part of the GWR in 1863. Evesham Road Crossing Halte had a very short life in common with Clifford Chambers which was approximately two miles to the south of Stratford upon Avon. The Halte was open for traffic on the 17th October 1904 and closed on the 14th July 1916 as a wartime economy measure, a fate that befell a number of other stations, including others operated by other railway companies, in the county.

The use of the name 'Halte' by the GWR instead of Halt is thought to be because the GWR sought to use a description which would convey the perception that it was not manned. Brian Bailey writes, 'One man's interpretation of the situation is given in A Register of Halts and Platforms 1903 - 1979 by C.R. Clinker (Avon Anglian Production 1979), where Clinker writes 'The use of the French word [halte] seems to have been decided on because there was, in fact, no suitable meaning to the English word 'halt' at the time'. He goes on to say that the spelling was changed to 'halt' in April 1905. (It's not clear as to whether this was just in the GWR's timetables or also on station name boards), but he says 'It may well be that the change was made as part of a general dislike of things 'French' which manifested itself in the early years of the present century'. As to why the Halte's platforms were built 12 inches high, Peter Masson writes, '1904 was at the height of the 'railmotor and halts' era, when many railways opened halts and provided steam railmotor services to them. Some, to save money, built ground level platforms at the halts, and equipped the passenger compartments of the railmotors with steps for access’.

As it was classified as a Halte it is presumed that it was not staffed other than the signal box which operated the level crossing. Its close proximity to Stratford upon Avon GWR station begs the question as to why it was built although its rudimentary construction and position to the nearby racecourse suggests it might have been used primarily for racegoers, the racecourse platform not being built until 1933. After closure of the Halte the signal box remained open to operate the adjacent level crossing, the route having in the meantime been upgraded as part of the GWR's route to the South and West Country. Subsequently, in 1960, the original 1891 signal box was deemed too small to be able to accommodate the extra levers required when it took over both the duties of the signal box controlling the north junction with the SMJ, as well as those evolving from the building of the new south junction. A new signal box was therefore erected immediately adjacent to the 1891 signal box which had the necessary 50 levers, and, unusually for this date as the signalman would not have been able to see the trains on this new curve; with all movements being controlled by electrically operated points and signals, with track circuits giving the location of the trains.

View of the crossing and the Halte looking north towards Stratford on Avon station shortly after it opened on 17th October 1904
Ref: gwr_everd928
J Alsop
View of the crossing and the Halte looking north towards Stratford on Avon station shortly after it opened
Close up showing Evesham Road Crossing's original 1891 box and three Great Western members of staff
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J Alsop
Close up showing Evesham Road Crossing's original 1891 box and three Great Western members of staff
The original 1891 signalbox stands sandwiched between the gates controlling Evesham Rd and its replacement
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BR
The original 1891 signalbox stands sandwiched between the gates controlling Evesham Rd and its replacement
British Railways built 4-6-0 Modified Class No 7918 'Rhose Wood Hall' passes Evesham Road Crossing in May 1964
Ref: gwr_everd1675
TE Williams
BR built 4-6-0 Modified Class No 7918 'Rhose Wood Hall' passes Evesham Road Crossing in May 1964
British Railways built 2-6-2T 41xx Class No 4165 heads an officer's inspection salon on 30th July 1964
Ref: gwr_everd2474
RJ Buckley
British Railways built 2-6-2T 41xx Class No 4165 heads an officer's inspection salon on 30th July 1964

A three car Western Region suburban DMU which forms the 6:03pm Stratford to Honeybourne service on 23 May 1964
Ref: gwr_everd2475
M Mensing
A three car WR suburban DMU forms the 6:03pm Stratford to Honeybourne service on 23 May 1964
View of the cast-iron British Railways Western Region warning notice fixed to Evesham Road signal box
Ref: gwr_everd1674
Anon
View of the cast-iron British Railways Western Region warning notice fixed to Evesham Road signal box
A three-quarters view of the 1960 replacement signal box erected to replace two signal boxes and work the new southbound connection
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Anon
A ¾ view of the 1960 signal box erected to replace two signal boxes and work the new southbound connection
A full frontal view of Evesham Road Crossing signal box which shows the very large structure built
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Anon
A full frontal view of Evesham Road Crossing signal box which shows the very large structure built
 The signal box after closure of the line south of Stratford-on-Avon although before the signalling was dismantled
Ref: gwr_everd1678
Anon
The signal box after closure of the line south of Stratford-on-Avon although before the signalling was dismantled

Another view of the now closed Evesham Road Crossing signal box and the crossing it still replaced for the occasional engineering train
Ref: gwr_everd2476
P Trotter
Evesham Road Crossing signal box, now closed, and the crossing it still replaced for the occasional PW train