Stratford-on-Avon Racecourse Platform
Stratford-on-Avon Racecourse's minimal facilities were built
in 1933 opening on the 6th May of the same year. The nature of its use,
providing racecourse visitors with access by rail during the 'flat' season,
always meant that the GWR would only provide the most basic of facilities. In
this instance, this meant two platforms of sufficient length to accommodate
trains for the races but without the structures that would normally be provided
such as a toilet, waiting room and booking office. Robert Ferris writes "The
use of the term 'Platform' is interesting as these normally had more facilities
than Halts. Whereas Halts were designed for two auto trailers at the most so
were therefore seldom more than 150 foot long. Platforms were 550 feet long to
accommodate an eight coach excursion train. I understand that the procedure at
Stratford was for the race excursion trains to unload their passengers at the
Racecourse platform and then proceed empty to either Long Marston or Stratford
stations (depending on direction of travel) where they would wait until the
return journeys were required. There were often several excursion trains
waiting at these stations".
The former SMJ crossed over the GWR lines at the northern
end of the platforms. With the installation of a new spur from the SMJ, forming
a connection with the ex-GWR line just south of the down platform, the existing
northern spur was singled. More importantly it allowed British Railways the
opportunity to close the SMJ Stratford to Broom line together with the MR's
Redditch to Evesham branch. The traffic previously operated via these two lines
was primarily iron ore from the 'OIC Wroxton Quarry' in Oxfordshire to the
South Wales Steelworks which could now be diverted via the new connection.
Unfortunately the grade of iron ore was not the best and as cheaper and a
better grade of iron ore became available from overseas the traffic declined.
This eventually resulted in the closure of the connection on the 1st March 1965
when freight services ceased. The Racecourse Platforms lasted barely longer as
it too was a casualty of BR's decision to withdraw passengers along the route
to Honeybourne, being closed on the 3rd January 1966.
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