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Atherstone Station

LMS Route: Trent Valley Line

Atherstone was one of the original Trent Valley Railway (TVR) stations opening with the line in 1847. The TVR had been authorised in 1845 with the line being originally scheduled to be opened on 26th June 1847. However, as with Polesworth, a faulty bridge design over the River Tame at Tamworth followed by the strengthening of a further five bridges along the route, resulted in the line opening in stages. The line through Atherstone, which was exactly 102 miles from Euston, was opened 15th September 1847 with two local passenger services each way and through goods trains only. The Trent Valley Railway fully opened on 1st December 1847 which was the same day that Greenwich Mean Time was adopted throughout the LNWR. Located between Polesworth and Nuneaton, Atherstone was originally built with two tracks passing through the station and remained as such for many years. Periodic additions were made to the station's layout during the nineteenth century, most notably in 1887 when the up platform was extended and the up yard enlarged.

In the LNWR (Additional Powers) Act 1892 permission was obtained to quadruple seven miles four furlongs between Tamworth and just north of Atherstone level crossing. The main station building was located on the up line and was retained when the line was quadrupled. The level crossing which carried the A5 over the railway, lay immediately to the north of the station's platform and was a bone of contention between Warwickshire County Council and the LNWR resulting in the former obtaining an injunction to prevent trains passing over the level crossing at speeds above 4 mph. The Tamworth to Atherstone quadrupling came into use on 1st July 1901, and powers for the Atherstone to Nuneaton section were obtained in the LNWR Act of 1902. The Act also authorised the company to divert and carry Watling Street over the railway and the Coventry canal, by means of a bridge, and to close the old level crossing. The LNWR subsequently built an overbridge which opened in September 1903.

Entrance to the station and goods yard was via Watling Street, between the Post Office and Station Street. The 1887 Ordnance Survey Map shows the goods yard was principally acessed by rail traffic via wagon turntables from both the up and down running lines. This resulted in wagons from the down line requiring access to the goods yard and sheds to be rotated 90º and then to be moved across both running lines. Two refuge sidings were built adjacent to the down running line to accommodate both goods trains requiring to be moved out of the paths of passenger trains but also to gain access to a short spur, a continuation of the line crossing the running lines at 90º, which served to store several wagons prior to crossing the running lines when the timings of traffic permitted. The 1901 Ordnance Survey Map shows this convoluted method of working replaced by conventional sidings with the goods yard now accessed from refuge sidings built adjacent to the up running line. These refuge sidings (which were also evident on the 1887 Ordnance Survey Map) were also the destination of goods trains travelling on the down line. Trains requiring access from the down line did so by travelling through the station, with some of the train passing over the level crossing causing road traffic to be halted, and then reversing via trailing points across the up line and into the refuge siding before drawing forward into the yard.

The original signal cabin sited at the north end of the station, together with the down platform, was swept away during the quadrupling, and a new timber building and signal cabin erected. A 1909 stage work sketch for the quadrupling is reproduced in image 'lnwr_ath1737'. The new signal cabin was centrally located between the up and down and fast lines, and was carried on girders, one set of supports being on the down platform, the other set in a slightly enlarged 'six foot' between the up and down fast lines. Access to the signal cabin was via a catwalk from the down side. The Preston & Powell Hendrys wrote, 'Any girder cabin was of interest, but what made the Atherstone example even more remarkable, was the superstructure, which possessed the extended roof and barge boards of post-1904 LNWR boxes, but the shallower windows reminiscent of earlier designs.'. Another unusual aspect of the station was the short awning on the up platform which was part of the original structure. The columns supporting the awning was very close to the platform edge, well inside the regulation minimum six foot and also inconveniently very close together.

The Railway Clearing House's 1929 Handbook of Railway Stations states Atherstone station provided the general public and businesses with a full set of services: Goods traffic; Passenger and Parcels traffic; Furniture Vans (including Carriages (Horse-drawn - Ed), Portable Engines, and Machines on Wheels; Live Stock; Horse Boxes and Prize Cattle Vans; and Carriages by Passenger Trains (GPFLHC). Cranage facilities were also provided, thought to be within one of the goods shed, via a fixed manually operated 5 ton crane. The 1894 edition of The Railway Clearing House Handbook of Railway Stations did not provide information to the same detail e.g. the number of categories listed, and only recorded (GPFL) and the 5 ton crane, however its reasonable to assume that the same facilities recorded in 1929 were offered from the outset. As was the case across the country, post-Second World War railway goods traffic decreased rapidly in the face of the competition from road transport. This resulted in Atherstone station's goods yard closing in May 1964 and whilst the station remains open, it has been an staffed halt since 2nd October 1972.

A contemporary drawing showing the exterior of Atherstone station as seen when first opened
Ref: lnwr_ath3108
Anon
A contemporary drawing showing the exterior of Atherstone station as first seen when it opened in 1847
External view of Atherstone station showing the original Livock structure which was Elizabethan or Jacobean in style
Ref: lnwr_ath1076
LGRP
Vew of Atherstone station showing the Livock structure which was Elizabethan or Jacobean in style
View looking towards Stafford showing Watling Street level crossing and the original signal cabin on the left
Ref: lnwr_ath1275
WoW
View looking towards Stafford showing Watling Street level crossing and the original signal cabin on the left
Looking towards Rugby across the level crossing as the down Irish Mail passes Atherstone's Signal Box prior to the quadrupling of the line
Ref: lnwr_ath1079
Postcard
Looking towards Rugby across the level crossing as the down Irish Mail passes Atherstone's Signal Cabin
View of Atherstone station looking towards Tamworth with the up goods yard on the right
Ref: lnwr_ath3111
LNWR Society
View of Atherstone station looking towards Tamworth with the up goods yard on the right on 9th April 1960

Looking towards Rugby from Watling Street bridge showing the quadrupling of the lines still under construction adjacent to the new down platform
Ref: lnwr_ath1734
Postcard
Looking towards Rugby from Watling Street bridge showing the quadrupling of the lines still under construction
Close up showing part of Atherstone's goods yard and shed on the left and the incomplete lines adjacent to the new down platform
Ref: lnwr_ath1734a
Postcard
Close up of part of the goods yard and shed on the left and the incomplete lines adjacent to the new down platform
View of Atherstone station looking in the direction of Rugby with the original station building still evident on the left
Ref: lnwr_ath1069
HC Casserley
Looking in the direction of Rugby showing Atherstone station and the original station building on the left
Close up showing the original 1847 Trent Valley Railway station building and platform complete with Livock's platform canopy
Ref: lnwr_ath1069a
HC Casserley
Close up of the original 1847 station building and platform complete with Livock's platform canopy
Close up showing the replacement down platform built in the early 20th century when the line was quadrupled between Atherstone and Nuneaton
Ref: lnwr_ath1069b
HC Casserley
Close up of the replacement down platform built in the early 20th century when the line was quadrupled

View looking towards Stafford showing the entrance to Atherstone's Signal Box and part of the down platform on the left
Ref: lnwr_ath1735
Powell-Hendry
View looking towards Stafford showing the entrance to Atherstone's Signal Cabin and part of the down platform
An aerial view of the station with the down platform and Coventry canal nearest to the camera
Ref: lnwr_ath3109
Britain from Above
An aerial view of Atherstone station with the down platform and Coventry canal nearest to the camera
LMS 4-6-0 Royal Scot class No 6111 'Royal Fusilier' is seen at the head of the down 'Mid-day Scot' with a train of ex-LNWR and early LMS coaching stock
Ref: lnwr_ath3110
Britain from Above
An aerial view showing the station with the bridge carrying the A5 over the railway on the left
Aerial view of Atherstone showing part of the station and the now demolished goods shed and yard after electrification
Ref: lnwr_ath366
WoW
Aerial view of Atherstone showing part of the station and the now demolished goods shed and yard
View of Atherstone station after electrification of the route showing the original Livock designed building but with new platform canopy
Ref: lnwr_ath1277
WoW
View of Atherstone station after electrification showing the original Livock building but with new platform canopy

An unidentified ex-LMS 4-6-0 'Black 5' is seen at the head of an up express train  as it approaches Atherstone station
Ref: lnwr_ath1276
WoW
An unidentified ex-LMS 4-6-0 'Black 5' is seen at the head of an up express train as it approaches Atherstone station
An unknown ex-LNWR 0-6-0 goods engine is running wrong road during the replacement of an overbridge
Ref: lnwr_ath2668
J Alsop
An unknown ex-LNWR 0-6-0 goods engine is running wrong road during the replacement of an overbridge
Close up of the unidentified 0-6-0 'Cauliflower' locomotive standing wrong road blowing off steam
Ref: lnwr_ath2668a
J Alsop
Close up of the unidentified 0-6-0 'Cauliflower' locomotive standing wrong road blowing off steam
Close up showing the small rail mounted crane being used to lift the beams into placefrom the adjacent train
Ref: lnwr_ath2668b
J Alsop
Close up showing the small rail mounted crane being used to lift the beams into placefrom the adjacent train
A lineside view of Atherstone station after closure and the removal of the platform canopy circa 1975
Ref: lnwr_ath3937
WoW
A lineside view of Atherstone station after closure and the removal of the platform canopy circa 1975

An elevated view showing the Coventry Canal on the left and the Trent Valley Railway on the right pass beneath the A5 by-pass in the 1960s
Ref: lnwr_ath3938
WoW
An elevated view showing the Coventry Canal on the left and the railway on the right pass beneath the A5 by-pass
An elevated view of Atherstone station's goods yard and shed seen from the Silo Tower circa 1960
Ref: lnwr_ath3939
WoW
An elevated view of Atherstone station's goods yard and shed seen from the Silo Tower circa 1960

Baddesley Colliery

View of Baddesley Colliery showing manager's house, engine shed, steam engine and pump house and shaft together with sidings
Ref: lnwr_ath1307
Anon
View of Baddesley Colliery's managers house, engine shed, steam engine, pump house, shaft and sidings
Another turn of the 20th century view of Baddersley Colliery showing many coal wagons standing in its sidings
Ref: lnwr_ath3940
WoW
Another turn of the 20th century view of Baddersley Colliery showing many coal wagons standing in its sidings
Another but later view of Baddesley Colliery showing the mine's extensive buildings and Midland Railway open wagons in the sidings in front of the engine shed
Ref: lnwr_ath1305
WoW
Later view showing the mine's extensive buildings and MR open wagons in the sidings in front of the engine shed

Locomotives seen at or near Atherstone station

LNWR 4-6-0 2P Experiment class No 496 'Harlequin' is seen at the head of an up Stafford to Rugby local passenger train near Atherstone
Ref: lnwr_ath1077
HL Salmon
LNWR 4-6-0 2P Experiment class No 496 'Harlequin' at the head of an up Stafford to Rugby local passenger train
LNWR 0-8-0 No 2562 is seen at the head of a long up mixed goods train travelling on the fast line near Atherstone
Ref: lnwr_ath1075
HL Salmon
LNWR 0-8-0 7 F No 2562 is at the head of a long up goods train travelling on the fast line near Atherstone
LMS 4-6-0 Royal Scot class No 6109 'Royal Engineer' is seen at the head of the fourteen coach up Manxman near Atherstone in May 1928
Ref: lnwr_ath1072
WL Good
LMS 4-6-0 Royal Scot class No 6109 'Royal Engineer' at the head of the up Manxman near Atherstone in May 1928
LMS 4-6-0 Royal Scot class No 6111 'Royal Fusilier' is seen at the head of the down 'Mid-day Scot' with a train of ex-LNWR and early LMS coaching stock
Ref: lnwr_ath1071
WL Good
LMS 4-6-0 No 6111 'Royal Fusilier' on the down 'Mid-day Scot' with a train of ex-LNWR and early LMS coaching stock
Ex-LMS 4-6-0 5XP Patriot class No 45515 'Caernavon' is seen at the head of an up express service near Atherstone on 15th August 1959
Ref: lnwr_ath1080
6201 Society
Ex-LMS 4-6-0 5XP Patriot class No 45515 'Caernavon' at the head of an up express near Atherstone

Ex-LMS 'Horwich Crab' 2-6-0 No 42811 is seen near Atherstone on a down fast freight service
Ref: lnwr_ath2667
B Brooksbank
Ex-LMS 6P5F 'Horwich Crab'
2-6-0 No 42811 is seen approaching Atherstone on a down fast freight service
Ex-LMS 4-6-0 Jubilee class No 45737 'Atlas' is seen waiting to depart on the 11 45am Liverpool to Rugby semi-fast express service
Ref: lnwr_ath1274
Anon
Ex-LMS 4-6-0 Jubilee class No 45737 'Atlas' waiting to depart on the 11 45am Liverpool to Rugby semi-fast express

Schematic plans and maps of Atherstone station and adjacent sidings

View of layout of the connection between Baddersley Colliery Sidings and the Trent Valley line
Ref: lnwr_ath1733
P Lee
View of the layout of the connection between Baddersley Colliery Sidings and the Trent Valley Railway
Stage work plan produced in September 1909 showing the old down platform now replaced by a new platform two tracks away
Ref: lnwr_ath1737
Powell-Hendry
Stage work plan of September 1909 showing the old down platform replaced by a new platform two tracks away
A complete view of the 1887 plan of Athestone station prior to be quadrupled showing the level crossing, station, goods yard
Ref: lnwr_ath1736
Powell-Hendry
A complete 1887 plan of Athestone station prior to be quadrupled showing the level crossing, station, goods yard
Close up of map showing the Stafford end of Atherstone station including the underpass adjacent to the level crossing
Ref: lnwr_ath1736a
Powell-Hendry
Close up of map showing the Stafford end of the station and the underpass adjacent to the level crossing
Close up of the approach at the Rugby end of Atherstone station showing the down refuge siding and entrance to goods yard
Ref: lnwr_ath1736b
Powell-Hendry
Close up of the approach at the Rugby end of the station and the down refuge siding and goods yard entrance

View of the original station layout showing the station. goods yard and shed together with the level crossing and underpass
Ref: lnwr_ath1738
P Lee
The original station layout showing the station, goods yard and shed and the level crossing and underpass
An 1887 25 inches to the mile Ordnance Survey Map of Atherstone station and goods shed and yard
Ref: lnwr_ath3941
National Library of Scotland
An 1887 25 inches to the mile Ordnance Survey Map of Atherstone station and goods shed and yard
A 1901 25 inches to the mile Ordnance Survey Map of Atherstone station and goods shed and yard
Ref: lnwr_ath3942
National Library of Scotland
A 1901 25 inches to the mile Ordnance Survey Map of Atherstone station and goods shed and yard
A 1922 25 inches to the mile Ordnance Survey Map of Atherstone station and goods shed and yard
Ref: lnwr_ath3943
National Library of Scotland
A 1922 25 inches to the mile Ordnance Survey Map of Atherstone station and goods shed and yard

Accident at Atherstone on 16th November 1860

The PDF provided below links to an accident report on a rear collision between a mail train and a cattle train, shunting to clear the line, with a long discourse on the contemporary state of brakes and passenger communication on trains. This document was published on 14th January 1861 by the Board of Trade. It was written by Colonel W Yolland. Our thanks to Railway Archive (www.railwaysarchive.co.uk) for providing a copy and Barry Turvin from whose collection Railway Archive sourced it from.

'The collision occurred between a special cattle train proceeding from Holyhead to Lynn, which was permitted to leave Tamworth for Nuneaton Station at or about 1h. 3Om a. m., when the up limited mail, according to the Time Tables, was not due until 1h. 56m. a.m., and the cattle train stopped at Atherstone Station, and was in the act of shunting into the up siding, when the up limited mail arrived and ran crashing into it. The engine of the limited mail is described as baving gone right over the guards van at the tail of the cattle train, over the next van in front of it, in which a party of drovers and their men were sitting, and also over the next waggon filled with cattle, and then fell over on its left side on the embankment. I allude especially to the insufficiency of break power attached to the limited mail and to all fast travelling passenger trains, and to the absence of any means of communication between the guards and engine drivers, and between the passengers and the guards. These are decidedly great blots on the railway arrangements for quick travelling in this country, but they are by no means limited to the London and North-Western Railway Company. Apparently the directors of railway companies prefer, or submit, to pay very heavy sums for damage and compensation rather than to direct their officers to give more attention to the two points to which I have referred, by which it is certain that the number of accidents would be sensibly diminished, and the severity of those that do occur would be materially mitigated'.

View of the original station layout showing the station. goods yard and shed together with the level crossing and underpass
Ref: BoT_Atherstone1860
Railway Archive
Extract for the accident at Atherstone between a special cattle train and the Mail train on 16th November 1860