Hampton Station B&DJR & LNWR
The Nineteen Sixties - taken from the diary notes of
By the end of 1963 electrification installations were
nearing the stations. Mid-November saw 'Evening Star' on an erection train
concreting in the pylons at Bradnocks Marsh, a mile or so south of Hampton
village. Had a brief ride. The Coventry to New Street line was (partly?) closed
most Sundays for this work, always steam hauled.
18 January 1964 - the old main-road bridge at Hampton LNWR
station was blown at 05.40. There were many onlookers, including my
fiancée and me. We all expected a bit more than a puff of smoke! Twenty
wagons underneath spread along both tracks were filled with rubble. We had
'rescued' the old LNWR bridge sign two nights before. A temporary single-width
road-bridge plus traffic lights had been erected on the Birmingham side - in
place for ages!
By the 19 December 1964 all wagons/vans stored on the old
Whitacre branch had been removed and the track lifted. This short section of
track had extended as far as the 5 mile post just before the A 452 Chester
Road. This left only the 'sidings' outside old Hampton Station and the loop/
siding alongside the main line. This could accommodate long freight trains.
Train lengths in wagon numbers were noted in the signal box record book. The
milepost ended up as our house number in Balsall Common 18 months later.
By 21 February 1965 the sidings had been removed. Alongside
the old station they were in a poor state. Steam engines eased their way very
slowly as the sleepers rose and fell underneath. These track sections had
Midland Railway chairs dated 1861, many still with the wedges inside. Work that
remained was removal of the crossovers onto the main line towards Marston
Saturday 15 May 1965 Last week of steam on local services.
Many of these services still comprised non-corridor stock with sepia photos and
Hamilton Ellis prints.
2 April 1966 Hampton LNWR signal box opposite the old
station had been cleared of all equipment. The signboard, some logbooks and
many wagon labels were 'rescued'. All auctioned thirty years later.
Early June 1966 Three trains noted passing through Hampton
hauled by electric locos with diesel pilot behind.
3 July 1966 Hampton LNWR signal box demolished. Electric
signals now in operation. And by early October 1966 electrification
Mid-December 1966 AL5 hauled expresses and Class 310 EMU's
fully in service.
North of the 'new' station, around 400 metres after the
tracks return to double, are two bridge abutments - one each side of the line.
These are the remains of a 'runway' that ran from the Metro Cammel bomber
factory (now part of the Elmdon Ind. Estate) over the railway directly onto
Elmdon Airport. The runway ran directly in front of Marston Hall long since
demolished for a plane-park. The narrow bridge over the line a bit further
north was the main drive from Marston Green to the Hall according to the 1920
O.S. map. (ref: Elmdon Airport website) Research also indicates that the
factory produced Lancaster/Stirling bombers and would be the reason for King
George V1 leaving his train close to Hampton B&DJR for a visit in the
1940s. He did not alight at the station but onto a small track that ran up to
Old Station Road. The photo that Mrs Reeves had has been lost.
Google Earth shows the runway clearly on its 1945 b/w
image. There seems evidence that bombers were also partly built at 'The
Austin', Longbridge then hauled by road to Bickenhill for attachment of the
wings, this due to the runway at Longbridge being too short for take-off. (ref:
Marston Green History website)
In the mid-nineteen thirties Mr and Mrs Reeves took over
tenancy of the station building. Looking at the 'Doctor Smythe' photo the small
attached end-building became their bathroom, the room between there and the
'bow window' was their sitting room. This was formerly the Ladies Waiting Room,
the original door into which still had the outline of lettering in the 1970s.
My wife, Joan, and I could never quite work whether or not there were any
Joan was the Reeves' younger daughter and often spent time
on the shunting engine during holidays. She would climb on top of the dog
kennel, up against the fence along the platform edge, and Johnny, the fireman,
would reach over and lift her onto the footplate. She recalls that it was a
tender loco with a tall chimney; she was not a train-spotter. On one occasion
they travelled down the branch line as far as the Chester Road where the line
ended - the cutting filled in for the road. It was here that we later came
across the '5 miles from W' post. A big thrill for her was travelling down the
main line to do some shunting in the LNWR yard south of that Station on another
Joan also recalls her mum telling her of caddy-cans being
re-filled over the fence during the war when goods trains were 'side-lined'
overnight. The old station held some interest for steam engine crews (the older
ones) right to the end in 1966 and on Sundays they would often pop in during a
lull in action for quick tour and a cuppa. This resulted on one occasion with
the crew promising to pop a few lumps of coal over onto the track as they
finished duty and returned to Saltley Shed. Joan and I spent ages in full
darkness stumbling over more and more huge lumps stretching back along the
track and heaving them back to the Station. The supply lasted her mum for
Joan's father, Leonard, was a cabinet maker working for
Wyckham Blackwell. He worked in the former engine shed in the yard which, by
then had a first floor added inside. Your website photo brought back memories
for her of course and is a view from the rear looking south towards the old
station. As far as to what traffic was shunted Joan cannot remember, it being
the early fifties and she only eleven years old.
I first met Joan in the White Lion - apart from an obvious
attraction, the fact that she lived in an old railway station that I'd never
the rest is history! Joan's mum finally left the station in
1972 for a 'sheltered residence' in the village'.