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Marston Green Station

LMS Route: Rugby to Wolverhampton

Marston Green station is located on the London and Birmingham main line between Hampton in Arden and Lea Hall. The decision to open a station at Marston Green, then serving a tiny village community, was officially sanctioned by the newly formed LNWR in October 1844 with a platform and booking hut authorised the following month. The station layout was built from the outset with two platforms to the west of the level crossing and not in the staggered formation with one platform either side as seen at Tile Hill and originally at Berkswell stations. The station was built on the Birmingham side of a level crossing, the crossing marking the change of road name. On the 'south' side was Elmdon Lane whilst on the 'north' side it became Holly Lane. Station Road, which ran from the centre of Marston Green, is shown on the 1937 Ordnance Survey map to enter Holly Lane just a few yards short of the level crossing. The entrance to the station's goods yard was off this section of road as was the dropping off of passengers accessing the station.

The goods yard facility was provided with two sidings, a weighbridge and office and mainly catered for mineral traffic with coal and coke being its primary source of traffic. The Railway Clearing House's 1929 Handbook of Railway Stations states Marston Green station provided the general public and businesses with the following services: Goods traffic; Passenger and Parcels traffic; Horse Boxes and Prize Cattle Vans; and Livestock (GPLH). There were no cranage facilities provided up to 1929 although in image 'lnwrmg2819b' the jib of a truck mounted crane can be seen. This might have been brought in specially to undertake some work or a crane had been provided at a later date. 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 (GP). This would appear to indicate that the facilities were slightly less in that no furniture loads or livestock could be readily handled at the station until some time in the 20th century. The goods yard closed to traffic on 6th July 1964.

In addition to the goods yard there was a refuge siding built opposite on the down line. This refuge siding finished just short of the original L&BR crossing keeper's house which was located adjacent to the down line on the Coventry side of the level crossing (see image 'lnwrmg3921'). The crossing keeper's house appears to have been demolished post World War Two as it is present on the 1937 Ordnance Survey map but not evident in any of the British Railways era photographs we have seen. Had the quadrupling of the line between Coventry and Birmingham been carried out the station as seen today would have been swept away. It would have been replaced by two platforms set either side of four tracks with the main lines passing through the middle. The level crossing would have been replaced by an under bridge to accommodate Elmdon Lane. The existing building would have been replaced by a modern booking office facing the road with inclined approaches leading to the two platforms. The goods yard was to be expanded with four sidings accommodating 36, 21, 21 and 32 wagons respectively with a landing stage to accommodate both cattle and other traffic. The proposed revised layout can be seen in image 'lnwrmg2815'.

As the line passed close to Elmdon aerodrome a short distance to the east of the station, emergency colour light signals were installed. These were normally out, but in the event of the down line becoming obstructed or damaged by aircraft, the emergency colour light signals could be illuminated by the signalman to stop any Down train. These signals, when lit, gave yellow and red aspects, and should a train be stopped at the emergency stop signal, the driver was not to proceed until the light had been extinguished and permission had been received by telephone from the signalman. One result of electrification was the modification of the various station structures including the footbridge and canopies. The lower half of the former is pure LNWR, as evidenced by the design of the lower stairway railings. The upper half is BR. The trimming back of the awning on the up side gives one the opportunity to study the window frames and ornate iron spandrels fitted in the central opening (see images'lnwrmg2814' and 'lnwrmg2821').

Marston Green station

An Edwardian view from the up platform looking towards Coventry with the level crossing gates closed to road traffic
Ref: lnwrmg3919
J Alsop
An Edwardian view from the up platform looking towards Coventry with the crossing gates closed to road traffic
Looking towards Coventry from the Birmingham end of the down platform showing the oil lamps on posts against the fencing
Ref: lnwrmg717
P Hopkins
Looking to Coventry from the Birmingham end of the down platform with oil lamps on posts against the fencing
Close up showing the layout of the station with the signal box on the left next to the up platform and the main station building located on the down platform
Ref: lnwrmg717a
P Hopkins
Close up showing the signal box on the left at the end of the up platform with the main building on the down platform
A 1950s view of the station looking towards Coventry with the station looking very little different except the platforms are now lit by electric lighting
Ref: lnwrmg718
Lens of Sutton
The station in the 1950s looking very little different except the platforms are now lit by electric lighting
Close up showing the station buildings with the down platform only housing a waiting room and toilets
Ref: lnwrmg718a
Lens of Sutton
Close up showing the station buildings with the down platform only housing a waiting room and toilets

Looking towards Coventry and the level crossing from the Birmingham end of the up platform on 24th May 1955
Ref: lnwrmg2818
DJ Norton
Looking towards Coventry and the level crossing from the Birmingham end of the up platform on 24th May 1955
Close up showing the gated entrance to Marston Green goods yard and the weigh bridge office behind
Ref: lnwrmg2818a
DJ Norton
Close up showing the gated entrance to Marston Green goods yard and the weigh bridge office behind
Looking towards Coventry from the Birmingham end of the down platform during the late 1950s with the gates open to road traffic
Ref: lnwrmg2097
Lens of Sutton
Looking towards Coventry from the Birmingham end of the down platform during the late 1950s
Looking towards Coventry from the Coventry end of the up platform with the signal box on the left on 30th May 1955
Ref: lnwrmg1591
DJ Norton
Looking to Coventry from the centre section of the up platform with the signal box on the left on 30th May 1955
Looking towards Coventry from Marston Green station's down platform as the initial electrical catenary engineering work progresses
Ref: lnwrmg3920
J Alsop
Looking towards Coventry from the down platform as the initial electrical catenary engineering work progresses

Marston Green goods yard and the southern approaches

Looking towards Coventry from the footbridge with Marston Green goods yard on the up side and the refuge siding on the down side
Ref: lnwrmg1592
DJ Norton
Looking to Coventry from the footbridge with the goods yard on the up side and the refuge siding on the down side
Looking towards Marston Green showing the down refuge siding on the left and the shunting neck on the right
Ref: lnwrmg2817
DJ Norton
Looking towards Marston Green showing the down refuge siding on the left and the shunting neck on the right
Close up of the approach to the station, the entrance to the goods yard and the remains of the cattle dock
Ref: lnwrmg2817a
DJ Norton
Close up of the approach to the station, the entrance to the goods yard and the remains of the cattle dock
Looking north showing the level crossing, the signal box on the up platform and part of the goods yard on the right
Ref: lnwrmg2819
DJ Norton
Looking north showing the level crossing, the signal box on the up platform and part of the goods yard on the right
Close up showing part of Marston Green goods yard with several open mineral wagons and huts in view
Ref: lnwrmg2819b
DJ Norton
Close up showing part of Marston Green goods yard with several open mineral wagons and huts in view

Close up showing the level crossing  gate protecting Elmdon Lane which is still in a rural aspect in 1955
Ref: lnwrmg2820a
DJ Norton
Close up showing the level crossing gate protecting Elmdon Lane which is still in a rural aspect in 1955
Close up looking towards New Street showing Marston Green station from the Coventry side of the level crossing
Ref: lnwrmg2819a
DJ Norton
Close up looking towards New Street showing Marston Green station from the Coventry side of the level crossing

Aftermath of railway accident crashed wagons June 1963

Below are a series of photographs showing the aftermath of the derailment of wagons at Marston Green. Essentially the accident was caused by a dragging coupling shackle on one of the wagons and not a broken rail as sometimes claimed. It smashed along the sleepers from a position near to where Birmingham International is now sited and when it got to the level crossing it snagged up on the crossing and derailed the rear of the train and demolishing part of the signal cabin and station. It happened at around 0500 hours. It was very fortunate to be that early as there were no passengers on the platform at the time because, as is evident from Dr Alan Smyth's photographs, the casualty rate would have been very high. Apparently despite the noise of the crash the sleepy villagers of Marston Green never heard a thing. The signalman on duty was Mr Joe Hubbocks. The colour photos are from an unknown source and show the station after the site had been tidied up but not repaired. The black & white photographs were taken by Dr Alan Smyth. Most of the photographs are not as sharp as we would like but as they show the immediate aftermath and the effort of the railway workers to sort out the problem we thought they should be included. As we often say, 'you cannot go back and have another go'. Our thanks to Dave Wilson for providing information on the accident and for arranging access to these and other photographs taken by the late Dr Alan Smyth.

The following extract is from the publication 'Marston Green: From Olden Days to the Present Day; courtesy of Mike Whitehead

The chaos that came in with the 4.27

Marston Given Station was virtually wrecked when wagons from a fast freight train were derailed and flung both sides of the Station. Fortunately, no one was hurt in the accident which happened at 4:27am on Thursday 27th June 1963, but trains between Hampton in Arden and Birmingham ceased running. The derailed wagons at the rear of the 12:15am 'Willesden to Curzon Street' train, were dragged along by the train and one wagon removed brickwork from the Signal Box. Another hurtled over a platform, down an embankment on to the Marston Green Municipal Golf Course. The wooden canopy over one platform was wrecked, one wagon finished on the platform and another wagon crashed into the booking office at the 'City' side of the Station. The train was laden with meat carcases which were left strewn along the track and platforms. The level crossing was blocked to road traffic and a diversion was set up through the village to reach Elmdon Line.

A view looking towards Coventry showing the much damaged down platform buildings and Elmdon Airport in the distance on the right
Ref: lnwrmg3916
Anon
Looking towards Coventry with the much damaged down platform buildings and Elmdon Airport on the right
View of the remains of some of the derailed wagons including at least two British Railways Conflat A wagons
Ref: lnwrmg3917
Anon
View of the remains of some of the derailed wagons including at least two British Railways Conflat A wagons
Railway managers and inspectors stand on the level crossing as they survey the scene whilst railway police stand guard
Ref: lnwrmg3922
Dr A Smyth
Railway managers stand on the level crossing as they survey the scene whilst railway police stand guard
One of the derailed railway Conflat 'A' wagons carrying a container of meat carcases
Ref: lnwrmg3924
Anon
View of one of the derailed railway Conflat 'A' wagons carrying a container of meat carcases
The damaged down platform building with both the ladies waiting room and end room severely damaged
Ref: lnwrmg3926
Dr A Smyth
The down platform building with both the ladies waiting room and end room severely damaged

View of the Conflat 'A' wagon minus both sets of wheels lies on the boundary of the station with Marston Green Golf Course
Ref: lnwrmg3925
Dr A Smyth
The Conflat 'A' wagon, minus its wheels, lies on the boundary of the station with Marston Green Golf Course
This view looking towards New Street shows a brake down train standing on the down line
Ref: lnwrmg3923
Anon
This view looking towards Birmingham New Street shows a brake down train standing on the down line
Looking from the down platform towards the up platform's less severely damaged building
Ref: lnwrmg3886
Dr A Smyth
Looking from Marston Green's down platform towards the up platform's less severely damaged building
A photograph looking towards Birmingham New Street showing both the damaged down buildings on the left and the damaged down track
Ref: lnwrmg3884
Dr A Smyth
Looking towards New Street with the damaged down buildings on the left and the damaged down track
Looking towards Coventry with an ex-LMS Stanier locomotive on the track alongside workmen clearing the down platform
Ref: lnwrmg3885
Dr A Smyth
Looking towards Coventry with a locomotive on the track alongside workmen clearing the down platform

Looking from the up platform towards the down platform with debris from the wagons and containers spread along and behind the down platform
Ref: lnwrmg3887
Dr A Smyth
The down platform with debris from the wagons and containers spread along and behind the down platform
View from the footbridge of Marston Green's level crossing being repaired with the signal cabin on the left
Ref: lnwrmg3888
Dr A Smyth
View from the footbridge of Marston Green's level crossing being repaired with the signal cabin on the left
View from the footbridge of track repairs to both lines and Marston Green's goods yard being used to stable the breakdown train
Ref: lnwrmg3889
Dr A Smyth
View of track repairs to both lines and Marston Green's goods yard being used to stable the breakdown train
Looking at Marston Green Signal Cabin, on the left, and the level crossing both being repaired
Ref: lnwrmg3890
Dr A Smyth
Looking towards Marston Green Signal Cabin, on the left, and the level crossing both being repaired
View of Marston Green Signal Cabin showing the almost complete demolition of the front of the machine room
Ref: lnwrmg3891
Dr A Smyth
View of Marston Green Signal Cabin showing the almost complete demolition of the front of the machine room

Marston Green station after the line had been electrified

View of the modified ex-LNWR structures on Marston Green's down platform after electrification
Ref: lnwrmg2814
Dr A Smyth
xxx
Close up showing part of Marston Green goods yard with several open mineral wagons and huts in view
Ref: lnwrmg2821
Powell Hendry
The station building on the up platform with the ladies waiting room on the left and the booking office on the right
View showing Marston Green signal box and the passenger footbridge modified to gain extra height over the tracks
Ref: lnwrmg2821
Powell Hendry
View showing Marston Green signal box and the passenger footbridge modified to gain extra height over the tracks

Schematic maps showing actual layout and proposed modifications to Marston Green station

A 1902 25 inch to the mile Ordnance Survey map of Marston Green station, level crossing and goods yard
Ref: lnwrmg3918
National Library of Scotland
A 1902 25 inch to the mile Ordnance Survey map of Marston Green station, level crossing and goods yard
A 1937 25 inch to the mile Ordnance Survey map of Marston Green station, level crossing and goods yard
Ref: lnwrmg3919
National Library of Scotland
A 1937 25 inch to the mile Ordnance Survey map of Marston Green station, level crossing and goods yard
Schematic plan showing the layout of Marston Green station's facilities including the goods yard
Ref: lnwrmg2816
Preston Hendry
Schematic plan showing the layout of Marston Green station's facilities including the goods yard
Close up of schematic plan showing the various facilities provided for both passengers and goods traffic at Marston Green station
Ref: lnwrmg2816a
Preston Hendry
Close up of schematic plan showing the various facilities provided for both passengers and goods traffic
Schematic plan of proposed four track route through Marston Green station circa 1938
Ref: lnwrmg2815
Preston Hendry
Schematic plan of proposed four track route through Marston Green station and goods yard circa 1938

Close up of schematic plan showing proposed modifications to Marston Green station circa 1938
Ref: lnwrmg2815a
Preston Hendry
Close up of schematic plan showing proposed modifications to Marston Green station circa 1938

Locomotives and trains seen at Marston Green

Ex-LMS 4-6-0 Jubilee class No 45587 'Baroda' is seen at the head of an up express as it passes over Marston Green level crossing on 24th April 1954
Ref: lnwrmg1593
DJ Norton
Ex-LMS 4-6-0 No 45587 'Baroda' is seen at the head of an up express passing through the level crossing
Ex-LMS 4-6-0 5MT No 45344 is seen at the head of an engineering department's loading gauge clearance test train on 24th April 1954
Ref: lnwrmg1594
DJ Norton
Ex-LMS 4-6-0 5MT No 45344 at the head of an engineering department's loading gauge clearance test train
Ex-LMS 4-6-0 5MT No 45344 is seen at the head of an engineering department's loading gauge clearance test train on 24th April 1954
Ref: lnwrmg2820
DJ Norton
Ex-LMS 5MT 4-6-0 No 44863 is seen passing Marston Green level crossing at the head of a down express train
British Railways Standard class 5MT No 73004 is seen at the head of the 12.14 pm semi-fast Watford to Birmingham New Street
Ref: lnwrmg1290
M Mensing
British Railways Standard class 5MT No 73004 is seen at the head of the 12.14 pm semi-fast Watford to New Street
Ex-LNER 4-6-0 B1 class No 61119 is seen at the head of the 7 am Norwich Thorpe to Birmingham New Street service on 31st July 1963
Ref: lnwrmg1291
M Mensing
Ex-LNER 4-6-0 B1 class No 61119 at the head of the 7:00am Norwich Thorpe to New Street service

A Class 310 EMU is seen arriving at Marston Green on 14:40pm semi-fast New Street to Euston service
Ref: lnwrmg2810
M Mensing
A Class 310 EMU is seen arriving at Marston Green on 14:40pm semi-fast New Street to Euston service