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GWR Routes

Hatton to Bearley and the Alcester Branch

The Alcester to Hatton line was a thirteen mile long single-track branch railway line and was in fact made up of two different entities, albeit both being controlled by the Great western Railway. The first section, the line from Hatton - which was located on the Birmingham and Oxford Junction Railway (B&OJR) - ran to Bearley, a distance of seven miles. It was part of the Stratford Upon Avon Railway, which opened on 9th October 1860. The Stratford Upon Avon Railway, which ran from Hatton to Birmingham Road, Stratford Upon Avon, had three intermediate stations, Claverdon, Bearley and Wilmcote, the latter not being part of the Hatton to Alcester stretch of line. The Alcester Railway, which opened on 4th September 1876, commenced at Bearley leaving the Stratford upon Avon Railway at Bearley East Junction before running some six miles to Alcester where it linked to the Midland Railway controlled Evesham and Redditch Railway (E&RR). The Alcester Branch was very much a rural line being single through with initially just one intermediate stopping place, Great Alne station; the second intermediate stopping place Aston Cantlow Halt not being opened until 18th December 1922. The line only required one locomotive to meet its daily workload and therefore only a single engine shed was required. Surprisingly, for a GWR controlled line, the shed was not located at Bearley but at Alcester at the junction with the Evesham and Redditch Railway.

The Alcester Branch section of the line was closed during both World Wars. In 1917 the line closed for economic reasons (as did many such lines with the track being removed, often to be sent to France to be used on the Western Front for supporting the Allied troops). Surprisingly, given the lack of traffic pre-war, the line reopened with the track being replaced in 1922 for the section between Bearley and Great Alne and 1923 for the remainder of the line. The outbreak of the Second World War caused the Alcester Branch line to be closed again on 25th September 1939, but this time the track was not removed and the relocation of the Maudslay Motor Company from Coventry to Great Alne in 1941 meant an unadvertised workman's train from Leamington was required. Public goods services were also restored to Great Alne the following year, but the section between Alcester and Great Alne remained closed. The special passenger service to Great Alne finished on 3rd July 1944, but the goods yard remained open with a regular twice weekly freight service. This ceased in 1947 and the Alcester Branch was officially closed on 1st March 1951.

Alcester [14]
MR & GWR Joint Station [32]
GWR Shed [19]
  Great Alne [37]
Aston Cantlow [17]
Bearley North and West Junctions [50]
  Claverdon 55]
  Hatton [75]

At Hatton Station the line joined the Birmingham and Oxford Junction Railway (B&OJR), which ran from Fenny Compton to Birmingham.