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Ashchurch for Tewkesbury is a railway station serving the village of Ashchurchmarker near Tewkesburymarker in Gloucestershiremarker, Englandmarker. The station is located on the main Bristol-Birmingham main line 12 km (7ΒΌ miles) north of Cheltenham Spamarker and was opened on 1 June 1997. There are regular bus connections from near the station to Tewkesburymarker, which is located two miles to the west.

History

Opened by the Midland Railway, it became part of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway during the Grouping of 1923. The station then passed to the London Midland Region of British Railways on nationalisation in 1948. It was then closed by the British Railways Board.

Two fatal accidents occurred near the station prior to its original closure - the first in 1929 and the second forty years later in 1969

Description

The station reopened in 1997 on the site of the earlier station which had lain derelict for several decades. Only one small ruined red-brick shed remains of the original station buildings. In the post-war period, the station had been used both for passenger services and for cargo loading for the nearby army base. A number of cargo sidings still exist nearby. Once a railway centre of some importance, as it was the junction for two branches, one each side of the main line:

  • 1. The Eveshammarker line, actually a lengthy loop serving Evesham, Alcestermarker and Redditch, re-joining the main line at Barnt Greenmarker, near Bromsgrovemarker. This line closed between Evesham and Redditch in October 1962 due to poor condition of the track, while Ashchurch to Evesham followed in June 1963 (Redditch to Barnt Green remains open on the electrified Birmingham suburban network).


  • 2. The line to Tewkesbury, Upton-upon-Severn and Malvern, closed beyond Upton in December 1952, Ashchurch to Upton following in August 1961. At this time Ashchurch station was renamed Ashchurch for Tewkesbury, but it too was to close, in November 1971, reopening in June 1997. There used to be a connecting curve linking the two branches, crossing the main line on the level just north of the station, creating a layout which may have been unique in Britain, but this curve closed in December 1957. There was an extensive goods yard to the south, and to the north west a large grain store.


The remains of the old line are still apparent, with much of its infrastructure (such as bridges) still in existence. The old connecting curve and the two branches it served can clearly be traced on a map. With much of the Ashchurch to Tewkesbury line now being used as a Cycle and Footpath, this section proved valuable during the 2007 floods as it was the only dry route into, and out of, Tewkesbury at the time.

When reopened in 1997, there were considerably more northbound services, with many CrossCountry (or former Central Trains services from Cardiff calling there. However, in the early 2000s these services were withdrawn, reducing the usefulness of the station. Passengers wishing to travel to Birmingham usually had to travel south to Cheltenham Spamarker, change onto a northbound train, then return northwards, passing through Ashchurch without stopping. From December 2006, some peak time services to and from Birmingham were reintroduced. However, from December 2008, CrossCountry are cutting the service on weekdays from 7 to 4 northbound services and from 4 (5 on Fridays) to 2 southbound services.

In addition to the A46 road bridge, there is a ramped footbridge which provides wheelchair access to both platforms. A pushbutton computerised service provides real-time next train announcements. There is a large car park situated adjacent to the northbound platform, and a bus stop from where the Stagecoach Bus 41 service departs to Tewkesbury town centre.

As the station is unstaffed, tickets must be purchased on the train itself or in advance.

Services

The station is served by three operators. First Great Western (who manage the station) operate a two-hourly service between Ashchurch and Worcestermarker with some continuing to Great Malvernmarker in the north, and to Cheltenhammarker, Bristolmarker, Westburymarker and sometimes Weymouthmarker or Brightonmarker in the south.

A small number of CrossCountry services between Cardiff Centralmarker and Nottinghammarker call there, as does a single late Friday night London Midland train between Gloucestermarker and Birmingham New Streetmarker, providing some direct trains to Birmingham.

London Midland operates a Worcestermarker to Gloucestermarker (calling at Cheltenham and Ashchurch) service six times a day in each direction to fill the gap between the current 2-hourly First Great Western service. This gives Ashchurch a much needed hourly (or roughly so) service in both directions in the daytime Monday to Saturday.

References

  1. Report on the Accident at Ashchurch on 8th January 1929 The Railways Archive; Retrieved 2009-04-03
  2. Report on the Derailment and subsequent Collision that occurred on 8th March 1969 near Ashchurch Station in the Western Region British Railways The Railways Archive; Retrieved 2004-04-03


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