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Saturday 31 December 2016

Mythe Railway Bridge

One of the most impressive pieces of architecture on the Malvern-Ashchurch branch line was the brick arch bridge which crossed the River Avon just north of Tewkesbury. Upon exiting the Mythe Tunnel west of the town, the line rose on a gentle embankment to reach the bridge, which flew over the river via a small spit in the centre of the waterway.

The bridge itself can be seen in the bottom right corner of this picture from 1947, albeit with the western section cut off from the edge of the shot. The railway line can also be seen as it crosses the north of Tewkesbury town to arrive at the second station built in the town in 1864. Further back can be seen the original station on the Quays branch line, built in 1840.

The embankment and several small bridges leading up to the main river crossing were removed in 2013 as part of a package of works designed to reduce the likelihood of flooding in Tewkesbury, but a few important remnants of the original bridge remain today. The western section of the brick bridge still stands, and the buttresses on either end of the 'town' side section also remain intact, albeit now linked only by a metal frame. Meanwhile, the spit itself is now the property of Tewkesbury Marina, placing the bridge on private land.

Approaching Tewkesbury along the A38 Mythe Road, an earthern ramp appears along the northern side of the roadway. This is the remaining section of embankment which was left by the Environment Agency and Severn Trent Water after their demolition of the embankment in 2013. Luckily, the chilly Boxing Day weather was enough to keep away the clouds and provide a good light to see across the field!

The remaining section of embankment, north-west of Tewkesbury.
The embankment from further along the Mythe Road.
Looking eastwards across the field towards Tewkesbury, the arches of the original brick bridge become visible in the distance. We continue our walk down Mythe Road, heading on to the road bridge that connects Tewkesbury with Worcestershire.

The bridge arches in the distance.
The bridge closer up.
The western bridge section, 1/2.
The clearest view of the western bridge section, 2/2.
This next picture shows the entire span of the former bridge in context: the western section on the left remains intact, while the 'town' section to the east has been dismembered. Stanchard House, part of Tewkesbury Marina, is clearly visible on the central spit.

A view of the entire river.
Looking closely at the eastern section of the old bridge, we see that all everything but the buttresses on either bank have been dismantled. Nonetheless, even these relics give an idea of what the original bridge must have looked like.

The buttresses supporting what was the eastern section of the bridge.
The buttress on the spit.
The 'town' side buttress on the eastern bank.
The view from King John's Bridge.

Saturday 24 December 2016

Merry Christmas!

As my usual Saturday update schedule falls on Christmas Eve this year, I'd just like wish all of my visitors a very Merry Christmas! Many thanks to all of you who have supported this site during its first year. In keeping with the season, here's a small gift by way of a recap of one of Richard Moreton's snowy scenes from Malvern Common. All the best for the festive season!

Friday 23 December 2016

Freight in Malvern

Seen on 3rd December 2016, two grubby Freightliners (66523 and 66513, not that you can tell) pulling the 0615 Swindon to Gloucester Horton Road. Nice colours, though!

Saturday 17 December 2016

Malvern-Ashchurch Timetable

A small update this week with a timetable from the old Malvern-Ashchurch railway. This edition actually shows the line during its more active years, with 5 trains a day down from Malvern to Ashchurch and 5 a day coming back up, with an additional 'down' service on Thursdays and Saturdays. The more eagle-eyed among you will have noticed that, at around 35 minutes, the old steam trains on this line were no slower than the current direct diesel service between the modern Malvern and Ashchurch stations.

Saturday 10 December 2016

More Pictures from Ripple and Malvern Hanley Road

I've been clearing up a few old images from my archive this week and found these two pictures to share with you. The first is from Ripple, taken just south of the old station there. The second is a great shot of Malvern Hanley Road seven years after its closure, with a rare view of the roadside entrance to the station.

South of Ripple, late 1950s.
'Road Entrance, Malvern Wells LMS Station', November 1959.

Saturday 3 December 2016

Malvern and Tewkesbury Junction Signal Box

I've been waiting to write this post ever since seeing this old picture in Brian Iles' Around Malvern. The historical shot below shows the old GWR signal box that guarded the junction between the LMS's Malvern-Ashchurch railway and the surviving GWR Worcester-Hereford line until the former's demise in the early 1950s. I've done my best to provide a matching shot, taken by sticking my camera through the steel fence on Network Rail's wasteland site opposite County Builders on St Andrew's Road. The site is closed to the public and I had to be supervised for my visit, so please don't head up there yourself - in truth, there isn't much left to see anyway and what little there is I have snapped exhaustively for the Tewkesbury Junction page. I'm very pleased to have finally got this posted, anyway. Now to find some shots of the Midland signal box further out on the Common...

Malvern and Tewkesbury Junction GWR signal box.
My matching shot from February 2016. Apart from the overgrowth and the colour of the gables on the College houses, not much has changed from this perspective.

Monday 28 November 2016

Heritage Railway Updates

Following a request from a commenter, I've decided to keep a running update on the blog showing when the next heritage train will be passing through the area. In general, these tend to visit Worcester Shrub Hill or Hereford (steam tours through Malvern are rare although diesel tours are more frequent). Please note that by 'local' I mean within a reasonable distance of Malvern - I won't be including movements to and from the Severn Valley Railway's depot at Kidderminster or the Tyseley Locomotive Works in Birmingham unless they pass nearby. I'll also probably keep just the one up at a time, unless several are happening in short succession. Anyway, the widget for this will stay on the top-right of the page, so please do keep checking back to keep yourself informed.

Sunday 27 November 2016

Steam in Malvern - 27th November 2016

Sunday 27th November saw the Railway Touring Company's 'Welsh Marches Express' steam through Malvern with the 0840 Birmingham International to Cardiff Central. I managed to snap it passing in front of the historic Malvern College. 44871 and 45407 led from the front, supported by a diesel on the back for the muscle needed to climb to Colwall.

Saturday 19 November 2016


Just the one picture this week from a location that I've not had a chance to visit yet. This picture was taken to the west of Puckrup, a small village south of Ripple, during the early 1950s. The picture is from the collection of Ben Brooksbank who, along with Jim Clemens, must surely have the best collection of original photographs of the LMS Railway's Malvern branch. Ben has very generously uploaded most of his railway photographs to his Geograph page, providing an invaluable resource to anyone interested in railways in Worcestershire and Gloucestershire during the 1950s.

Goods train for Malvern on the branch from Ashchurch via Tewkesbury, 1951. View NW from Puckrup Lane at Bow Farm south of Ripple, also exactly on the Gloucestershire/Worcestershire county boundary. The train is headed by an ex-Midland 3F 0-6-0: note the number of cattle-wagons, much used for transporting live animals in those days. Used courtesy of Ben Brooksbank via Creative Commons.

Saturday 12 November 2016

More Pictures of Tewkesbury Junction

This week's blog post features some additional of pictures of the old Malvern and Tewkesbury Junction site on Malvern Common. I have been trying recently to find some pictures of the two signal boxes that stood here, namely the GWR box on the surviving Worcester-Hereford line (which would have stood opposite the Network Rail wasteland by County Building Supplies) and the Midland box on the long-removed route to Ashchurch. The latter would have stood somewhere in the middle of what is now the eastern side of Malvern Common, near Peachfield bridge:

If anyone has any pictures of either of these signal boxes, please let me know as photographs of these sites are extremely rare.

The old water tower at Tewkesbury Junction.
'Site of Tewkesbury Junction, Malvern, approx 1959.'
The view north-east towards Malvern. Christ Church can be seen in the distance.

Saturday 5 November 2016

More Pictures of Great Malvern Station

This week's update features some more pictures of two of Great Malvern Station's lost features: the old Midland bay and the signal box. The latter in particular is quite difficult to find original shots of - if anyone out there has any photos showing the old signal box, I'd love to see them!

Saturday 29 October 2016

Inside Malvern Wells Signal Box

Back in June, I was lucky enough to spend an hour or so inside the active signal box at Malvern Wells' old GWR station. The box stands guard over the eastern approach to Colwall Tunnel and was built in 1919, replacing the original signal cabin constructed over fifty years previously. An important note: as with many of the sites on this blog, I was able to visit the signal box only after obtaining permission. However, this site carries the obvious added risk that it is a live railway, so please enjoy my pictures instead of going near it yourself.

Ground Level

Malvern Wells signal box standing behind the derelict GWR station.
The signal box is accessed by a simple ramp leading off a private road.
The signal box from the south.
Looking south towards Colwall Tunnel (round the bend!)
The rear of the signal box. This view is very difficult to see normally because the land behind the box drops away steeply onto the small housing estate north of Worcestershire Golf Course.
Signal at the foot of the signal box.
The view north towards Peachfield Bridge. The old station lay behind the hedgerow here.
A fuller view of the above.
Behind the signal box lie the remains of what may have been a previous building. The ground is littered with old bricks, boards and stones. I have no idea if these are just cast-offs from previous repairs to the 1919 box, but these scraps do sit on the location of the very first Victorian signal cabin at the Wells. Perhaps someone will know if this is the case or just wishful thinking on my part!

Some old roofing boards.
Blue bricks in the undergrowth, the same Imperial colour as used on much of the Ashchurch branch.
Some more stones, barely visible in the nettles.
These bricks look slightly more permanent.
Inside the Box

Up the stairs onto the top floor...
Part of the large shelf of old instruments in the box.
The junction diagram above the lever array. The large green GWR Lock & Block instrument by which the single line to Ledbury is worked is the last remaining single-line section in the country to use this system.
Very colourful!
The View from the Top Floor

A FGW DMU waits for the driver to change ends.
The old signal discs below Peachfield Bridge.
Across the way looking at the old third line at the Wells.
North towards Malvern Common.
Peachfield Bridge.
The view from the back window...
Down the line towards Colwall Tunnel.
The single-track approach to the tunnel. The overgrown third line can be seen petering out on the right.