Hatton Station was one of nine intermediate stations on the
Birmingham and Oxford Junction Railway (B&O), which ran from Fenny Compton
to Birmingham. This mixed gauge line was owned by the Great Western Railway and
opened on 1st October 1852. Hatton was the site of unfortunate collision on the
day before the public opening, when a special train carrying the director's
party collided with another train injuring six passengers. The station was on a
short section of level track in what was an unbroken gradient from Warwick to 1
mile north of the station, known as the Hatton Bank. The majority of this 5
mile climb was 1 in 110 and banking engines were a frequent sight at Hatton.
Another common site here were the slip coaches for Stratford upon Avon. On 10th
October 1860 Hatton became a junction when a 9½ mile, mixed gauge,
single line branch to Stratford upon Avon opened. On 1st April 1869 the mixed
gauge on both the main line and branch was converted to standard gauge only and
in 1883 the nominally independent Stratford-upon-Avon railway Company was
amalgamated into the GWR.
By 1892 traffic demands required the platforms to be
extended and the provision of additional sidings and in July 1897 the
triangular junction was formed by the creation of the north (avoiding) curve,
which allowed trains from Birmingham to proceed to Stratford upon Avon and
beyond without reversing at Hatton. This triangular junction required two more
signal boxes (Hatton North and Hatton Branch), but the turntable was removed a
few years later in 1913. Station and track improvements continued with the
provision of the down platform and branch bay canopy in 1897, conversion of
refuge sidings to goods loops in June 1901 and the extension of the down goods
line from Budbrook to Hatton in May 1914. This down goods line was 2¼
miles long and could officially accommodate an engine, 467 wagons and brakevan,
although down mineral trains hauled by group D engines (GW 26xx, 43xx and 49xx
classes) were limited to 36 wagons (increased to 54 wagons with banking engine
assistance) and those hauled by group E engines (GW 28xx and 47xx classes) 44
wagons (66 wagons if banked).
The goods facilities was very small being limited to two
short sidings, accessed by rail from either end of the up platform. Access by
road vehicle to the two sidings was via the same approach road off Station Road
that passengers took to enter the main station building. The long siding seen
running adjacent to the platform used by trains to and from Stratford on Avon
was for railway traffic only, there being no road access to this area of the
station. Closed to goods traffic on 11th November 1963.
In the winter of 1936/37 the Middle and South Signal Boxes
were replaced with a new South Signal Box on the down platform and this
simplified the operating requirements for trains on the branch bay platform. In
July 1939 the Branch between Hatton and Bearley was doubled and the Branch
Signal Box was renamed Hatton West Junction. In 1968 the track was rationalised
with many loops and sidings being removed and the North Curve singled. The
following year the branch to Bearley was singled and the three Hatton signal
Boxes were closed. All signalling operations became the responsibility of the
Saltley Power Box on 1st September 1969. Hatton Station is still open today
although many of the station buildings no longer exist.
Kevin Jones writes, 'One little tale about the
triangular junction at Hatton from my father and mother. Shortly after WW2 the
railway was transporting a load of bananas - probably one of the first into the
country after, as my father puts it, "the recent hostilities". Unfortunately
the refrigeration equipment on the ship had been faulty, and the whole
trainload spoiled in the railway wagons. Somebody, somewhere, in the railway
officialdom decided that the best way of getting rid of them was to tip them in
the middle of the triangular junction at Hatton and cover them with earth.
As dad says, the junction is the size of a football pitch,
just about, and it was pretty filled up with rotting bananas and earth. Anyway,
the inevitable happened - the lot fermented, and there was probably spontaneous
combustion going on. Large amounts of steam and, periodically, smoke started
erupting. The railway authorities contacted the local fire brigade who ran
hosepipes from the local canal, under the embankment, into the massive pile of
decomposing bananas in the hope of solving the problem and cooling it down.
The fermentation going on went mad - a bit like having
porridge on the boil. In fact the fermentation went on for years afterwards - a
fresh fall of rain, and it would be off again - with plumes of smoke and steam,
and ghastly aromatic smells wafting round the area, and warning signs leaning
over to one side as things festered violently underneath them. Mum remarked
that the smell was appalling - she knew the story firsthand, living in
Leamington. Dad, who had to go up and down the line when he was on National
Service, picked it up from a local - he was puzzled as to why this area was
forever belching steam, smoke and pongs. Now this - fiasco - happened, they
think, in the late 40s. It was still bubbling merrily away in the mid 50s. I've
no idea how long it would have continued.
It would appear to be a story that was well known in the
area at the time, but which has since been long forgotten. Suffice to say that
they never asked biologists about the rationale of the disposal scheme. One
biologist I told it to could see what was coming and fell about laughing before
we got to the culmination - then pointed out that the pongs would have
consisted of various alcohols, ethylene and god knows what! She also pointed
out that if you put a steel bar in a compost heap of 1 metre cube and pull it
out, the end will be too hot to touch, so she'd hate to think what temperature
this heap would have got up to'.
Much of the information on this and other pages of
Warwickshire Railways is derived from articles or books listed in our 'bibliography'.
Accident at Hatton on 23rd November 1868
The report on a collision between a passenger train and
a goods train which was returning to the correct line after shunting clear.
This document was published on 11th December 1868 by Board of Trade.
"As the goods train was on the up road, it had to cross to
the down line by a crossing at the north side of Hatton station. While doing so
the station master heard the whistle of the engine of the up passenger train,
due to leave Birmingham at 9.10 a.m. He looked at the signals, which were at
danger, but the up passenger train did not stop. The engine of the passenger
train struck the third waggon from the tail of the goods train, and smashed the
waggon which was the last but one of the train. The engine of the passenger
train had one buffer and the step broken. Neither the engine or any coaches of
the passenger train were thrown off the rails or injured."
The station buildings and adjacent infrastructure
Hatton North Junction
Hatton West Junction
Hatton South Junction
Locomotives and Railcars