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GWR Route: Stratford on Avon to Honeybourne

Sancta Lane Station

Sancta Lane (the original name of what is now Sanctus Road) was the Oxford, Worcester & Wolverhampton Railway's (OWWR) branch terminus built in a field called 'Ladye Meadow' and was the first station to open in Stratford upon Avon. It was constructed from the outset as a 'narrow gauge' (4 foot 8½ inches) railway and was a simple layout comprising engine shed, 40 foot turntable, goods shed and single platform with a run round loop to release the locomotive. The second railway to arrive in Stratford upon Avon was the mixed gauge line from Hatton opened on 9th October 1860 by the independent Stratford on Avon Railway Company with its terminal being adjacent to Birmingham Road. It was apparent to both companies that joining the two lines opened up considerable commercial benefits so a new station was built between the two existing termini. This resulted in Sancta Lane being only operational for a very brief period of time, from 12th July 1859 to 24th July 1861. From the 1st August 1861 through services commenced between Leamington and Malvern. Some facilities were still used, the engine shed and turntable was still required and is thought to have existed until a new shed built on the down side to the south of Alcester Road was erected (see image 'gwrsa3041'). A bridge carrying Sancta Lane across the extended line was erected in 1864 replacing the gated crossing previously provided.

The site of Sancta Lane station was near to where the exchange line from the former SMJ station met the GWR's West of England route and where the Sanctus Road bridge is today. Sancta Lane has become Sanctus Street on one side of the bridge and Sanctus Road on the other. There are no known photographs of Sanctus Lane station due in part to its brief existence and being at the dawn of photography. We have however included photographs taken nearly a century later as they were taken within yards of the site of the former Sanctus Lane station.

Much of the information on this and other webpages of Warwickshire Railways is derived from articles or books listed in our 'bibliography'.

Sancta Lane Station

A schematic plan of the OW&WR Railway's 1859 branch terminus at Stratford on Avon
Ref: gwrsanct3160
A Baker
A schematic plan of the OW&WR Railway's 1859 branch terminus at Stratford on Avon
Looking south from Sanctus Road bridge towards the junction with the SMJ during Sunday engineering work
Ref: gwrsanct3159
AT Locke
Looking south from Sanctus Road bridge towards the junction with the SMJ during Sunday engineering work
Looking south from Sanctus Street bridge with the signal box controlling access to the junction with the SMJ seen on the left in 1957
Ref: gwrsanct2481
RC Riley
Looking south with the signal box controlling access to the junction with the SMJ seen on the left in 1957
Looking south towards Stratford Race Course Platform with the now lifted connection to the SMJ line seen the left on 17th July 1966
Ref: gwrsanct2464
J Evans
Looking south to Stratford Race Course Platform with the now lifted connection to the SMJ line seen the left
An 1885 Ordnance Survey map showing the layout and juxtaposition of Evesham Road Crossing and Sanctus Street
Ref: gwrsanct2465
National Library of Scotland
An 1885 OS map showing the layout and juxtaposition of Evesham Road Crossing and Sanctus Street

A 1913 Ordnance Survey map showing the layout and juxtaposition of Evesham Road Crossing and Sanctus Street
Ref: gwrsanct1522
National Library of Scotland
A 1913 OS map showing the layout and juxtaposition of Evesham Road Crossing and Sanctus Street
A 1939 Ordnance Survey map showing the layout and juxtaposition of Evesham Road Crossing and Sanctus Street
Ref: gwrsanct2468
National Library of Scotland
A 1939 OS map showing the layout and juxtaposition of Evesham Road Crossing and Sanctus Street
An 1885 OS map showing the junction and connecting line from Sanctus Road to the East & West Junction station
Ref: gwrsanct3161
National Library of Scotland
An 1885 OS map showing the junction and connecting line from Sanctus Road to the East & West Junction station
A 1913 OS map showing the junction and connecting line from Sanctus Road to the East & West Junction station
Ref: gwrsanct3163
National Library of Scotland
A 1913 OS map showing the junction and connecting line from Sanctus Road to the East & West Junction station
Looking south towards Stratford Race Course Platform with the now lifted connection to the SMJ line seen the left on 17th July 1966
Ref: gwrsanct3162
National Library of Scotland
A 1939 OS map showing the junction and connecting line from Sanctus Road to the East & West Junction station

Schematic plan of the SMJ line and the connections to the GWR line in 1960 after the lifting of the SMJ line to Broom
Ref: gwrsanct2467
RA Cooke
Schematic of the SMJ line & the connections to the GWR line in 1960 after the lifting of the SMJ line to Broom

Locomotives seen at Sanctus Road

British Railways built 4-6-0 Modified Hall No 7918 'Rhose Wood Hall is seen on a Class  A five-coach up express passing the SMJ junction
Ref: gwrsanct1483
RC Riley
BR built 4-6-0 No 7918 'Rhose Wood Hall is seen on a Class A five-coach up express passing the SMJ junction
Ex-GWR 2-6-0 43xx class No 6306 is seen passing Stratford on Avon Junction Signal Box with a four-coach Worcester to Birmingham service
Ref: gwrsanct1523
Millbrook House
Ex-GWR 2-6-0 No 6306 passes Stratford on Avon Junction Signal Box with a service to Birmingham
British Railways built 4-6-0 6959 class No 6995 'Benthall Hall' is seen on the 7:40am St Austell to Wolverhampton Saturdays Only service
Ref: gwrsanct1496
AWV Mace
BR built 4-6-0 No 6995 'Benthall Hall' is seen on the 7:40am St Austell to Wolverhampton S.O. service
Ex-GWR 0-6-0PT 94xx class No 9401 is seen on a local passenger working as it approaches the bridge carrying the former SMJ line
Ref: gwrsanct1485
RC Riley
Ex-GWR 0-6-0PT No 9401 on a local passenger working approaches the bridge carrying the former SMJ line
Ex-GWR 2-8-0 28xx class No 2818 is seen passing Stratford on Avon Junction Signal Box on an up Class G freight service
Ref: gwrsanct1552
P Tandy
Ex-GWR 2-8-0 No 2818 is passing Stratford on Avon Junction Signal Box on an up Class G freight service

British Railways built 4-6-0 Modified Hall class No 6996 'Blackwell Hall' is seen at the head of an up West Country express service to Snow Hill
Ref: gwrsanct1557
AWV Mace
BR built 4-6-0 class No 6996 'Blackwell Hall' is seen at the head of an up West Country express service to Snow Hill
BR built 4-6-0 No 7908 'Henshall Hall' approaches Sanctus Road bridge with a Ramblers Association special
Ref: gwrsanct2480
M Mensing
BR built 4-6-0 No 7908 'Henshall Hall' approaches Sanctus Road bridge with a Ramblers Association special
An unidentified ex-GWR 4-6-0 Castle Class locomotive is seen approaching Sanctus Street bridge with the southbound Cornishman in 1958
Ref: gwrsanct2482
RC Riley
An ex-GWR 4-6-0 Castle Class locomotive approaches Sanctus Street bridge with the southbound Cornishman
Ex-GWR 0-6-0 2251 class No 2211 is seen at the head of the 'Tiddly Dyke' as it gets ready to leave the former SMJ station via the exchange lines
Ref: gwrsanct1545
TE Williams
Ex-GWR 0-6-0 No 2211 at the head of the 'Tiddly Dyke' as it leaves the former SMJ station via the exchange lines
A three-car Swindon built Cross Country DMU passes the junction with the SMJ on the 13:25pm Worcester Shrub Hill to Leamington Spa service on 25th May 1963
Ref: gwrsanct2479
M Mensing
A three-car Cross Country DMU passes the SMJ on the 13:25pm Worcester Shrub Hill to Leamington Spa service

A Cross-Country nine-car DMU on the 09:00am Snow Hill to Swansea High Street service passes beneath Sanctus Road
Ref: gwrsanct2466
M Mensing
A Cross-Country nine-car DMU on the 09:00am Snow Hill to Swansea High Street service passes beneath Sanctus Road