Evesham Road Crossing Halte
Evesham Road Halte (sic) was located on the section of line
which joined together two branch lines which ran into Stratford Upon Avon. The
branch from the south was built by the Oxford , Worcester and Wolverhampton
Railway (OWWR) when it opened a branch from Honeybourne to Stratford-upon-Avon
on 12th July 1859. The branch from the north was opened by the independent
Stratford-Upon-Avon Railway Company on 9th October 1860. The GWR operated this
latter branch line, which was mixed gauge until 1869, although most trains were
'narrow' (4 feet 8½ inches) gauge after 1863. The connection between the
two branches came into use on 24th July 1861. The Stratford-Upon-Avon Railway
became part of the GWR in 1883. The Oxford , Worcester and Wolverhampton
Railway became the West Midland Railway in 1860 and part of the GWR in 1863.
Evesham Road Crossing Halte had a very short life in common with
Chambers Crossing Halte which was
approximately two miles to the south of Stratford upon Avon. The Halte was open
for traffic on the 17th October 1904 and closed on the 14th July 1916 as a
wartime economy measure, a fate that befell a number of other stations,
including others operated by other railway companies, in the county.
The use of the name 'Halte' by the GWR instead of Halt is
thought to be because the GWR sought to use a description which would convey
the perception that it was not manned. Brian Bailey writes, 'One man's
interpretation of the situation is given in A Register of Halts and
Platforms 1903 - 1979 by C.R. Clinker (Avon Anglian Production 1979), where
Clinker writes 'The use of the French word [halte] seems to have been decided
on because there was, in fact, no suitable meaning to the English word 'halt'
at the time'. He goes on to say that the spelling was changed to 'halt' in
April 1905. (It's not clear as to whether this was just in the GWR's timetables
or also on station name boards), but he says 'It may well be that the change
was made as part of a general dislike of things 'French' which manifested
itself in the early years of the present century'. As to why the Halte's
platforms were built 12 inches high, Peter Masson writes, '1904 was at the
height of the 'railmotor and halts' era, when many railways opened halts and
provided steam railmotor services to them. Some, to save money, built ground
level platforms at the halts, and equipped the passenger compartments of the
railmotors with steps for access.
As it was classified as a Halte it is presumed that it was
not staffed other than the signal box which operated the level crossing. Its
close proximity to Stratford upon Avon GWR station begs the question as to why
it was built although its rudimentary construction and position to the nearby
racecourse suggests it might have been used primarily for racegoers, the
racecourse platform not being built until 1933. After closure of the Halte the
signal box remained open to operate the adjacent level crossing, the route
having in the meantime been upgraded as part of the GWR's route to the South
and West Country. Subsequently, in 1960, the original 1891 signal box was
deemed too small to be able to accommodate the extra levers required when it
took over both the duties of the signal box controlling the north junction with
the SMJ, as well as those evolving from the building of the new south junction.
A new signal box was therefore erected immediately adjacent to the 1891 signal
box which had the necessary 50 levers, and, unusually for this date as the
signalman would not have been able to see the trains on this new curve; with
all movements being controlled by electrically operated points and signals,
with track circuits giving the location of the trains.
Much of the information on this and other pages of
Warwickshire Railways is derived from articles or books listed in our 'bibliography'.
Maps and Notices