John Speller's Web Pages Shipston-on-Stour Branch

John Speller's Web Pages - GWR Narrow Gauge

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The Stratford & Moreton tramway was one of the earliest lines in the Midlands. It ran from Stratford-upon-Avon to Moreton-in-Marsh and was incorporated by an Act of 1821 and opened for traffic in 1826. The 6-mile branch to Shipston-on-Stour opened on 11 April 1836. There were intermediate stations at Stretton-on-Fosse and Longdon Road. With the construction of the Oxford, Worcester & Wolverhampton Railway, which reached Moreton-in-Marsh in 1851, plans were made to upgrade the tramway to a proper railway. The company was too impecunious to afford this, however, and finally went into liquidation in 1868. The Great Western Railway purchased the tramway, obtained Parliamentary approval to use steam traction (the original Act had specified horse traction only) and upgraded it to a railway. The Moreton to Stratford section later became part of the Great Western's Cheltenham to Birmingham main line, but the Shipston branch remained a rural backwater. The line closed to passengers on 8 July 1929 and to goods on 2 May 1960.
Shipston-on-Stour Station, 4 October 1959. The buildings seem remarkably well kept although it is 30 years since the line closed to passenger traffic. Image National Railway Museum and SSPL
The Shipston-on-Stour branch engine at Moreton-in-Marsh in around 1885. The locomotive, GWR No. 47, was originally built for the Birmingham & Shrewsbury Railway as 4' 9" long-boilered 0-6-0 goods engine No. 13 in June 1849. It was converted to an 0-6-0 saddle tank at Wolverhampton Stafford Road Works in June 1868. It was finally scrapped in August 1889
Part of the Great Western system map showing the location of the Shipston-on-Stour Branch
The goods shed at Shipston-on-Stour on 26 April 1960, a few days before final closure. BR Standard Class 2-MT 2-6-0 No. 78009. Image copyright Geoffrey Skelsey and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons License
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