|UpIn reference to the direction of travel means towards the major terminus (i.e. towards Kidderminster on the present day SVR) (towards Kidderminster)||DownIn reference to the direction of travel means away from the major terminus (i.e. towards Bridgnorth on the present day SVR) (towards Bridgnorth)|
| Hampton Loade (2¼ miles)
||Bridgnorth (2¼ miles)|
Eardington, sometimes referred to as "Eardington Halt", is situated on Eardington Bank and located mid-way between Bridgnorth and Hampton Loade at milepost 147¾. Although the station does not feature in daily operations, it resumed use during gala events in 2023 more than 40 years since regular timetabled trains ceased. A dedicated 'Friends of Eardington Station' team under Station Master Steve Downs looks after this wayside gem.
- 1 Eardington in preservation
- 2 Restored for passenger use
- 3 Proposed reopening
- 4 Eardington siding
- 5 Current and former points of interest
- 6 TV and film
- 7 Model
- 8 Eardington history before preservation
- 9 Historic maps of Eardington Station
- 10 Gallery
- 11 See also
- 12 Notes
- 13 References
- 14 Links
Eardington in preservation
A working party began restoring Eardington at Whitsun 1967. During that year the platform was cleared, the station building was repainted black and white, and other repairs were carried out. Eardington was in operation during the 1967 and 1968 Steam Galas, the latter seeing locomotives watered there for the first time (see below).
The station officially reopened on 23 May 1970 along with Bridgnorth and Hampton Loade, which at the time formed the limit of operations. Eardington was used as an intermediate stopping point and watering place and was sometimes referred to as Eardington Halt. For the seasons 1970 to 1973 inclusive all trains were advertised in the SVR public timetables to call there.
During the period of Sir Gerald Nabarro's chairmanship, plans were made for the possible rebuilding of Eardington as the northern terminus on the line. As well as installing a run-round loop (see below), detailed plans were also prepared for the station to be enlarged and a car park provided, although this was not publicised at the time.
The station became 'request only' from 2 March 1974, the same year that services were extended to run south of Hampton Loade. The 'request' status continued until the end of the 1976 season, although calls were suspended that year because of fire risk.
For 1977 only two round trips were advertised to call on request on Mondays to Saturdays, except Bank Holidays. The following year only one round trip was advertised to call on request, on Saturdays only. No calls were advertised during 1979 and 1980, but in 1981 and 1982 seasons all trains were again timetabled to call on request. No calls were advertised from the 1983 season onwards.
It was removed from regular use thereafter, variously ascribed to the platform edge becoming dangerous or due to the steep gradient, short platform, and low passenger numbers.
Part of the cutting behind the station collapsed in January 1991.
Restoration by a "small group of Bridgnorth C&WCarriage & Wagon volunteers" started in 1989. By summer 1990, Steve Downs was "unofficial stationmaster". It was gradually cosmetically restored by the Friends and occasionally opened to visitors on certain special events, albeit with trains not stopping, from the War Weekend of 25/26 June 1994 onwards.
On 2-3 June 2018 it staged "Eardington 150" to mark its 150th birthday. The station was open to the public on both days with various special attractions (trains did not stop). The event coincided with the SVRSevern Valley Railway's Goods Gala.
By 1989 platform coping at the southern end of the platform, adjacent to station building, had been removed after it collapsed. A shortened platform, 152 feet long, remained at northern end. The Friends held a fundraising appeal in 2014 to replace the missing part; it was reported on 27 October 2016 that sufficient funds had been raised to purchase the required replacement GWRGreat Western Railway bricks.
A project commenced during the January 2018 winter shutdown involving the partial rebuilding of the platform face. Some 8000 engineering bricks recovered from the London – Bristol mainline and donated by Kier Construction were cleaned up by the Friends, and provide a genuine connection to the GWRGreat Western Railway. The rebuild was undertaken by JSR Construction of Chelmarsh, thus keeping the work local. Work was completed on 31 January 2019, giving the station a full length working platform of 300' - roughly 5 coaches - for the first time since 1984. The £41,000 project was aided by donations from the Charitable Trust and the Guarantee Company of £6,500 each, with the remainder being raised by the Friends. The project was completed on time and on budget.  The rebuilt platform, which incidentally is longer than those at Highley, Hampton Loade and Bridgnorth’s platform 2, can be seen in the main photograph taken during the 2018 Goods Gala. It greatly improved the appearance of the station and progressed its potential use on future gala events.
Restored for passenger use
It had long been the Friends' ambition to stop local trains at Eardington during Galas.
In 2003 it reopened for trains to call on galas and the 1940s Weekend, the first advertised trains since 1982.
On 17 April 2015, the 82045 Steam Locomotive Trust ran a special fundraising train, The Eardington Explorer. This ran between Bridgnorth and Hampton Loade, calling specially at Eardington. The Fund ran a second 'Eardington Flyer' on 22 April 2016.
By 2023 ORROffice of Rail and Road, formerly Office of Rail Regulation, the independent safety and economic regulator for Britain's railways which includes HM Railway Inspectorate had given the SVRSevern Valley Railway permission in principle to stop trains there during Galas. The Railway put in place the paperwork and procedures to enable this, as it had not been operational for many years, for the Autumn Steam Gala. For safety reasons, only local trains not longer than the station platform may stop there, and not during hours of darkness.
In November 2018, FCFM Group, the owners of nearby Astbury Hall, submitted plans to Shropshire Council for development of the hall and grounds as a 'holiday venue'. The Design Statement states "The applicant has agreed to assist in financing of the reopening of Eardington Station and to take a direct link between Astbury Estate and the Severn Valley Railway." This would see around 300 high quality log cabins at the site adjacent to Eardington Station. FCFM submitted to the SVRSevern Valley Railway an outline proposal for investment such that trains could call regularly providing a link to the new development. The parties agreed to explore how public access could be provided from the estate to the station and what could be achieved while ensuring the character and feel of the station are not undermined.
In February 2019, the SVRSevern Valley Railway submitted a 'Support Comment' in favour of the development to Shropshire Council. In March 2019 the Shropshire Star reported that that plans had been approved.
Opposite the station platform is a dead-end siding which is accessed by a two-lever ground frame at the south end. This is released by the Highley-Bridgnorth long section token, and was commissioned in 1976.
The original siding at Eardington had been removed by BRBritish Rail or British Railways in 1964 after closure of the line, but was reinstated in the early days of the SVRSevern Valley Railway. In summer 1972 under Sir Gerald Nabarro's chairmanship, contractors began work to convert the siding into a passing loop at the then not insignificant cost of £8,000.[note 1] The loop was intended to accommodate a locomotive and 10 coaches, with a new concrete block-faced platform being built incorporating the cattle dock at the south end. A small signal box on the site of the cattle dock was to be added later. These works would have occupied most of the then car park area, so the small field above the station building was partially levelled to form a new car park which would have been accessed from the road at the north end. Later that year, during preparation for commissioning the signalling between Bridgnorth and Hampton Loade, an extra token machine was installed in Bridgnorth signal box to cater for the Eardington loop.
The installation of the passing loop was seen as part of a plan by Sir Gerald Nabarro to abandon Bridgnorth,[note 2] which led to much unrest on the SVRSevern Valley Railway at the time. In fact the connection at the north end would have been too tight for most locomotives. However by May 1973 Nabarro had stepped down from the SVRSevern Valley Railway(H) and Guarantee Company Boards. An EGM was held that month to consider the impact of the proposed Bridgnorth bypass. Richard Dunn advised shareholders and members via SVRSevern Valley Railway News that "I have no reason to reverse my opinion of 1968 that Eardington was not a suitable permanent terminus to the line, owing to the difficulties of road access and inadequate parking space."
In early 1974 the Board reported that "The circumstances under which Eardington loop was planned have so altered that it is unlikely to be needed. It is proposed to convert it to a siding, controlled from a ground frame at the south points, with the proposed platform area levelled off to form a loading bank and car park." By winter 1974-5 the loop had been converted to a siding to for PWPermanent Way use. The two points at the north end which formed a crossover were both removed; the former point in the main line was reused at Arley while the point from the loop was taken to Bridgnorth for use in the loco yard. The single-bladed trap at the south end was not considered suitable for a siding opening onto a passenger carrying line, so was replaced by a double-bladed trap.
In early preservation items of rolling stock were stored there before being restored to use, including carriages 2701, 4399, 26880 and 27270; and Regent Oil & Texaco Aviation Fuel Tank Wagon 345. Since that time the siding is regularly used for storing Permanent Way rolling stock.
Current and former points of interest
Locomotive watering facility
A water tank for Eardington was acquired by the Severn Valley Railway Society from Withymoor, Netherton (near Dudley) in the summer of 1967 and transported to Eardington. It was installed in time to be used for the 1968 Steam Gala. It was assisted in part by school parties from the The Royal School Wolverhampton under its history teacher, Brian Kingshott. The decision to install the SVRSevern Valley Railway’s first proper watering facility at Eardington rather than Bridgnorth was due to Eardington having naturally soft water compared with very hard water at Bridgnorth.
At opening in 1970, the timetable allowed a 5 minute stop southbound at Eardington for locomotive watering; passengers frequently took the opportunity to photograph the locomotive or buy pop and sweets which were sold at the station. Once watering facilities were installed at Bridgnorth, this was reduced to one minute, effectively ending this practice.
Unused for some years and heavily perforated, the water tank was removed on 22 April 2021 using the Cowans Sheldon 30-ton steam crane.
An electricity supply has never been installed. The Friends have developed a collection of vintage Tilley lamps with a railway provenance, to light the station after dark when open for galas and special occasions. Eardington is the only remaining station in the UK that is lit entirely by oil lamps. The permission granted in 2023 by the ORROffice of Rail and Road, formerly Office of Rail Regulation, the independent safety and economic regulator for Britain's railways which includes HM Railway Inspectorate is conditional upon trains not stopping after darkness.
In March 2021 the SVRSevern Valley Railway’s YouTube channel included a video Eardington’s hidden gem – lighting the way for heritage rail on the Severn Valley Railway featuring volunteer lampman Phil Harris.
Former Bath Road turntable
An electrically powered Ransom Rapier 65'3" standard-pattern over-girder turntable, originally from Bristol (Bath Road) depot, is stored at Eardington. It is intended for the Bridgnorth turntable project. This film shows the turntable's removal from Bristol and transport to Eardington.
Pannier Tank boiler
For some years from the winter of 1978-79 a GWRGreat Western Railway CollettCharles Benjamin Collett, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the Great Western Railway 1922-1941 5700 class 0-6-0PT boiler was stored on the platform. This came from GWR Pannier 3612, which was dismantled at the station.
TV and film
The station was a location in a chase scene in the film Candleshoe.
Tunnel Lane Model Railways produced 7mm 3D printed models of the station building and lamp hut, offered for sale at the 2023 O Gauge Get Together event
Eardington history before preservation
- 1864: A siding connection to Lower Forge was proposed but never built. Upper Forge and Lower Forge were two local ironworks, located respectively west and east of the line and joined by a 750 yard long navigable canal tunnel.
- 1868: Eardington Station was opened by the GWRGreat Western Railway on 1 June 1868, some six years after the opening of the Severn Valley Railway.
- 1893: The station platform was extended.
- 1899: The ironworks closed.
- 1922: GWR staff records for 1922 show the station had a staff of 2, the station master and a Gatewoman.
- 1931: The station lost its station master, coming under the control of Highley.
- 1949: BRBritish Rail or British Railways reduced the station to unstaffed status after 1 April 1949.
- 1952: The first noted instance of the station being referred to as "Eardington Halt" in a BRBritish Rail or British Railways timetable.
- 1959: The goods loop was reduced to a siding, accessed from the south end only. The station was still called "Eardington" in the 1959 BR Working Timetable.
- 1963: The station closed when passenger traffic ceased on 9 September 1963.
- 1964: The former goods loop siding was completely removed.
|Passenger Traffic||Freight Traffic|
|Year||Tickets issued||Parcels despatched||Revenue (£)||Tons received & despatched||Revenue (£)||Total revenue (£)|
Early Booking Porters and Station Masters at Eardington
The first description of ‘Station Master’ in GWRGreat Western Railway records is in 1879. It seems likely that where no station master is shown, then the booking porter supervised the station.
|John George Brecknell||1845 Abberley, Warwickshire||May 1868||August 1879||Booking porter when the station opened in 1868 and may have supervised the station, the census of 1871 describing him as Station Master. Previously employed at Bridgnorth.|
|Stephen Floyd||1852 Tackley, Oxfordshire||August 1879||January 1883||Station Master|
|William Sherwood||15 November 1846 Bidford, Warwickshire||January 1883||January 1887||Booking Porter. Previously employed at Hartlebury on the branch, amongst other stations. Later Station Master at Hampton Loade and Berrington.|
|Henry Powell||1836 Ombersley, Worcestershire||January 1887||June 1887||Booking Porter. Served his entire railway career on the Severn Valley Branch, and censuses 1871 and 1881 record him as station master at Highley.|
|William George Cleeton||1859 Broseley, Shropshire||May 1890||August 1891||Booking Porter, then Station Inspector, Census of 1891 records Station Master. Employed at Coalport, Buildwas and Bridgnorth before Eardington, and later Station Master at Hampton Loade and Berrington.|
|George Walter Cooke||1865 Eardington, Shropshire||August 1891||April 1930||Station Master|
|Edward Morris Casey||1874 Abergavenny||April 1930||March 1931||Station Master|
Historic maps of Eardington Station
- Original GWRGreat Western Railway plan of the station.
- 1884 OSOrdnance Survey map showing the position of the station in relation to the river and iron works. Unfortunately, the station lies across the join between two maps and the track detail is not very clear.
- 1903 OSOrdnance Survey map on which the loop and headshunt can be seen more clearly. By this date, the iron works was disused.
- 1905 GWRGreat Western Railway schematic plan of Eardington giving siding capacity and other details.
Ex-GWRGreat Western Railway Pannier 3788 calls at Eardington in November 1960 (Sellick Collection)
A BRBritish Rail or British Railways DMUDiesel Multiple Unit at Eardington in September 1962 (Sellick Collection)
- £8,000 in 1972 equates to around £135,000 in 2023. For context, the whole section of the railway between Bridgnorth and Alveley had cost only £25,000 just two years earlier.
- Although officially described as a passing loop, discontented members believed it was actually intended as a run round loop at what would become the northern terminus following the closure of Bridgnorth.
- Rail Chronology, Eardington station (Retrieved 20 September 2023). Richard Maund and Allan Brackenbury's research, an earlier version of which appeared in Railway & Canal Historical Society Railway Chronology Group Co-ordinating Newsletter no. 49, January 2007.
- Early Booking Porters and Station Masters at Eardington information from Chris Haynes' research of GWRGreat Western Railway records and public records.
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 25, Eardington Station, David Marchant
- SVRSevern Valley Railway (Holdings) Ltd prospectus April 1972
- Marshall (1989) p. 180.
- Minutes of SVRSevern Valley Railway 10th Annual General Meeting
- Marshall (1989) p. 103.
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 100 pp.18 and 36, SVRSevern Valley Railway News 101 p.31
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 100 p.35, SVRSevern Valley Railway News 127 p.45
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 100, p.31
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 111 p.36
- SVR's PR on Shropshire Live website 4 June 2018 (Retrieved 24 June 2018)
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 92 p.2, SVRSevern Valley Railway News 100 p.35, SVRSevern Valley Railway News 109 p.19, SVRSevern Valley Railway News 122 p.44, SVRSevern Valley Railway News 127 p.45, SVRSevern Valley Railway News 192 p. 30
- SVRASevern Valley Railway Association Working Members Newsletter November 2014
- Eardington Station Twitter Feed, retrieved 1 November 2016
- 'Platform' magazine, 2018 Issue 4, p.5
- SVRLive 'Eardington Station' 13 January 2018
- 'SVRLive Winter Works 2018' 16 January 2018
- SVR Live February 2019
- Smith, R., 'Severn Valley Railway volunteers proud to unveil new platform', Shropshire Star, 1 March 2019 (Retrieved 3 March 2019)
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 142, p.54/5
- SVR Online Forum
- Longhorn, Danny, ' 'Vulcan' joins SVR Gala line-up, and Eardington welcomes first arrivals in 41 years', Rail Business Daily, 21 July 2023 (Retrieved 25 July 2023)
- Article on the proposed reopening in the Shropshire Star
- Planning application for Astbury Hall on Shropshire Council web site
- SVRSevern Valley Railway announcement 7 December 2018
- SVR Support Comment on Shropshire Council web site
- Astbury Hall: Plans backed to transform former KK Downing estate into luxury leisure resort Shropshire Star (retrieved 25 May 2019)
- Severn Valley Railway S&T Department (unofficial) website.
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 26, Signal & Telecommunications Department Notes
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 27, The Proposed Bridgnorth By-pass, R.H. Dunn
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 31, Boardroom Notes, David Mellor
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 34
- Robert Betts and Nick Neath in Unofficial SVRSevern Valley Railway Facebook post 22 April 2021
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 50.
- Heritage Railway 6 July 2011, p. 22
- The Boxer, Whalebone, music video on YouTube (2011)
- SVR O Gauge Get Together Facebook post.2 October 2023 (Retrueved 13 October 2023)
- SVRSevern Valley Railway Souvenir Guide, Ninth Edition
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 201 'Eardington News' (Steve Downs)
- Nabarro (1971) p. 55.
- Sharpo's World photos at Eardington, showing station building & yard area
- "To Eardington" by Sammy B Videography on YouTube
- Eardington Station SVR on Facebook
- Eardington Station on X (Twitter)