Difference between revisions of "Arley"

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Arley station building
Running in board, down platform.
Next stations
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)
Bewdley (3¾ miles)
via Northwood Halt
Highley (2¼ miles)

The station

Arley station has two platforms and a signal box, allowing trains travelling in opposite directions to pass.

Barrow crossings are located at both ends of the platforms, but may not be used by the general public. Bridge 17 is located at the south end of the station, immediately south of the barrow crossing, and is the main passenger route between the platforms. Skeet's Farm crossing is also located in the station area, immediately north of the goods yard.

During periods of lighter traffic, when Arley signal box is switched out, all trains use the platform adjacent to the main station building.

From January to Easter 2011 the SVRSevern Valley Railway's winter works dealt with severe damage at Arley due to ground movement caused by failed drainage, in turn occasioning track twist. The UpIn reference to the direction of travel means towards the major terminus (i.e. towards Kidderminster on the present day SVR) platform was rebuilt, drainage installed and track relaid at a cost of £367,000.[1][2]

In February 2017 the waiting room at Arley Station became licensed to hold civil marriages and partnerships, with space for up to 21 people. Further information on packages may be found on the SVR website Wedding Day Packages page.

Arley was until 2018 also the site of Santa's Grotto for the Santa Special services. From 2020 it hosted the plays that formed part of the SVRSevern Valley Railway's Christmas services.

Arley village

The village itself is named Upper Arley (also historically Over Arley[3][4]), which differentiates it from the similarly named, but differently spelled Areley Kings less than six miles away near Stourport.

Until 1895 Arley, including the railway, was part of a narrow neck of Staffordshire bounded on three sides by Shropshire and Worcestershire until it was moved to Worcestershire[5][6].

Photos at Arley, showing station building, signalbox & gardens


Arley station does not have a public car park.

Until 2020 there was a small café building behind the station which served hot and cold drinks and snacks, but has not reopened after the 2020 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Film and TV productions filmed at Arley

Several film and TV productions have scenes from, or filmed at, Arley. The station has temporarily carried other identities for filming purposes, including:

Oh Doctor Beeching!

(See main article)
A BBC TV sitcom ran from 1995 to 1997, set in the small fictional branch line railway station of Hatley. Filming took place at Arley.

A row of Victorian railway cottages was built in the yard as a film prop. After final filming the cottages were dismantled and retained, but despite reminders to the BBC about what they wanted with them they gave no response. Ultimately they were broken up with the assistance of the Junior Club.

The garden on the main platform by the Gents WC was created by the BBC and is known today as the BBC garden.

The signalbox had a name plate above the door.

Points of interest

Station buildings

The main station building at Arley dates from the opening of the Severn Valley Railway in 1862. Extensions were later added, consisting of a Ladies' waiting room authorised in 1892 and an additional bedroom in the Station Master’s house added in 1901.

The shelter on Platform 2 is also original, dating from the opening of that platform in 1883.

The café building behind the station was built during the summer of 1992 on the site of the former weighbridge. It replaced a similar building known as 'Tom’s Cabin' that had become dangerous.

In 2016, a number of stone sills, coping stones and quoins were replaced.

In 2018 an SVRA raffle raised over £7,000 for new facilities including a workshop and storage for Santa equipment to replace a small corrugated metal shed next to the gift shop.[7] In late 2019 construction started on the new building at the north end of the station, with the roof coming from part of the old Bewdley platform canopy. It was also partly funded by the Arley Station Fund[8].


When the SVRSevern Valley Railway first re-opened the line between Hampton Loade and Bewdley in 1974, there was no facility to pass trains, the UpIn reference to the direction of travel means towards the major terminus (i.e. towards Kidderminster on the present day SVR) loop (the running line nearer the station building) having been removed by BRBritish Rail or British Railways in the 1960s. This was re-laid over the next year and re-opened on 25 May 1975.

Telephone kiosk

The telephone kiosk on Platform 1, which can be seen in the main picture above, was acquired from the P.O. in Birmingham circa late 1981, having been vandalised ‘beyond economic repair’[9]. Once at Arley it was duly repaired, and within a year had been returned to full working order[10].

Anderson shelter

An Anderson shelter was erected in the picnic garden in 2018, where it could be seen during that year’s ‘Step Back to the 1940s’ weekends. More than 3.5 million of these shelters were issued to the public before and during World War II to provide shelter from bombs and shrapnel. This particular example was originally installed at a house in Weoley Castle, Birmingham, and was donated to the SVRSevern Valley Railway by Lisa Priest of Birmingham City Council and Mrs Dorothy Sigures of Weoley Castle.[11][12]

GWRGreat Western Railway 446 6 ton hand crane

GWR 446 6Ton Hand Crane is stabled with GWR 2501 'Rotank' 6-Wheeled Road Milk Tank Flat Wagon which arrived in July 2021 to replace the former Crane Runner 707261, 2501 being considered better suited to the crane.[13] The crane and flat wagon will undergo cosmetic restoration.

Station masters

Station masters at Arley since preservation have been as follows:

  • C.P. May (1974-1975)
  • Barrie Geens (1975-1983)
  • Ian Latimer (1983- )

Arley history before preservation

Arley before the addition of a second platform and ladies waiting room
  • 1862: Arley station opened with the rest of the Severn Valley Line on 1 February, but had only one platform and no facility for crossing trains. Control of train movements was by single needle telegraph only
  • 1883: A second platform, authorised in August 1882, was brought into use in June 1883. Installation of a signal box and interlocking of points and signals were completed around this time.
  • 1891: ‘Train staff and ticket’ working in conjunction with a single-needle block telegraph was introduced throughout the line, replacing the earlier simple telegraph working arrangements. Henceforth drivers could not enter a section without possession of a physical staff, or a paper ticket stating the staff would follow on a succeeding train. Those used at Arley were for Arley to Bewdley North (hexagonal staff, yellow ticket) and Arley to Hampton Loade (square staff, red ticket).
  • 1894: ‘Electric staff’ working replaced staff and ticket working. Highley also became a staff station, breaking the long section to Hampton Loade.
  • 1898: An accident occurred when a train overran signals when entering the station and was derailed.
  • 1907: The platforms were lengthened and the up platform widened.
  • 1913: Following the building of a signal box at Kinlet and Billingsley Sidings, Arley to Kinlet (when switched in) was worked by electric staff but Arley to Highley was worked by electric tablet, probably Tyers No 7.
  • 1922: GWR staff records show the station had a staff of 3, comprising the stationmaster and two signalmen.
  • 1938: A GWRGreat Western Railway camping coach was based at Arley.
  • 1950: By this date, Electric Train Token working had been introduced, becoming the fifth method of train control.
  • 1963: Through passenger services ceased on 9 September, with through freight services ending at the end of November.
  • 1964: The signal box closed on 28th June. The up line and sidings were lifted, and the edge of the down platform was removed to give greater clearance for coal trains from Alveley. The original signal box was later demolished.
Early Station Masters at Arley prior to 1939
Name Born From To Comments
Samuel Allard 1820, Great Creeton, Northamptonshire August 1863 September 1865 Joined West Midland Railway February 1852. Booking Constable at Buildwas (1865 - 1866). Retired 1897.
William Pearson 1835, Stratford upon Avon, Warwickshire September 1865 Retired ca.1885 Died 7 March 1886.
Joseph Pugh 28 September 1830, Stoke Prior, Worcestershire January 1886 Resigned October 1900 Joined West Midland Railway December 1855. Formerly Booking Porter at Linley (1864 - 1880).
George Batchelor 1 April 1860, Honeybourne, Worcestershire 20 October 1900 Retired 1920? Formerly Signalman at Hartlebury (1882) and Kidderminster (1887). Died 23 December 1942.
Joseph Thomas Hill 5 April 1877, Kinver, Staffordshire 1920? Before 1932 Formerly Porter at Bewdley (1896), Signal Porter at Hampton Loade (1897) and Bridgnorth (1899) and Station Master at Hampton Loade (1915?). Died July 1943.
GWR Traffic statistics for Arley, selected years prior to 1939[14]
Passenger Traffic Freight Traffic
Year Tickets issued Parcels despatched Revenue (£) Tons received & despatched Revenue (£) Total revenue (£)
1903 17,295 2,453 914 881 178 1,092
1913 15,796 3,219 761 1,399 301 1,062
1923 12,898 1,341 862 1,828 996 1,858
1933 8,663 997 477 54 47 524
1938 11,623 926 526 44 24 550

Historic maps of Arley station

  • GWRGreat Western Railway plan of Arley station showing the original single line with later amendments in red
  • 1885 map (survey date 1883) showing the single line through the station
  • 1904 map showing the passing loop and second platform opened in June 1883
  • 1927 map showing the 1907 extensions to both platforms
  • 1960 map showing no significant changes in over 30 years


See also


  1. Railway Magazine September 2010
  2. SVRSevern Valley Railway(H) Report and Accounts for year ending 31 December 2011, page 3.
  3. Handbook to the Severn Valley Railway, by J. Randall 1863
  4. 1579 map of Shropshire on the Shropshire Star web site
  5. "Parishes: Upper Arley", British History Online (Retrieved 12 December 2019)
  6. Upper Arley, UK and Ireland Geneology) (Retrieved 12 December 2019)
  7. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 200
  8. Express Points, February 2020 (Retrieved 4 February 2020)]
  9. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 62
  10. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 66
  11. Information board next to the shelter
  12. Anderson shelter on Wikipedia
  13. SVRSevern Valley Railway Wagons Facebook 13 January 2019
  14. Nabarro (1971) p. 54.