Helmdon station site 2008
A modest beginning was made with the Northampton and Banbury Junction Railway, authorised in 1863, as a first step. Hopes were raised two years later with an Act authorising an extension westwards to Chipping Norton and Blockley, and in the next year, 1866, a further extension was authorised which would have taken the line to Ross-on-Wye. Like so many proposed schemes of that time, the financial crisis of that year put an end to such speculative schemes, leaving the N & BJR on which work had started, high and dry.
The goods shed and trackbed - 2008
The railway reached neither Northampton nor Banbury over its own metals but obtained running powers over the L & NWR’s line from Blisworth to Northampton and from Cockley Brake Junction to Banbury over the L & NWR’s line from Verney Junction. The first section opened to Towcester on 1st May 1863. The contractors were Aird & Son; there was one intermediate station at Tiffield, which seems to have been a very simple one-platform affair. The extension to Cockley Brake took another six years to complete because of financial problems. There were two stations on this section, Wappenham and Helmdon, both of which were opened to goods traffic in August 1871. These too had single platforms, but were equipped with passing loops.
Helmdon even boasted a brick built goods shed . The line was opened throughout on 1st July 1872. To start with trains were worked by locomotives bought second hand from the L &NWR, but a hiring arrangement was made with the latter Company in 1875, thereby saving the N & BJR the cost of maintaining their own servicing facilities at Blisworth or Banbury. The track was well laid with bullhead rail, similar to that of the L & NWR. The following 3 links come with thanks from Helmdon.com
The N&B didn't run to Banbury over it's own 'metals' joining the L&NWR at a junction known as 'Cocley Brake'. There was one intermediate station at Farthinghoe.
Cockley Brake signal box from passing train. Casserlly
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