The East & West Junction railway (E&W) proposed a new
line from a junction with the Northampton & Banbury
Railway at Greens Norton to Stratford Upon Avon.
In 1864 Lady Palmerson came and cut the first sod. The E&W became a part of the SMJ in January 1st, 1909.
Woodford Halse is a parish consisting of two largish merged villages. Woodford, which contains the main shopping street, lies east of the former GC line, while the now larger Hinton lies immediately west of it. Locals and formerly railwaymen have always tended to refer to the combined village as just plain Woodford. Little remains of Woodford Halse (or Woodford and Hinton as it was known in GCR days) station. Its site is partially used by a timber and fencing company. It was a typical GC island platform station, reached from the street below by a staircase, its bricked up entrance is still visible between the double bridges which carried the GC over Station Road. There was also another, originally wooden, platform that served the 'Banbury Motor' and in SMJR days passenger shuttles to Byfield. Until 1936 Marylebone - Stratford (SMJR) coaches were slipped at Woodford. Near the station site are streets of terraced houses built by the GCR for railwaymen's families. Woodford was predominantly a freight centre. In the 50s its main yards, located north of Woodford sheds, handled 80+ goods trains a day. Nearly all long distance freights changed engines at Woodford. Woodford shed (2F from 1958 - 63) had an allocation of 50+ locomotives and also serviced York, Annesley and Western Region engines. It was not unusual to see York B16s and V2s parked up with Newport Ebbw Junction 28xxs or even 72xx tanks.
Using the turning triangle and massive LNER overhead coal
bunker, engines could be turned around in about an hour,
many Woodford crews spent their whole time collecting engines
from the yard, servicing them and returning them. The most
famous workings were the Annesley 'runners', 9F (16D) hauled
and Annesley manned unfitted coal trains which ran at truely
unhindered by the sparse passenger services, from the Nottinghamshire coalfields to Woodford yards, where the coal trucks were remarshalled into trains bound for London or the Western Region via Banbury. Adjoining the shed was a wagon repair depot.There were 5 signalboxes (inc Woodford West SMJR) to control all the movements. Woodford shed's site is now an industrial site
while the marshalling yards have reverted to farmland. The great embankment between the station and the Byfield road, which once supported the main line and smaller Old Yards has been partially
lowered and is largely tree covered while the Byfield Road bridge has been demolished.
Woodford Halse (GC) and freight workings to the SMJR
From 1950 onwards over 90% of the SMJR lines freight
consisted of long distance trains working westwards from
Woodford yards over the link
to Woodford West junction(SMJR), then on via Stratford. About a dozen unfitted trains ran daily including trains carrying steel from the North Eastern Region to South Wales. There were also 2
fitted freights from York to Bristol and Cardiff. Woodford crews used their own 'Aussie' 2-8-0s, or returned Welsh shedded 'Halls', 28xx, 'Aussies' or 9Fs to work these freights over the SMJR. They
would change with Western Region crews and return work trains to Woodford from some point beyond Stratford, often Honeybourne. Sometimes they had trouble, with the 'Aussies' in particular,
running the heavy steel trains over the SMJRs banks. Later in the 60s LMS type engines and various GWR types replaced the 'Aussies'. A local pick up train nicknamed 'The Round the World' worked from Woodford yards to shunt Woodford West, Byfield and Charwelton, collecting iron ore
from local quarries.
Further Reading on Woodford Halse: 'The LastYears of the Great
Central Main Line' by R Robotham ( Ian Allan) has a detailed
lengthy chapter written by Rex Partridge
...with great thanks Dick! If you know more, sign up and leave a comment
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