This post is really an expansion of the the original post I did called “Up and Down The Avon” which was supposed to deal with a trestle bridge and which has been expanded considerably since then. I have now decided to create a single post dealing with my findings. Some of the images from that original post will re-appear here as a result. The whole story behind the railway in Tewkesbury really center’s around the long closed Upton-upon-Severn line, and frankly I am not the expert in this endeavour. There is a wonderful website that explores Malvern’s Lost Railway much better than I can.
This post starts out at Ashchurch for Tewkesbury, the current station that serves the town although it is nowhere near the town.
Ashchurch used to be a major junction at one point, with lines heading in 4 different directions. A period map shows the basics of what was a very complex junction. Unfortunately I cannot put a date to this map
Tewkesbury would be left of the Junction and the line to Cheltenham will go downwards and Worcester upwards. All that is left is the line to the right that terminates at the MOD Depot although it used to head towards Evesham. There is also a water tower still to be seen near the station, but that is it.
That is the approach to what is left at Ashchurch, the line on the right curves off to the MOD depot.
The trackbed of the railway line heading to Tewkesbury is now a cycle path, and I use it regularly. There is one small bridge that goes over the road that still has remnants of the steelwork from the railway
The little footbridge on the cycle path from the road beneath. The steel girders are still in place as is the brickwork although the bridge is a jerry built effort.
Somewhere along this path the line would have split, one section to the right becoming the Upton-upon-Severn branch and the remaining line headed into town where it would terminate at what is now Station Street. This is now a parking lot and I believe part of the wall dates back to the original station. Close to the split is what I believe was the former goods yard, its impossible to access because of the vegetation and for some strange reason is fenced off. It is a mass of foliage and this corner is the best image I have of it. Google Earth co-ordinates are: 51.995903° -2.147396°
The line would continue a bit further bisecting the town and heading towards the now derelict Healings Mill that straddles the Avon and Severn. There is an interesting plaque in town that ties into this line.
From the station the line ran into Quay Street and onto the mill.
The Avon is bridged by two bridges at the mill.
This bridge was erected in 1822, and is really two bridges alongside each other. The slight arch of this bridge would have made rail traffic difficult, so a flat bridge spans the river next to this one and this flat bridge would have carried the rail traffic into the mill area.
That ends this branch line and we now return to where the line splits at the cycle path.
Returning back to the cyclepath, the line takes to an embankment that is completely overgrown, although it is doubtful whether any lines are still on it. There is a small gap at “Gas Lane” but the bridge for it is gone. The embankment continues to where it ends in a buttress at Bredon Road.
The image above I took from the embankment and you can see the trestle bridge over the marina in the distance. My neighbour says that originally there was no bridge up to the trestle, the embankment stretched all the way across to it and the road only came afterwards. However, I spotted an image in town that may scupper that theory. The road was always there and was spanned with a bridge. The embankment then continued onwards to where the trestle bridge is today, it then crossed the current marina, went over the viaduct to the tunnel then onwards.
That is the bridge that spans the road, and the buildings on the left still exist. I doubt that the current trestle bridge over the marina is the original, although the buttresses still exist. I have recently seen an image dated 1899 that shows a trestle bridge at this crossing, but whether the bridge above is the original or a new version I do not know.
Did trains really travel over this viaduct? it is in line with the Mythe tunnel entrance so it is entirely feasible,
This image I took from the approach to the viaduct, and the Mythe tunnel is where the cars are parked, I do think there must have been some sort of embankment leading to the tunnel though, the distance is quite short and for a steam engine to climb from the tunnel to the viaduct in such a short space would have been difficult as the grade would have been quite steep. The Mythe tunnel still exists although it is sealed. Unfortunately the door was not accessible as it was fenced off although I was able to zoom into it from the gate.
I discovered the other end in December 2016 and it is bricked closed. The tunnel appears to be roughly 300 metres long.
That concludes the physical remnants in the Tewkesbury area, however, in Toddington you will find the Toddington Narrow Gauge Railway that used to be based in Tewkesbury. They have a number of relics from Tewkesbury that I will explore next time I am there. The 3 images of the signage were taken in their engine shed. That more or less concludes my relics for now. I still have exploring to do, but from a railway point of view there is not much left. Sadly a lot of the closing of this line was courtesy of the infamous “Beeching Axe” while some closures pre-dated it. Such is the way of small towns, railways and accountants. Fortunately many closed lines provided the basis for successful heritage operations, although in the case of Tewkesbury it did not.
An interesting snippet from the British History website has the following
“A branch railway from the main line at Ashchurch was built under an Act of 1837 and opened in 1840. Until 1844, when the branch was extended to the Quay, the carriages were drawn to and from Ashchurch not by steam-engines but by horses. In the same period Tewkesbury was losing its former coach traffic, and in 1845 the diversion of the London Hereford mail to the route through Gloucester and Ledbury deprived Tewkesbury of its last four-horse coach. In 1861 the Malvern & Tewkesbury Railway was built from the Tewkesbury branch through the Mythe, passing by a short tunnel under the Mythe Tute. It crossed the Avon by a cast-iron bridge designed by William Moorsom. The station on the new line became Tewkesbury’s passenger station, and the branch station became the goods depot. Passenger services were withdrawn from both lines in 1961; the permanent way across the Mythe was removed in 1964, and in the same year goods services between Tewkesbury and Ashchurch were withdrawn.”
© DRW 2016-2022. Created 27/12/2016, added pic of Ashchurch 13/01/2016, 21/02/2017