Archive for the ‘Railway’ Category

In 1957 the Bletchley Gazette reported that two-thirds of Bletchley’s hospital patients went to the Aylesbury  group of hospitals and two third go to the Northampton group.

I remember having to go to Aylesbury by train, changing at Cheddington, or to Northampton by train. This meant very often a  wait in the cold on a railway station whether an outpatient, patient or visitor.

We are very fortunate to have a new hospital, served by a regular bus service.

A similar situation applies with shopping trips, which in 1957 involved a rail journey to either Bedford or Northampton but now a simple bus or car journey to CMK.









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From  the Bletchley Gazette January 5th 1957

Heavy rain on New Year’s Eve tended to dampen some of the traditional celebrations in Bletchley, but the new year received it’s customary salute from the whistles of every railway engine in the area.

Bletchley St. Mary’s bellringers, rang out the old year just before midnight and rang in the new after the clock had chimed.

Most churches held watch-night services, dances were crowded, and with many of the public houses having special extensions many toasts to the new year were drunk.

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East West Rail

East West Rail is a scheme to re-establish a rail link between Cambridge and Oxford to improve rail services between East Anglia, and Central and Southern England, with enhanced connections to national mainline rail services.

Most of these lines existed prior to the Beeching Report in 1963, but they disappeared during the cuts. All that remains running from east to west in the Bletchley area is the Bletchley to Bedford service.

We were thus deprived of our service to Oxford and Cambridge and  the towns and villages in between.

GSM P 001 Aerial Bletchley Station 1938

The above photograph shows Bletchley station in 1938. The line to Bedford and Cambridge can be seen on the left, and the one to Oxford on the right.

Bletchley Fly-over

          Bletchley Fly-over and Railway Bridge

When the East West Rail scheme is finished, there will be two new platforms at high level, connected to the existing station by a foot bridge giving access to trains using the fly-over.

The above photograph was taken when the new bridge was being built. The old foot tunnel can be seen next to the old railway bridge.

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Four Bletchley men, Mr C. Wellings, Mr. W. Clifton, Mr E T. Williams, and Mr M. Pilgrim,  will soon have different jobs now that it  has been agreed to dispense with the ‘knocking-up’ of railwaymen working pre-arranged terms.

These four have done most of the knocking-up in Bletchley and are on duty from midnight to 6 a.m.

On ordinary nights some 50 to 60 drivers, firemen and guards are called, but a good many prefer not to be called.

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Many of the older residents cherish with happy memories the ‘old’ façade of Bletchley Railway Station. The entrance to the Booking Hall and Ticket Office was through a single door with the ticket office to the right. To the left the Ticket Collector used to stand behind a little partition to inspect the tickets. No trains departed from Platform 1, from here though you could access the sweeping stone steps which led to a footbridge where you could access the other platforms.

The Booking Hall had its own ‘resident artist’, many passengers used to admire the work of Albert Perry, Ticket Collector. Albert was very gifted and used to draw pictures relevant to the day on notice boards that were in the Booking Hall.

Ticket Collectors Bert Rolfe and Walter Perry

Ticket Collectors Bert Rolfe and Walter Perry

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The General Strike 1926

The year of 1926 found Bletchley facing a General Strike and it affected the railway community greatly, this happened over a 10-day period starting on May 3rd. Meetings and committees were formed and an enthusiastic start was planned but it was doomed and ended in bitterness and heartbreak. Short term working meant that families had to rely on strike pay to help with their everyday lives and much hardship was experienced. Solidarity for the Strike initially was good, however, volunteers started to run the railways and this caused some friction, maybe their family situations affected them but it weakened the position of the strikers.

The Station Band paraded regularly with the strikers proudly carrying the NUR Banner. The Strike Committee Headquarters were based in the Co-operative Hall, during that period the Bletchley Co-operative Society supported the rail unions; sadly though some traders in Bletchley were not quite so sympathetic!

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