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Southill was a railway station on the Bedford to Hitchin Line which served the village of Southill in Bedfordshire, England. Opened in 1857, it gave more than a century of service before closing in 1962.

Southill
Southill Railway Station.jpg
Station building in 2006
Location
PlaceSouthill
AreaCentral Bedfordshire
Grid referenceTL129424
Operations
Original companyMidland Railway
Post-groupingLondon, Midland and Scottish Railway
London Midland Region of British Railways
Platforms2
History
8 May 1857[1]Opened
1 January 1962[2]Closed
Disused railway stations in the United Kingdom
Closed railway stations in Britain
A B C D–F G H–J K–L M–O P–R S T–V W–Z

HistoryEdit

Southill station was opened by the Midland Railway in 1857 as part of its new line from Leicester to Hitchin via Bedford, enabling it to reach London King's Cross station by having running powers over Great Northern Railway metals from Hitchin southwards. However, the Midland Railway's own direct route to London St. Pancras station from Bedford via Luton (today's Midland Main Line), opened in 1868, relegated the Bedford to Hitchin section to mere branch status. Passenger traffic over this section fell to minimal and services were reduced to a shuttle by 1880. The section between Southill and Shefford was the only part to remain double-tracked after 1911.[3]

The station was convenient for Southill Park, the seat of the Whitbread family who had supported and brought their influence to bear on the realisation of the line. On 3 June 1890 a new signal box was opened at Southill as part of the introduction of block telegraph working between the station and the Midland Goods Yard at Hitchin.[4]

The inter-war years saw a decline in traffic with the introduction of buses between Bedford and Hitchin. Traffic picked up again during the Second World War when troop specials were run to enable conscripts to return home from the RAF camps at Cardington and Henlow. The introduction of railbuses after the war did little to improve traffic, and the line closed in 1962.[5]


Preceding station   Disused railways   Following station
Cardington Workmen's
Platform
  London, Midland and Scottish Railway
Bedford to Hitchin Line
  Shefford

Present dayEdit

The station building has been converted into a private residence. The ticket window remains, as does the platform area, sidings and cattle pen which have been incorporated into the garden. Not far from the station in Southill Park is a stone obelisk erected in 1864 in honour of William Henry Whitbread whose influence and energy helped bring about the Bedford to Hitchin line.[6]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Butt, R.V.J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations, Patrick Stephens Ltd, Sparkford, ISBN 1-85260-508-1, p. 216.
  2. ^ Clinker, C.R. (October 1978). Clinker's Register of Closed Passenger Stations and Goods Depots in England, Scotland and Wales 1830-1977. Bristol: Avon-AngliA Publications & Services. p. 125. ISBN 0-905466-19-5.
  3. ^ Oppitz, Leslie (2000). Lost Railways of the Chilterns (Lost Railways Series). Newbury, Berkshire: Countryside Books. p. 136. ISBN 978-1-85306-643-6.
  4. ^ Davies, R.; Grant, M.D. (1984). Forgotten Railways: Chilterns and Cotswolds. Newton Abbot, Devon: David St John Thomas. p. 113. ISBN 0-946537-07-0.
  5. ^ Davies, R and Grant, M.D., p. 114-115.
  6. ^ Oppitz, L., p. 138-139.

External linksEdit