Stratford-upon-Avon railway station
Stratford-upon-Avon railway station is the southern terminus of the North Warwickshire Line and Leamington-Stratford line, serving the town of Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire, England. The station is served by West Midlands Trains and Chiltern Railways.
Exterior of the station.
|Managed by||West Midlands Trains|
|Number of platforms||3|
|Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections|
from National Rail Enquiries
|Annual rail passenger usage*|
|24 July 1861||Opened|
|National Rail – UK railway stations|
|* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Stratford-upon-Avon from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.|
The first line to reach Stratford was the Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway branch from Honeybourne to the south, which opened a station at Sanctus Street on 12 July 1859. This was soon followed by the Stratford on Avon Railway's branch from Hatton from the north, which opened on 9 October 1860. Both branches initially had separate termini, but they soon agreed to join the two branches and open a single station at the present site, which was opened on 24 July 1861. Both branches later came under the control of the Great Western Railway (GWR).
In 1908 the GWR opened the North Warwickshire Line, which incorporated parts of the two original branch lines into a new main line from Birmingham to Cheltenham. This put Stratford on a main line, and at this date, the station was expanded, and a third platform added.
Through services to Gloucester were withdrawn in 1968, and passenger services south of Stratford ceased altogether on 5 May 1969, when the service to Honeybourne, Evesham and Worcester Foregate Street was withdrawn. However the line remained open for freight until 1976, when a serious freight train derailment led to British Rail closing the line entirely, leaving Stratford as the southern terminus of the lines from Birmingham and Hatton.
A new Stratford Parkway railway station north of the town, next to the A46 road was opened on 19 May 2013. It is intended to ease congestion, as passengers from outside Stratford will no longer need to drive into the town to catch a train. Rail services between Birmingham and Stratford have been increased from hourly to half-hourly in conjunction with the opening of the new parkway station.
On 26 November 2015 it was announced that a second footbridge and lifts had been completed, meaning people with limited mobility would be able to use all the platforms. It was also announced that a new café, waiting room and retail area are planned.
The following services typically run on weekdays and Saturdays during off-peak hours:
- 1 train per hour running to Birmingham Snow Hill via Whitlocks End, continuing to Stourbridge Junction, operated by West Midlands Trains.
- 1 train per hour running to Birmingham Snow Hill via Solihull, continuing to Stourbridge Junction, operated by West Midlands Trains.
The frequency of trains to Birmingham Snow Hill reduces to one per hour late in the evening, with no services running via Solihull. The last service of the day runs directly to Birmingham Moor Street following Stratford-upon-Avon Parkway.
The frequency of trains running to London Marylebone is reduced outside off-peak hours. There is a single nightly service only on weekdays which runs to Oxford via the Chiltern Main Line, operated by Chiltern Railways.
The following services typically run on Sundays during off-peak hours:
- 1 train per hour running to Birmingham Snow Hill via Whitlocks End, continuing to Worcester Foregate Street, or Worcester Shrub Hill in the morning, operated by West Midlands Trains.
- 1 train per 2 to 3 hours running to London Marylebone via Leamington Spa, operated by Chiltern Railways.
|Preceding station||National Rail||Following station|
|Stratford-upon-Avon Parkway||West Midlands Railway
|Stratford-upon-Avon Parkway||Chiltern Railways
The Shakespeare Express
Cherwell Valley line
|Wilmcote||Great Western Railway
East and West Junction Railway
|Stratford Old Town|
|Proposed Heritage railways|
|Terminus||Honeybourne Line||Stratford-upon-Avon Racecourse|
Line and station closed
Thames Trains also operated services to London Paddington via Wilmcote, Hatton, Leamington Spa, Banbury, Oxford, Didcot, Reading, Slough, and Ealing Broadway. It also occasionally operated shuttle trains between Stratford-upon-Avon and Leamington Spa, with a limited service calling at Bearley and Claverdon on weekdays. As with all of their services at the time, they were operated using Class 165 and 166 units.
Central Trains operated a shuttle service between Stratford and Leamington Spa, in conjunction with those operated by Thames Trains. Additionally they also ran a limited Sunday service during summer. Central Trains services were operated using Class 150 units.
The station has often been criticised for having slow and infrequent connections. In particular, Chiltern Railways has faced criticism for their lack of services to London Marylebone and Leamington Spa, with the RSC describing services provided by the company as “woefully inadequate” for an international tourist destination. West Midlands Trains have also been criticised for their slow services to Birmingham and infrequent services to Solihull, especially at certain times outside off-peak hours. The absence of services running directly to Coventry and Birmingham International has also been noted. Stratford-upon-Avon often suffers from road congestion, which is not helped by the poor connections and the significantly below average usage of rail by visitors in the area.
The Shakespeare Line Promotion Group is promoting a scheme to reopen the 6 miles (10 km) of line to the south of Stratford-upon-Avon where it would link to the Cotswold Line at Honeybourne. The scheme (supported as a freight diversionary route by DB Schenker) would make the station a through station once again, with improved connections to the south of the region. It would open up the possibility of direct services towards London Paddington via Oxford, and also significantly faster services to Worcester via Evesham.
The scheme has been deemed economically beneficial in the long-term, and was supported by former primer minister David Cameron and Network Rail. It has also been overwhelmingly supported by the local community, consisting of rail users and local businesses, however the district council have opposed the scheme due to financial costs.
- Mitchell, Victor E.; Smith, Keith (October 1998). Country Railway Routes: Stratford upon Avon to Cheltenham. Midhurst: Middleton Press. map following figure 15. ISBN 1-901706-25-7.
- "Stratford on Avon Station". Warwickshire Railways. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
- Passengers No More by G. Daniels and L. Dench Second Edition page 36
- "Stratford Branch". GWR Archive. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
- "RE REGIONAL URBAN MARKET STUDY" (PDF). Network Rail. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
- "New £7m Stratford Parkway railway station opens". BBC News, Coventry & Warwickshire. Retrieved 7 June 2013.
- "Stratford Parkway". Warwickshire County Council. Retrieved 7 June 2013.
- "Access for All as Stratford Rail Station footbridge opens". Warwickshire County Council. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
- "The Shakespeare Express 2019". www.vintagetrains.co.uk. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
- Lugg, Ben (20 August 2018). "Rail operator responds to criticism of Stratford service". Stratford Herald. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
- "RSC urges GWR to provide Stratford improvements". www.railmagazine.com. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
- "When shall these towns meet again?". www.railmagazine.com. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
- DB Schenker Rail (UK) Limited (November 2009). "Response to Network Rail's Great Western Route Utilisation Strategy Draft for Consultation (Published September 2009)" (PDF). Doncaster. pp. 14, 29. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
- Wilson, Matt (25 June 2013). "Campaigners' new report on Stratford to Honeybourne rail link". Stratford Herald. Archived from the original on 7 April 2014. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
- Smith, Chris (18 February 2016). "PM backs Stratford-Honeybourne train line". Stratford Herald. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
- "New backing for Oxford to Stratford-Upon-Avon rail link". Oxford Mail. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
- "Shakespeare Line: STRATFORD TO HONEYBOURNE". www.shakespeareline.com. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
- Lugg, Ben (16 June 2019). "Developers should have to pay for rail study say campaigners". Stratford Herald. Retrieved 18 July 2019.