Then and now - b4632 Bridge over the line near stanway
By: Ian Crowder, 2010
This is the first of an occasional series on the Honeybourne Line, showing images taken in the past and photographs from the same spot today. So here is something to get the series going - and if you have suitable pictures to add to the series, send them in to the webmaster. Our thanks to GWR member Francis Field for the inspiration for this series.
The skew bridge which carried the B4632 (formerly the A46) between Toddington and Broadway. The brige here has been extensively repaired and refurbished and you can see a feature about this and other bridges on the Honeybourne Line here.
The first picture was taken by Michael Mensing, who is now aged 82 and lives near Portsmouth. He was a prolific railway photographer and took many on the Honeybourne Line before it closed. It is reproduced with permission of both Bernie, who kindly provided the picture, and Michael.
It shows one of the excellent Grange class 4-6-0s of which none remain, no. 6846 Ruckley Grange about to pass under the bridge. It is hauling an engineers' train and is carrying decommissioned telegraph poles and was taken on 1st March 1964, close to the end of steam on the Western Region. Michael used to travel around in a Ford Anglia and you can see it parked by the side of the road at the top right of the picture. The wing wall to the right of the locomotive seems to have been giving trouble as it has been re-pointed. There is another fine picture of a Grange at Bishops Cleeve along with a history of this popular class here.
The second picture, by Ian Crowder, was taken on 21st April 2010 and the new track on the extension towards Broadway occupies the 'down' side of the formation. The undergrowth, which will be trimmed back in due course, obscures some of the background and the aqueduct which carries a small stream through a pipe over the track, as well as a public footpath. The re-pointing clearly didn't have the desired effect as it has since been more substantially repaired with concrete blocks, although the coping stones were replaced when this work was done. It won't be long before trains will regularly be passing under the bridge to a new passing loop to be installed at Laverton.
(Note: Since this article was written, the section of track shown has been completed and has trains operating along it)