Woodford’s Railway Heritage

A (Great) Central Location

GCR Crest

Woodford Halse was once a busy railway centre. Between 1891 before the railway came and 1901 the population of the Parish more than doubled from 527 to 1220. In 1941 the goods yards at Woodford had space for over 3000 wagons. Between 1942 and 1951 the yard handled almost 10 million wagons. The Great Central Railway ran trains from Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, York and Rugby through Woodford to London Marylebone.

Train Inidcator Fingerboard

Next Train Indicator from the Great Central Railway Museum at Loughborough (Picture: T.M. Williams)

Woodford Halse really was at the centre of railway services in the area. It was possible to get a train to London without having to change.  Some idea of its significance can be seen in this map of railway connections between 1911 and 1914. (Click for a larger version)

Local Railway Networks Map

In 1910 there were 16 “down” passenger trains (away fromLondon) and 17 “up” trains (towards London) stopping, starting or finishing at Woodford.

In 1920, a locomotive on the GCR was dedicated as a memorial to the employees of the GCR that lost thheir lives in the fFirst World War. This is remembered in Woodford’s Memorial Glade.

We’ve collected up some material relating to Woodford’s railway heritage…

Pictures of Woodford & The Railway

Videos of Woodford & The Railway

An Account of An Accident: December 1935

This map from 1954 shows how the railway cut through the village with the sidings extending to the north towards Charwelton. (Map used with acknowledgements to Disused Stations.org who have a opens in a new windowpage on Woodford Halse station).

Railways through Woodford

Find Out More

A model of Woodford Halse railway in its heyday has been created by the Model Railway Society and can be seen on occasion in the Social Club. The club has a opens in a new windowfacebook page here.

If you want to explore Woodford’s railway heritage there’s a short walk around the village. opens in a new windowDownload the walk guide here.

The following pictures were provided by the Great Central Railway Enthusiasts Society (many thanks John Rose) and show just how big a part of Woodford the railway was.

Here’s an image showing the location of various railway installations around the village:

Railway Heritage viewed on Google Earth

And here is how the network of railways divided up the local countryside:-

Local Rail Routes on Google Earth

Woodford’s Railways On Film

This video shows trains working around Woodford in the British Railways era, referencing the GC (Great Central), SMJ (Stratford & Midland Junction) and GWR (Great Western Railway) workings. Skip forward to 0:39 for the start of the video.

And here’s another video from the British Film Institute’s archive. It’s a twenty minute amateur film from 1966 showing the line from Banbury and into Woodford Halse with some great shots of steam trains and the village at the end of the railway era… opens in a new windowRails Into Ghost Town

More Information

The Great Central has attracted much study from railway and social history groups. Here are some links to further interesting information:

(Details on this page based on “Woodford Cum Membris and the Great Central Railway” by J.W. Anscomb)