|Just under three miles from Newbury, and barely
three-quarters of a mile from Speen, the line descends gently into the
Lambourn Valley on a 1 in 300 gradient. This isolated, out of the way
stopping place was the station for Stockcross and Bagnor, sited almost
exactly halfway between the two villages from which it took its name -
and probably just as inconvenient from either place.
Even in Victorian times it was difficult to see the purpose of
the station. Stockcross is about a mile away up a hill accessed by a
narrow lane, while Bagnor is also about a mile away across the valley
of the River Lambourn in the opposite direction and accessed only by a
footpath, otherwise about two miles by road. Woodspeen is and was only
a hamlet with a dozen or so residences.
photo, looking north towards the village of Boxford. The
requirements of wartime operation are clearly visible, such as
blacked-out station lamps and blanked nameboard.
Referred to by the local residents
simply as Stockcross, the station changed little over the years, but
during the late 1940s, posts were erected either side of the shelter to
allow the use of Tilley lamps, thus replacing the two outdated oil
themselves were kept at either Boxford or Lambourn and brought to
Stockcross as and when required. The platform was topped with cinders
and fine gravel while its leading edge was built of sleepers. Rails sunk vertically into the
ground supported the entire structure throughout its length.
Travelling from Newbury, the line
entered the station on an embankment, crossing a narrow lane by means
of an iron bridge. Aptly called Snake Lane, the road twists and turns
dramatically and if you have ever had the misfortune to actually drive
along it, you will understand fully the reasoning behind the name. It runs from the Lambourn Road towards the village of
Stockcross and is roughly a mile long.
Access to the
station was marked by a single parking space, a gate and a small sign.
From here a cinder and gravel path led up to the platform: a climb of
210ft to reach rail level.
During the independent LVR days, the station was staffed by a lad
porter whose responsibities included the collection of tickets and
parcel dispatch. From 1905, with the line now under the GWR, staff were
no longer employed here, a lad being despatched from either Boxford or
Speen stations to clean and maintain the site as required.
Responsibility for the general upkeep of Stockcross would, in later
years, ultimately fall on the Speen porter.
All passenger services were required
to stop here with a time allowance of one minute for patrons to alight
or board the train. This differed from the independent days of the LVR
Company when trains would stop only if requested.
Goods traffic was very light
consisting primarily of small quantities of milk and farm produce.
Small parcels were delivered free by the porter to the area served by
the station. Larger items would be left at Newbury to await delivery by
Interestingly, this tiny isolated station would, on occasions, play
host to race horse traffic from nearby Marsh Benham stud. A horse-box
would be ordered by Lambourn for attachment to the appropriate train.
On arrival at the station, the horses were held on the cinder pathway
until the train had stopped, before being led up to the horse box and
with superb views across the valley and only the birds for company. On
a fine summer's day, it would have been hard indeed to find a more
pleasant place to sit and wait for a train.
The winter months at the station
paint a truly different picture, the location taking on a bleak and
Right: The platform and shelter frozen in time. This shot
was taken as an LCGB railtour passed through on 14th February 1970. A
diesel multiple unit was used for this particular trip.
Far right: A scene taken from the carriage
window of a down train from Newbury on a dull, overcast day in the late
On a glorious summer's day in 1959,
this photo portrays the halt looking south towards Newbury. The lamp
post was fitted with a pulley which lowered a hook upon which a Tilley
lamp was hung. The winding mechanism, visible near the bottom of the
post, would then be used to raise the lamp into position.
Note the plain garden seat situated under the name board. There was no
GWR-standard seating for Stockcross & Bagnor Halt, or so it would
Bagnor Station opened for passenger and goods traffic on 4th April 1898
running through until the close of passenger services on 4th January
1960. From 5th January 1960 until 19th July 1965, goods traffic still
moved along the line. Prior notice was required as special trains only
were dealt with between these dates.
Above left: Some years after closure.
Above right: Despite
efforts made by BR's Western Region to record and potentially salvage
reusable items, the only thing to have been removed would appear to be
the station name board.