Extracts relating to the railway branch line from Ashchurch to Tewkesbury Quay

and from Tewkesbury to Malvern.


From the London Gazette.


Notice is hereby given, that application is intended to be made to Parliament in the next session, for leave to bring in a Bill to alter, ammend, explain, repeal, enlarge and render more effectual, some of the powers and provisions of an Act, passed in the sixth and seventh year of ther reign of His present Majesty King William the Fourth, intituled "An Act for making a railway from Birmingham to Gloucester, with a branch therefrom."

And that application is also intended to be made for powers, in the same Bill, to make and maintain a branch railway, with proper works and conveniences connected therewith, commencing by a junction with the Birmingham and Gloucester Railway, in a certain field in the hamlet of Wadborough in the county of Worcester, numbered 18 on the plan of the said Birmingham and Gloucester Railway deposited with the Clerk of the Peacr for the said county of Worcester, near to a pole lately erected there, called
Littleworth Pole, and terminating at or near a certain field adjoining the turnpike road leading from Worcester to Crowle, near a cottage in the occupation of Thomas Bruton. And which said branch railway is intended to be made in, and pass from, through, or into the several parishes, townships, and extra parochial and other places of Saint Andrew otherwise Holy-cross Pershore, Wadborough, Stoulton, Norton juxta Kempsey, Willington, Saint Peter the Great, and Saint Martin, or some of them, in the said county of Worcester; Saint Martin and Saint Peter, or one of them, in the city of Worcester and county of the same city.

And that application is intended also to be made for powers, in the same Bill, to make and maintain another branch railway , when proper works and conveniences connected therewith, commencing, by a junction with the said Birmingham and Gloucester Railway, in a certain field in the hamlet or tithing of Nothway and Newton, in the parish of Ashchurch in the county of Gloucester, numbered 51 on the plan of the said Birmingham and Gloucester Railway deposited with the Clerk of the Peace for the said county of Gloucester, near to the turnpike road leading from Tewkesbury to Stow, and terminating at or near a certain place called the Quay, in the parish of Tewkesbury, in the said county of Gloucester, near to public house there, called the Star. And which said last-mentioned branch railway is intended to be made in, and to pass from, through, or into the several parishes, townships, and extra parochial and other places of Ashchurch, Northway and Newton, and Tewkesbury, or some of them, all in the said county of Gloucester.

And that application is further intended to be made for powers, in the same Bill, to make and maintain another branch or extension railway, with proper works and conveniences connected therewith , commencing, by a junction with the said Birmingham and Gloucester Railway , in a certain field in the hamlet of Alstone, in the parish of Cheltenham, in the county of Gloucester, numbered 70 on the plan deposited with the Clerk of the Peace for the said county of Gloucester, near to the River Chelt there, and terminating , by a junction with the Cheltenham and Great Western Union Railway, in a certain field, being a pasture and brick ground, in the hamlet of Alstone, in the said parish of Cheltenham in the county of Gloucester, number 28 on the plan deposited with the Clerk of the Peace for the said county of Gloucester, near to the turnpike road there, called the Lansdowne-road. And which said last-mentioned branch or extension railway is intended to be made in, and to pass from, through, or into the several parishes, townships, and extra parochial and other places of Cheltenham, Arle, and Alstone, or some of them, all in the county of Gloucester.

And notice is hereby also given, that power will be applied for, in the said intended Bill, to deviate from the several lines of the said intended railways, for the making of which respectively powers are so intended to be applied for as aforesaid, as the same will be defined in the said intended application to Parliament, to any extent, not exceeding one hundred yards on either side of such lines. ----Dated the 1st day of November 1836.


From the Tewkesbury Yearly Magazine.



When the railway betwen Gloucester and Birminhgham was first projected, it was of course anticipated here that it would pass close to Tewkesbury; and this appears to have the original intention of the promoters of it, though they were afterwards induced to alter their plans, in order to concilliate the inhabitants of Cheltenham.

The leading thoroughfare between the north and south of England has always been through Tewkesbury; and in a railway communication from Gloucester to Birmingham, the best, most level and least expensive line would certainly skirt the eastern side of the town, in its route to the city of Worcester.

As soon as it became generally known, that the proposed railway was not to come nearer than Ashchurch, the inhabitants were naturally apprehensive that the travelling through the town would be almost annihilated, and their trade and property consequently much deteriorated in value; they therefore determined to offer a vigorous opposition to the measure, whenever its supporters might bring it before the legislature.

Accordingly on 16th of February, a public meeting, convened by the mayor, was held at the Town-Hall, for the purpose of considering the propriety of petitioning parliament on the subject , when the following petition was adopted, without a dissenting voice:---

"To the Honourable the Commons of Great Britain and Ireland in Parliament assembled.

The humble Petition of the undersigned Inhabitants of the Borough of Tewkesbury, in the County of Gloucester,Sheweth,---That the town of Tewkesbury directly and centrically situate on the great leading line and thoroughfare between Liverpool, Mamchester and Birmingham, and the whole of the commercial and manufacturing portion of the north of England, and between Cheltenham, Gloucester and Bristol, and the whole of the commercial and manufacturing portion of the south of England; and is further extensively connected with the agricultural interests of the Cotswold and other parts of the County of Gloucester.

That they have heard with alarm that a Bill has been lately introduced into your Honourable House, to establish a Railway between Gloucester and Birmingham, the nearest point between which and the town of Tewkesbury would be at least of the distance of two miles.

That your Petitioners unhesitatingly affirm, that, should such Bill become Act of Parliament and the law of the land, an extensive and irreparable injury will be done to the traffic, trade and property of the town of Tewkesbury.

That your Petitioners have been informed and believe, that it was originally intended by the Gloucester and Birmingham Railway Company to take their line direct to the latter place, thus closely passing by the town of Tewkesbury, and they distinctly assert such line to be the most direct, the least expensive and the best.

That your Petitioners humbly submit, that, previous to such Bill going into a Committee of your Honourable House, a Parliamentary Surveyor and Engineer should be appointed to inspect each line of Railway, and suggest such alterations and improvements as may seem expedient, with the view that local interests be not impaired, and the value of property in town depreciated by Railways, in many cases to the total ruin of the owners of such property.

That your Petitioners, in conclusion, submit that no uncertain and precarious system of speculation ought to be suffered to risk or destroy large and settled interests and properties, though they may be of isolated and local nature; and that if such a system of speculation be countenanced by your Honourable House, it should be made so as to risk such interest and properties as slightly as it can, and make some and the best return for those injuries and losses which will, under the best arrangement, be locally occasioned.

Your Petitioners therefore humbly pray your Honourable House that thye said Bill may not pass into law."

A Committee was at the same time appointed, to promote the utmost opposition to the Bill; and the petition was presented to the House of Commons, by William Dowdswell Esq. on the following day.

A second public meeting of trhe inhabitants was held at the Town-Hall, on the 22nd of February, to consider what other steps it would be advisable to adopt, the opposition to the Gloucester and Birmingham Railway; when it was unanimously resolved, that another petition should be immediately presented to the House of Commons, and that Mr. G. E.Williams and Mr. John Moore should proceed to London, as a deputation, to take such further measures as might seem requisite in opposition to the Bill. In a very short time the petition was signed by nearly every respectable inhabitant of the Borough; and when sent of by the mail, it measured seven yards in length, with double rows of names, and columns for the description of each person signing.

On the 18th of March, when the Bill had passed through the Commons Committee, and had been reported* to the House, a third public meeting took place at the Town-Hall. After redceiving the report of the committee, appointed to oppose the Bill in the House of Comons, where the strenuous and praiseworthy efforts of the deputation had proved ineffectual, it was agreed to oppose it in the House of Lords, and a very liberal subscription was at once made towards defraying the expenses. A petition, similar to those previously presented to the Commons, was unanimously adopted; and Messrs. Winterbotham, Williams and Moore, were appointed a deputation to proceed to London, to watch the progress of the Bill through the House of Lords.


On the 15th of April, the Railway Company adjusted their differences with the inhabitants of Tewkesbury, to the satisfaction of the deputation and the town. It was arranged, in order to prevent the threatened operation in the House of Lords, that the main line should be carried as close to Tewkesbury as practicable; and that, if it could not with advantage be brought nearer than Ashchurch , a branch road should be made, at the expense of the company, direct from thence to Tewkesbury Quay.

On the 20th of April, the ammended Bill swas read a third time in the House of Lords; and on the 22nd it received the Royal Assent.

*The report of the Commons Committee states, that "the proposed railway will be publicly beneficial, as the present means of communication are not sufficient to supply the wants of the district. The anticipated annual number of passengers by the railway is 400,000, and the quantity of goods (chiefly manufactured) 70,000 tons; the income from passengers 90,699l. and from goods 65,155l.; The estimated charge of the annual expenses of the railroad when completed is 52,000l.; and the cost of making the road,
which is expected to be completed in four years, is 889,703l. The Committee asserts "the calculations proved in evgidence have satisfactorily established that the revenue is likely to be sufficient to support the annual charges of the maintenance of the railroad, and still allow profit to the projectors." The engineering difficulties of the railroad are considerable, in consequence of the hilly nature of a great part of the country through which it will have to pass. There are two inclined planes of upwards of a mile and a quarter each, to be traversed by passengers; and another at the terminal of trhe line at Gloucester of 500 yards, to be used for goods only. The carriages are to be drawn up these inclined planes by means of stationary engines. There will also be one tunnel 440 yards in length. The amount of the loans which the company are empowered to raise by the Bill is 316,666l, one third of the capital, 950,000l.


From the Tewkesbury Yearly Magazine.



A large and respectable meeting of the inhabitants of this borough was held in the Town-Hall, on the 2nd of March 1837, when petitions were unanimously accepted to both Houses of Parliament in support of the bill for ammending the Birmingham and Gloucester Railway Act. One of the objects of the bill was to enable the proprietors to make a branch railway fron Ashchurch to Tewkesbury, which was considered to be of much importance to the town.

Messrs. Sproule and John Moore were, at a subsequent meeting, appointed to watch the progress of this bill through parliament: with this view they attended in Committee on its second reading, and succeeded in getting a clause inserted for bringing the branch from Ashchurch to Trewkesbury Quay.

The Act of Parliament passed on the 5th of May, 7 Will.4, cap.26, and was entitled,

"An Act to ammend an Act passed in the last Session of Parliament for making a railway from Birmingham to Gloucester, to extend the line for the said railway, and to make Branches therefrom to the City of Worcester and the Town of Tewkesbury."

The Railway Magazine thus alludes to this undertaking:--

"The works upon this railway are now rapidly and steadily progressing. In consequence of the greater part of the land throughout the line having been purchased, the engineer has had it in his power to select and begin first upon those points requiring the longest time for completion. The plan of operation has been laid down with aview of completing and opening to the public, within the period of eighteen months, an integral and profitable portion of the line connecting Cheltenham, Worcester and droitwich; and within the period of three years finishing the entire work. Contracts have been made on favourable terms for the works at Cheltenham; Bredon near Tewkesbury; Eckington near Pershore; Burnt Green near Bromsgrove; and King's Heath near Moreley, near Birmingham; and are being proceeded with in the most satisfactory manner possible. With respect to the works, a plan has been adopted which, so far as it has gone, has given equal satisfaction to the directors, and the contractors they have engaged. Instead of the various descriptions of earth, masonry, iron and fencing being lumped together and let in one entire contract, they have been divided, and let to parties more particularly conversant with each description of work. The division of the contracts, too, has enabled the directors to avail themselves of the local strength of the country and on the most satisfactory terms.The line is very favourably circumstanced in the geological formation of the country through which it passes. The line of junction between the new and red sand-stone formation and that of the lias runs for several miles parallel to the line of railway, affording excellent building materials within a few hundred yards of the line, while the railway excavations and embankments are kept within the dry and good material furnished by the marle and soft sand-stone. When completed, the Birmingham and Gloucester Railway will be one of the most important lines of railway in the kingdom. Gloucester is the port from whence Birmingham and its densely populated neighbourhood receive their chief supplies; whilst the railway is the direct and only line of communication between the north and west of England. The traffic which has been most carefully taken, gives a result not inferior to that of the Grand Junction Line; and that it will be completed within its subscribed capital of 9560,000l. stands not only upon the well-considered opinion of the engineer, Captain Moorsom, but upon the testimony of Mr.Locke also, to whom the whole of the estimates have been lately referred.


From the Tewkesbury Yearly Magazine.



At the half-yearly meeting of the proprietors, held in Birmingham in August 1839, the directors reported, that the depot and station at Tewkesbury were completed. It was also stated, that, by the opening of the Birmingham and Derby Railway, and the power obtained for forming a line between Gloucester and Bristol, railways were then either finished or in course of construction from Exeter to Newcastle; and that the Birmingham and Gloucester Railway was one of the main links in the great chain of railway communication, extending from north to south a distance of three hundred and fifty miles.

The station-house, which faces the High-Street, is built of Postlip free stone, and is thirty-eight feet in length and thirty-four feet in height. It has a fine Gothic screen-work, front, with oriel windows and battlements. In the centre of the building are two well-proportioned gateways, each twelve feet high and twelve feet six inches wide, one of which is designed for railway passengers, and the other for carriages and goods. There are suitable offices on the ground floor, with cellaring underneath; and four airy upper rooms , forming a comfortable residence. Stone stair-cases lead to a light and spacious booking-office, and there is a long paved platform for passengers, beneath a substantial roof, of forty feet span and upwards of one hundred and sixty feet long. The engine-house is placed beyond the first level crossing in the Oldbury; and in the yard which adjoins it are capacious sheds, coke stores, weighing-machine office, &c.and at the second level crossing is a small neat lodge. The whole of the buildings, which are so arranged as to be replete with conveniences, were erected by Mr.Thomas Phillips Holder, of this borough; the contracts amounted to nearly 7,00l. and it is calculated that the depot, station-house and offices, including the purchase of the site, cost the railway company very little less than 10,000l.

There is now a fair prospect of the railway communication being continued to the Quay, and of the Quay Lane being widened for the purpose.


From a provincial newspaper.



The directors of the Birmingham and Gloucester Railway have determined to commence the line of the Tewkesbury branch from the station-house on the east side of High-street to the Quay in that borough. To effect this object it will be necessary to widen Quay-street, and to erect a new bridge over the river Avon, near to the present iron bridge. The whole of the dwelling-houses and warehouses on the south side of Quay-street have accordingly been purchased, and are already in course of being taken down preparatory to the immediate widening of the approaches to the quay and the extension of the railway.


From a provincial newspaper.



The Gloucester and Birmingham railroad appears to be silently progressing towards completion, and the preparations for opening some portion, at least, of the line are daily becoming more manifest. one of the new American engines has lately been put on the line, and a beautiful one it looks; and within the last few days, it has made several experimental trips between Cheltenham and Tewkesbury, performing the distance of nine miles in thirteen minutes. At present, everything augurs well for the success and prosperous accomplishment of this important undertaking.


From the Cheltenham Chronicle



A melancholy accident happened on the branch of the Birmingham and Gloucester Railway, at Tewkesbury, on Saturday last, which caused the instantaneous death of two of the workmen on the line. It appears that, between eleven and twelve o'clock, the "Worcester" locomotive engine started from Tewkesbury with a train of ballast wagons, laden with railway bars, and that, after depositing the cargo at Bredon, the steam engine, which was under the care of Joseph Howdan, was returning to Tewkesbury with five empty wagons, for the purpose of having them re-laden. A little past one o'clock, when within about a third of a mile from the railway lodge at Tewkesbury, the engine-driver ran off the whole of the steam, and let a quantity of water into the boiler, calculating that the impetus which had already been given to the carriages would carry them in safety to the depot. Unfortunately, however, during his journey to and from Bredon, and contrary to his expectations, an additional ballast wagon had been laden at Tewkesbury, and placed on the rails, near a curve, several hundred yards from the spot at which he had intended to stop. On the approach of the train to this loaded ballast wagon, a policeman gave the usual signal for slackening speed; upon which the motion of the engine was immediately reversed, and the brake put upon the tender; but the engine, from the steam having been imprudently turned off, was no longer under control, and its progress could not be immediately diminished to any great extent. In front of the engine was the tender, on which were six or eight persons, and a single ballast wagon, containing the two unfortunate men, preceded it; and thus, while travelling at the rate of at least ten miles an hour, an awful collision took place. So powerful was the shock, that nearly the whole of the iron rails, amouting to between thirty and forty, which had been placed on the stationary wagon, were suddenly unshipped in to the wagon in front of the tender, and falling upon the two men, bruised and crushed them to death, almost in an instant. The two wagons were much shattered, and the tender received considerable damage, but all the men on the engine and on the tender escaped wholly unhurt. An inquest has been held on sight of the bodies, before George Tate Esq. the coroner for the borough of Tewkesbury, and a highly respectable Jury; it commenced at seven o'clock in the evening of Saturday, and continued till after twelve, when it was adjourned until half-past nine on Monday morning, and was not concluded till nearly seven in the evening. the evidence tended chiefly to prove that the engine driver was in a state of intoxication, and that he was proceeding at much too rapid a rate, considering that he was so near the termination of the line, close to curve which intersected a distant view of any impediment which might be in the road, and approaching alevel crossing , not guarded by gates, almost adjoining the town. Captain Moorsom, the Company's principal engineer, and William Crouze Esq., the resident engineer of locomotives, were examined and stated that the pace at which the engine was travelling was at least three-fold what it ought to have been, under the circumstances. After a patient and minute investigation, the Jury unhesitatingly returned a verdict of manslaughter against Joseph Howdan, the engine driver, who was thereupon committed to the borough gaol, to await his trial at the next Sessions.The names of the unfortunate men were
William Coles and William Davies: they were both respectable men, and each has left a wife and family. Coles had previously been superintendent of police at Tewkesbury, and he and his wife were natives of Cranbourne, Dorset; and Davies had recently been ferryman at the Lower Lode, Forthampton. we are happy to hear that Captain Moorsom, on the part of the Railway Company, has behaved in the most kind and handsome manner towards the poor widows; and that the inhabitants of Tewkesbury are anxious to render them every assistance which their hapless situation may require.



Part of a Report.

---As for the branch to Worcester, a survey had been made by Mr.Robert Stevenson; and the directors were willing to abide by the report he had made. The branch betwixt Ashchurch and Tewkesbury is now worked by engine, instead of horse power; and a contract has been entered into for extending the line to the Quay at Tewkesbury. The directors signified that they had not been able to come to satisfactory terms with the Great Western Company, relative to the working of the line between Gloucester and
Cheltenham, &c.; but should satisfactory proposals be made hereafter, a special meeting would be called to consider them.------



From the Times.


An inquest was held here yesterday, before the coroner for this borough, on the body of Thomas Price, a porter at Tewkesbury
Railway-station, who came to his death under the following circumstances:-- The deceased was in the act of mounting the break just as the train was leaving the Tewkesbury station, when, from some cause or other, not clearly ascertained, he got jammed between one of the trucks and the stone archway opening into the street, and the space between the truck and the archway being not more than seven or eight inches in width he was crushed so dreadfully that he died shortly after the occurrence. It should be explained that the Tewkesbury Railway is a single lineof some two or three miles only in length, being a branch of the Bristol and Birmingham line, which it joins at Ashchurch station. The line runs into the centre of the town of Tewkesbury, the station being on the east side of the main street, which is crossed by a level by luggage waggons conveying goods to the river Severn. The station is approached from Ashchurch by an incline, which renders it highly dangerous, and not many months ago a train overshot the station and ran across the street, through providentially without injuring any person. The jury on the above inquiry returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," but appended the following recommendation :--- "We are of the opinion that the gateways of the station and yards, and of the archway next the High-street, which do not allow sufficient room for a man to walk between the carriages on the line and the wall, are much too narrow; and that the safety of the public, as well as of the company's servants, imperatively requires that they should be widened. We also think that the rail at the station being on an incline is a cause of great danger, and should, if possible, be altered." The deceased was a very valuable and steady servant of the Bristol and Birmingham Railway Company, and had only been married a fortnight to a young woman to whom he had been paying his addresses to for 10 years.




An Accident

Between five and six o'clock on Saturday night last a goods engine ran into a passenger carriage, drawn by a horse which fell on the branch (single) line from Ashchurch to Tewkesbury. The carriage was dashed down an embankment, and two passengers, Mrs. Sarah Price, of Twyning, and Mr.Thomas Berrow, carpenter, of Tewkesbury, sustained injuries that resulted in death. The wife and son of Mr Rudge, tanner of Tewkesbury, who were also passengers, fortunately escaped. The carriage had no tail light to warn
the driver. A coroner's jury found that the cause of death was accidental; but the jury added that the use of horse and steam power on the same line of railway was incompatible with public safety.


A New Railway to Malvern.


A new line of railway is in course of survey between Tewkesbury and Malvern, the famous Worcestershire watering place. It is to be about thirteen miles in length, and will communicate with the Midland line by a junction at their station at Ashchurch, two and a half miles from Tewkesbury. The station will be near the gas works in that town. The line is then to pass by the lower end of the town, near the White Bear Inn, cross the Avon at the Goutts, the Upper Avon Ham, and by means of a tunnel through the Mythe Hill, under the turnpike road.--------etc.


From the Bristol Tmes and Mirror.

1897 Sept. 11.


On Friday afternoon a young man named Locksley, in the service of a Tewkesbury dairyman, had a wonderful escape at a level crossing of the Midland Railway Company at Tewkesbury. He was driving over the line in a spring cart, drawn by a pony, when an engine dashed into the vehicle, throwing it many yards and smashing it to atoms. The harness broke and liberated the pony, which made off unhurt. Locksley fell clear of the metals, and, beyond a slight injury to his hand, is little the worse for his extraordinary experience.