The long summer evenings make me want to go out and explore. So I set off to find an abandoned station.
East of Saffron Walden in Essex, on the road to Ashdon, the old railway bridge was the clue that I was in the right place.
I scrambled up the bank opposite the bridge and after only a few metres I was surprised to see the edge of the old platform. Still intact, but heavily overgrow, it stretched out before me. I could clearly see white the concrete.
Climbing onto the platform, I made my way through some dense bushes and soon found the platform shelter.
Located just outside Saffron Walden on the Audley End to Bartlow branch, this line opened in 1865 but Acrow Halt wasn’t opened until March 1957. It was built to enable staff to get to the nearby Acrow factory. It has a short life, closing to passengers in September 1964 as a consequence of the Beeching cuts. Freight traffic carried on for a few months then the whole line was closed. The black and white picture* shows a Waggon and Machinenbau Railbus posed at the halt, probably in June 1958. There’s a great description of the history of the halt on the Disused Stations website. (Incidently, if you haven’t visited this site please do, it’s very interesting).
Considering its age, the halt is remarkably well preserved.
This is the rear edge of the platform. I was amazed the concrete is so clean.
Close to the shelter is the ramp that passengers used to get to the factory.
The raised lines on the trackside edge of the platform are still clearly visible.
In some places the edge has crumbled to reveal the steel reinforcing.
There’s a hole in the platform surface at one point but otherwise it seems to be complete.
I walked to the far end of the platform, where the end of the concrete is clearly visible.
It is obvious that there was a trackbed here, and I continued down the old line.
At one point there was an old gate post.
Somewhere near here there was a trailing point and a siding that led back towards the halt and up to the old factory. The bank is still clearly visible, although there are no signs of the old track.
If I’d continued towards Bartlow I could have reached the next station on the line, Ashdon Halt, which is fascinating too. However, I’d done enough scrambling through the undergrowth for one evening and I headed back into Saffron Walden for a cold beer.
* Photograph courtesy and copyright © National Railway Museum and SSPL. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike.