Stoke Prior Halt was opened between Leominster and Steens Bridge and
in 1932 three trains were running on Sundays between Worcester and
line was generally worked by class 517 0-4-2T locomotives with 0-6-0STs
used for freight. In later years more modern locomotives were introduced
and on occasions a diesel railcar was used.
the end of the line's life, trains were often running empty yet
there were frequent exceptions to this when special trains were
run for hop-pickers. These usually came from Birmingham or the Black
Country and for this purpose special stock was used, described as
'third class coaches of the oldest type'.
rural motor bus services began the line was doomed although it was
to be many years before it totally closed. The first section to
go was the Leominster to Bromyard stretch which closed completely
on 15th September 1952.
the stretch was used for six years to store some 600 condemned wagons.
The last recorded train between Leominster and Bromyard ran on 26th
April 1958 hauled by an ex-GWR class 45XX 2-6-2T no 4571 - six years
Bromyard to Worcester section lasted longer with the Bromyard to
Bransford Road junction section closing to all traffic on September
7th 1964. Touring the line from Worcester towards Leominster many
reminders could be found. At Leigh Court the shell of the original
station building was still there. It was derelict and covered with
ivy, rowan and holly.
Mill is a superbly restored station on the former Leominster
to Worcester line. After closure in 1952 the station lay derelict
until 1984. A great deal of work by the Wilkinson family went
into restoration. At the platform stands GWR Inspection Saloon
W80976. The station area is strictly private.
close to the river Teme, a notice on a gate showed the site to be
owned by various Angling Clubs. Visitors were asked to keep out
although this hardly seemed necessary since the crumbling platform
edge was lined with bee-hives!
1957 the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh visited Worcester and the
Royal Train, drawn by two Castle class locomotives, was stabled
at Leigh Court.
the driver of the leading locomotive related that when approaching
Leigh Court a horse was reported loose on the line. Detonators had
been placed on the track – believed to have been the first time
detonators were put in front of a Royal Train.
reaching Knightwick there were two short viaducts at Hayley Dingle
and Broad Dingle. Knightwick station building, well to the south
of the village, became a private residence known as ‘The Heights’.
station became a private residence and at Bromyard the site became
an industrial estate. It is from the entrance to this estate that
in 1968 the 2 ft gauge Bromyard and Linton Light Railway laid its
track. Today the Light Railway is no longer there. The track is
still in situ and there are hopes that one day trains might return.
on westwards, Rowden Mill station proved an enthusiast's delight.
The station, unstaffed from September 1949, closed to regular passenger
services on 15th September 1952. After many years of neglect, a
remarkable transformation began in 1984 when the site was acquired
by its present owner.
today a strictly private residence, restoration work by the whole
family since that time has truly recaptured the past. At the single
platform stands fully restored GWR Inspection Saloon no W80976.
Mill recalls the past with these early station lamps.
seats carry the familiar GWR signs and an advertisement on the fencing
reminds visitors that ‘Val peppermints 1d aid digestion and safeguard
tells that 'Sunlight Soap' is made by 'Soap Makers to Her Majesty
the Queen'. A hut marked 'Rowden Mill East Ground Frame' stands
by sections of track. An ex-BR Diesel shunter adds realism to the
scene. Built originally at Swindon in 1958, it was delivered to
Cambridge as no 92. It became BR stock in July 1967 as D2371 and
was re-numbered 03371 in February 1974.