Trumpington Village Sign unveiled June 2010, designed by Sheila Betts.
Trumpington Local History Group
Introduction to Railways in
Trumpington
Copyright © Trumpington Local History Group, 2017. Updated 24 March 2017.
Email:
admin@trumpingtonlocalhistorygroup.org
This page is an introduction to railways in Trumpington. For additional
details, see the
Railways of Trumpington, 1845-2010 by Edmund
Brookes and personal reminscences such as those of Barry Clarke.
A local passenger train in
LMS days hauled by an
ex-LNWR goods
locomotive, running
from Cambridge to
Bedford, passing under
Long Road bridge,
Trumpington.
Reproduced with
permission from
Middleton Press.
Two railways have passed through the parish: the
lines between London Kings Cross and Liverpool
Street and Cambridge (merging just south of
Trumpington at the 'Shepreth Branch Junction' in
Great Shelford) and the line between Bletchley,
Bedford and Cambridge.

Edmund Brookes gives an enthusiast's history of the
development of these lines and the complex
relationships between the companies that built the
routes and services. He describes how the line from
Liverpool Street to Cambridge opened by 1845 and
was joined by the line from Kings Cross to
Cambridge in 1851. The line from Bedford to
Cambridge opened in 1862, running alongside the
London route on the approach to Cambridge station.
An ex-LNWR Cauliflower Class locomotive running from Cambridge to Bedford, passing under Long Road bridge, Trumpington. Reproduced with permission from Bletchley to Cambridge, Vic Mitchell and Keith Smith, Middleton Press, 2007.
Reusing the Bedford-Cambridge Line for the Guided Busway

Edmund Brookes writes about the closure of the Bedford-Cambridge line, with freight and
passenger services being withdrawn by 1968.

The track was removed in 1969 and the route gradually reverted to nature. This was particularly
apparent in the railway cutting between Hauxton Road, Shelford Road and the allotments, with
trees growing on the embankment and wildlife colonising the stream and grassy areas. Although a
major gas main and water pipe were installed in the cutting, it was used as an informal footpath
from the 1970s, as was the rest of the route to Long Road. All changed in 2008, when
construction work started on the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway. The Residents' Association
has a diary of the
construction of the busway.
Sources

Allen, Cecil J. (1955). Great Eastern Railway. Shepperton: Ian Allan.
Bonavia, Michael R. (1996).
The Cambridge Line. Shepperton: Ian Allan.
Fellows, Reginald B. (1976a).
London to Cambridge by Train 1845-1938. Cambridge: Oleander
Press.
Fellows, Reginald B. (1976b).
Railways to Cambridge. Actual and Proposed. Cambridge:
Oleander Press.
Grinling, Charles H. (1898).
History of the Great Northern Railway. George Allen & Unwin.
Mitchell, Vic and Mott, Allan (2006).
Potters Bar to Cambridge. Midhurst: Middleton Press.
Mitchell, Vic and Smith, Keith (2007).
Bletchley to Cambridge. Midhurst: Middleton Press.
Simpson, William (1983).
Oxford to Cambridge Railway. Vol. 2: Bletchley to Cambridge.
Poole: Oxford Publishing.
Warren, Alan and Phillips, Ralph (1987).
Cambridge Station. A Tribute. : British Rail.
Cambridge Railway Station (Wikipedia).
"The situation concerning the LNER (ex GE) mainline was different. Fires here occurred
generally at the height of the harvest. The fields to the west of the line were at that time, entirely
arable, this was before the showground was established, and wheat and barley were among the
crops grown. It seemed to be a hazard which farmers accepted that their corn could catch fire
from the trains, and which did happen. One I remember in particular was when, to the south of
the farm trackway (also a public right of way) from the High Street, next to the Village Hall to
the Red Cross on Hills Road (no Paget Road, Foster Road or Addenbrooke's then), a field of
barley next to the line was extensively burnt. Once the farmer, possibly Mr Cornwell, Rachel's
father, had given permission, those villagers with poultry, etc., including myself, descended on
the charred field to glean the heads of barley lying scorched on the ground. But burnt wheat
crops were preferred! Many of us kept hens at that time, as eggs in the shops were rationed, and
enough little-damaged grain could be gleaned to last several months. Presumably the railway
company compensated the farmer. That is how I remember the lineside fires."

Val Burden (née Valerie Charge) has added similar recollections of the fields and railway. Val has
lived in New Zealand for many years, but her family moved into 112 Paget Rd when the house
was new and lived there for 25 years, so she has many memories of Trumpington. She writes
(May 2011) "I was very interested in your photographs especially the one of the fields along the
track to Addenbrooke's. We walked our dog along there (no Addenbrooke's at the time) and he
was forever running into the fields to dig up moles, we would chase after him only to be
accosted by the farmer, Mr Cornwall, who was not amused to see us in his field of Friesians
with a dog, you could get great mushrooms from there as well. There used to be a copse on the
field with an enormous rookery in it but I expect that is long gone? The two railway lines were
great for train spotting and in the summer sparks from the steam trains would set the corn alight
and the fire engine would come screaming along Paget Road to put it out. Eventually realising
you couldn't win against a steam engine, lucerne - or perhaps alfalfa - was planted in a wide band
next to the line as it would stay green and alas no more fire engines to add excitement to our
lives."
Extract from Bradshaw's Railway Map,
1907
.
The removal of the railway track from the cutting to the east of Shelford Road bridge, 1969. Photo: Margaret Marrs, reproduced in Trumpington Past & Present, p. 22.
The removal of the railway track from the
cutting to the east of Shelford Road bridge,
1969. Photo: Margaret Marrs, reproduced in
Trumpington Past & Present, p. 22.
Laying the track for the Guided Busway to the east of Shelford Road bridge. Photo: Andrew Roberts, 21 September 2010.
Laying the track for the Guided Busway to the
east of Shelford Road bridge. Photo: Andrew
Roberts, 21 September 2010.
Along the line of the old railway, looking north east from the crossing point with the track from the allotments to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, before work starts on the Guided Busway. Photo: Andrew Roberts, August 2007.
Along the line of the old railway, looking north
east from the crossing point with the track from
the allotments to Addenbrooke's Hospital,
before work starts on the Guided Busway.
Photo: Andrew Roberts, August 2007.
The line of the old railway, looking south from Long Road, before work starts on the Guided Busway. Photo: Andrew Roberts, July 2007.
The line of the old railway, looking south from
Long Road, before work starts on the Guided
Busway. Photo: Andrew Roberts, July 2007.
The new guided busway track south of Long Road. Photo: Andrew Roberts, August 2009.
The new guided busway track south of Long
Road. Photo: Andrew Roberts, August 2009.
Looking north along the track bed for the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway, by the crossing at the end of the old railway cutting. Photo: Andrew Roberts, June 2010.
Looking north along the track bed for the
Cambridgeshire Guided Busway, by the
crossing at the end of the old railway
cutting. Photo: Andrew Roberts, June 2010.
Growing up in Trumpington in the 1940s and 1950s

In his recollection of railway and bus services in Trumpington, Barry Clarke writes about running
from his home in Shelford Road to watch the Bedford trains going through the cutting and
cycling over the fields to see trains on the main line.

Brian Goodliffe remembers the railway lines as a boy and also his father's experience as a tractor
driver.
Brian writes (December 2010) "Back in the
1950s, my father would set off from Church
Farm on his Allis-Chalmers crawler tractor,
towing a bowser of tractor vaporising oil  
(TVO) - what most tractors ran on before
diesel tractors became popular) and behind this
was pulled a plough, cranked up so the
working parts cleared the road). Steering very
gently so the tank-type tracks didn't chew up
the road surface, he would cross the High
Street into Anstey Way, then left into Paget
Road. He would follow Paget Road round to
the corner nearest Fawcett School, where he
set off down the track that led out onto
Pemberton's fields."
"If his final destination was the area known as Red Cross, he had to cross both sets of railway
lines (LMS and LNER) with his caterpillar tractor. There were no telephones to the signal box or
flashing warning lights. Just a wooden five-bar gate on each side of the tracks that opened
outwards away from the lines and wooden railway sleepers laid to make a rough level crossing.
The trains on the LMS line were fairly few in number and generally slower, so with both gates
open it was a quick look both ways and a trundle across, closing the gates behind him. When he
got to the LNER lines he had to be a little more circumspect. The trains were much more
frequent and seemed decidedly faster. Fortunately you could often see the smoke in the distance
before you could see the loco. This was fine in clear weather. In fog it was a whole different
experience. Because of the nature of the beast it was rather impractical to stop the tractor engine
to listen for trains. And anyway, by the time he'd started it on the handle again the situation
could have changed. So it was a case of opening both gates, saying a quick prayer, and going for
it! Now a crawler tractor towing a bowser and plough over a level crossing isn't exactly a speedy
vehicle, but he always got away with it, although sometimes it was a close call!"

"Like most boys, standing by those wooden gates I was fascinated by the sheer size of the
locomotives close-to and the length of the trains: some up to fourteen carriages long. In those
days, if you bought a ticket you expected to have a seat; and trains normally had enough
carriages to accommodate this. Children playing on the railways was as prevalent then as it is
now. Except we had more sense than to try and deliberately cause damage, injury or derailment.
One favourite pastime was to put a (pre-decimal) penny or halfpenny on the top of the rail to be
run over by the next train that came along. Upon retrieving the coin, it would be squashed to
much larger than its original diameter. You would add it to your collection of 'treasures', like
boys in the blitz used to collect bits of shrapnel."

"Long Road bridge was a favourite place to go train spotting. We'd congregate over the LNER
lines as they were the most productive. Then someone would shout: "There's one on the other
line!" And we'd all run like stink to the other end of the bridge to try and get its number. Oh
happy days!"

For more of Brians recollections, see his
Childhood Memories.
Track from Paget Road to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Clay Farm, Trumpington. Photo: Andrew Roberts, August 2007
Track from Paget Road to Addenbrooke's
Hospital, Clay Farm, Trumpington. Photo:
Andrew Roberts, August 2007.
All Change at Bletchley

Margaret Marrs used the cross-county route long before she moved to livc in Trumpington.
Writing in December 2010, she remembers "When I was a student (1948-1951), the route to
Cambridge from the north was: Main line to Bletchley, then change trains for the line to
Cambridge. It may have only been imagination, but it seemed as if the trains were scheduled so
that one had a couple of hours to wait at Bletchley. Of course, this was the changing place for
Oxford too. The Cambridge train stopped at every station, I think at the time the regular
travellers could recite them from memory."

"On one occasion I was coming from Lime Street, Liverpool, and something went wrong with
the engine. There is an incline out of that station, so it was something like 3 hours before they
could get the broken-down engine out of the way and a replacement produced. Of course there
was no possibility of going to my aunt's for an extra night, we had to keep term in those days.
Obviously we were so late at Bletchley that our connection was long gone (similarly the Oxford
train). I don't know how many were going to Oxford, but I think there were only 5 of us for
Cambridge, and a 3 carriage train was produced to complete our journey."
"I didn't know Trumpington in those days,
except in Rupert Brooke's poem, but in 1962 I
found myself living here. My next door
neighbours then were Jack and Joy Harper. I
think they were the original owners. They had
blackberries growing, and these had got rather
out of control, so they used to pull them up
and throw them on to the railway cutting
where they easily established. Harpers would
encourage us to pick the fruit (I guess this was
after the line was closed to traffic) but they
used to produce a very good crop."
The old railway cutting to the east of Shelford Road, before work starts on the Guided Busway. Heavily overgrown with brambles, shrubs and trees, 40 years after the line closed. Photo: Andrew Roberts, August 2007.
The old railway cutting to the east of Shelford
Road, before work starts on the Guided
Busway. Heavily overgrown with brambles,
shrubs and trees, 40 years after the line closed.
Photo: Andrew Roberts, August 2007.
Railway lines shown on the Inland Revenue Land Value map for Trumpington, 1910-11. Reproduced by permission of Cambridgeshire Archives, file 470/047, sheet XLVII.10.
Railway lines shown on the Inland
Revenue
Land Value map for
Trumpington, 1910-11
. Reproduced by
permission of Cambridgeshire Archives,
file 470/047, sheet XLVII.10.
Lucky Escapes

The effect of 'railway mania' on Trumpington may have been much more marked than the two
lines that eventually cut across the south and east of the parish. From 1836 to 1850, there were a
number of proposals for railway lines into Cambridge which would have required a route through
Trumpington and a second 'Cambridge' station to the north of the parish, but fortunately the
Parliamentary Bills for these routes were all rejected.

The sites for proposed stations included Edelston's Farm (Blackland Farm, now known as River
Farm, at the west end of Latham Road), near Coe Fen, near The Leys and either side of the
Botanic Gardens. The 1848 Bill by the Royston and Hitchin company and the 1850 Bill by the
Great Northern Railway for the Shepreth to Cambridge line proposed a station close to the
Botanic Gardens, while the 1851 Bill for the Great Northern Railway route from Shepreth to
Cambridge had a proposed station adjacent to Silver Street. When the Bedford to Cambridge line
was completed in 1862, the promoter agreed to share the existing Cambridge station and
contribute to its rebuilding, but the initial plan had been to build a separate station on the
Brooklands Avenue side of Hills Road (Bonovia, 1995, Fellows, 1976b, Warren and Phillips,
1987).
Lineside Fires

Writing in November 2010, David Stubbings added his memories of lineside fires, which "were a
danger in the era of steam locomotives, as these engines could belch out red hot cinders,
especially when working hard, and ignite wayside vegetation. I recall two periods in the 1940s
when conflagrations occurred in the Parish of Trumpington."
"The LMS (ex-LNWR) double track line from
Cambridge to Bletchley ran in the parish from
Long Road railway bridge curving to enter the
cutting to go under Shelford Road bridge into
the deepest part of the cutting and then under
Hauxton Road bridge to cross flatter land, over
the Cam (Granta) and on to Lord's Bridge
Station. Between the cutting and the houses of
Bishops Road there were two fields, the larger,
now Lantree Crescent, was cultivated and the
other, behind our house was rough pasture, to
which we had full access to play. The sides of
the cutting were clothed with grass and
perennials such as knapweed, a few small
bushes, but no trees. In a windy, arid March
there would be outbreaks of fire in the long
dry grass on the Bishops Road side, which
would spread quite quickly, even into the grass
field. To the joy of small boys, the Fire
Brigade would attend and extinguish the fires
with beaters and hose reel jets. Little real fire
damage was done except for a few charred
fence posts. There were rarely fires at other
times of the year in this area. Presumably the
south side was mainly affected because the
locomotive would still be working reasonably
hard on the downline, having not long left
Cambridge Station. Allegations that we kept
the fires going until the Brigade arrived were
untrue! "
Looking east across the Trumpington Meadows parkland along the old railway line towards Hauxton Road. Photo: Andrew Roberts, December 2010.
The river and foundation of the old railway bridge on the east side of the river. Photo: Andrew Roberts, December 2010.
Looking east across the Trumpington Meadows
parkland along the old railway line towards
Hauxton Road. Photo: Andrew Roberts,
December 2010.
The river and foundation of the old railway
bridge on the east side of the river. Photo:
Andrew Roberts, December 2010.
In his book about the Cambridge line, Michael Bonavia writes about the straggling cross-country
route between Bletchley, Bedford and Cambridge. He says there were about eight trains a day in
the 1930s, calling at all stations to Bedford then fast to Bletchley. There could have been a
through service from Cambridge to Oxford, but "connections were however not very good and it
was a standing joke in both universities that 'cultural exchanges' often had to be effected in the
waiting room at Bletchley" (Bonavia, 1995, page 105-06).
Long Road railway crossing
and gatehouse

Jane Fairweather and her father have been
researching the railway crossing and
gatehouse on Long Road, Trumpington
(April 2015). Jane's great grandfather, Sam
Fairweather, worked on the railways and
was at one time the gatekeeper at Long
Road.

Jane writes that the photograph was taken
by Regent Studios, Cambridge, and
probably dates from the 1920s. The
photograph is of Jane's great grandmother,
Sarah Fairweather (née Charter), sitting
outside the gatehouse. She had married
Sam Fairweather in Cambridge in 1907.
They had one son, Albert, born 1908. Sam
joined the railway circa 1912 as a
platelayer; he joined the Amalgamated
Society of Railway Servants in 1913. He
was the gatekeeper at Long Road for a
number of years, then they moved back to
Cambridge. Sarah died in 1941 and Sam in
1974. In 1923, Albert gave his address as
'Long Road' when he started his
apprenticeship at Reynolds. Jane's
grandparents, Albert Fairweather and Clara
Seekings, married in Trumpington in 1932.
Sarah Fairweather (ne Charter), sitting outside the Long Road, Trumpington, gatehouse. Source: Jane Fairweather.
Howard Slatter has checked the 1928 Ordnance Survey map which shows Long Road crossing
the two railway lines: the western line (the LNWR line to Bedford) went under a bridge but the
eastern one (the former GER line) used a level crossing.  There was a signal box at the
north-west corner of the crossing (see Trumpington Past and Present, p. 20).  A building is
marked the south-west corner, which Howard has concluded was the crossing keeper's
gatehouse. From 1871 to 1911, census records consistently refer to this cottage in Long Road
(or Mill Road as it used to be called).  There is then a dearth of official records until 1934, when
the electoral registers show a couple called Smith living there until 1935 (Roy Smith is shown in
the photographs in the book). The crossing was replaced by another bridge in 1935 and this
would have obliterated the gatehouse.
Trumpington Railway Station, 1922

For a short period in 1922, there was a railway station in Trumpington, used for that year's
Royal Agricultural Society of England show. This was on a site to the north of Long Road, in the
V-shaped gap between the London and Bedford railway lines. There is information about the
station in Edmund Brooke's page on the
Railways of Trumpington and also on the Disused
Stations
web site.
Trumpington Railway Station, c. 2020?

There are current proposals for a new station to serve the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, to be
located between the Busway bridge and Addenbrooke's Road bridge.