Shropshire Star

Celebrations as Severn Valley's smallest station is back in use

Timetabled services have returned to the Severn Valley Railway’s smallest station for the first time in more than 40 years.

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The first timetabled train in 40 years is welcomed as it pulls into Eardington station

Eardington Station, at the mid point between Bridgnorth and Hampton Loade, has seen the first timetabled service arrive at the station since 1982.

A steam train rolled into the station on Thursday, on the first day of the leading heritage railway’s Autumn Steam Gala.

Locomotive No 43106 ‘The Flying Pig’, on a local service from Bridgnorth, arrived at 2.15pm for the official reopening ceremony at Eardington.

It hauled a short rake of LMS coaches, reprising one of the first trains to stop here in 1970, when the SVR opened in preservation.

People wait patiently on the platofrm at Eardington station

Often referred to as the SVR’s ‘hidden gem’, Eardington has been effectively a ‘ghost’ station for the past four decades, with no timetabled trains stopping.

During its working life, the station, which is on the Severn Valley Line, was used mainly for goods traffic traffic such as iron, sand, or cattle.

It closed in 1963 but was reopened 1970 as part of the Severn Valley Railway, remaining on the timetable until 1982.

However, it’s not been forgotten, as a dedicated group of volunteers has lovingly maintained the 155-year-old station building and preserved its unique history.

The Friends of Eardington Station meet every Thursday to work on the site and keep it in tip-top shape.

Eardington is the only station left in the UK that is lit entirely by oil lamps, and an electricity supply has never been installed.

“We’ve been working towards this for such a long time,” said Steve Downs, Eardington’s station master. “I definitely felt a lump in my throat today, it’s quite an emotional time.

“The place has been buzzing, with lots of photographers about, lots of trains. It’s everything we wanted it to be.

“Our team members have had to do a lot of training, especially in dispatching trains and crossing duties. We’ve had plenty of help from our colleagues at Arley station and it’s all paid off. The Eardington staff have performed magnificently.”

Eardington station’s volunteers have worked closely with the SVR’s operations department to get permission from the Office of Rail and Road for trains to stop once more. For safety reasons, only local trains consisting of a few carriages are able to stop, because the station has a very short platform.

Local trains from Bridgnorth will continue to stop at Eardington throughout the rest of the four-day Autumn Steam Gala, and the station will also be open during the Autumn Diesel Bash which takes place from September 29 to October 1.

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