Hayles Abbey Halt

A black and white photo of the old Hayles Abbey halt

Thanks to generous funding from the Cotswold Conservation Board, the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway plc (GWSR) have started work this year on the re-construction of a railway halt at Hailes Abbey.

Hayles Abbey Halt will resemble the original timber-built structure, with cast-iron Great Western notices, a corrugated-iron waiting shelter and traditional post-and-rail fencing. It will be a single-platform, request-only stop and its use will be made available for pedestrians and cyclists, with the hope of completing it in 2017.

History

On 9 July 1859, the railway was opened from Stratford-upon-Avon to Honeybourne, and the construction of a double-track line between Honeybourne and Cheltenham was completed in stages by 1908.

Hayles Abbey Halt was opened on 24 September 1928, with platforms lit by oil lamps maintained by porters at Toddington, whose stationmaster had overall responsibility for the halt.

The provision of the halt coincided with the opening of a museum at nearby Hailes Abbey. By July 1932, the halt was served by six daily rail motor services from Honeybourne to Cheltenham and back.

The halt closed on 7 March 1960, and sadly the entire line from Stratford to Cheltenham was closed by British Rail in August, 1976.

Present Day

From its formation in 1981, the GWSR has re-laid and re-opened the 13-mile line from Laverton in the north to Cheltenham Race Course in the south.

This work, which has been undertaken entirely by volunteers, has included the removal of Monmouth Troy station and Hall Green signal box and their re-building at Winchcombe Station. The last two miles of track to Broadway, and the re-building of Broadway Station and signal box, are scheduled for completion in 2018.

Work has already started on the Hayles Abbey halt project
A digger working on the Hayles Abbey halt project

Hayles Abbey Halt

The GWSR will be re-building a two-coach platform over the next two years on the site of Hayles Abbey Halt.

The halt will have a cast-iron ‘Beware of the Train’ sign and a replica running-in board, using the spelling used by Great Western of ‘Hayles’, not ‘Hailes’.

The GWSR hope to make low-cost, single-trip tickets available from local shops, cafes and pubs that can be used between Winchcombe Station and Hayles Abbey Halt, enabling walkers to complete an enjoyable circular walk from Hailes Abbey to Winchcombe.

Timeline

February 2016: the digging-out and laying of the concrete footings for the platform - now completed

April - November 2016: construction and back-filling of the platform wall

January - November 2017: the mounting of the platform edging slabs, the tamping of the platform and access path surfaces. Followed by the grand opening.

You can follow the progress of the GWSR volunteer team and stay up to date by reading their blog.