The old railway lines of Huntingdonshire
- Credit: ALF HOLLAND COLLECTION
The Huntingdon Railway was originally opened by the Great Northern Railway on August 7, 1850. The station was named Huntingdon, although from July 1, 1923 until June 1965, the station was known as Huntingdon North to distinguish it from nearby Huntingdon East.
Some of the stations in use back then were Kimbolton, Grafham and Brampton, but Brampton was renamed Buckden in 1868.
During World War Two, munitions enhanced the use of the railway, but the passenger service declined and was withdrawn in 1959. Active use of the line terminated in 1971 as did many other local rail branches, although the old railway line is still a walkable route.
There were also a lot of other railway stations in the Huntingdonshire area, including Warboys, Somersham, Ramsey and Holme.
Although the most interesting is the Godmanchester line, which was built in 1847. The line connecting it to Huntingdon was not built until some years later so horse drawn carriages took passengers between the stations as a link to continue their rail journeys.
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After a bridge was constructed and the link connecting Huntingdon to Godmanchester was built, it still had its troubles with localised flooding and wooden rail structures catching fire from the embers/sparks of the steam train engines. Sometimes even the horses had to pull the train free.
There was a major rail disaster on the line at Abbots Ripton on January 22, 1876 which resulted in a huge change in safety measures and a radical signalling upgrade.
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A coal train was being shunted into the sidings and a collided with the Scottish Express and then this collided head-on with the London train coming the other way. The whole town of Huntingdonshire was in mourning for four days.
A train speed record at Offord was also established by the Flying Scotsman train as well as a lot of other memorable trains and stations that may be of interest on your travels.
Also worth noting if you would like to see more of our nostalgia and history as well as photos and stories, take a look on the Huntingdonshire Community Nostalgia public Facebook group. This is run by a small volunteer committee team. It has a great selection of archived information.