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Kempston Hardwick railway station

Kempston Hardwick
National Rail
Station in 2012
General information
LocationKempston Hardwick, Bedford
England
Coordinates52°05′31″N 0°30′14″W / 52.092°N 0.504°W / 52.092; -0.504
Grid referenceTL025447
Managed byLondon Northwestern Railway
Platforms2
Other information
Station codeKMH
ClassificationDfT category F2
Key dates
1905Opened as Kempston Hardwick Halt
1 January 1917Temporarily closed
5 May 1919Reopened[1]
15 July 1968Became unstaffed[2]
Passengers
2018/19Decrease 9,692
2019/20Increase 10,494
2020/21Decrease 1,774
2021/22Increase 3,154
2022/23Increase 4,458
Location
Map
Notes
Passenger statistics from the Office of Rail and Road

Kempston Hardwick railway station serves the village of Kempston Hardwick in Bedfordshire, England. It should not be confused with the nearby town of Kempston. The station has two platforms next to a half-barrier level crossing.

Kempston Hardwick is the least used station in Bedfordshire.[3] However, in 2023 Universal Studios announced that it had bought a huge patch of land next to the station where it plans to build its first UK theme park. The plan will transform the area if it goes ahead, with a completely rebuilt Kempston Hardwick railway station to replace the current one.[4]

Services

All services at Kempston Hardwick are operated by London Northwestern Railway.

The typical off-peak service is one train per hour in each direction between Bletchley and Bedford which runs on weekdays and Saturdays only using Class 150 DMUs. There is no Sunday service.[5][6][7]

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Stewartby   London Northwestern Railway
  Bedford St Johns

Community Rail Partnership

Kempston Hardwick station, in common with others on the Marston Vale Line, is covered by the Marston Vale Community Rail Partnership,[8] which aims to increase use of the line by involving local people.

History

The level crossing at Kempston Hardwick was opened in 1846 with the construction of the Bedford Railway Company railway line between Bedford (St Johns railway station) and Bletchley.

An agreement with the London and Birmingham Railway was made whereby the railway was to be constructed and operated by the London & Birmingham Railway company, who under the terms of "The Bedford and the London and Birmingham Railway Act 1846" split the profits from the operation of the line. During the construction of the line however the London and Birmingham Railway merged with the Grand Junction Railway to form the London and North Western Railway company.

Kempston Hardwick was one of three halts opened by the London and North Western Railway in 1905 between Stewartby and Bedford. Their opening coincided with the introduction of a steam railmotor on the Varsity Line; the station platform initially consisted of wooden sleepers laid at ground level for a carriage length.[9] All three closed as a wartime economy measure during the First World War and two were closed during Second World War, never to reopen, leaving Kempston Hardwick as the only survivor. Its survival can be attributed to its convenient location for the nearby Eastwood's Brickworks which was served from 1928 by a private siding on the up side of the line.[10]

The level crossing alongside the station was once controlled by a crossing keeper who lived in a lodge adjacent to his place of work. This was demolished in the 1980s.

In 2003, it was reported that Kempston Hardwick was one of the quietest stations in England as only 38 passengers per month were reported to be using it. Two reasons offered for the lack of custom were the absence of signage indicating the station from the main road, and the lack of parking facilities.[11] Following the release of this story, Silverlink together with Bedfordshire County Council confirmed that they would not be seeking the closure of the station.[12] Station patronage has, however, now increased, according to the Community Rail Partnership which attributes the rise to the creation of significant numbers of jobs in the area.[13] In 2008, it was announced that the area around the railway station could be the location of a new eco-town.[14]


Preceding station   Disused railways   Following station
Wootton Broadmead Halt   British Railways
Varsity Line
  Kempston and Elstow Halt

References

  1. ^ Butt, R.V.J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations. Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. p. 130. ISBN 1-85260-508-1.
  2. ^ Clinker, C.R. (1978). Clinker's Register of Closed Passenger Stations and Goods Depots in England, Scotland and Wales 1830-1977. Bristol: Avon-AngliA Publications & Services. p. 164. ISBN 0-905466-19-5.
  3. ^ "Estimates of station usage April 2022 to March 2023". Office of Rail and Road. 14 December 2023.
  4. ^ "Universal Studios confirms plans for first UK attraction - and buys huge site in Bedford to build it". Sky News. 19 December 2023.
  5. ^ "Bletchley to Bedford | Timetable from Monday 19 February 2024". London Northwestern Railway. Retrieved 20 February 2024.
  6. ^ "Train timetables and schedules | Kempston Hardwick". London Northwestern Railway.
  7. ^ "Marston Vale Line: Hourly timetable has now resumed". London Northwestern Railway. 20 February 2024.
  8. ^ Marston Vale Community Rail Partnership
  9. ^ "Kempston Hardwick Halt". Community Archives. Bedfordshire County Council. Archived from the original on 29 August 2008.
  10. ^ Simpson, Bill (1981). Oxford to Cambridge Railway. Poole: Oxford Publishing Co. p. 69. ISBN 0-86093-121-8.
  11. ^ The Guardian, "Platform soul", 21 May 2003
  12. ^ "Just one train passenger each day". BBC News. 12 May 2003.
  13. ^ "Bedford to Stewartby". Marston Community Rail.
  14. ^ "Executive Meeting" (PDF). Mid Bedfordshire District Council. 18 June 2008.[permanent dead link]

External links

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