Woodford Halse Archive

Woodford Railway

The Arrival Part 3

At the same time a copy of a plan, showing the proposed route of the railway, was deposited with the clerk of the Peace for the County, which differed from the one deposited in 1890, and, for reasons not now known, the route through the Parish had been changed. Now, instead of crossing at the bottom of Scrivens Hill, it was to keep close to the Charwelton Brickworks and come through the Parish nearly parallel with the Red Road and Phipps Road, the route with which we are familiar and now abandoned.

Contracts for the work were let in September 1894, but when the work actually started in the parish is not known.

It is known that the Parish Council in May 1895, was complaining to the contractors, Messrs Walter Scott & Co., that their men were creating a nuisance and a danger, by sleeping in barns and outhouses and they were asked to provide proper accommodation. The contractors replied, saying that they were preparing to erect huts for the men. Huts were erected on a field on the Eydon Road, known as Flax Farland. (O.S.300, 1900 ed.) How many huts there were is not known, but in the Parish Magazine of September 1895, it is reported that a Mission Hut was opened on August 10th, in Flax Furlong and one hundred navvies and their wives and children were present. From a newspaper report of 1898, it would appear that about 500 men were based on the village while the work was going on.

It is most likely that one of the first tasks undertaken would be the cutting to enable a Junction to be made with the East & West Junction Railway at what was to become the West Junction, where the branch line from the main line, joined the East & West Junction Railway. The land and premises of Dairy Farm had been bought by the Railway Company and stables, workshops and stores were set up to receive the bricks, timber, rails and other materials needed for the bridges and stations that were to be built up and down the line. Sand and ballast for the railway was obtained from the ballast pit in O.S. 224, and the 1900 ordnance map shows a siding into the pit.

By kind permission of Jim Anscomb

Diagram of Woodford depot showing marshalling yard. Drawn by Colin Jalland.
Diagram of Woodford Depot
Horse drawn steam engine
Horse Drawn Steam Engine
Navvy Foremans Hut and Family
Navvy Foremans Hut and Family