Harston Railway Station

Hilary Roadley

Harston station was opened on 1 April 1852 not long after the road bridge over the railway was built in London/Newton Road from the Shelford Junction of the London to Cambridge line. Harston station was closed on 17 June 1963 under the Beeching Proposals, although goods traffic continued until 1964. A feasibility study to re-open the station was carried out in 1996 but rejected by South Cambs District Council.

On the Harston side there was Station House that the Station master lived in. Next to Station House was a Goods Shed where trains could be driven in to be checked and maintained. Alongside this were the sidings where the wagons were kept and loaded up with goods to be taken often to London or other cities. Over the road was a small hut that was the original signalman’s but later had railway workers’ tools in.  The platform to Cambridge was on the Harston side with a seat and a small wooden waiting room.

On the Newton side was the platform to Foxton/Royston, the Signal Box which was kept warm so workmen gathered there in the evenings, and the Station itself which had a waiting room with a roaring fire, and toilets. One photo shows a water tank above the men’s toilets. Opposite the Station House on the Newton side was a cattle ramp that allowed horses, sheep, etc to be loaded onto the cattle wagons. This ramp is still visible.

There was a station lamp on both platforms- one of which can still be found re-located along the driveway of Tiptofts house near the station. Mary Greene recalled in 1909 meeting a visitor at the Station at night and having to carry a lamp to light the walk home to Harston House.

Station as an attraction

The farmers and landowners of Harston objected to the coming of the Railway as the trains frightened the horses and cattle, and the landowners were indignant at losing their land. The rest of the populace were intrigued by the building of the railway and station and on Sunday evenings, after church and chapel services, throngs of people could be seen enjoying the pleasant walk to Harston Station to see the 8.10pm train arrive and depart, taking with it the Harston maids who were in domestic service in Cambridge. The number of sightseers was so great that they were debarred entrance to the station so that the porter might distinguish them from the alighting passengers.

This page was added on 11/12/2015.

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