The Bedford to Bletchley Rail Users' Association
"Supporting rail in the Marston Vale"
www.bbrua.org.uk

HISTORY

The Bedford to Bletchley railway was opened on 17th November 1846, the first railway to serve the county town of Bedford.  

Bedford's first railway station - later known as St John's.  Picture dated 1870

In 1851 the line was extended west of Bletchley to Oxford and in 1862, east of Bedford to reach Cambridge. Thus, by 1862 the 16.5 mile, Bedford to Bletchley line was part of an important 77 mile, cross-country railway, linking the major University cities of Oxford and Cambridge.  

Fenny Stratford Station in the early 1900s

Fenny Stratford Station, early 1900s

Attempts to close the whole rail route began as early as 1959 but local pressure succeeded in winning a reprieve.

 There was some relief when Dr Beeching did not include the Oxford to Cambridge line in his closure proposals in 1963 but there was dismay when, just one year later, the British Railways Board published closure plans for the whole route.  

A Cambridge to Oxford train at the Marston Crossing in 1959

Sadly, despite vigorous opposition, all except the original Bedford to Bletchley section was to lose its passenger services on the last day of 1967. Since then the remaining line has seen little investment, falling passenger figures and has twice more been on the brink of closure.

In March 1980 the Railway Development Society called a Public Meeting in Bedford at which was formed the voluntary - Bedford to Bletchley Rail Users' Association. The new group was charged with the remit to 'breathe new life into the railway' and thus help to prevent closure.

From tentative beginnings the association has grown and has forged a good working relationship with rail managers, local authority representatives etc.

All stations between Bedford and Bletchley have seen significant refurbishment. The year 2000 finally saw the old heritage diesel trains replaced by more reliable Sprinter trains.

The rail line is now part of the extensive East West Rail project.

 


Web site maintained by BBRUA.  Last updated 04/11/14 . Although every effort is made to keep the information on this web site up to date,
BBRUA accepts no liability for any errors and omissions.  Contact webmaster@bbrua.org.uk