Victorian railway station saved and put back on the right track
19 Aug 2022
Wansford Road station to be saved and form part of the nearby Nene Valley Railway.
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A historic railway station threatened with demolition is set to be given a new lease of life following conservation work by National Highways.
Wansford Road station, which is located in the path of a proposed new dual carriageway on the A47 between the villages of Wansford and Sutton in Cambridgeshire, will now be saved and form part of the nearby Nene Valley Railway.
The station, which was built in 1869, was used as a private residence for a number of years but its future appeared to have reached the end of the line after it was boarded up and abandoned.
When National Highways realised the building could be lost due to the new road a project was launched to save the station and stop it hitting the buffers for the final time.
Applications were opened for anyone with plans to repurpose the building. These were independently judged by Historic England and Peterborough Council with Nene Valley Railway awarded the future use of the building.
Under the ambitious plans, Wansford Road station will be carefully dismantled stone-by-stone before being transported to the eastern end of the Nene Valley Railway, near Peterborough, where it will be rebuilt as a ‘gateway’ for people as they enter the heritage railway and the adjacent Railworld Wildlife Haven.
Helping to support the project, National Highways has allocated over £200k from their Designated Funds programme to help with the significant work involved in relocating the station.
Nene Valley Railway is an independent heritage railway charity that preserves and runs a variety of trains and rolling stock across its seven and half mile line between Wansford and Peterborough.
In what could be described as a return journey for the station, Wansford Road will again see train passengers pass through its doors as they board trains on the Nene Valley Railway – which operates on the same line the station formerly served as part of a branch line to the north and Stamford.
This element of the line closed in 1929 – sixty years after it first began operating – due to financial constraints. Locally, the line had become known as the ‘bread and onion line’ due to the cargo it frequently carried and after it failed to attract passengers from a more established service that was already operating between Stamford and Peterborough.
Talking about his delight in saving the station, Chris Griffin, National Highways Programme Lead in the East Region, said:
“Breathing life into the old Wansford Road station building, which has remained unused for a number of years, was something we wanted to do as soon as we knew it was in the path of the A47 road upgrade.
“It is great news that we have been able to save this historic building and I could not think of a more appropriate use than to see the station put back on the right track and once again fulfilling its railway heritage."
Mike Kerfoot, Chairman of Nene Valley Railway, said:
“Our volunteers work to help cherish railway heritage from our past and preserve that for future generations to learn and enjoy.
“The opportunity to bring history to life and return Wansford Road station to the railway it was a former part of is wonderful.
“The station closed in 1929 and we aim to have it back in business and fulfilling its function as part of a working railway ahead of the centenary since the last ticket was sold and someone stepped from the platform for the very last time.”
For more information on our work to improve the A47 between Peterborough and Great Yarmouth please visit: www://nationalhighways.co.uk/a47corridor