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Dunstable Town railway station

Dunstable Town, also known as Dunstable Church Street, was a railway station on the Great Northern Railway's branch line from Welwyn which served Dunstable in Bedfordshire from 1858 to 1965 Against a background of falling passenger numbers and declining freight returns, the station closed to passengers in 1965 and to goods in 1964, a casualty of the Beeching Axe The station site is now in use as part of the Luton to Dunstable Busway


  • 1 History
  • 2 Present day
  • 3 References
    • 31 Notes
    • 32 Sources
  • 4 External links


The Luton, Dunstable and Welwyn Junction Railway LD&WJR was authorised on 16 July 1855 and empowered the construction of a 5 miles 45 chains 90 kilometres line from Dunstable to join the Great Northern Railway's GNR main line at Digswell12345 The line would run from a junction near the London and North Western Railway's LNWR Dunstable station across the road now known as the A5 to a second station in Dunstable at Church Street6 Finding itself in financial difficulties, the LD&WJR merged with the Hertford and Welwyn Junction Railway on 28 June 1858, thereby creating the Hertford, Luton and Dunstable Railway4789 The line opened between Dunstable and Luton to goods traffic on 5 April 1858, to passengers on 3 May and throughout to Welwyn on 1 September 18601493 Trains were worked for two years by the LNWR after which the GNR took over, eventually acquiring the line on 12 June 18612101112713

The opening date of the station in Church Street, Dunstable, is disputed; sources differ between 1858141516 and 1860171832 In any event, it appears that the station may have opened as a consequence of the failure by the LNWR and GNR to agree terms for a joint station in Dunstable319 The initial station was a simple timber-built structure with a single platform which proved unsuitable to handle the line's traffic and which soon generated numerous complaints from passengers1920 The GNR, whose Church Street station was more convenient for the town centre than the LNWR's Dunstable station,21 offered to rebuild the station so that it could also be used by the LNWR but the latter insisted on having equal rights of access which was unacceptable to the GNR3 Following a fire in September 1871, a more permanent structure was provided at a cost of £1,500 £NaN in 20171921

A 1902 Railway Clearing House map of railways in the vicinity of Dunstable Town upper left, shown here as Church Street

The new station also had a single platform which was situated on the Down side immediately above the A505 Luton-Dunstable road2223 The main station building comprised two floors: the entrance and station booking office were on the lower floor while the main station facilities at platform level which were reached by steps24 Following the extension of the platform in November 1890, a signal box was situated on the platform which had views over the countryside towards Skimpot and Blows Down2526 The box remained in operation until 22 July 193426 Two sidings ran down the centre of the goods yard behind the station23 These received coal for local traders and handled scrap iron for the dealer who occupied part of the goods yard27

Passenger traffic over the Dunstable branch in its later years was not great except on market days,28 and Dunstable Town, as it became known after January 1927,172915 was closed to goods traffic in 1964 and to passengers in 1965 after it was listed for closure in the Beeching report30311715 The line north to Leighton Buzzard closed from 1 January 1966, with tracklifting at Dunstable beginning in 196832

Preceding station Disused railways Following station
Dunstable North   Great Northern Railway
Dunstable Branch Line
  Chaul End

Present dayedit

View north-west towards the site of Dunstable Town station in April 2006

Dunstable Town's wooden platform and platform canopy were dismantled after closure, although the station building remained for some time afterwards33 The former goods yard was used to store pipes for oil and gas pipelines33 The sidings were disconnected and the controlling ground frame was taken out of use on 7 March 196934 The scrap yard occupying part of the goods yard had closed by the early 1990s, leaving the site to be used as a car park until it was redeveloped for housing in 200835 The line remained open for oil traffic until 30 April 1989 when it was mothballed and then officially closed on 28 March 199136 This allowed one last passenger train – the Chiltern Chariot railtour – to call at Dunstable Town on 17 January 1987, although passengers were not allowed to alight3735 The track was finally lifted in autumn 2010 to allow the construction of the Luton to Dunstable Busway which now passes through the site35

Dunstable is presently one of the largest towns in south-east England without a railway connection38

The station was immortalised in 1964 in the song "Slow Train" by Flanders and Swann



  1. ^ a b Awdry 1990, pp 145–146
  2. ^ a b c Wrottesley 1979, p 126
  3. ^ a b c d e Simpson 1998, p 12
  4. ^ a b c Davies & Grant 1984, p 64
  5. ^ Woodward & Woodward 1994, pp 3–4
  6. ^ Cockman 1974, p 31
  7. ^ a b Cockman 1974, p 32
  8. ^ Awdry 1990, p 137
  9. ^ a b Oppitz 2000, p 110
  10. ^ Awdry 1990, p 146
  11. ^ Simpson 1998, p 14
  12. ^ Leleux 1984, p 30
  13. ^ Woodward & Woodward 1994, p 14
  14. ^ Oppitz 2000, p 111
  15. ^ a b c Quick 2009, p 157
  16. ^ Woodward & Woodward 1994, pp 14–15
  17. ^ a b c Butt 1995, p 86
  18. ^ Davies & Grant 1984, p 215
  19. ^ a b c Woodward & Woodward 1994, p 15
  20. ^ Davies & Grant 1984, p 67
  21. ^ a b Simpson 1998, p 112
  22. ^ Woodward & Woodward 2008, fig 43
  23. ^ a b Woodward & Woodward 1994, p 53
  24. ^ Woodward & Woodward 2008, fig 42
  25. ^ Woodward & Woodward 2008, fig 40
  26. ^ a b Woodward & Woodward 1994, p 62
  27. ^ Woodward & Woodward 1994, p 100
  28. ^ Davies & Grant 1984, p 75
  29. ^ Simpson 1998, p 52
  30. ^ Beeching 1963, p 112
  31. ^ Clinker 1978, p 42
  32. ^ Woodward & Woodward 1994, p 127
  33. ^ a b Woodward & Woodward 1994, p 130
  34. ^ Woodward & Woodward 1994, p 131
  35. ^ a b c "Disused Stations" Subterranea Britannica 
  36. ^ Shannon 1996, p 90
  37. ^ Woodward & Woodward 1994, p 132
  38. ^ "British railways board" Bedford Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire Council Retrieved 8 June 2012 


  • Awdry, Christopher 1990 Encyclopaedia of British Railway Companies Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd ISBN 1-8526-0049-7 OCLC 19514063 CN 8983 
  • Beeching, Richard 1963 "The Reshaping of British Railways" PDF HMSO 
  • Butt, R V J 1995 The Directory of Railway Stations: details every public and private passenger station, halt, platform and stopping place, past and present 1st ed Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd ISBN 978-1-85260-508-7 OCLC 60251199 
  • Clinker, CR October 1978 Clinker's Register of Closed Passenger Stations and Goods Depots in England, Scotland and Wales 1830–1977 Bristol, Avon: Avon-AngliA Publications & Services ISBN 0-905466-19-5 
  • Cockman, FG 1974 The Railway Age in Bedfordshire Bedford: Bedfordshire Historical Record Society ISBN 0-85155-035-5 
  • Davies, R; Grant, MD 1984 1975 Forgotten Railways: Chilterns and Cotswolds Newton Abbot, Devon: David St John Thomas ISBN 0-946537-07-0 
  • Oppitz, Leslie 2000 Lost Railways of the Chilterns Newbury, Berkshire: Countryside Books ISBN 978-1-84674-108-1 
  • Leleux, Robin 1984 1976 A Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain: The East Midlands Volume 9 Newton Abbot, Devon: David St John Thomas ISBN 978-0-946537-06-8 
  • Quick, Michael 2009 2001 Railway passenger stations in Great Britain: a chronology 4th ed Oxford: Railway and Canal Historical Society ISBN 978-0-901461-57-5 OCLC 612226077 
  • Shannon, Paul 1996 1995 British Railways Past and Present: Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire and West Hertfordshire Wadenhoe, Peterborough: Past & Present Publishing ISBN 978-1-85895-073-0 No 24 
  • Simpson, Bill 1998 The Dunstable Branch Witney, Oxon: Lamplight Publications ISBN 978-1-899246-03-8 
  • Woodward, Sue; Woodward, Geoff May 2008 Branch Line to Dunstable from Leighton Buzzard to Hatfield Midhurst, West Sussex: Middleton Press ISBN 978-1-906008-27-7 
  • Woodward, Sue; Woodward, Geoff 1994 The Hatfield, Luton and Dunstable Railway Headington, Oxford: The Oakwood Press ISBN 978-0-85361-458-6 LP44 
  • Wrottesley, John 1979 The Great Northern Railway 1 London: Batsford ISBN 0-7134-1590-8 

External linksedit

  • Dunstable Town station on Subterranea Britannica
  • Dunstable Town station on navigable 1946 O S map

Coordinates: 51°53′13″N 0°30′40″W / 518869°N 05110°W / 518869; -05110

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Dunstable Town railway station

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