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Most of us use rail travel quite often – whether it’s a trip into London or a local commute. But once upon a time there were more options for rail travel in our county.

Luton and Bedford are well catered for with railway stations, but some of the larger towns like Dunstable remain cut off from the rail network. Here, we run through some of Bedfordshire’s former railway stations, many of which are gone but not forgotten.

Read more: The long lost Bedfordshire railway stations that have closed

Ampthill Railway Station

Ampthill’s former railway station is found over a mile from the Bedfordshire village and trains still pass through the site on their way to Flitwick and Bedford. The station was built in 1868 by the Midland Railway, which ran a network from Derby to London St Pancras, Manchester, the South West, Birmingham and elsewhere.

After becoming part of other rail groupings, it was closed by the British Transport Commission after 1948, when rail was nationalised. There is a long-running campaign to revive the station, run by the English Regional Transport Association, with members hoping to lobby Central Bedfordshire Council for support. But there seem few plans to revive the station, given Ampthill’s close proximity to Flitwick, six minutes’ drive away.



Flitwick train station in Bedfordshire
Flitwick railway station in Bedfordshire

Blunham railway station

Blunham station was part of the old Varsity Line. It opened in 1862 but saw limited passenger traffic and closed over a century later in 1968.

The main station building has since been converted into two houses, called the Stationmaster’s Cottage and Station House. The bridge no. 15 over the River Ivel now forms part of a national cycle route.

Cardington Railway station

The former site of Cardington Railway Station is dwarfed by the huge airship sheds, used today for filming movies like Batman. The station was part of the 19th-century Midland Railway line from Leicester to Hitchin.

The Short Brothers built an airship factory in Cardington during the First World War, which led to many more passengers and an increase in freight traffic through the station. A Cardington Workmen’s Platform near the village also opened during the war to serve the RAF station, but it closed in 1921.

The Cardington Sheds built after the war also boosted traffic for Cardington Station but, when bus routes were introduced in the inter-war years, the service declined. The station shut in 1962.

Chiltern Green Station

Serving the hamlet of New Mill End and neighbouring Chiltern Green, this station opened in 1868. It was just 600 yards from the Luton Hoo Station though, meaning it faced stiff competition. The site closed in 1952 as a result and the station buildings are now a private home.

Dunstable

Dunstable once had two stations but it is now unserved by rail. The Dunstable North railway station served the town from 1848 to 1967, though connections with the cement works and coal yard continued until 1988.

It has since been demolished and is now the site of the Central Bedfordshire Council offices. Dunstable Town railway station closed to passengers in 1965 as part of the Beeching cuts, which identified over half of British stations for closure. The closure of both stations means Dunstable is one of the largest towns in the region without a railway connection.

Henlow Camp railway station

Henlow’s only railway station also closed in the 60s. It was part of the Midland Line between Bedford and Hitchin and, like Cardington, its boom years came during the wars, when it served RAF Henlow and the Cardington Camps.

Luton Bute and Luton Hoo

Luton Bute was Luton’s first railway station but not its last. The station was useful for residents and businesses supplying London markets, but it closed in 1965 after reduced traffic.

Luton Hoo station, not far from Chiltern Green, opened in 1860 and served both Luton Hoo House and New Mill End. The station building and platform are still there but it closed in 1965.

Potton

Potton had its own station as part of the Varsity Line and the station building is now a private house. It served the community for over 100 years until it eventually closed in 1968. The station helped boost Potton’s population but by the 1960s it was under pressure to close, due to limited passengers.

Shefford

Shefford had its very own station from 1857 to 1962, but the stop on the Bedford to Hitchin line has not been running for many years. As elsewhere in the county, it saw a boom during the wars but was usurped by the introduction of railbuses and closed in the 60s.

Do you think your town deserves a station? Get in touch via the comments.

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