Monday, 31 August 2015

Bedford to Hitchin - Part One - Hitchin to Ickleford.

Continuing a look at what remains of the Bedford to Hitchin line.
Heading towards Ickleford the trackbed can be walked for a short distance although the 50 odd years of tree growth has narrowed it somewhat.
Next bridge (no 4) was the one over the Icknield Way which is reputed to be one of the oldest roads in Britain.   One abutment survives which is gradually being taken over by ivy.  The cap stones from the other abutment are variously located along the path next to the embankment.
This is a picture from 1964.  It is quite clear from this photo that the line was double tracked originally and one deck was removed when it was singled.
This one shows a DMU passing over bridge 4.  The embankment is much more defined in this picture.
This picture, again from 1964, shows bridge 4 looking towards Hitchin. In the distance the line can be seen turning to run alongside the ECML.  Again it is quite clearly originally a double track embankment.
Adjacent to bridge 3 is Gerry's Hole which is explained by the sign above.
Not a great picture but taken from the top of the remaining abutment shows the Gerry's Hole sign with one of the cap stones on the ground behind it.

Next bridge along is the River Hiz underbridge.   It is still extant today and in reasonably good condition.  The pictures above are from 1964.  The top one looks north and you can see the houses of Ickleford top right.  The lower one is taken from the east side of the line.
This was taken in 2006.  Residents of  River Court have taken over the embankment with some steps being installed as can be seen on the right of the bridge.

Bridge 6 is the one in the centre of Ickleford over Arlesey Road..  It was removed many years ago and no trace of its existence remains other than the house next to it is called "Bridge House"
Looking towards Hitchin, again the evidence of singling is quite clear to see.  The wider bridge abutments where the deck has been removed are protected by fencing.
Looking the other way, the line continued towards Bedford on an embankment which has been completely removed.

Looking north towards Snailswell Lane from Arlesey Road, this is the line of the former embankment.  The grass is quite noticeably different to the rest of the field.  I am pretty sure the fence on the right is original railway fencing.
This looks the the other way.  Bridge House is centre background.  The line passed to the right of this.  I will replace this picture with a better shot when I get opportunity.

Next Ickleford to Henlow Camp.

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