The history of Water Orton Railway Station has been immortalised in a new book researched and produced by a voluntary village action group.
The book, called Water Orton Rail History, documents the heritage of the station and the surrounding rail network. The station first opened in 1842, and has been a focal point of the community. It is now back in the spotlight with potential changes in the pipeline.
Huge changes are being made to the rail infrastructure in the area, as work progresses on the HS2 rail link, which will see two huge viaducts being built in Water Orton, carrying 700 metres of track above the River Tame and M42.
Author and Water Orton Community Action Group member Patrick Fleming said: “There are huge developments in the rail infrastructure under way at the moment, and it is unclear exactly what impact this will have on Water Orton station.
“This is why we felt it was so important that we document its history and importance to the community now.
“There is a strong desire to capture the heritage of the railway in Water Orton and how this has influenced the development of the village. It is of great importance to the community at this time.
“Whatever the future holds for the station building, we want this book to be a permanent record to preserve its history and heritage for future generations.”
The book has been produced thanks to funding through West Midlands Railway’s Your Community, Your Fund grant. The project is one of 21 community initiatives linked to regional railway stations that have benefited from the funding.
The book brings together information, stories and images of the station, and is available in printed form and online. The project will also see on online photo archive set up on the Water Orton Parish Council website.
Patrick added: “The station building is not currently in use except for access to the platform due to its poor condition. Some village residents are aware of the railway history and are keen to retain its heritage, whereas others, maybe those new to the village, are unaware. There are many sources of information and verbal histories and stories which will be lost if not documented.
“We are so grateful to West Midlands Railway for the funding that has allowed us to put this book together. It will be an invaluable resource to future generations to learn about the station and its rich history and heritage.”
Fay Easton, head of community and stakeholder for West Midlands Railway, said she was delighted to see the project coming to fruition.
“Our stations have a wealth of history and it’s fantastic that this is being recorded and documented so thoroughly,” she said.
“Stations are at the heart of a town or village and they play a huge role in the community. It’s important that this is not forgotten. We can’t wait to read the stories of those who have been involved with Water Orton station over the years.”