Clavering Hundreds Branch


Eastern Region Clavering Hundreds Branch Ricking Halt Pinchbools Halt


The imaginary six mile long branch would nestle in the upper reaches of the River Stort north of  Bishop Stortford with stations at Hazel End (for the village of Farnham, the name is used to avoid confusion), Manuden, Berden, and Clavering. Grades are insignificant, the branch rises 67 feet giving an average grade of 1:473 (0.2%). The branch would be similar to the nearby Thaxted Branch serving an agricultural valley but with only 65% of the population. The economy is arable (peas, beans, wheat, potatoes, sugar beet, and barley) farming with watercress beds and mills. Population peaked in 1851 (3,000) and declined there after by 1901 to 2,215. Hopefully a branch would stabilise the population at about 2,500. Comparison to Usk and Raglan suggest goods traffic, in tons, would be 40 of coal, 40 of in bound and 40 of out bound daily. There might have been outbound mineral traffic as there were three pits in the valley working the underlying chalk[1], a "lime quarry" near by, and there is a deep stretch of clean sand[1] south of Little London near Berden. All stations would receive and dispatch wagons daily making mixed trains less attractive than on the Thaxted Branch were goods traffic was mostly to/from Thaxted. The parcels traffic, 65 a day, could be handled by passenger trains. Theses suggests Monday to Saturday 4 passenger trains, a goods train, possibly an extra goods when the harvest is coming in, and no Sunday service. Operation would be one train in steam. The above describes the Edwardian period. As car and bus competition bit railways competed by increasing passenger train frequency - many branches had their most frequent passenger service in the late 1930's. The goods service would have been more flexible and could have dropped to three times a week as required and towards the end in practise once a week. The Thaxted Branch lost its passenger service on 13.9.1952 and its goods service on 1.6.1953. The weaker Clavering Branch would have closed earlier - possibly a war time economy.

To fit with my late 1950's BR(E) stock a strong dose of modellers licence is required. I've assumed the sand traffic kept with the branch open and British Railways modernised the passenger service by introducing a railbus and adding halts including Ricking Halt and Pinchbools Halt so the branch could stagger on into the 1960's when the 'mad axe man' lopped it off.

Currently the only public transport in the valley are buses (school days only) to/from St Mary's Catholic School (Bishop’s Stortford) and County High School (Saffron Walden). [1]