British Rail 1947 - 1997
Closure of the Branch Line 1962 - 1969
In the early 1960's Dr Beeching, the Chairman of the newly established British railways Board issued a report called 'The reshaping of British Railways'. The report stated that it was necessary for the rationalisation of competing routes and a closutre of over 2,000 stations. This reduction in services and manpower became known as the 'Beeching Axe'. One of the lines to fall under the 'Beeching Axe' was the Dunstable Branch line.
The Branch Line was carrying far fewer passengers as a result of the competition from the half hourly bus route between Leighton Buzzard and Dunstable and the increase in private car ownership. The numbers had been dwindling quite significantly since ythe end of the second World War. Despite local opposition to keep the line open the last passenger service ran on 30 June 1962. The driver of the last passenger train was Mr Harry Crossley and the Fireman was Mr T Daniels, the train ran at 5.38pm and had almost 300 passengers.
This poster announced the end of passenger sevices on the Branch Line.It went on to say that Stanbridgeford station was to close but that parcels and freight traffic services would still be available at the station.
This is a video clip of the last Dasher ( 732k -it might take a minute or so to load, please be patient).
One of the lamps that would have been used on the Dunstable Dasher
This is a picture of the banner that was attached to the last train.
The heavy chalk trains continued to run on the Branch Line, until it was decided to crush the chalk and mix it with water and send it by pipeline. The sand traffic dwindled and was then sent by road transport. The track was eventually pulled up in 1969.
This sign marks the entrance to the Branch Line in Mentmore Gardens, Leighton Buzzard. This part of the Line is now a footpath.
This is a picture of one of the metal track boots that was used on the Branch Line to hold the track in place.