About Berkeley Junction

Berkeley Junction is a ‘might have been’ yard, set on the former Midland Railway line from Bristol to Gloucester, Know as the Charfield Route in the early 1960′s.

Berkeley Junction, officially Berkeley Road South Junction, existed from 1908 until 1963. Built by the GWR, this junction on the Midland line connected with the Severn & Wye Railway to Lydney and the Forest of Dean via Sharpness and the Severn Bridge. The station named Berkeley Road was situated just over a mile north of here, where the connection to the Sharpness line remains today. The Former GWR Berkeley Road Loop curves away from here at the north end of the yard towards the Severn Bridge. This line served primarily as a diversionary connection when the Severn Tunnel was closed.

British Railways undertook extensive strengthening work on the Severn Bridge, completed in 1960, allowing heavier locomotives to use this route. To keep trains moving on the busy Charfield line, a small yard has been established at Berkeley Junction in order to hold wagons and trains travelling via the bridge. Trains to and from the Forest of Dean are re-marshalled here, while mainline goods trains call to pick up a set of down wagons or wait for faster trains to pass.

British Railways is beginning to see the fruits of the modernisation plan and new diesel locomotives are often seen on what is now the primary route between Birmingham and the South West. Steam locomotives remain in charge of many trains and, with services running through from the north and south, engines built by the GWR, LMS ans LNER can be seen along with the newer BR standard types.

Sadly on the night of October 25th 1960 two barges carrying oil and petrol missed the entrance to sharpness dock in fog and collided with the Severn Bridge, bringing down two spans. Five men lost their lives in the burning wreckage. British Railways clearly considered rebuilding the bridge, but final closure and demolition followed in 1964.

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