This cache is placed to commemorate Stane Street Halt on the Bishop's Stortford to Braintree railway branch line. The line stretched 18 miles (29 km), connecting the towns of Bishop's Stortford, Dunmow and Braintree. The Engineer's Line Reference for the line is BSB.
The line was originally one of several schemes promoted in the 19th century, which included north-south routes connecting Great Dunmow with Epping, Halstead and/or Saffron Walden. The route of the built line was proposed by the Eastern Counties Railway in 1859, and built by the Great Eastern Railway who had since absorbed ECR. Construction started in 1864 and the route opened on 22nd February 1869. The line initially served the intermediate stations of Takeley, Felsted and Rayne with Easton Lodge being added in 1894, Hockerill in 1910, and finally Stane Street and Bannister Green in 1922.
The line was almost entirely single track apart from at Bishop's Stortford, Dunmow, Takeley, Rayne and Braintree where there were passing loops. Goods sidings were provided at Hockerill Halt, Takeley, Easton Lodge (for supply of US Air Force bases at Stansted and Easton Lodge), Dunmow, Felsted (for general, and use of sugar beet factory) and Rayne
Major features included a viaduct crossing the River Chelmer to the south of Great Dunmow which was demolished in the 1970s to make way for the B1256 Great Dunmow bypass.
Passenger numbers were at decent levels when the line first opened, but increasing competition from bus and road transport meant trains were running almost empty near the end of its serving life; it closed to passengers on 3rd March 1952. The line remained open for freight until the end of 1971 before closing completely in 1972. Most of the line formation remains as the Flitch Way country park, though the tracks have been taken up. It has become a favourite route for joggers and cyclists.
There have been several proposals to reopen the line but none has come close to being realised. In January 2018, Bishop Stortford council called for restoration of the line as part of a consultation on new communities.
Until 1922, the nearest station was at Takeley, about 1km away. On 18th December, in an attempt to boost passenger traffic and counteract the then recently introduced bus service, a new unmanned request stop was added by Takeley Hill Gate, at the north east corner of the Hatfield Forest, named Stane Street Halt (after the nearby Roman Road). This was approached by a narrow footpath just beyond the bridge over the Takeley to Hatfield Broad Oak road. The new halt on the up side of the line consisted of a clinker platform with timber facing raised to rail level. It required specially adapted carriages. Steps were provided on each side of the third coach, with the guard lowering and retracting the steps using a lever located in the carriage. It was attended by staff from Takeley Station. In July 2011 the Friends of Flitch Way began work to reinstate the halt. The halt is now an access point onto the Flitch Way.