REALLY SideTracked - Potton
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Potton was a railway station on the Varsity Line which served the small town of the same name in Bedfordshire. Opened in 1857 as part of Sir William Peel's Sandy and Potton Railway, the station was initially situated further south near the Biggleswade Road. Upon being taken over by the Bedford and Cambridge Railway in 1862 a new station was opened which remained in service for over one hundred years before closing in 1968. The station building has survived and is now a private house.
The Sandy and Potton Railway was acquired by the Bedford and Cambridge Railway in 1860, which intended to make the route part of a longer line to Cambridge. Track was relaid and Potton station was resited north to its current position. A more substantial two-platformed station was provided with a cast-iron glass canopy supported by stanchions on the Up platform bearing the Bedford and Cambridge's initials in script letters. The majority of the station's buildings were situated on the Up side, including the goods shed, cattle pens and water tank with steam pump (the only one between Sandy and Cambridge). A small waiting shelter was provided on the Down side, linked by a footbridge, for passengers. The station saw much outward traffic in agricultural goods, such as potatoes and onions, and inward traffic of manure and fertiliser, much coming from stables in London and the London Zoo. A siding led to the south of the station where it served a sandpit used by Beart's Brick Company from October 1870.
Although the arrival of the railway had helped boost the town's population to around 2,000 by 1937, the line found itself proposed for closure first in 1959 and then again in 1963, before eventually closing in 1968. The idea of preserving the line between Sandy and Potton was discussed at a public meeting at Sandy which resulted in the formation of the Sandy & Potton Steam Railway Society. The organisation was, however, unable to raise outright the purchase price asked for by British Railways and the scheme failed despite the support of Sandy Urban District Council. Track removal began in July 1969 and the Society was eventually wound-up.
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Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum