Chesterton Junction Railway Yard – Cambridge

This railway yard is on the outskirts of Cambridge. It was primarily used as a depot to assemble new track panels and concrete sleepers. In later years it was used for general freight.

Not much remains on site now – a few old buildings and a couple of wagons. A couple of aggregate trains visit every week – one area of the yard has been taken over by a huge pile of stones. The old control tower used to occupy this area.

Weighbridge

The weighbridge was used for.. ugh, weighing wagons. If they were too heavy then they wouldn’t be allowed out.. The face of the scales has been smashed up by scallies.

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Assembly Shed

This was used to assemble track panels I think. A small narrow gauge railway also entered the shed at one end. There is also a boiler and (huge) fuse panel inside..

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Wagons

Three railway wagons were on site – an old coal hopper and the burnt out frames of two old vans.

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Back in 1999 over 100 wagons were on site but these have been cut up. Some remains of the cut up vehicles are still evident, including an old crane.

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Other buildings

There are a few other buildings of interest. One seems to be a mess (both meanings of the word).

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And the others are buildings. I’m not sure what they were for.

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Random junk

Some random bits were scattered around…

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11 Responses to Chesterton Junction Railway Yard – Cambridge

  1. matt says:

    wicked place. a few years back there used to be more buildings and lots of trains. pretty much lived there when i was a kid.
    matt

  2. Andrew says:

    I last went there in ’99 (as staff), its really gone to ground now – I believe because there was a protected bird nesting there so they couldn’t clear the land for houses. Are the graffetied wagons there still – used to be some great murals on them. Thanks for the pics πŸ™‚

  3. Lynda says:

    My great great grandfather worked on the railway and lived at Chesterton junction at the end of the 19th century. would be interested to hear from any one who might have some more info

  4. Reid E. Ramone says:

    Hey! Excellent site! Came across it by randomly searching Chesterton Junction in Google. Good to see the photos. Used to spend a lot of time there as a kid in the 70’s. Lived on Long Reach Road and our house backed onto the junction. Remember there being 03’s and 08’s in the yard and 37’s going past on the St Ives line. Used to hang out on the waste ground near the signal box and went up there to pull levers and stuff on occasions. Ah, and then there were the diversion days when Deltics would get re-routed through past the junction. Indeed they were good times!

    Reid E. Ramone.

  5. chris clarke says:

    These pics. bring back a few memories. I worked at Chesterton jct. for nearly 25 yrs. I started as a Labourer, worked in most departments and was the acting Depot manager when it closed.(I was the last person out). The assembly shed was used in my time to make insulated glued rail joints. These would then be loaded on wagons on the narrow gauge and pulled out of the shed using a Rushton Loco. I used to also operate the weigh bridge. As stated this was used to check that the wagons were not overloaded before leaving the depot and to also keep a record of materials sent for scrap etc. The Yard was called Central Materials depot Chesterton Jct. or CMD for short. When I joined it came under the civil engineers eastern region with its head office in York. We supplied and manufactured, New pre-fab. track panels,long welded rail, (up to 1200 ft in length) sleepers, all of the fixtures and fittings etc.to most of the eastern region from Kings Cross to the far north.
    Used materials, track, rails, sleepers etc would then be sent back to be stripped down and sorted for re-use or disposal. In its heyday it was a very busy place. Thanks.

    Chris.

    • David says:

      Like Chris I was employed at CMD, in the late 80s, firstly as a labourer then in the office. So many memories, thanks for posting.

  6. Tony Kirby says:

    Cambs CC and/or Network Rail propose building a ‘parkway’ station on the site. This idea has been around for a few years now, but looks as if it may now actually take place. Access roads, car parks etc will presumably take up quite a lot of the site.

    There’s still some aggregates traffic (Freightliner Class 66-hauled) into the yard.

  7. Victoria Driver says:

    how did you get into this group of derelict buildings.. tried this morning & there are iron gates up…?

  8. Chris Hern says:

    I live close to Feltham Marshalling Yards, unused since the 1960’s. Eastern part now an industrial estate, the western part a site of nature importance and now green belt land. Airtrack/Network Rail propose a reuse for stabling/workshop. Locally we want to retain as much open space as possible. How much of the Chesterton site has already become permanent open space, and will the proposed IEP depot be mitigated by further landscaping/open space?
    Any information welcome

  9. Mel Turner says:

    I regularly visit an old gentleman on behalf of Age Concern, now Age UK. During our last chat he mentioned a railway station at Chesterton but couldn’t remember exacly where it was in Chesterton. In his youth he lived at Green End in Cambridge. Can you help. His father worked on the railways all his life.
    Regards, Mel Turner

  10. Martin Harwood says:

    Great photo’s. I worked here for six years as an apprentice and thereafter in the late seventies and early eighties when the yard was at its peak. I was part of the crew that maintained the equipment, ODM section we were called (Out door machinery).
    The yard had a large Italian and a large Polish contingent. There were teams of fitters and electricians in the ODM who had to do the maintenance whilst the workforce was on their breaks, often getting the sharp end of the lads temper if we were not done by the time they got back. They were all on piece work and swore at us in their own tongue if we were late or if the machinery broke down.
    It’s sad to see it in its derelict state, as I can clearly remember all of the buildings in the photo’s and a lot of the equipment also. There were three overhead cranes that ran on rails for the lifting of the track sections, one of these being over the flash butt line, where rails were welded together by a huge machine. It ran the electrical current through the rails and thumped the rail ends together until they became white hot and suddenly forced the two together to make the final joint – very hot and lots of sparks.
    everywhere. The continuous rails were then pushed onto a waiting wagon train which was almost half a mile long known as ELK trains. I used to go out with these trains as the numerous little crane sets along the train that were used for unloading the rail, were notorious for breaking down.
    It has reminded me of so many stories of what we all got up to in those days when Health & safety didn’t rule the world. It makes me shudder sometimes. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.
    Martin

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