Ashchurch for Tewkesbury is a railway station serving the village of Ashchurch near Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire, England. The station is located on the main Bristol-Birmingham main line 12 km (7¼ miles) north of Cheltenham Spa and was opened on 1 June 1997. There are regular bus connections from the station to Tewkesbury, which is located two miles to the west.
The station opened in 1997 on the site of an earlier station which had lain derelict for several decades. Only one small ruined red-brick shed remains of the original station buildings. In the post-war period, the station had been used both for passenger services and for cargo loading for the nearby army base. A number of cargo sidings still exist nearby. Once a railway centre of some importance, as it was the junction for two branches, one each side of the main line:
1 The Evesham line, actually a lengthy loop serving Evesham, Alcester and Redditch, re-joining the main line at Barnt Green, near Bromsgrove. This line closed between Evesham and Redditch in October 1962 due to poor condition of the track, while Ashchurch to Evesham followed in June 1963 (Redditch to Barnt Green remains open on the electrified Birmingham suburban network).
2. The line to Tewkesbury, Upton-upon-Severn and Malvern, closed beyond Upton in December 1952, Ashchurch to Upton following in August 1961. At this time Ashchurch station was renamed Ashchurch for Tewkesbury, but it too was to close, in November 1971, reopening in June 1997. There used to be a connecting curve linking the two branches, crossing the main line on the level just north of the station, creating a layout which may have been unique in Britain, but this curve closed in December 1957. There was an extensive goods yard to the south, and to the north west a large grain store.
The remains of the old line are still apparent, with much of its infrastructure (such as bridges) still in existence. The old connecting curve and the two branches it served can clearly be traced on a map. With much of the Ashchurch to Tewkesbury line now being used as a Cycle and Footpath, this section proved valuable during the 2007 floods as it was the only dry route into, and out of, Tewkesbury at the time.
When reopened in 1997, there were considerably more northbound services, with many CrossCountry (or former Central Trains services from Cardiff calling there. However, in the early 2000s these services were withdrawn, reducing the usefulness of the station. Passengers wishing to travel to Birmingham usually had to travel south to Cheltenham Spa, change onto a northbound train, then return northwards, passing through Ashchurch without stopping. From December 2006, some peak time services to and from Birmingham were reintroduced. However, from December 2008, CrossCountry are cutting the service on weekdays from 7 to 4 northbound services and from 4 (5 on Fridays) to 2 Southbound services.
In addition to the A46 road bridge, there is a ramped footbridge which provides wheelchair access to both platforms. A pushbutton computerised service provides real-time next train announcements. There is a large car park situated adjacent to the northbound platform, and a bus stop from where the Stagecoach Bus 41 service departs to Tewkesbury town centre.
As the station is unmanned, tickets must be purchased on the train itself.
The station is served by two operators. First Great Western (who manage the station) operate a two-hourly service between Ashchurch and Worcester with some continuing to Great Malvern in the north, and to Cheltenham, Bristol, Westbury and sometimes Weymouth or Brighton in the south.
A small number of CrossCountry services between Cardiff Central and Nottingham call there, as does a single late Friday night London Midland train between Gloucester and Birmingham New Street, providing some direct trains to Birmingham.
London Midland will be operating a new Worcester to Gloucester (calling at Cheltenham and Ashchurch) service every 2-hours to fill the gap between the current 2-hourly First Great Western service. This will give Ashchurch a much needed hourly service in both directions in the daytime Monday to Saturday. Early online timetables on the National Rail ticket booking facility show that southbound trains are spaced to fill the gaps inbetween First Great Western services, however northbound trains have a 40-minute turnaround at Gloucester, leaving the London Midland and First Great Western services only about half an hour apart.