Line token at Longhope
Line token at Longhope.
The broad gauge track through Longhope was part of the 30-mile long Hereford to Gloucester line and was opened on 1st June 1855 [1] . At first it was only leased to the Great Western Railway but was taken over completely by 1862 [2] . In 1869 the GWR converted the entire line to standard gauge and was expected to take around 14 days. The army of 300 plate-layers commenced work on Sunday, 15 August 1869 and actually took only five days to complete [2] . Seven passenger trains a day travelled back and forth along the line by 1910 and was worked by the GWR up until nationalisation in 1947. Three freight trains ran on weekdays. The line had junctions at Grange Court and Ross-on-Wye.

Many country folk conducted their day by the time of the trains. They knew that, say, the 9:15 train meant that it was time to start work or that the 3:15 was milking time [2,3] . A country station could be deserted for an hour or two and suddenly spring to life in preparation for an approaching train [3] .

Longhope station with one platform.
Originally only the west-side platform existed containing just a small waiting room [4] as seen in the photograph on the left. The date is unknown but the Ordanace Survey map of the area from 1889 clearly shows just one station contaning the two buildings in the picture. Later, a second platform was added to the east of the line and a signalbox was built on the west platform. In order to accomodate more than one train on the entire strentch of the line, Longhope, like many other stations along the line [4] , was home to a passing loop which allowed two trains to pass each other.

Longhope also had mail receiving and pickup facilities. The receiver consisted of a large net into which bags of mail could be thrown. By 1879, letters would arrive by train from Mitcheldean at 7:00am and from Gloucester at 8:10am, to be dispatched at 6:50pm. On Sundays letters would arrive at 7:00am and be dispatched at 10:00pm [5]

End of the Line

The line was closed to passenger trains on 2nd November 1964, but freight trains still ran between Ross-on-Wye and Gloucester. However this service was also closed a year later on 1st November 1965.

Waiting room
Longhope waiting room still survives but is in private hands.
The steel from the line and bridges was melted down and reused. The brickwork supports of the bridge over the Ross Road are still standing but the bridge at the bottom of Hopes Hill was demolished when the bypass was built. Some remote stations along the rest of the line still survive but have been converted into private houses. Longhope station has been demolished apart from the waiting room which still survives to this day, but has also been converted to a summerhouse. The signal box was converted to a garden wall upon demolition.

Embankment to Ross
Old embankment looking towards Ross-on-Wye.
Following the course of the line through Longhope can be tricky in places as many parts of it have been built on since the line was removed, this only applies to the parts near the centre of the village where development is taking place. The picture here shows the railway embankment from Longhope station looking along the line to Ross-on-Wye.


  1. T. A. Ryder, "A Portrait of Gloucestershire", Robert Hale, London, 1976.
  2. H. Phelps, "A Gloucestershire Notebook", The History Press, 2008.
  3. P. Whitehouse and D. Thomas, "The Great Western Railway: 150 Glorious Years", David & Charles, 2002.
  4. Private documents
  5. Kelly's Directory, 1879
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