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Flitwick Station

Flitwick Station about 1910 [Z1130/50/6]
Flitwick Station about 1910 [Z1130/50/6]

Flitwick Station is on the main line from Bedford to London. It was built in 1870 and opened on 2nd May, nearly two years after the railway line was completed. The line was built by the Midland Railway Company as an extension to Bedford to Saint Pancras. The engineers, responsible for planning the line, were Liddell and Barlow and the contractors who built it were Thomas Brassey, A Ritson, waring Brothers and others. The Act allowing the building of the railway was passed in 1863 and the line was opened on 13th July 1868.

Flitwick Station about 1920 [Z1130/50/8]
Flitwick Station about 1920 [Z1130/50/8]

The reason Flitwick Station was not built as part of the original line was its proximity to Ampthill, where the station was built at the same time as the rest of the track. When the station opened it took around twenty minutes to get to Bedford and nearly two hours to get to London.

Flitwick Station April 2017
Flitwick Station April 2017

The Midland Railway Company had been formed in 1844. In 1922 the 120 or more railways in Britain were grouped into four large companies. The Midland Railway became part of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway or LMS, with its headquarters at Euston House in London.  On 1st January 1948 the four companies were nationalised as British Railways. This was, in its turn, abolished and privatised by the Conservative government in the mid-1990s, resulting in certain lines being awarded to certain contractors to run trains to make profits, the track being owned by a company called Railtrack. This was succeeded, following liquidation, by a public body called Network Rail, part of the Department of Transport. Ironically, Flitwick Station, opened after Ampthill, is still in operation after Ampthill Station closed in 1959. It is now the first stop for southward running trains after Bedford.