Berkhamsted Railway Station
Station Road, Berkhamsted
The railway station at Berkhamsted is situated right next to Berkhamsted Castle. It’s very handy for visitors, as they can enjoy a day out at Berkhamsted Castle only 35 minutes from London Euston station.
It’s very unusual for an ancient monument to have such a convenient transport link, but it is fair to say that the Victorian railway builders did not have heritage sites uppermost in their minds when they laid the first tracks through the town.
The station we see today actually dates from 1875. It was built to replace an older structure that stood approximately 330 feet (100 m) further along Lower King’s Road, closer to the Castle Street canal bridge. This original station was built by the London and Birmingham Railway Company (L&BR) when it first opened the line in 1838.
The construction of the new railway was a great technological advance at the time, but highly controversial. Its route passed right through Berkhamsted and uncomfortably close to Berkhamsted Castle. Local opposition from landowners and the town’s residents brought about the amendment of the proposed act of parliament to provide explicit protection for most of Castle site.
The Act for Making a Railway from London to Birmingham was passed by Parliament on 6th May 1833, and it restricted construction work to the line of the existing outer embankment to the south — and prohibited any other digging or construction on or near the Castle.
Although the major part of the Castle site was protected from destruction, the barbican gate was not protected. Navvies filled in the southern part of the outer moat and demolished what remained of the ruined barbican gate.
The first railway station stood almost on the site of the old barbican, and the lost moat is now covered by the White Hill roadway and the railway embankment.
In the 1870s, the London and North Western Railway (LNWR) decided to widen the railway line and this meant that the station had to be relocated to accommodate the extra tracks. All that remains of the old station is different coloured brickwork in the side of the embankment along Lower Kings Road.