Trouble House Halt

I’ve known of Trouble House Halt for many years because it is mentioned in the Flanders and Swann song, The Slow Train, a bittersweet requiem to British Railway stations closed under the Beeching Plan. What I had not realised until I read Bob Barton’s excellent book, Unusual Pubs, Amazing Stories, was that it had a drinking connection. Indeed, the halt was built simply to serve the pub of the same name.
The pub dates from the 17th century and was originally called the Waggon & Horses. Its unusual subsequent name comes from it being built on land which was known as the Troubles because it was prone to flooding. In addition, a number of landlords during the 18th and 19th centuries suffered an astonishing assortment of misfortunes, some involving Navy press gangs and agricultural riots. The pub however survives and can be found, once it reopens, on the Tetbury to Cirencester Road (A433) near the hamlet of Trull (GL8 8SG). It has odd opening hours so check before travelling.

The pub’s location is rather remote so, when, in February 1959, British Railways decided to introduce diesel railbuses on the Tetbury to Kemble branch line, they took the opportunity to add two new stops: Church’s Hill and Trouble House. The latter was a basic wooden platform with no shelter or amenities whatsoever.

Sadly, the halt had a relatively short life. The branch line was closed in April 1964. The occasion of the last train to Kemble was marked by it being loaded at Trouble House with a coffin made by the pub landlord and his brother. This was filled with empty whisky bottles and adorned with messages for Dr Beeching. It is believed to have made it as far as Paddington. The route of the branch line largely now forms the Tetbury Trail.

Berney Arms station in Norfolk is also named after a pub but it also served a small settlement, so the pub was not its only reason to exist. The situation here is the reverse of Trouble House. The station is open but the pub closed in 2015. Planning permission for conversion to a house was refused and there is a campaign to reopen the pub. There are however reports that it may reopen as a bistro.