The Railway Goods Yard at Meldreth
Whilst passenger services from Meldreth to Cambridge and Kings Cross were somewhat infrequent until relatively recently, goods services were of a much greater importance. Being in the centre of an extensive fruit growing area as well as an important coprolite mining area for much of the latter part of the C19th a goods yard soon became established on the ‘down’ side of the railway line.
Coprolites, mined primarily in Whaddon, were transported to Meldreth station where a coprolite mill ground the fossilised dung and phosphatic nodules into a fine powder for use in the fertiliser industry. The ground powder was then shipped by rail to fertiliser factories in East Anglia. Cement products from the Cam Cement works and later asbestos sheeting etc. from The Atlas Stone Company were also transhipped by rail. A standard gauge, light railway line was built between The Atlas Stone Company near Whaddon and Meldreth Station to aid the transport of finished asbestos products to the Meldreth Goods Yard. The small petrol driven shunter known as Puffing Billy was a familiar sight moving finished goods to the station, waste to the dumps at the top of Chiswick End and raw materials from the Goods Yard to the factory.
Coal was an important commodity delivered by rail to Meldreth for onward distribution by companies such as Charringtons which were based in the Meldreth Goods Yard. The transportation of fruit was very important as was farm produce such as beet and corn. Livestock such as cattle were moved in and out by rail as evidenced by a number of cattle pens situated alongside the railway in the mid C20th.
With the decline of the railways in the 1950s and the increase in road transport the Goods Yard became redundant and finally closed to rail traffic on April 19th 1964. The sidings were removed soon after although the larger buildings are still standing.