198 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces
From Chasewater News – Winter 1996 – Part 3
Blast from the Past
For the winter edition of the Chasewater News I have included this article and map, gleaned by our Chairman David Bathurst, from the ’Railway Magazine’ of November/December 1944 as there is a reference to the closure of our line to passenger traffic in the 1930s and for the general interest in the way the area’s network of services has been steadily eroded over the years.
Forgotten Train Services in the Birmingham District
In looking through old timetables, one is often struck by the many old services which have been withdrawn and forgotten in the region of Birmingham and the Black Country. By reason of lack of patronage, often because of road competition, these services became redundant and fell out of use, but some of them are of considerable interest.
Close up of image ‘lnwra1494’ showing the junction between the New Street and Stechford lines and the approach to Aston station. The buffer stop is the end of the blind siding that was designed to protect the main lines from runaway wagons on the Windsor Street down line – D.J.Norton
In the immediate vicinity of Birmingham the ‘Circle Service’ obviously comes first. This was operated by the LNWR, leaving New Street Station from the east end, and running via Aston, the south side of the triangle at Perry Barr, and Monument Lane, thus arriving back at the opposite end of the station. A similar service was worked in the other direction, and the journey time of about 30 to 40 minutes applied in each direction. In May 1899, the service was seven west to east and five east to west trains on weekdays only, but in 1929 this was reduced to one train running Saturdays excepted, through from west to east, two in the reverse direction, and several trains from Birmingham to Vauxhall, via Perry Barr, also two trains from Stechford and Witton respectively, to Monument Lane, via Soho Road. This service, which had become gradually more and more scanty, was finally discontinued on the outbreak of the Second World War.
Smethwick Junction © Copyright Row17 and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
Secondly, comes the service provided by the LNWR from New Street to Smethwick Junction on the GWR Stourbridge line. At one time, through portions were attached to trains from Euston, which were detached from the main train at Birmingham, and then forwarded to the GWR at Smethwick Junction, where they were coupled to GWR trains to Stourbridge and Kidderminster. There was also a through coach to Wooferton on this route. In 1899 the local service had six trains daily, on weekdays only, which left New Street at 8.48, 9.25, 11.30am, 12.30, 4.25, and 7.45pm and arriving back at 9.40, 11.30am, 12.46, 1.35, 5.10 and 9.05pm. No indication is given in the tables, however, as to whether these were through portions or not. The service had been reduced to three trains each way by 1913, and to two in July 1915; it was discontinued shortly afterwards.
Dudley Station, with the auto-train from Dudley Port View NE, towards Wolverhampton (left) and Walsall (and Dudley Port) (right); ex-Great Western Worcester – Kidderminster – Stourbridge Jct. – Wolverhampton line; ex-London & North Western line to Walsall, Lichfield and Rugeley. The auto-train has LMS-type Ivatt 2MT 2-6-2T No. 41226 and there is an ex-LNW 0-8-0 at work in the Goods Yard.
A third LNWR service long since disappeared is that over the line from Tipton to Wednesbury, via Ocker Hill. This line had intermediate stations at Princes End and Ocker Hill, and its length is about 3½ miles. The service in 1899 was five trains daily, on weekdays only, calling at all stations, and running between Dudley Port and Wednesbury. These left Dudley Port at 8.33, 1022am, 12.20, 3.26 and 6.50pm, and Wednesbury at 7.53, 1052am, 12.55, 4.00 and6.45pm; the journey time between the two places was 11 minutes. This was still working in a modified form in 1913, but it was discontinued during World War 1, and passengers from Dudley Port to Wednesbury now use the Great Bridge route. Another branch now closed is the Harbourne line, in Birmingham, about 4 miles long, closed on November 26th, 1934.
This was the very last passenger working on the branch. Regular scheduled passenger services had ceased in 1934! The line was closed completely a few days later and lifted. ricsrailpics