Tag Archives: Stephenson Locomotive Society

Some Early Lines – The Harborne Branch

The Harborne Branch

An old Midland Railway Class 2F 0-6-0 nears the end of the line on the 3 mile long branch from Monument Lane to Harborne, Birmingham, in July 1961.  Birmingham Post


The line was independently owned, but was operated from the start by the LNWR, who took 50% of the gross receipts from both passenger and freight traffic. It was a single line throughout, worked by the “one engine in steam” system, with six trains each way on weekdays. “Staff and ticket” working began in 1882, superseded by “electric token” working in 1892. With the continuing growth in traffic, a passing loop was installed at Rotton Park Road in 1903.

The line was an early example of a commuter route, and highly successful at first, though there were problems recovering the investment. The receiver was called in 1879 and the line remained under his control for another 21 years.

Nevertheless, at its peak in 1914 there were 27 return passenger workings a day, running from 5:35AM until 11:15PM. The journey time from Birmingham New Street to Harborne was about 16 minutes. The trains were usually hauled by Webb 2-4-2T and 0-6-2T coal tanks.


In 1923, the Harborne Railway, together with its operators the LNWR, became part of the London Midland & Scottish Railway (LMS) at the grouping. The line began to suffer competition with buses, and as trains were frequently delayed due to congestion of routes into Birmingham New Street, passenger numbers fell. Icknield Port Road station closed in 1931, and the other stations closed to passengers on 26 November 1934. The last passenger train to run on the line was an enthusiasts’ special on 3 June 1950.

The early thirties saw the beginning of strict economies, particularly on the LMS, when stations and branches began to be shut down in what some termed a policy of ‘retrenchment and despair’.  One such branch was a suburban one of three miles in length, leaving the ex LNWR main line from Birmingham to Wolverhampton just north of Monument Lane and terminating at Harborne.  During most of its life, which ended in November, 1934, it was worked by LNWR engines ranging from ’Jumbos’ to the small 2-4-2 tanks.  In June, 1950, the Stephenson Locomotive Society sponsored a special train over the branch behind radial tank No. 46757 of Walsall shed, then one of the very few survivors of the class.  As far as is known this was the first occasion that a push-and-pull train ran to Harborne.  Birmingham Post

The line remained opened to freight, however, reverting to “one engine in steam” and serving businesses in Harborne, and Mitchells & Butlers Cape Hill brewery. This traffic also succumbed eventually to road transport, and the line closed completely on 4 November 1963, when the line was completely closed and lifted. Part of the route has been converted into a footpath, the Harborne Walkway.No longer in use

This bridge pier used to carry the LMS railway branch line to Harborne. As far as I know the line was closed in the Beeching era, but I remember it well before that and cannot ever remember the line in use. Most of the old railway line is now a linear park. The houses in the upper right hand corner are in Northbrook Street.    Pic – Row17

Chasewater Railway Museum July 1960 Bits & Pieces 10

From RPS Newsletter July 1960 Vol  2 No. 1

From the General Secretary’s Page

More Activity Wanted

You will read in the West Midland notes the present state of our first scheme to be launched.  From the enthusiasm of one member, David Ives, and a group of his friends and acquaintances has grown the reality of rolling stock being restored on a length of line which has been offered as temporary accommodation.  There is no reason why similar successes could not be recorded from most areas of dense population.  We have enough members in the South-East, North-West and North-East to make a start.

Well done the West Midland District – later to become Chasewater Railway.

West Midland District

Stafford – Uttoxeter Line.  Great Northern Railway

Date: 23 April 1957Description: The Stephenson Locomotive Society (Midland Area) ran the last train on the Uttoxeter to Stafford line on 1957. The locomotive is seen here arriving at Stowe-by-Chartley Station with 200 railway enthusiasts on board.

The line was opened in December 1867 by the Stafford-Uttoxeter Railway Company. Nineteen years later the company folded and the line was sold to the Great Northern Company.

Passenger traffic was withdrawn in 1939, but the line was kept open for milk traffic. The high cost of maintenance proved too expensive and the line closed in 1951, having never shown a profit. It was broken up in 1959.

Staffordshire Past Track – Pic & Info

This was one of the lines under consideration as a running line for the WMD.

Date: 1920 – 1930 (c.)

Description: Stafford Common Railway Station was built in 1867, to serve the Stafford-Uttoxeter line.

The station closed to passengers in 1939, but continued to carry freight. It closed completely in the 1970s.

Staffordshire Past Track – Pic & Info

16 members of the West Midland District walked along the Great Northern Railway disused branch line from Chartley to Stafford on Sunday, 27th March.  Members assembled at Stafford Station and were taken by car to Chartley.  Our President, Mr. C. E. Ives, although not being able to take part in the walk, very kindly took members to the starting point.  A considerable number of photographs were taken en route for record purposes, as demolition of this line had already begun.  Very keen interest was shown in station buildings at Chartley, Ingestre and Weston and Salt.  Hopton cutting was duly noted as a great work of civil engineering, a tribute to the railway navvies of the 1860s.  The walk finished at Stafford Common Station (part of which is still worked by BR) where a welcome cup of tea brewed by Mr. A. Holden was much appreciated by all.  A special note must be made concerning one of our very enthusiastic members, Vice President Mr. J. Strong of Hereford, who stayed overnight in Stafford in order to take part.

Stowe and Chartley Station looking neglected. Note the two lines merging in the distance and the crossover in the foreground. Photo Hixon Local History Society.

.Unlike The building on the left was not demolished and was still there in 1990 and 1991 when we walked there. It now has been completely restored and has been moved to the Amerton Railway nearby.
Jan en Fons

Aug 7, 2008 9:52 PM


The West Midland District Depot has been kindly offered to us by our President Mr. C. E. Ives as temporary accommodation until a branch line has been acquired.  It is situated at Penkridge Engineering Co., Chase Works, Rugeley Road, Hednesford, Staffs.  This can be reached from Cannock along the Rugeley Road and from Rugeley along the Hednesford Road and is adjacent to Messrs. Bestmore Drop Forgings Ltd.

The depot consists of approx. 150 yards of siding with access to BR and NCB sidings.  Good covered space covers approx 50 yards of the track.  Members have already been advised of times of working parties, etc. and will continue to get these each month through the summer.  Negotiations are going ahead for the acquisition of two six-wheeled coaches, a full 3rd Maryport & Carlisle Railway and a full brake Great Eastern Railway.  It is hoped to have these under our covered space by the time this Newsletter reaches you.

More hands wanted at Hednesford

On June 3rd the Honorary Yardmaster, Albert Holden, gave a talk on the practical side of track maintenance to a group of members.  He expressed disappointment at the turnout of members and pointed out that work was being carried out by a small proportion of members.  If they did not get the support of more members they could become discouraged and work cease altogether.

It is the declared intention of the WMD to lease or purchase a line and run its own services.  But this needs a reservoir of skilled members and a strong organisation.  This depot gives us a chance to introduce all members to the technical side of maintenance of rolling stock and permanent way.  If full use is made of it, we shall have a reliable band of voluntary workers who can restore a line to serviceable condition in the shortest possible time.

The future of railway preservation in the West Midlands is in your hands.  Let’s all pull together and show the rest of the RPS how to run a branch line!

Stop Press

The first two coaches were moved in Hednesford depot at 9.45 am on Wednesday, 22nd June 1960.  How about coming along and helping with their restoration?