BLOWERS GREEN

THE RAILWAY REINSTATEMENT ASSOCIATION

Taken from the north end of the then platforms 1 & 2 the 1970's the remnants of the yard were still busy stabling locomotives, DMU's and wagons.

Also taken from the north end of the then platforms 1 & 2 but in the mid 1980's little has changed in the ten or so intervening years. Note today the siding far right no longer exists

Looking north from Pensnett bridge to the footbridge. Note the John Lloyd Tennis Centre to the left of the alignment

From the same point looking up Brackleymore Road at the top of the cul-de-sac is an alleyway through to Pensnett Bridge

 

The other side of the bridge can be found the former station entrance now fenced off

The Oxford, Worcester & Wolverhampton Railway

For the purpose of this web site's aims we are only looking at the section from Stourbridge Junction to Dudley. There is a seperate case for the Dudley to Walsall and Walsll to Lichfield continuation of this line under the South Staffordshire Railway, the company that originally built that piece of the network.

 

Today this sleepy backwater of the Rail Network is barely used, despite almost continual rumblings from Black Country Natives that this line from Stourbridge Junction to at least the Waterfront at Brierley Hill should be reopened. Currently it had only a few trains a week into the TATA Steel Stockholders at Brierley Hill, since the company put its entire UK holdings on the market it is unknown how much, if at all, these trains have been affected.

 

Made even more loud by the fact that the local Dudley Council has safeguarded the track alignment against encroachment, and Network Rail has left it mothballed. Unfortunately much of the track has disappeared over time, taken by metal thieves.

There have been many reopening plans put forward in recent times, now with the new West Midlands Transport Authority coming into being in June 2016 all of which remain on the table as it is they who will decide what is the best solution and allocate the money.

 

These are:-

1. Pre Metro Operations wish to extend thier operations beyond the Stourbridge Town Branch with larger versions of the Class 139's currently in use.

2. Ecorail Ltd have proposed opening the entire line to Walsal in stages as a community Railway using a proposed railcar that looks much like the old AEC GWR Railcars that ran in the area up until thier withdrawal shortly before closure to passenger services in 1962. Creating a service that would also appeal to tourists.

3. Midland Metro have recently dusted off thier plan to extend thier system from Wednesbury to Brierley Hill. Dudley council having found £100,000 to relook at thier ten year old plans.

 

Whilst the RRA believes the 40% loading on infrastructure price for the overhead electrical supply (catenary) make the Metro uneconomic, in terms of capital cost, in todays tight financial climate. It is conceded that this alignment might be reopened with any one or a combination of these plans.

 

Stourbridge Junction

 

Opened in 1852 on the Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway line, 400 yards south of the present station, and named simply 'Stourbridge'. The junction came about when the Stourbridge Railway built their line to Lye and beyond. Becoming a double junction on 1 October 1879 when the branch to Stourbridge Town was opened. On 1 October 1901 the new station opened 400 in its current location.

 

In 1962, the OWW was closed to passenger traffic north of Stourbridge by the British Transport Commission, although the route remained open for freight until 1993. Only the section as far as the Round Oak Steel Terminal is still in use.

 

The station used to have four platforms, comprising two island platforms. The southern divergence to Platform 1 was removed some years ago and Platform 4, situated opposite to the current Platform 3, now faces the car park - built on the station's old carriage sidings.

 

Full

In this rather grainy historic picture of a freight train passing through the then platform two, the carrige sidings can be seen in the background were the forecourt and car park are today

 

The station today looking down between platforms 1 & 2 with the car park clearly visible behind on the site of the former carriage sidings

Class 153 approaches platform 3 on the town branch during a short replacement of the Class 139 'Shuttles' due to technical issues

Picture curtesy of John Parry MBE

Full

A very run down station in the early 1970's showing the then platform four, todays platform 3 as a through platform with the outer freight line down the branch to the canal

Taken from the other end of platform two in this picture we see the single track remnants of the Town branch begin its descent to Stourbridge Town station

Class 139 'Shuttle' departing platform 3 one one of its 10 minute cycle trips. Vegitation covering the former second 'freight' track alignment

Stourbridge Signal Box

 

The signalbox closed on 24 August 2012, as part of a wider network modernisation programme to centralise signalling operations. The signals at the station are now controlled from the West Midlands Signalling Centre in Saltley, Birmingham.

 

As railway staff have to date been seen entering and leaving the box it must still have some use. Maybe a rest room for line workers?

Signal box from the end of platform 2, note the Class 173's in the distance, theunit on the right passing through the junction on its way into Junction station, the other stabled in the sidings

Another view of the signal box from the station approach road looking very grey on a very wet afternoon in 2015

Stourbridge Junction Sidings

e taken

Full diagram of the extent of the sidings at Stourbridge Junction in the 1950's. Today all those above the main lines are replaced with either forecourt car parking or housing. Below just the four nearest the main line remain. Even the two parralel to the branch line are gone which its self is now single track. Original can be seen at Kidderminster Rail Museum

Stourbridge Junction

 

Stambermill Viaduct

 

The short lived original viaduct was constructed, then opened in 1850 by Isambard Kingdom Brunel to carry the Oxford Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway across the River Stour, the one we see today is not the original, which built of stone piers across the valley and then a wooden viaduct placed on top. There is still a tantalising glimpse of Brunel’s work in the brick abutment that stands alongside the new viaduct.

 

It was as early as 1858 that the old wooden structure came under scrutiny and the OWWR proposed a multipurpose Parliamentary bill which included asking for powers to replace the four timber viaducts, Coalbourn, Churchill and Kidderminster (Hoobrook), as well as the one at Stambermill, and replace them in the best way they thought suitable.

 

Fortunately for the OWWR, Hoobrook, Churchill and Stambermill were all in locations where new brick viaducts could be built alongside the existing structures. This negated the need to close the railway during these works. Once completed the track at each end was diverted on to the new structure and the old viaduct removed. Taking nearly 25 years before all three new structures would be opened.

 

Stambermill, is the second longest of the three at 190 yards long.

 

The Victorian viaduct can be seen in all its mgnificence across the small park with the River Stour running behind the undergrowth far right of the picture

Final span crossing the road with Stambermill Close off to the right

Vicarage Road Bridge

Looking south the track rounds the curve towards the bridge heading north from Stambermill Viaduct

Looking north from the other side of the bridge the track rounds the curve heading north towards Brettell Lane

Brettell Lane Approach & Canal Bridge

 

As the railway approaches the former site of Brettell Lane station and yard it crosses an Iron bridge over Dudley No. 1 canal, immediately north of which would have been the points to access the goods yards both sides of the line

 

Railway bridge with low canal headroom taken from the foot bridge access to the tow path behind the building in the picture right at the junction of Station Approach and Meeting Lane

Having reached the canal bridge via the towpath this picture facing south towards Stambermill 2015

On visiting the site a year later a retake of the above picture clearly showing the new fencing put in place by Network Rail and the speed limit sign having been removed

What appears to be the only building remaining from the former goods yard sitting at the bottom of the access road and behind which is the foot path access to the canal tow path

From the same position in this picture facing north through the canal bridge. The warehouse seen is on the site of some of the former sidings

The only way the above picture could be recreated was to lean through the larger spacing of the bridge fenceing but afforded a better angle through the former station site. The bridge would habe been the far end of the platforms

Brettell Lane

 

Opened in 1852, by the Oxford, Worcester & Wolverhampton Railway which was later absorbed by the Great Western Railway (GWR). Later still the South Staffs Railway shared the route south from their station at Dudley. It served local coal mining and steel mills of the area. Today there is no visible sign that the station or associated goods yards ever existed.

 

Once passenger usage declined in the 1880s at several stations, the line became largely a freight only operation in 1887. It would remain open for goods traffic, which was considerable at this time, as the district had become highly industrialised in the then heyday of the Black Country's industrial past. British Rail finally closing the station, as with all stations on the line, pre-Beeching in 1962.

 

For a brief period between 1925 and 1932 it served as the juction station for the GWR's experiment at running passenger services on the line to Wolverhampton Low Level, formeley the Kigswinford and Wolverhampton Railway, built originally for freight only. The stations were almost all halts serving hamlets, so never really caught on. Although with today's populations and a light rail Rapid Transit System it might yet be a viable system.

1953 OS map showing the extent of the Moor Lane sidings and the 'Wombourne' branch line

Historic picture taken from the Brettell Lane bridge showing this was once a faily large station with considerable goods yard

Taken from slightly to the right of the above picture on the Brettell Lane bridge showing there is today, absolutely no sign of the station. The goods yardS to the right and left are now Industrial Estates

Modern OS style map marking the position of the station against todays landscape

Historic picture taken on the Brettell Lane platform facing north with the bridge in the background

Taken from the northern side of the Brettell Lane bridge showing today, the overgrown site of the former freight unloading bay. The wall just being visible through the vegitation. As there is considerable new housing in the area this could also serve as a new station site were plans to restart passenger services on the line successful, with foot access to each bridge.

Moor Lane Signal Box

 

After a long and at times busy history the atypical GWR signal box met a somewhat ignominious end, being burnt down by vandals 14 November 2001, eventually replaced by a ground frame. Today the site houses the electronics to operate the junction from the West Midlands signaling centre Saltley.

In this mid 1980's picture the busy Moor Street yard can be seen behind the junction of the former Wolverhampton & Kingswingford Railway and the signal box in the foreground

A somewhat derelict looking box taken shortly before the fire that lead to its total demise

Kingswinford Junction and Moor Lane Sidings

 

This is the junction where the Wolverhampton and Kingswinford Railway left the OWWR, see our W&KR page. Of note is that Network Rail might be assumed to still hold out hopes that the Womborne Branch could be reopened to Pensnett as a freight line or they would have disposed of the asset. The 2013 track map publication showing the alignment still in NR hands and yard leased to DB Shenker, the rail freight moving company.

 

The signal box met a somewhat ignominious end, being burnt down by vandals 14 November 2001, eventually replaced by a ground frame. Now the site houses the electronics to operate the junction from the West Midlands signaling centre Saltley.

Taken from within the yard in the mid 1980's this picture shows the still busy Moor Street yard looking back at the footbridge from which pictures in the previous sections were taken

In this

Moor Street Bridge

Taken from Moor Lane bridge facing south thwe two loop sidings can be seenclearly despite the grass and saplings begining to take hold even though the site has only been mothballed for a short time

Considerabe new housing built right next to goods yard that would benefit from a reintroduction of a passenger serve on the alignment

Take from Moor Lane bridge looking north onto the site of the former Brierley Hill Station which was situated just to the fore of the distant road bridge

The road entrance to the yard with road bridge over the site Brockmoor Halt on the motnballed 'Wombourne Line' in the far distance

Brierley Hill

 

Opened in 1858. British Rail closed the station pre-Beeching in 1962. Two railways/routes served the station - originally the Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway and the South Staffordshire Railway, which later became the Great Western Railway and London, Midland and Scottish Railway (through amalgamation of the London and North Western Railway) respectively.

 

The station's pedestrian entrance from Station Road is still in existence, though it has long been blocked off by a fence.

 

Today, Goods trains still use the track where the station once stood, on their way to the nearby Round Oak Steel Terminal.

 

1953 OS map showing the extent of the sidings at the time, the Wombourne frieght line diverging and the site of Brierley Hill Station not far north of the yard, making it very close to Brettell Lane

Take

 

Looking through the bridge and up Station Road Brierley Hill. The station was to the south of the bridge left as we look at it in this picture

Site of the station today, just south of the Station Road bridge, left in this 2016 picture

Modern OS style map showing the position of the former station in the context of the considerable increase in housing in the locality that would all benefit from a reinstatement of passenger services

Taken from the other end of the opposite platform we see a passenger train heading south

PENSNETT ROAD BRIDGE

 

Situated at the junction of Pensnett Road, High Street, John's Road and Bank Street, it is approximately halfway between the former stations of Brierley Hill and Round Oak. Today the huge John Lloyd Tennis Centre sits atop the embankment on the north side of Pensnett Road.

Looking south from Pensnett Bridge, Brettell Lane Station would have been just out of sight around the curve. The housing is the top end of

ROUND OAK

 

Opened in 1852 to serve the town of Brierley Hill. Two railways/routes served the station - originally the Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway and the South Staffordshire Railway, which later became the Great Western Railway and London, Midland and Scottish Railway (through amalgamation of the London and North Western Railway) respectively.

 

In 1858 a coupling broke on an excursion train at the station and the rear portion rolled back down the gradient from Round Oak railway station towards Brettell Lane where it collided with another train (which was actually part of the same excursion, the train already having been safely divided once due to its extreme length!) 14 passengers were killed and 50 more injured.

 

British Railways closed the station pre-Beeching in 1962 and plans for a freight use were abandoned at the same time. Goods trains continue to pass the site for a few hundreds yards northwards, to Round Oak Steel Terminal.

 

 

Take

Original road facing entrance whichresearch has yet to identify its pisition in relation to today's topography

Southbound train entering the station under the remaining road bridge

The station site in 2015 mature tress now growing on the former platforms

2015 view of the alignment. The partially obscured blue building in the background being the Round Oak Steel site

Take

Taken from the end of the southbound platform looking back through the station at the ramp up to the road. The building high on the road is today the pub

Although north of the road bridge this link takes interested viewers to a youtube video of the final shutting out of the signal box

2012 Will Jarman artists impression of how a new 'Waterside' station could lokk the other side of the road bridge directly underneath the Travel Lodge Motel

Harts Hill

 

Opened in 1895 by a GWR keen to invest in what was perceived to be the lucrative passenger area of the Black Country, intended to serve the communities between Brierley Hill and Dudley. It closed, like many smaller passenger stations, in 1916 due to the First World War, but was consequently never re-opened when the passengers failed to materialise.

 

There are no remaining signs of the station, and the road from which it was accessed has long since been widened.

 

It was proposed to be reopened with a Midland Metro extension which will divert from the line at this point and run through Merry Hill Shopping Centre before and join on to Dudley and then Wednesbury.

Take

Take

Take

 

Parkhead Viaduct

 

Built in 1850 to pass over the locks on the Dudley canal just south of Dudley tunnel, this being the fourth viaduct referred to in the section on Stambermill Viaduct, the one that there was insufficient room to build a second structure alongside. Consequently it is widely believed that the present structure is built around the original wooden platform. Therefore any reopening would require a full structural survey to ascertain if it is still strong enough to support whatever weight of train may be proposed to run the route. Obviously one might say the lighter the better.

 

Take

Take

Take

Take

B Blowers Green

 

Opened in 1878 immediately north of Netherton station which it replaced. intending to serve the communities of Woodside and Netherton. Soon after opening it was renamed Dudley Southside & Netherton. =

 

Three railways/routes served the station - originally the Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway and the South Staffordshire Railway, which later became the Great Western Railway and London, Midland and Scottish Railway (through amalgamation of the London and North Western Railway) respectively. There were also services from Dudley to Old Hill along this route as part of GWR's service. The junction to Old Hill diverged between here and Harts Hill.

 

The line had reasonable passenger usage until about the early 1880s, when it began to slump at several stations, leading to the line becoming a largely freight only operation in 1887. It would remain open for goods traffic, which was considerable at this time, as the district had become highly industrialised in the then heyday of the Black Country's industrial past.

 

This station was known as Dudley Southside and Netherton until 1921, when it was renamed Blowers Green.

 

As the local industry declined and road transport became more common, the station entered a post-World War 2 decline.

 

British Railways closed the station to passengers in 1962 even though trains from Dudley to Old Hill passed through the station until 1964. It remained as an emergency escape point and access point for railway engineers until late 1965.

 

The station building has been bricked up. The forecourt has been fenced off since 2004 due to youths' anti-social behaviour, structural decay and periodical use by vagrants. Bill-posters are occasionally stuck to it from time to time.

Take

Take

Dudley Tunnel

 

Unusual in that it had a station very close to each entrance despite only being 946 yards long, it remained open even after the stations closed in 1964, goods trains still used the line, as did a passenger service from Wolverhampton to Birmingham Snow Hill until it finally closed to all trains on 19 March 1993 after 143 years in use, when the section of railway between Walsall and Brierley Hill was mothballed.

 

Network Rail and its predecessor British Rail do not always rip up track and sell off land when they believe there might be future use for the line to serve strategic freight yards. This is the reason this line has never ceased to be in the public eye as a possibility for passenger service reinstatement

Take

Dudley

 

Completed in 1860 as a result of collaboration between the Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway (which was soon to become part of the Great Western Railway, and the London and North Western Railway (which had taken control of the South Staffordshire Railway – the company that had constructed the line from Lichfield, via Walsall, to Dudley). The latter eventually became part of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway.

 

The line had reasonable passenger usage until about the early 1880s, when it began to slump at several stations, leading to the line becoming a largely freight only operation in 1887. It would remain open for goods traffic, which was considerable at this time, as the district had become highly industrialised in the then heyday of the Black Country's industrial past.

 

As the local industry declined and road transport became more common, the station entered a post-World War 2 decline, although not as heavily as most others on the line.

 

The station was popular with local people who appreciated its convenient locations and frequent trains, with high numbers of passengers still using the services as recently as the 1950s. The OW&WR line from Stourbridge Junction to Wolverhampton Low Level closed to passengers in 1962, but Dudley remained as a terminus for trains from Walsall on the South Staffordshire Line, Old Hill on the Bumble Hole Line and Birmingham Snow Hill until the Beeching Axe had its effect in 1964 despite of the station's high passenger turnover at the time.

 

The South Staffordshire Line's uses were complicated, since some trains terminated at Dudley from Lichfield and Walsall, and some continued through to Stourbridge Junction and there are some references to services continuing further afield. Similarly, the same applied with the journey in reverse.

 

The buildings of Dudley Station remained open for parcels until early 1967, when they were knocked down and replaced by Dudley Freightliner Terminal. It was one of the first of its kind in Britain and larger than that in Birmingham. It finally closed in 1989, and the line passing through Dudley closed to all traffic in 1993. Some of the track remains in place, although as on the whole line much has been stolen for its scrap value. The Freightliner Terminal has recently become an overspill car park for Dudley zoo with a small area earmarked for the proposed Light Rail Innovation Centre of Warwick Manufaturing Group.

 

 

 

The South Staffordshire Line North to Dudley Port and Beyond

 

Travelling north from Dudley by going under the road bridge takes you on to the alignment of the track that was historically laid by the South Staffordshire Railway. See our Dudley to Lichfield page

Former Wolverhampton Alignment

Take

Take

Take

Take

Unless otherwise stated alll pictures used herein are copyright Jane Taylor Potography all rights reserved. Ever efford has been made to obtain permission to use other photographs with links to thier own sites but if you believe your picture has been used without permission please contact us directly.

Licences for use of images may be obtained at a nominal cost by writing to info@railwayreinstatementassociation.couk. Licences will normally be granted free to charitable and not-for-profit organisations.