STOURBRIDGE - DUDLEY - OWWR

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.

Stations and Features on the Line

 

Stourbridge Junction Station

Stourbridge Junction Signal Box

Stourbridge Junction Sidings

Stourbridge Junction

Stambermill Viaduct

Vicarage Road Bridge

Brettell Lane Station and Sidings

Kingswinford Signal Box

Kingswinford Junction & Moor Street Sidings

The Wombourne Line (Wolverhampton & Kingswinford Railway)

Moor Street Road Bridge

Brierley Hill Station

Pensnett Road Bridge

Round Oak

Round Oak Steel Mill

Harts Hill

Parkhead Viaduct

Blowers Green Road Bridge

Blowers Green Station

Dudley Tunnel

Dudley Station

Dudley Junction

Wolverhampton Alignment

South Staffordshire Railway

 

 

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

THE RAILWAY REINSTATEMENT ASSOCIATION

 

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

 

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

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