Railways in Worcestershire

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Droitwich & Stourbridge line

Worcester to Droitwich, Kidderminster, Stourbridge, Dudley and Wolverhampton

The line from Worcester to Stourbridge built by the Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway (OWWR). The line from Worcester to Droitwich Spa and the spur to Stoke Works opened on 18th February 1852. Droitwich to Stourbridge opened on 1st May 1852 and Stourbridge to Dudley on 20th December 1852.

The Stourbridge Railway built a line from Stourbridge to Old Hill (opened 1st April 1863). After this railway was absorbed by the Great Western Railway it was extended from Old Hill to Cradley (opened 1st January 1866) and to Galton Junction on 1st April 1867.

The OWWR line from Worcester to Round Oak in Staffordshire is still in use, but the line from Round Oak to Priestfield and Wolverhampton via Dudley was closed on 19th March 1993. The track remained in place in 2013.

At Worcester there are lines from both Foregate Street and Shrub Hill stations to a junction at Tunnel Hill. These tracks form two sides of a triangle inside which is situated sidings used to stable diesel multiple units. This is the site of the former locomotive sheds.

Shortly after leaving Worcester there were short lived halts at Astwood (opened 1936, closed 1946) and at Blackpole (open from 1917 to 1920 and again from 1940 to 1946). The next station was at Fernhill Heath (closed 5th April 1965) after which is a good vantage point for photography near to the village of Martin Hussingtree before the line reaches Droitwich Spa. At the east end of Droitwich there is a short spur on the right hand that leads to Stoke Works (closed) and a junction with the former Birmingham and Gloucester Railway from Birmingham New Street to Bristol. This spur allows trains from Worcester to run through to New Street.

From Droitwich the line goes through Cutnall Green Halt (opened 1928, closed 5th April 1965) to Hartlebury (originally Hartlebury Junction) (where the Severn Valley Railway started) and Kidderminster (also on the Severn Valley Railway).

The next stations are Blakedown (originally Churchill &; Blakedown) and Hagley before the line reaches Stourbridge Junction (where there is a short branch to Stourbridge Town). The current station at Stourbridge Junction was built in 1901 on a slightly different site to the original (open from 1852 to 1901).

From Stourbridge the former OWWR line crossed Stabermill Viaduct and Stourbridge Locomotive Sheds before passing into Staffordshire past stations at Brettell Lane, Brierley Hill and Round Oak before reaching Dudley in Worcestershire, after which it passd back into Staffordshire to Dudley Port, Wedensbury and on to the GWR at Priestfield Junction. The line reamins open for freight traffic as far as sidings at Round Oak and is mothballed from there on.

Stourbridge to Birmingham Snow Hill

This line leaves the former OWWR line near to the site of the first Stourbridge Station. The first station is at Lye before the line passing briefly into Staffordshire to Cradley Heath (originally Cradley) and Old Hill and back into Worcestershire at Rowley Regis (originally Rowley) and Langley Green.

The line then returns to Staffordshire through closed stations at Rood End (open from 1st April 1867 to 1885) and Smethwick West. At Smethwick West the line split into two with one part joining the GWR line from Wolverhampton Low Level to Birmingham Snow Hill at Handsworth Junction and the other line joining the LNWR line from Wolverhampton High Level to Birmingham New Street at Galton Junction

In an act of amazing folly, the West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive (WMPTE) closed the line from Birmingham Snow Hill to Smethwick West to passengers along with Snow Hill Station on 4th March 1972, after which all passenger trains went to Birmingham New Street. However, the WMPTE safeguarded the trackbed from development and a more enlightened management at the body (now known as Centro) authorised the reopening of the line. Amid great celebration the line reopened on 25th September 1995 with new stations at Galton Bridge, The Hawthorns and Jewellery Quarter.

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