Cross City Line - Birmingham

Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   Text © Copyright January 2011, Michael Westley; licensed for re-use under a Creative Commons Licence.
Images also under a similar Creative Commons Licence.


Many thanks to everyone for their photographic contributions that have enabled this collection to be made.

The Cross-City Line, a suburban passenger service that integrated previously separate routes out of Birmingham New Street. One was reasonably busy (to Four Oaks and Blake Street), the other very intermittent (to Northfield). The new service began in May 1978, with new stations at Five Ways (reopened), University and Longbridge, and ran between Longbridge and Blake Street. By 1993 the service was electrified and had then been extended to Redditch in the south, and Lichfield Trent Valley in the north.

Many stations have had major rebuilds or improved services and accessibility since services began, and/or extended platform lengths and increased signalling to increase passenger capacity.

The route between Barnt Green and Redditch remains single track. Plans to recreate services from Longbridge to Rubery have been shelved I believe. However, extending services from Kings Norton north through Moseley and Kings Heath will go ahead once the economic decline has rescinded, and New Street redevelopments are complete. Plans are for a bridge from Camp Hill viaduct down to Bordesley and into Moor Street.

Photo
Looking south along platform to small ticket office alongside car park. Ahead, crossing the line is the (disused at the time) high level platforms, now served by the Birmingham cross-city service between here and Redditch.
by Michael Westley

Looking west towards station from footpath (and right of way) across the line.

The footpath is part of well-signposted long distance footpath called the Heart of England Way. To the north it continues to Cannock Chase, to the south it runs through Kingsbury, Meriden and all the way to the Cotswolds and Bourton on the Water. LinkExternal link
by Michael Westley

Works in progress (car park ?) and platforms of station behind. In trees on right are the main buildings and entrance.

Lichfield City Station became terminus for the cross-city service to Birmingham and Redditch a few years after the service began. Previously the services ended at Blake Street Station (the boundary for West Midlands travelcard validity).

Later on, the services were extended further to new platforms at Lichfield Trent Valley Station (for connection to London bound trains).
by Michael Westley

At the time of this photo, Lichfield City station was the terminus station for trains from Birmingham. However, the line continues north, and in the past, services would have continued to Alrewas and Burton on Trent
by Michael Westley

Shenstone station was opened in 1884 when the London and North Western Railway extended their line from Birmingham to Sutton Coldfield and northwards to Lichfield.

There are trains every 30 minutes in each direction, all day, every day. Typically, these operate between Longbridge and Lichfield City on Mondays to Saturdays, and between Redditch and Lichfield Trent Valley on Sundays. On Saturdays, there is an enhanced service, with trains every 10-20 minutes.
by Geoff Pick

DMU pulling into station enroute to Lichfield, pre-electrification days.
by Michael Westley

Railway bridge on the cross city line spanning a farm track complete with passing train.
by Steve Carter

Rail bridge carrying Footherley lane across the cross city line.
by Steve Carter

Pre-electrification, and at time when cross-city line trains terminated here, the approach to the station during creation of formal buildings - until then, there was next-to-no manning of station. The regular services to Lichfield City (and TV) only happened much later.
by Michael Westley

Built in the early '80s. Note the copper roof.
by Graham Taylor

Looking North
by Geoff Pick

Country scene at north end of station platforms, looking south towards Butlers Lane. Notice the minimal facilities (bus-stop shelter) on other platform. At the time, the station was northern-limit of West Midlands travelcard, and end-station for many services from Birmingham.
by Michael Westley

View northward, towards Lichfield; ex-LNW Birmingham - Sutton Coldfield - Lichfield - Burton line, now on electrified Birmingham Crossrail Line.
by Ben Brooksbank

Looking north towards Lichfield, from Hill Hook Road bridge.
by Graham Taylor

View northward, towards Lichfield; ex-London & North Western, Birmingham (New St.) - Sutton Coldfield - Lichfield line, now the northern section of the Cross-City Line, electrified in 1992. This station was opened as a Halt on 30/9/57, closed for rebuilding on 21/10/91, and reopened as a modern station on 23/3/92.
by Ben Brooksbank

Looking north towards Blake Street station and Lichfield, from the Butlers Lane road bridge.
See also SP1099 : Butler's Lane Station
by Graham Taylor

Looking north towards Blake Street station and Lichfield, from the Butlers Lane road bridge. Notice how the Sutton Coldfield TV mast has managed to find its way into the right hand side of this picture.
by Graham Taylor

Pre-electrification, the almost 'shanty' town platform of the station that had fewer trains stop there, compared to today. Notice the construction of the platform itself does not resemble today's - see SP1199 : Butlers Lane Station
by Michael Westley

Looking south towards Four Oaks station, Sutton Coldfield and Birmingham, from the Butlers Lane road bridge.
by Graham Taylor

Looking south towards Four Oaks Station, Sutton Coldfield and Birmingham from the Fordrough bridge. The Fordrough was on a road but is now a footpath leading to the residential Irnham Road.
by Graham Taylor

A train from Longbridge has just arrived.
by Peter Whatley

The terminus for many trains from Birmingham (platform to left of photo), but trains continuing to Blake Street or Lichfield would arrive and depart from the platform on the right. The platform on which I am standing was for trains to Birmingham. See also SP1198 : Four Oaks Station and more recently SP1198 : Four Oaks Station
by Michael Westley

Taken from Lichfield Road, opposite the church, the car park and platform furniture have changed since this photo - footbridge replaced, modifications to building and shelters, and of course electrification.

During the early years of the cross-city service, Four Oaks was terminus for many trains (the left-hand platform behind the buildings), whilst fewer trains continued to Blake Street before returning to Birmingham and beyond.
by Michael Westley

Looking towards Sutton Coldfield and Birmingham from the A5127 Lichfield Road.
by Graham Taylor

Viewed from the east. Birmingham(to left) to Lichfield line.
by Pat Gumbley

Railway bridge passes over the road. 15 feet 6 inches maximum height.
by John Carver

These trains, currently operated by London Midland, are fast, frequent, punctual and clean — everything that public transport should be.
by Robin Stott

This is the site of a major railway disaster that took place at 16:13 on 23 Jan' 1955. The following details are taken from Wikipedia - Sutton Coldfield rail.
Cause Overspeed on curve
Trains 1
Passengers ~300
Deaths 17
Injuries 25

The Sutton Coldfield train crash took place at about 16:13 on 23 January 1955 in Sutton Coldfield, a town now within the City of Birmingham, when an express passenger train travelling from York to Bristol, England, derailed due to excessive speed on a sharp curve.


Accident circumstances - Headed by a LMS Class 5 4-6-0 steam locomotive No 45274, the 12:15 York to Bristol express, consisting of ten carriages, approached the Sutton Coldfield railway station at about 55-60 mph (88-96 km/h) — twice the permitted speed of 30 mph. When it reached the sharp curve immediately before the station, the train derailed, colliding with the platforms.

The carriages, engine, and station buildings were severely damaged. The first carriage was crushed between the engine and the second carriage. The fourth carriage was knocked into the air causing it to drag along the station roof, damaging both the roof and the platforms to either side. There were 17 people, including the train crew, who were killed and 25 injured.

It may be noted that the train had been diverted away from its usual route into Birmingham via Tamworth because of engineering work. The regular driver did not know the diversionary route via Sutton Coldfield, so another driver, fully conversant with it, had joined him at Burton-on-Trent to 'conduct' him over this section. However, the driver, complaining that the rough riding of the engine was tiring him, left the footplate and took a seat in the train, leaving the conductor driver in charge. This action was later criticised by the Inspecting Officer, who commented that even though he did not know the route, the safety of the train was still his responsibility.

Film of the aftermath can be seen on LinkExternal link9" rel="nofollow" href="http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=38889">LinkExternal link
by Row17

Viewed from Railway Road, alongside (across wall) station car park
by Robin Stott

This is the cold side of the station i.e the side with no facilities. The buildings on this platform were destroyed in the 1955 disaster that took place on this site.
by Row17

This building is typical of Midland Railway architecture of the late 19th and early 20th century.
by Row17

View looking north, as DMU enters tunnel under town, heading for Four Oaks. Twenty odd years earlier the station was the scene of a major accident, in part due to the sharp bend - see LinkExternal link.

Access from this platform to booking office and station entrance is from an enclosed long wooden floored slope. Curiously to get to the town centre, many will cross the footbridge down to the other side and out to road alongside the pub.
by Michael Westley

A well kept station, part of Centro's Network West Midlands
by Billy Shearer

Designed for the Hackney cab and the horse and carriage.
by Robin Stott

From car park alongside Sutton Coldfield station (entrance to south platform can just be seen to left of lamp-post). The Station PH has beer garden to rear with 'ornate' station style roof.
by Michael Westley

Looking across Park Road. The corner shop is the Zeus Hair Company.
by Robin Stott

The railway line from Birmingham New Street to Lichfield runs on the embankment behind the garages.
by Robin Stott

The most direct route to Sutton Park from the town centre goes through this short tunnel under the railway embankment.
by Robin Stott

View from multi-storey car park, across to railway line,just south of station, Park Road takes traffic from Brassington Avenue to Sutton Park (Town Gate)
by Michael Westley

Taken from top-level of Gracechurch Shopping Centre's multi-storey car park, looking south, showing the area of land planned for development. The main Birmingham to Lichfield railway line runs through trees on the embankment alongside this section of land on the right.
by Michael Westley

View from Manor Hill, of local train running north from Birmingham, approaching the platforms at Sutton Coldfield station. Above, and appearing to tower over the trees is Sutton Coldfield Town Hall on Upper Clifton Road
by Michael Westley

View across hump in Jockey Road, where railway line crosses under. View in background is towards Chester Road and Oscott College.
by Michael Westley

View north of electrified railway line between Highbridge Road and Jockey Road. Goldeslie Road, on the right, runs almost parallel to the railway line.
by Michael Westley

View from Highbridge Road, looking south to Wylde Green Station platforms. Footpaths on both sides of track give passengers access to the station from this bridge.
by Michael Westley

On Station Road, Wylde Green. Extensive car parking has been added to many of the stations on this route
by Graham Flint

Platform level, looking north from the Birmingham-bound platform.
by Peter Whatley

The unusually-roofed station building, with Station Road beyond.
by Peter Whatley

Flats on corner of Station Road and Birmingham Road. As road name suggests, the road leads in a virtual straight line down to Wylde Green Station.

Notice also the road signs - on the left is the green version - one's originally indicating road is situated in Sutton Coldfield; on the right, a later addition with the Birmingham crest on, is a reminder of Local Government 1972 Act changes, when Sutton Coldfield became part of the City of Birmingham.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sutton_Coldfield
by Michael Westley

A mural, painted/designed by the children of nearby Wylde Green Primary School depicts trains and aliens. Looking west along footbridge that crosses the railway north of Chester Road station between Sheffield Road and Green Lanes.
by Michael Westley

Looking south from footbridge between Sheffield Road (featured) and Green Lanes.

On skyline (on left) can be seen the (lower) flats in Stonnal Grove. In centre of background, the high rise flats (I believe, using Google Earth and a piece of string :) ) is Harlech Tower - both are part of the Lyndhurst estate which is accessed from Sutton Road.
by Michael Westley

On the Lichfield - Redditch Cross City line.
by David Stowell

View from end of platform looking north, pre-electrification days and before the new buildings replaced the old wooden ones which were representative of many stations on this route. Wooden seats on the platforms ... ah those were the days... see SP1193 : Chester Road Station for today's 'cold' unwelcoming version from opposite end (and side) of station.
by Michael Westley

Bridge next to Chester Road Station. This is a reverse view of image SP1193 : Chester Road
by Roy Hughes

Looking SE along the Chester Road at Chester Road Station.
by David Stowell

Taken from Banners Grove on the Lyndhurst Estate. Rear of decaying blocks of maisonettes are seen on right. In the distance can be seen the platforms of Chester Road station.
by Michael Westley

Taken from the junction of Gravelly Lane
by Edward Hunt

Train pulling out of the long platform at Erdington in direction of Wylde Green.
by Michael Westley

View of station from shops. The main buildings, and platform for trains to Birmingham, are on opposite side of bridge.

The building visible above the bridge is the council offices in Edward Road SP1192 : Birmingham City Council Offices, Orphanage Road
by Markb03

At junction with South Road, opposite a small garden centre
by Edward Hunt

View from train heading north out of station towards Erdington, in pre-electrification days. Notice the old footbridge between platforms (see SP1090 : Gravelly Hill station) for recent view.
by Michael Westley

Just North of Spaghetti Junction, this bridge carries the "Cross-City" line between Birmingham and Lichfield.
by Roy Hughes

Gravelly Hill Interchange, commonly known as "Spaghetti Junction", as seen from the Tame Valley Canal, which passes through the middle.
by Martin Clark

By foot, water, rail & road - all are shown in this single image. Foot - the towpath & footbridge. Water - The Tame Valley canal. Rail - the ex-MR line from Birmingham to Lichfield (you can see the overhead power lines and bridge). Road - the Gravelly Hill Interchange.
by Row17

From M6 northbound
by John Firth

The River Tame and railway provided a challenge to the engineers designing the Aston Expressway from Birmingham City Centre to the M6 at Spaghetti Junction.
by John M

The line to the lefts heads to Walsall, the one to the right is for Lichfield via Sutton Coldfield.
by Row17

View looking back towards exit and Lichfield Road. Building at end of platform is the lift for disabled users, however other facilities were few and far between at this time (bus shelter excepted).
by Michael Westley

A Wolverhampton bound train approaches Aston Station
by Philip Halling

Aston station is on the Birmingham to Lichfield line.
by Philip Halling

These are the remnants of the crowd leaving Villa Park after a game against United - the Newcastle one. Three trains has already left for Birmingham and these people were getting impatient. For anyone interested the score was Villa 4 Newcastle 1. It's a long way to travel to go home disappointed.
by Row17

View from bridge across canal, looking towards Aston Station and Lichfield Road
by Michael Westley

The Britannia on Lichfield Road in Aston.
by Philip Halling

The Swan and Mitre on Lichfield Road in Aston.
by Philip Halling

Aston station is to the left of the image; the road is the A5127.
by Roger Kidd

Aston Station is behind the trees to the left of the railway bridge.
by Roger Kidd

The lock has been constructed beneath the railway arch.
by Roger Kidd

Looking down Duddeston Mill Road from outside Duddeston Station on a thoroughly miserable wet day.
by Stephen McKay

A Birmingham - Hednesford train passes through Duddeston station without stopping - the headlight reflecting on the wet platform, even though this was early afternoon on a summer's day. The station was formerly named Vauxhall & Duddeston and there were once four platform faces - now there are just two, although the station probably enjoys a more frequent service than it ever has. There were also wagon shops and a carriage shed here until the 1980s, all of which has now gone.
by Stephen McKay

The rain is splashing in the puddles on the platform and the glass of the waiting shelter has been etched with 'Dutch' graffiti - a thoroughly dismal scene at this small inner-city station, but at least the train to Wolverhampton via Birmingham New St will be arriving soon.
by Stephen McKay

Once known as Vauxhall and Duddeston, photo taken from Four Oaks train pulls into station. The buildings on right were once engine sheds and have subsequently been demolished. At the time of this photo both island platforms (4 tracks) were in use, and there were other disused tracks and sheds SP0887 : Old railway sheds on the opposite side (to the left). Duddeston benefits from local services both to Walsall and Sutton Coldfield and Lichfield (though not frequently).
by Michael Westley

These almost derelict buildings are (I'm reliably informed) all that is left of the original railway buildings on this site - which means they should have a blue plaque and preservation prder placed upon them. If the information is true they would be part of the Grand Junction Railway (one of the first public railways in the world) that connected Birmingham with Manchester opened just after the London to Birmingham Railway was opened in the late 1830's.
by Row17

Scene from the railway line, these flats are typical of the type built in Birmingham during the early 1950's.
by Row17

A major junction of its day. This fairly long tunnel goes beneath all the railway lines that enter Birmingham from the east. In this area, no only a number of railway companies joined their lines but it was also the place where several canal routes linked together providing Birmingham with its excellent canal network.
by Row17

Prior to the major reorganisation of this major railway junction, a train from St Andrews junction crosses the junction. One reason the intersection was reorganised was because the old layout prevented trains from Aston reaching New Street at the same time as outward bound New Street trains reaching this point. Many a time local trains would be sat on the viaduct, watching express trains coming and going below.

Notice the train carriages on the left, parked in sidings near the goods yard and Curzon Street. The first track on left only ran up to the sidings; second track went under viaduct to Stechford; two tracks over viaduct went to Duddeston and Aston; the remaining four tracks to the right of the viaduct carried trains to/from Stechford, Bromford/Water Orton, and St Andrews junction.
by Michael Westley

This is a small part of East Birmingham, now known as Eastside. There are ambitious plans for its transformation…sometime. Meanwhile, the trains run in and out of New Street.
by Robin Stott

Taken from a cross-city train as it passes the remains of Curzon Street Station, before Millennium Point was even a 'twinkle' in anyones eyes. The buildings on right of photo, since dismantled, were variously used by companies such as Royal Mail and other carriers of goods, when the sidings there were more extensive.
by Michael Westley

With a canal visible near to Fazely Street.
by Steve Fareham

The bridge carries the four-track main railway line east of New Street station. At the end of Banbury Street is the Birmingham Gun-Barrel Proof House, seen closer up in SP0786 : Main Gates, Birmingham Gun Barrel Proof House and from the train in SP0786 : Arriving into Birmingham The far, east, end of the building is close to the terminus of the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal.
by Robin Stott

Looking across the junction of Fazeley Street and New Canal Street, with a distant glimpse of the Bull Ring and the refurbished Rotunda. It is clear from the map that New Bartholomew Street was formed when Bartholomew Street was severed by the railway east of the city. Street nameplate spells it Bartolomew.
by Robin Stott

View of entrance to tunnel to New Street Station. Above this is the trackbed of former line to Snow Hill, and behind that the original Moor Street Station buildings. To the right can be seen the Rotunda.

Photo is taken from looking over the high wall at rear of car park in Paternoster Row.
by Michael Westley

View of eastern end "A" platforms from high wall on St Martins Circus. Block of flats in background on left SP0686 : Hill Street Birmingham is Stephenson Tower on Station Street
by Roger A Smith

Vehicular access to station approach, Queens Drive, junction of St Martins Queensway
by Stacey Harris

The sculpture is Iron Horse by Kevin Atherton on Platform 7. One of a series of 12 between New Street and Wolverhampton.
by Thomas Nugent

Pre-electrification of the cross-city line, a southern-bound DMU enters New Street station. Photographed from window of a DMU crossing over several sets of points going in opposite direction north, heading down the 'roller coaster' (I called it), the tunnel downhill that goes underneath Moor Street / Snow Hill lines out toward Proof House Junction.

For those of you who aren't locals, and haven't read the news about developments of New Street, the approaches to New Street station (both west and east) are amongst the busiest in respect of train journeys and points changes, leading to many failures and consequent delays and cancellations.

Because of problems with space and timetable limitations, cross-city trains running south cross the London line at Proof House, whilst c-c trains arriving from Five Ways can only get across to middle platforms and then cross remainder as they leave from east. They are not known to cross at Proof House as this (in past) would prevent other trains arrive / leave.
by Michael Westley

Bull Ring shopping centre is seen at road level, opposite taxi rank/vehicular entrance on Queens Drive
by Christine Johnstone

Looking west from the top of the multi-storey car park. In the foreground, the bridges that carry Hill Street and Navigation Street over the platforms. In the distance, the Holiday Inn and Hyatt hotels and Alpha Tower.
by Adrian Bailey

Cross-country 2 car unit arrives, under Hill Street / Navigation Street bridge (probably from Worcester or Bromsgrove).
by Ron Hann

In a deep cutting, soon after leaving New Street station, close to junction of Holliday Street and Bridge Street, next to (on left) the NiteNite Hotel.
by Gareth James

A view from a railway carriage approaching New Street station, looking up past a bug arched brick wall. The plaza, phase one of Arena Central, is a 21-storey apartment building with a hotel on the ground floor.
by Derek Harper

View from bridge across Granville Street of tunnel that takes cross-city rail services into New Street from south (Five Ways).
by Michael Westley

View from Granville Street of latest addition to buildings in Birmingham. The Cube will be mixed residential and commercial accommodation. At bottom of photo can be seen roof of railway tunnel into New Street.
by Michael Westley

Viewed from across wall on Communication Row, from bottom to top, left to right:
Archways (current cross-city route, north of Five Ways station)
Above archways, trackbed at location of Granville Street Station
Left-hand tunnel is road bridge (Granville Street), tunnel leading to Central Goods.
To right of trackbed, up embankment is a boarded up tunnel entrance (the original line stopped here, being prevented from going beyond the canal)
Beyond brick wall, Worcester & Birmingham canal
Beyond canal to right of photo, would be rear of Birmingham Accident Hospital (now moved)

http://www.railaroundbirmingham.co.uk/Stations/granville_street.php

See also SP0686 : Old trackbed to Granville Street at Five Ways and SP0686 : Trackbed and tunnels near Five Ways
by Michael Westley

View from wall near site of Granville Station, above main Five Ways to New Street railway line (with typical high archways). On the left, the trackbed of former line between Central Goods / Granville Street and Five Ways, looking in the direction of Bath Row and Communication Row.

See also SP0686 : Site of Granville Street Station and SP0686 : Old trackbed to Granville Street at Five Ways
by Michael Westley

Below Islington Row Middleway, the cross-city route from Five Ways station descends into a series of tunnels approaching New Street station.

However, before the connection to NS was made, the Midland Railway built a line, through tunnels also to Granville Street (for passengers), and later to Central Goods station (freight).

In this photo, one of two disused tunnels crossing under Bath Row can be seen (only used for Network Rail crews/vehicles). The other disused tunnel is on the other side of the blue student building on the right.

The tall wall on the right once hid/masked a former Jewish cemetery.
by Michael Westley

Ring road crossing railway line at north-end of Five Ways railway station.

The locked/gated steps from the road, lead down to a former cemetery.

Bus-shelter on road is next to entrance of station.

SP0686 : Railway cutting, Five Ways
by Michael Westley

A cross city service to New Street pulls out of Five Ways station, under Islington Row Middleway.

On the left one of two former trackbeds that led from FW station north to Granville Street and Central Goods stations. This route was closed to passengers when the line from FW to New Street was completed in the late 1880s. The freight line was still in use in the 1960s.

To the left of this photo are high rise student flats, to the right a small block of offices.

http://www.railaroundbirmingham.co.uk/Stations/five_ways.php
by Michael Westley

Located on Birmingham's inner ring road, between Five Ways island and Lee Bank. The building on right was, at the time, an auctioneers (Biddle and Webb) - this, I think, was part of the original station's buildings before it closed in 1944.

Entrance from the road is via steps (or lift) through the new buildings (on left). This design was used on other new stations built for the new Cross City Line where access was from above (ie University and Kings Norton)
by Michael Westley

Work in progress on the rebirth of the station. Photo access from car park behind Biddle & Webb Auctioneers that were in buildings to left of station (in photo). Foundations are being cleared on right of tracks to accommodate the new stairs and ticket office leading to main road above.

Clearly underneath the main road can be seen the trackbed that once went to Granville Street station and Central Goods station, lost since lost.
by Michael Westley

At top of Enfield Road, the former station buildings, now an art/photographic studio - well maintained on the outside.
by Michael Westley

Five Ways station, Birmingham, is in a cutting south of a series of tunnels and cuttings SP0686 : Railway cutting, Five Ways, SP0686 : Trackbed and tunnels near Five Ways, SP0686 : Tunnel to New Street, Granville Street and SP0686 : The Birmingham to Cheltenham railway .

Behind the station on an embankment is the remains of the former line (went under the Middleway ring road) to Granville Street and Central Goods. SP0585 : Five Ways Station during its rebuilding in mid-70s.
by Michael Westley

Pre-electrification, and taken about a year after the station was rebuilt and reopened, Five Ways station is at the southern entrance to the tunnel to Birmingham New Street station. During peak times, trains would often pull up to a signal at the entrance to the tunnel and have to wait for 5 or 10 minutes whilst the junction at west end of New Street was freed up.

On the embankment above the right-hand platform is the dismantled trackbed that took the ex-Midland Railway goods line through to Granville Street and Central station.
by Michael Westley

Viewed from St James Road bridge, the railway's original course straight ahead alongside the canal is clear. The curve through the station shows the later connection which transformed a purely local line into the main south-west route from Birmingham New Street.
by Peter Whatley

This stretch of the line runs alongside the worcester and Birmingham Canal. The line was owned until 1922 by the Midland Railway when it was amalgomated with the London and North Western Railway to become the London, Midland, Scottish Railway. The odd thing about the Midland Railway was that where all the other companies with lines to London (Midlands London terminal was St Pancras) nominated all the London bound lines as the 'Up' line. The Midland Railway however, nominated their 'Up' lines as those going to Derby; the location of the company HQ.
by Row17

The ground rises to Church Road, Calthorpe Fields, and the canal and railway pass through short tunnels. Remains of platform and site of former Church Road railway station (closed 1905). LinkExternal link
by David Smith

This is approaching the eastern portal of the tunnel, which is 105 yards in length (96 metres). This is the only one of five tunnels on the summit level of the canal to be provided with a towpath.

The northern parts of the Worcester and Birmingham Canal were built in the early and mid 1790s, but finishing the thirty mile route to the River Severn at Worcester took twenty-three years. Industrial goods and coal were carried down to Worcester, and often on to Bristol. Grain, timber and agricultural produce were carried back to the growing towns in the Midlands.
by Roger Kidd

Here the railway and the Worcester and Birmingham Canal both go underground. The canal tunnel is 105 yards (about 103 metres) in length, has a towpath with handrail, and is lit with sodium lights.
by Roger Kidd

The 105 yard (96 metre)tunnel is the only one of the five tunnels on this canal with a towpath.
by Roger Kidd

View from above the entrance to short tunnel under Church Road. Shows Worcester & Birmingham canal on left and cross-city line between Five Ways and University. A station once existed the other side of Church Road.

See view from canal in this direction SP0585 : Edgbaston Tunnels, Birmingham
by Michael Westley

Looking southwest from Somerset Road. Pritchatts Road crosses the railway line and canal at the bridges in the distance. The Worcester and Birmingham Canal was built to link the River Severn to Birmingham & the Black Country. The railway line originally formed the former Midland Railway's West Suburban Railway, opened in 3rd April 1876. The line was electrified in the 1970s to form the Cross City Line, and is heavily used. The passing train is a longer distance central trains service.
by Phil Champion

Bridge taking Somerset Road, Edgbaston across railway and Worcester & Birmingham Canal. The former station was once the other side of this bridge.
by Michael Westley

The Worcester and Birmingham Canal was built in the mid 1790s here, and fully open to Worcester by 1815. The Midland Railway was opened here in 1876. The railway now brings in lines from Redditch and Worcester, running close to the canal all the way to the city centre.

The Class 323 electric multiple units were built by Hunslet TPL from 1992-93. Forty-three 3-car units were built for inner-suburban services around Birmingham and Manchester. These trains were the last vehicles to be built by the struggling manufacturer Hunslet before it collapsed. (Wiki)

The unit in the image is probably en route for Redditch, having come from Lichfield via Birmingham.
by Roger Kidd

The road passes over the Worcester and Birmingham Canal next to the University of Birmingham.
by Gordon Griffiths

The canal was built in the mid 1790s. The railway was opened in 1876, requiring a higher headroom, so the canal bridge top will have been raised, and possibly its own headroom too. The bridges carry Pritchatts Road, which passes the athletics track towards the main university campus to the right of the picture.

The railway brings in lines from Redditch and Worcester, running close to the canal all the way to the city centre.
by Roger Kidd

The view from Pritchatts Road of the Worcester and Birmingham Canal and the railway line towards University Station.
by Gordon Griffiths

Looking towards Birmingham New Street on the main line from Bristol and the south-west.
by Bob Embleton

Looking towards the south-west and Bristol.
by Bob Embleton

Birmingham transport improvements in the 1970s.
Unveiled by Rt Hon William Rogers.
by Bob Embleton

In the distance, cranes mark the building site for a new regional hospital.
by Peter Whatley

Looking SW towards Redditch on a cold, wet, dark, November afternoon.
by David P Howard

View from University Road West, looking at entrance to station, and platforms (accessed by steps or lift).

Notice to right of entrance, the bricked up former access to Worcester & Birmingham Canal (access to canal was moved elsewhere).

Also, in the background, can be seen the clock tower over the impressive Birmingham University Medical School.
by Michael Westley

Located just off Vincent Drive on University Road West.
by Brian Clift

This is the new rail bridge to cross Selly Oak New Road Phase 2. it has been built in situ on this enormous temporary structure and will soon be wheeled sideways into a prepared position. The matching support columns have been built in enormous tube caissons and it should all match up. The road under will then be dug out and the job's a good one!
by Chris Allen

A lone jogger along the towpath where the Worcester & Birmingham Canal has been diverted for the construction of an aqueduct over a new road. The sheet piling by the railway is where a tunnel is to be inserted.
by Chris Allen

The tow paths and railings of the brand new concrete aqueduct are clearly seen. The canal had been diverted but is now back on course. Selly Oak Pumping Station is on the left, the chimney is at Selly Oak Hospital and there is a train on adjoining railway.
by Chris Allen

While the live railway (with 25 kV overhead lines) has gone about its business the civil engineers have installed the four support columns for the new bridge that will carry the railway over a new road. The concrete tubes house the new pillars. the new bridge is already built on the other side of the line and in the Xmas period of 2010 there will a permanent way possession and the whole lot will be slid into place and the railway reinstated. Apparently the work will commence a minute past midnight Xmas day and will last until the early hours of 29-12-10. A remarkable feat.
by Chris Allen

This bridge was seen a few days earlier - SP0483 : Bridge to nowhere - waiting to be wheeled into position. At 00:01 on Xmas day Birse Civils took possession of the Birmingham to Gloucester main line, removed track and catenary, excavated a segment of the appropriate length, wheeled the bridge sideways and placed it on the prepared support columns (constructed in tube caissons). The track, catenary and signalling were then reinstated. This is the view at about 12:00 on 28-12-2010. One of the employees informed me that they were hoping to hand off to Network Rail at about 18:00 hours - approximately 6 hours ahead of schedule. And all this in very largely subzero temperatures. There will now be belated Xmas celebrations for the contractor and a week or so before the next operation starts - excavating the road under both railway bridge and brand new aqueduct.
by Chris Allen

The railway line from Worcester via Bromsgrove, and Redditch crosses the canal at an oblique angle both here (bridge 81) and also about six hundred metres to the south. The line runs alongside the canal all the way into the city centre.

SP0482 : Bridge No 79 near Selly Oak, Birmingham
by Roger Kidd

The bridge carries the Birmingham to Bristol line over the Bristol Road in Selly Oak. The red brick clock tower of Birmingham University is on the horizon.
by Roy Hughes

In the dark foreground are some of the buildings of Selly Oak, including the back of the community centre. The University buildings are brightly illuminated by the sunshine on the other side of the Bristol Road.
by Jim Champion

Taken on the approach to the station on 'to-Birmingham' side, during the earliest reincarnation of the station. Notice the platform roof on other platform is incomplete. Like other stations during the early cross-city services, building works were either incomplete or completed in stages.

Selly Oak station amazingly before the new service had only a handful of services in either direction. I seem to remember also that the old station (before demolition) had an underpass to cross between platforms, and the old buildings still had remnants of the Midland Railway colours (amazing).

SP0482 : Sad Selly Oak Station
by Michael Westley

Pre-electrification, pre cross city line, can you believe it, 5 or 6 trains a day in either direction. View of station platforms, with original timber stairways and Midland Railway colours. Temporary waiting room being constructed on up platform on the right.
by Michael Westley

Taken from the Longbridge (southbound) platform, looking toward Birmingham.
by Peter Whatley

The railway line between Birmingham and Redditch (or Bromsgrove and Worcester) crosses the Worcester and Birmingham Canal here, and again about six hundred metres to the north.
SP0482 : Worcester and Birmingham Canal near Bournbrook, Birmingham
by Roger Kidd

The railway from Worcester and Bromsgrove, and Redditch to Birmingham runs alongside the canal here and for the rest of the way into New Street. The bridge (No 77A) ahead carried another railway, now dismantled.

The Worcester and Birmingham Canal was fully open by 1815. The thirty mile (48 kilometre) long route with 58 locks gives access to the River Severn at Diglis Basin in Worcester. The canal took twenty-three years to build, and eventually took coal and industrial products south and brought grain, farm produce and building materials into Birmingham. According to William Dargue, pairs of donkeys were used to tow the narrow boats on this canal - the reason is unknown. Other companies normally used single horses. LinkExternal link

Important cargoes on this line included coal, salt, and (from the late 1800s) Cadbury's used the canal to bring the ingredients for chocolate-making to their wharf at Bournville.
by Roger Kidd

This is the arrival point for all chocolate lovers - Cadbury's chocolate anyway. Cadbury World is just a few hundred yards (and slightly fewer metres) from the station.
by Row17

The distinctive purple colour of Cadbury's Dairy Milk wrappers brightens up the station, with its easy access from good moorings on the Worcester and Birmingham Canal. Cadbury's World is nearby .... mmmm!
by Roger Kidd

View northward, towards Birmingham New Street; ex-Midland Birmingham - Bristol main line (Birmingham West Suburban section), now electrified (to Redditch) -- seen in pouring rain. Worcester & Birmingham Canal is beside the line on right, Cadbury's Factory behind camera.
by Ben Brooksbank

Unmanned station near to Cadburys factory, alongside canal.

View looking down south platform from near subway exit under railway to Bournville Lane. At this time, I don't believe there was access to station from Maryvale Road (bridge in background of photo). Notice also the shortness of platforms compared to SP0581 : Bournville station - platform view
by Michael Westley

Photo taken opposite new entrance and ticket office, built at time of new Cross City line. Buildings are at top of hill, A441 Pershore Road, before reaching Cotteridge.

The station's original buildings, at platform level still existed at the time. I'm not sure whether they were listed buildings, their condition wasn't good.
by Michael Westley

A cross-city EMU departs towards New Street whilst a train from the South West takes the Camp Hill avoiding line at King's Norton Junction.
by David Stowell

Taken as a train departs from southern platform, this photo shows the island platforms still in use - due to timetabling pressures, and the route that some expresses took. Pre-electrification, often cheep and nasty 'bus shelters' were used for passenger waiting rooms.
by Michael Westley

View from end of 'To Birmingham' platform, pre cross-city services. On the right can be seen the old station buildings on opposite side of station, and mid-way down platforms, the original footbridge between platforms.

At the time of this photo there was no access to Pershore Road directly. Instead, access to the station was from Station Road (on foot, behind the photo here), or behind the buildings on the right, which led to A441 Pershore Road South.
by Michael Westley

After the start of new cross-city services between Four Oaks and Longbridge, in (late) 1978 the buildings (see on left) were not yet complete. All four platforms were in use locally because of complicated workings to/from Longbridge to the west, and through Kings Norton to the east
by Michael Westley

View of steps from road level onto central platform, prior to the redevelopments necessary for the cross-city route. Express service heads north towards Birmingham.
by Michael Westley

This modern station building on the Birmingham-Bristol line was constructed as part of the launch of the Cross-City line service between Lichfield and Redditch in the 1970s. Today it a well used suburban station.
by David Stowell

This is the secondary entrance to the station. This station has one of the few 'island' platforms along this line. The 'island' platform is no longer used and the lines passing it are not electrified - they are in fact the 'fast' lines along which Bristol, Cardiff and Hereford trains travel.
by Row17

When the original bridge under the Birmingham and Bristol railway was built this would have been a rural area and so it only had sufficient width to carry a single line of traffic. By the time the line was widened to four tracks clearly there was seen to be a need to widen the road and so the newer part of the bridge, in blue brick, was constructed accordingly. The arch of older part of the bridge however has never been rebuilt hence this unusual looking structure with traffic controlled by lights.
by David Stowell

The Birmingham-bound platform. Although headspans cover all four tracks, only the outer two are wired for electric trains forming the 10-minute interval Cross-City service. The inner tracks are used by main line trains heading south-west from Birmingham New Street and freight traffic.
by Peter Whatley

Pre-electrification and at the start of cross-city line services, many of the stations to south of New Street were not even built. Remember Five Ways, University and Longbridge were all new stations (though Five Ways was a rebuild).

Looking at north platform from road, Longbridge station began services without any buildings. Longbridge was also the southern termination of the service at the time, extension to Redditch did not come until later. A 'siding' further south was used to hold trains awaiting next service north, so as not to block routes in either direction - there were other express services that did not always use the middle tracks.

Notice the double set of DMUs awaiting to depart from north platform - sets were often of mixed origin, and due to poor maintenance and age, often 'failed' at inconvenient points on the route, particularly approaching New Street, and would often require railway staff to 'uncouple' manually failed sections.

Ahhhh, passengers had much more fun in those days.....
by Michael Westley

This modern station building by the bridge taking Longbridge Lane over the Birmingham - Bristol line was built in the 1970s when the station was opened as part of the Cross-City line suburban service from Redditch to Lichfield.
by David Stowell

Looking from the Longbridge Lane overbridge along the Birmingham - Bristol main line. The pair of tracks to the right latterly served the Longbridge car plant but originally continued as the branch line to Halesowen and the junction with the Snowhill - Stourbridge line at SO962858.

For the same scene five years later see SP0177 : Former Junction For Halesowen - Five Years On.
by David Stowell

The two lines diverging to the right are the former access to the ex-Rover car factory (or British Leyland if you have a longer memory). In earlier times they formed a branch line to Halesowen. An electric unit is entering the reversing siding south of Longbridge station, prior to forming a working to Four Oaks.
by Peter Whatley

The ex-Midland Railway main line runs in a cutting at this point, bordered on either side by the now unused remains of the Rover Car plant. Only the two middle, main lines, are electrified for the local "cross-city" service which branches off the main line at Barnt Green for SP0367 : Redditch Station.

The same view 5 years later can be seen in SP0176 : Birmingham/Bristol Main Line, Minus Rover Factory.
by David Stowell

A Virgin Voyager thunders along the line from Bristol to York. This route is now run by 'Cross Country Trains' using the same re-liveried rolling stock.
by Row17

Image taken from Kendal End road with Bittell Road ahead and Fiery Hill Road entering from the right.
by Roy Hughes

Looking south-west along the main line towards the Lickey Incline. The line on the left is the branch to Redditch, electrified in the 1970s.
by Phil Champion

View SE, towards Bromsgrove, Worcester and Bristol -- to right, to Redditch, Evesham and Ashchurch -- curving off to left; Birmingham - Bristol main line, junction of secondary line to Evesham and Ashchurch (closed beyond Redditch 17/6/63, electrified Birmingham New Street - Redditch 1993)
by Ben Brooksbank

Pre-electrification, view from train emerging from Redditch branch. At this time, services beyond Northfield (Longbridge did not exist) were minimal.

Compare this to a more recent view from nearby. SP0073 : Barnt Green Station
by Michael Westley

Bridge, with a plate showing number 1 51-77, over Hewell Road. This carries the branch line to Alvechurch and Redditch. The local cross-city train is heading towards the left of the picture and will shortly join the main Birmingham to Bristol line at Barnt Green station. The cross-city line runs from Lichfield, Trent Valley in the north to Redditch.
by Roy Hughes

Looking down Callow Hill Road which leads to Alvechurch village with the railway crossing over it, with Birmingham to the left and Redditch off to the right.
by Lee J Andrews

The railway branch line between Birmingham and Redditch crosses the canal here.
by Roger Kidd

The train station on Station Road in Alvechurch, Worcestershire is on the outskirts of the village. The line here only goes to Redditch (which is the end of the line nowadays) or Barnt Green and beyond into Birmingham. The photo was taken from the Station Road bridge looking towards the Redditch direction.
by Lee J Andrews

Pre-electrification, the old station buildings (and station house ?) stand proud alongside the bus-stop waiting room being built, as a Redditch bound train pulls into the station.

Compare this to SP0272 : The train station in Alvechurch, Worcestershire.
by Michael Westley

This single platformed station causes lots of confusion for those passengers that are in a hurry and are not familiar with the layout. When a train is in the station the passengers are (or at least, were) unabl to see the notice opposite the platform informing them which way is to Birmingham and which is to Redditch.
by Row17

Weights Lane lies to the left of the photographer and heads off under the Redditch-Birmingham railway line. This bypassed piece of road lies in front of a cottage and leads over what appears to be a weighbridge.
by Martin Wilson

The line used to continue south and then east to Studley, it now forms the terminus of what was the Midland Railway's 'Barnt Green to Ashchurch Branch'.
This is the station's 4th incarnation on slightly different sites and was opened in 1993.
by Penny Mayes

DMU pulls into Redditch station, southern terminus of the cross-city service through Birmingham to Lichfield Trent Valley.

This station is 'relatively' new, having been relocated north of Windsor Street, where once in railway's heyday the station stood south of the road and the Midland Railway (later LMS) continued south to Studley, Coughton, Alcester (for connection to Bearley), Broom (for connection to Kineton), and Evesham.
by Michael Westley

This quite basic railway station serves a population of well over 73,000 people. For a town of its size, one would expect something better, but Redditch suffered when the railways were being cut back, and now the line terminates here. Maybe the situation will have to be rethought at some time in the future. The line to Redditch is electrified on the overhead line system.

SP0367 : Former railway route adjacent to Plymouth Road.
by P L Chadwick



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