Birmingham Snow Hill to Wolverhampton Low Level Line

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The Birmingham Snow Hill to Wolverhampton Low Level Line was part of the Great Western Railway's London Paddington to Birkenhead Woodside route. As the name suggests, it ran between Birmingham Snow Hill and Wolverhampton Low Level in England. The line was dual-gauged, both 7 ft (2,134 mm) and standard gauge.

The line opened in 1854, two months later than planned, following a bridge collapse near Winson Green, which caused chief engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel to order strengthening on several other bridges.

Birmingham Snow Hill to
Wolverhampton Low Level Line
Wolverhampton Low Level
Priestfield
Oxford-Worcester-
Wolverhampton Line
Bilston Central
Bradley and Moxley
Wednesbury Central
Dudley
Dudley Port Low Level
South Staffordshire Line
Great Bridge South
Dudley Branch
Swan Village
West Bromwich
Jewellery Line
to Stourbridge and Kidderminster
The Hawthorns
Handsworth and Smethwick
Soho and Winson Green
Hockley
Jewellery Quarter
Birmingham Snow Hill

History[edit]

The Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Dudley Railway was authorised on 3 August 1846. It quickly joined forces with the Birmingham and Oxford Junction Railway and both companies were bought by the Great Western on 14 November 1846. Construction began at Birmingham Snow Hill in 1851 and the line opened on 14 November 1854. Stations were: Birmingham Snow Hill - Hockley - Soho & Winson Green - Hawthorns Halt - West Bromwich - Swan Village - Wednesbury Central - Bradley & Moxley - Bilston Central - Priestfield - Wolverhampton Low Level.[1]

Dudley Branch[edit]

This particular stretch of line had many intermediate stations and included a branch to Dudley railway station. Travelling towards Wolverhampton, the branch diverged north of Swan Village railway station, and joined the South Staffordshire Line east of Dudley Port railway station. Trains called at Great Bridge South railway station, Dudley Port railway station and Dudley railway station on the branch.

Closure[edit]

Despite being featured in the second Beeching Report, The Development of the Major Railway Trunk Routes in February 1965 as being a line the should be further invested in, the line closed in 1972. The vast majority of stations along the route closed with it, but Wolverhampton Low Level remained open until 1981 as a parcels depot. Passenger services were only suspended and never legally withdrawn by British Rail.[2]

Reopening[edit]

In 1995, the 'Jewellery Line' saw the relaying of tracks as far as a short distance past The Hawthorns before the line branched off, crossing the Rugby-Birmingham-Stafford Line at the also-new Smethwick Galton Bridge and joining the main Birmingham to Worcester via Kidderminster Line, which previously routed into Birmingham New Street.

The rest of the original GWR line was redeveloped in 1999 as part of the Midland Metro tram scheme. Although the lines leave the original trackbed between Priestfield and Wolverhampton Low Level, most other places that were served before the closure of Snow Hill are now served by the Metro. The Metro runs parallel to the Jewellery Line from Snow Hill to a point north of The Hawthorns.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Great Western Railway". Historywebsite.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-09-06. 
  2. ^ Johnston, Howard (March 21 – April 3, 2012). "Regional News: Wolverhampton". Rail (692): 24. 

External links[edit]