Birmingham to Worcester via Kidderminster Line
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|Birmingham to Worcester via Kidderminster Line|
|Type||Suburban rail, Heavy rail|
West Midlands (region)
|Termini||Birmingham Snow Hill
|Rolling stock||Class 150 Sprinter
Class 153 Sprinter
Class 168 Clubman
Class 172 turbostar
Class 170 turbostar
Class 220 Voyager
Class 221 Super Voyager
Class 43 HST
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
The Birmingham to Worcester via Kidderminster Line is a commuter railway line from Birmingham Snow Hill to Worcester via Stourbridge and Kidderminster. It is part of the Snow Hill Lines, with trains operated by London Midland and Chiltern Railways using by Class 168 and Class 172 diesel units. It is a future aspiration of Chiltern Railways and Network Rail to electrify the entire line, including the Chiltern Main Line to London Marylebone.
The line between Worcester and Stourbridge Junction was opened as part of the Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway (OWWR), in 1852. The line between Stourbridge Junction and Birmingham Snow Hill was built by the Stourbridge Railway, and the Great Western Railway (GWR), and opened in 1867. The entire route later came under the control of the GWR, and later British Railways.
In the late 1960s, services to Snow Hill were run down, and most services on the line were diverted to Birmingham New Street in 1967 via Galton Junction. However a skeleton service between Snow Hill and Langley Green was retained until 1972, when Snow Hill station, along with the line to Smethwick West was closed to passengers. A single line as far as Handsworth was kept open for freight traffic (cement & scrap metals).
Jewellery Line project
As part of the restoration of services to the reopened Snow Hill, the line between Smethwick and Snow Hill was reopened in 1995, as the "Jewellery Line". Three new stations were opened on the restored route: Smethwick Galton Bridge, The Hawthorns and Jewellery Quarter. Smethwick Galton Bridge station was built as an interchange with trains on the Birmingham New Street-Wolverhampton Line, and it replaced the nearby Smethwick West station which closed soon after. The reopening allowed cross-city services to operate through Snow Hill, and freed up much needed capacity at New Street station.
The line serves the following places:
- Birmingham Snow Hill - Colmore Row, City Centre and a short walk to New Street and a direct rail link to Moor Street
- Jewellery Quarter — Hockley, Birmingham
- The Hawthorns — Halfords Lane, Smethwick for the West Bromwich Albion Football Club & Midland Metro
- Galton Bridge - Higher Level Station. Local services to Birmingham New Street
- Langley Green - Langley Green, Oldbury
- Rowley Regis — Blackheath Town Centre and Park & Ride
- Old Hill
- Cradley Heath — bus link to the Merry Hill Shopping Centre
- Stourbridge — Junction station for the Town Branch
- Kidderminster — for Severn Valley Steam Railway
- Hartlebury - Limited Service
- Droitwich Spa
- Worcester — Foregate Street/Shrub Hill
- 6 tph to from Birmingham to Stourbridge;
- 4 tph continue to Kidderminster
- 2 tph continue to Worcester
Note: tph is trains per hour.
Passenger services are provided by London Midland between Birmingham and Worcester and beyond, and by Chiltern Railways between Birmingham and Kidderminster only. The latter runs services to London Marylebone in the morning rush hour, which start from Kidderminster rather than Snow Hill, and reverse journeys during the evening.
A triangular junction at Worcester allows a variety of service patterns (see map). Some trains terminate at Shrub Hill, whereas some reverse there before going to Foregate Street. Other trains take the direct curve to Foregate Street avoiding Shrub Hill. Some trains continue beyond Foregate Street to Malvern Link and Great Malvern.
Before the reopening of Snow Hill, trains along this route ran into Birmingham New Street, where they terminated. Even after the Snow Hill reopening a lower level of service to New Street was maintained, but this link was axed altogether at the May 2004 timetable change, to much local consternation. Now passengers have to struggle with luggage across Birmingham City centre, or change at Smethwick Galton Bridge. This did however add much needed extra capacity to the Stour Valley Line into Birmingham New Street and free up platform space there. This service took the connection between Galton and Smethwick Junctions near Smethwick West. Services were once hourly from Worcester to Birmingham New Street via Stourbridge.
Two CrossCountry services are timetabled to use the line each day — one service to Birmingham New Street (via Smethwick Junction and Galton Junction) in the morning and a reverse service in the evening. Neither of these call at any of the stations along the line and are scheduled to ensure drivers retain knowledge of the route. During congestion or mainly during engineering works, the line sees much more frequent service as a diversionary route. The line from Worcester Shrub Hill continues to Cheltenham Spa railway station, which is the next calling point for most Cross Country services, and thus offers a convenient alternative when the Lickey Incline is closed.
Several charter trains can often be seen on the line due to the existence of the Severn Valley Railway at Kidderminster, which has a mainline connection.
- Draft Electrifications RUS Response - Chiltern RailwaysNetwork Rail
- "Stourbridge Railway". John Speller's Web Pages. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
- "Historic timetables". Stourbridge Line User's Group. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
- "Jewellery Quarter Station 1995 - Present". Rail Around Birmingham and the West Midlands. Retrieved 28 Oct 2013.
- GB National Rail Timetable 2013-14, Table 71
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