Aston railway station

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Aston National Rail
Aston railway station, Birmingham, geograph-3381177-by-Nigel-Thompson.jpg
Aston station
Local authorityBirmingham
Coordinates52°30′14″N 1°52′19″W / 52.504°N 1.872°W / 52.504; -1.872Coordinates: 52°30′14″N 1°52′19″W / 52.504°N 1.872°W / 52.504; -1.872
Grid referenceSP087896
Station codeAST
Number of platforms2
DfT categoryE
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2013/14Increase 0.484 million
– Interchange Increase 51,631
2014/15Steady 0.484 million
– Interchange Decrease 48,373
2015/16Increase 0.533 million
– Interchange Increase 49,623
2016/17Decrease 0.525 million
– Interchange Increase 50,370
2017/18Increase 0.554 million
– Interchange Decrease 49,601
Passenger Transport Executive
PTETransport for West Midlands
National RailUK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Aston from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.

Aston railway station serves the districts of Aston and Nechells in Birmingham, England. The passenger entrance is on Lichfield Road. The station is on the Cross-City Line and the Chase Line.

The station is situated adjacent to and above the Lichfield Road (A5127), crossed by a bridge as the railway line, part of the original Grand Junction Railway, opened in 1837, is on an embankment through what was "pastoral parkland" at the time of its construction.[1] The line also crosses the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal, just south of Lichfield Road, on a bridge which is all that remains of a longer viaduct of ten arches, described as "one of the most beautiful structures on the line of the Grand Junction".[2][3]

The section of the viaduct crossing Lichfield Road, immediately south of the station, was replaced by a steel bridge in 1906.[4]


The route of the Grand Junction Railway, sweeping in a wide arc from Perry Barr through Aston to its terminus at Vauxhall, was dictated by the refusal of James Watt the younger, the tenant of Aston Hall, to allow the railway to encroach upon Aston Park in the grounds of the Hall as planned in the Grand Junction's Act of 1833. The line was originally intended to enter Birmingham through a mile-long tunnel under the high ground on which the park is situated.[5][6] In clause IV of a second Act of 1834, the Grand Junction was forbidden from

enter(ing) upon or into, take, injure or damage, for the purposes of this Act...any Part of a certain Park lying within the parish of Aston-juxta-Birmingham in the County of Warwick, and Handsworth in the County of Stafford, known by the name of Aston Park...[7]

In 1846, the Grand Junction was one of several railways which were merged and incorporated into the London and North Western Railway (LNWR).[8] Aston was opened by the LNWR in 1854[9] and became a junction in 1862 when a line was opened to Sutton Coldfield by the same railway.[10][page needed][11]

In 1880 the LNWR opened a line from Aston to Stechford on the Birmingham to Coventry line which also gave access to the Metropolitan Carriage and Wagon Company's works (later Metro-Cammell) at Saltley, reached by a short private siding, opened in 1904,[12] from what the LNWR termed Washwood Heath Junction at the point where the Aston-Stechford line passed over the Midland Railway from Birmingham to Derby.[13][14] The new line was also used for the Wolverhampton portions of some London expresses and also to provide through carriages between Euston and Walsall.[15]

The first station at Aston was replaced by a new building during the construction of the Stechford line with a booking office level with Lichfield Road. Stairs and hydraulic lifts for goods traffic gave access to each of the two platforms.[16]

Also in 1880, the LNWR opened a line for freight traffic from Aston to Windsor Street goods depot.[17] The latter line closed in 1980.[18][page needed] The LNWR's Aston locomotive depot ("Aston Shed") was opened in 1883 in the area between the Aston to Birmingham and the Aston to Stechford lines and with an entrance on Long Acre, Nechells. It was closed in 1965, by then under British Railways ownership.[19]

The line between Aston and Vauxhall and Duddeston was quadrupled in 1891.[20]

In 1900, a connection to Nechells gas works was opened from a point near Nechells Park Road bridge on the line towards Birmingham New Street. When the gas works closed in 1969, the branch was taken out of use at the same time.[21]

The station became part of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway during the Grouping of 1923. It then passed to the London Midland Region of British Railways on nationalisation in 1948.

When Sectorisation was introduced, the station was served by Regional Railways on behalf of the West Midlands PTE, for whom British Rail had been running the trains since the PTE's inception.

In 2011, London Midland, proposed a major reduction in the opening hours of the ticket office, with complete closure at weekends.[22]

Electrification and resignalling[edit]

Apart from the Sutton Coldfield branch, all of the routes passing through Aston, including the Windsor Street branch, were electrified in 1966 as part of the London Midland Region's electrification programme.[23] The actual energization of the line from Coventry to Walsall through Aston took place on 15 August 1966.[24]

In preparation for electrification, Aston's two mechanical signal boxes, Aston No. 1 and No. 2,[25] were closed, semaphore signalling was replaced by multiple-aspect colour light signals and control transferred to the power signal box at Birmingham New Street.[26]

Electrification of the line to Sutton and Lichfield was completed in 1992 as part of the modernisation of the Cross-City Line.[27]

In 2017, control of the signalling at Aston was transferred to the West Midlands Signalling Centre at Saltley.[28]


Aston receives regular services on both the Cross-City Line, from Lichfield Trent Valley to Redditch and the Walsall Line, from Wolverhampton to Walsall via Birmingham New Street. In the evenings, services for the Chase Line call at Aston.

Six services which call at Aston operate on the Cross-City Line in each direction every hour. Services southbound terminate at either Longbridge and Redditch, with three per hour to both each since the December 2014 timetable change. Northwards, there are three destinations on the Cross-City Line, which are Four Oaks, Lichfield City and Lichfield Trent Valley. Two of the six services run the full length of the line to terminate at Lichfield Trent Valley, two go to Lichfield City and the other two only venture as far as Four Oaks.[29]

The Walsall line is served by fewer trains: there are two in each direction every hour, both of which call all stations between Wolverhampton and Walsall via Birmingham New Street.[30]

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Gravelly Hill   West Midlands Railway
Cross-City Line
Witton   West Midlands Railway

Development of Train Services[edit]

Early days[edit]

In January 1858 there were eight trains from Aston (originating in Birmingham) to Wolverhampton via Bescot Junction and Willenhall, the first at 08:21 and the last at 21:11 on weekdays. In the opposite direction, on weekdays, nine trains from Wolverhampton arrived at Aston between 08:51 and 22:25. The Sunday service consisted of six trains in each direction. The timetable shows one "government" or Parliamentary train in each direction, running every day. Most trains provided through carriages to Derby via Walsall and Lichfield, dividing at Bescot.[31]

Twentieth century[edit]

In the LNWR timetable dated 3 October 1921, the service to and from Lichfield City (the extension from Sutton Coldfield to Lichfield was opened in 1884)[32] is shown as roughly hourly on weekdays, with additional trains terminating at Four Oaks approximately every 30 minutes. On Sundays five trains ran to and from Sutton. Trains to Wolverhampton and Walsall ran at irregular intervals on weekdays, with service of five trains to and from Walsall on Sundays. An interesting service was the New Street to New Street "circular" via Aston, Perry Barr, Soho Road and Monument Lane, with two trains completing the full anti-clockwise circuit, but only one in the opposite direction. Most clockwise trains finished their journey at Vauxhall and Duddeston. There was no Sunday service.[33]

Trains on the circular route are shown in the Summer 1939 London, Midland and Scottish Railway timetable as taking 43 minutes for the complete New Street-New Street circuit. Otherwise, the pattern of services in the months leading up to the outbreak of the Second World War had hardly changed since 1921.[34]

The London Midland Region timetable dated 10 September 1951 shows an irregular interval service of approximately hourly trains to and from Walsall and a similar service to Lichfield City via Sutton, with some trains running only as far as Four Oaks (tables 68 and 69). In the Summer 1963 timetable, by which time diesel multiple units were operating on both routes,[35][page needed] there was a regular-interval service pattern throughout the day: on weekdays every hour to Walsall and Rugeley Town, and every 30 minutes to Sutton and Lichfield, with occasional trains still terminating at Four Oaks.

After electrification, services to Walsall were operated by Class AM4 (later re-designated British Rail Class 304) electric multiple units. The 1970-1971 London Midland timetable (Table 9) shows a weekdays only service of regular-interval hourly trains throughout the day, augmented at peak periods with additional services. There was also one service, originating at Walsall, which left Aston at 0717 for Coventry via Stechford. (There was no corresponding service in the Walsall direction). The Sutton and Lichfield service was largely unchanged from 1963 on weekdays but there was now no Sunday service.

The above patterns applied also to trains to and from Birmingham New Street, where all trains from Aston to Walsall and Four Oaks or Lichfield originated.

Following the introduction of the Cross-City Line in 1978, Aston gained through trains to and from Longbridge via Birmingham New Street. The basic pattern was Lichfield to Longbridge and vice versa hourly throughout the day Monday-Saturday, with additional trains running from Four Oaks to Longbridge and vice versa at 15 minute intervals. There were also additional trains to and from Redditch at peak times. On Sundays, Aston was served by a 30-minute frequency of trains to and from Four Oaks and Longbridge. Trains were operated by British Rail Class 108 diesel multiple units. The Walsall service remained basically unchanged from 1970–1971, with no Sunday service.[36]

Bus connections[edit]

Buses 65 and 67 operated by National Express West Midlands pass the station.


The station serves:


  1. ^ Biddle, G. (2003). Britain's Historic Railway Buildings. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 333.
  2. ^ Webster, N.W. (1972). Britain's First Trunk Line - The Grand Junction Railway. Bath: Adams and Dart. p. 62.
  3. ^ Osborne's Guide to the Grand Junction Railway. Birmingham: E.C. and W. Osborne. p. 110.
  4. ^ Bartlam, N. (2011). The Little Book of Birmingham. Stroud: The History Press. p. 126.
  5. ^ Webster, pp. 61-2.[not specific enough to verify]
  6. ^ Webster, N.W. (1970). Joseph Locke - Railway Revolutionary. London: George Allen and Unwin. pp. 75–76.
  7. ^ An Act to enable the Grand Junction Railway Company to alter and extend the Line of such railway, and to make a Branch therefrom to Wolverhampton in the County of Stafford; and for Purposes relating thereto. 4 Wm. 4 cap.55.
  8. ^ Steel, W.L. (1914). The History of the London and North Western Railway. London: The Railway and Travel Monthly. p. 132.
  9. ^ Quick 2009, p. 65.
  10. ^ Lea, R. (1984). Steaming up to Sutton. Sutton Coldfield: Westwood Press.
  11. ^ Railways of the West Midlands - A Chronology 1808-1954. London: Stephenson Locomotive Society. 1954. p. 28.
  12. ^ Yate 2015, p. 115.
  13. ^ "Washwood Heath Sidings". Warwickshire Railways.
  14. ^ Christiansen, R. (1973). A Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain - Vol. 7: The West Midlands. David and Charles. p. 224.
  15. ^ Reed, M.C. (1996). The London and North Western Railway. Penryn: Atlantic. p. 134.
  16. ^ The National Archives RAIL 410/1162 1876 - 1879 New station - Aston
  17. ^ Railways of the West Midlands - A Chronology 1808-1954. London: Stephenson Locomotive Society. 1954. pp. 40–41.
  18. ^ Cobb, M.H. (2003). The Railways of Great Britain - A Historical Atlas. Vol. 1. Shepperton: Ian Allan.
  19. ^ "Aston Shed". Warwickshire Railways.
  20. ^ Neele, G.P. (1904). Railway Reminiscences. London: McCorquodale. p. 383.
  21. ^ Yate 2015, p. 124.
  22. ^ "(untitled)". West Midlands Railway. Archived from the original on 26 March 2011.
  23. ^ Nock, O.S. (1966). Britain's New Railway. London: Ian Allan. pp. 147–159.
  24. ^ Gillham, J.C. (1988). The Age of the Electric Train - Electric trains in Britain since 1883. Shepperton: Ian Allan. p. 169.
  25. ^ British Railways Layout Plans of the 1950s, vol. 11 - LNW Lines in the West Midlands. Signalling Record Society. 1998. p. 30.
  26. ^ Modern Railways. October 1966. Missing or empty |title= (help)[full citation needed]
  27. ^ Boynton, J. (1993). Rails Across the City: the story of the Birmingham cross-city line. Kidderminster: Mid-England. p. 103.
  28. ^ "Trackwatch". Modern Railways. April 2018. p. 86.
  29. ^ GB eNRT May 2017 Edition, Table 69
  30. ^ GB eNRT, Table 70
  31. ^ Osborne's Railway Time Table and Literary Companion. January 1858. p. 13.
  32. ^ Railways of the West Midlands - A Chronology 1808-1954. London: Stephenson Locomotive Society. 1954. p. 43.
  33. ^ LNWR Time tables, October 3rd 1921, and until further notice. OPC reprint, 1981.
  34. ^ LMS Timetable Summer 1939, Tables 78-80
  35. ^ Bassett, J. (1990). Cross-City Connections. Studley: Brewin.
  36. ^ West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive Timetable, December 1978, Tables A and B.

External links[edit]