Diagrammatic map of the route in orange.
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
The Rugby–Birmingham–Stafford Line (also known as the Birmingham Loop) is a railway line in central England. It is a loop off the West Coast Main Line (WCML) between Rugby and Stafford via the West Midlands cities of Coventry, Birmingham and Wolverhampton. The direct route between Rugby and Stafford is the Trent Valley Line.
The cities, towns and villages served by the line are listed below.
- Dudley Port High Level - Proposed interchange for the Midland Metro
- Adderley Park (Saltley)
- Lea Hall
- Marston Green
- Birmingham International - for National Exhibition Centre and Birmingham International Airport
- Tile Hill
The line from Rugby to Birmingham Curzon Street opened as part of the London and Birmingham Railway in 1838. A year earlier, the Grand Junction Railway had opened from Curzon Street to Wolverhampton, Stafford and north to the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. However, this ran via Aston to Wolverhampton (see map). These two companies merged in 1846 to form the London and North Western Railway (LNWR). On 1 July 1852, the Stour Valley Line from Birmingham to Wolverhampton via Smethwick opened (promoted by the Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Stour Valley Railway, which was later absorbed by the LNWR).
In 1987, British Rail commissioned artist Kevin Atherton to produce a series of sculptures to be erected along the line between Birmingham New Street station and Wolverhampton. The finished piece was titled Iron Horse, and consists of twelve different horse silhouettes, fashioned from steel. The construction material was chosen for its historic associations with the Black Country.
- Virgin Trains use the route as part of their intercity service between London Euston and Birmingham New Street, services are also extended to/from Wolverhampton, Bangor, Holyhead, Preston, Manchester and Scotland.
- London Midland also operate London-Birmingham regional trains over the route, all operating via Northampton. They also operate a Birmingham-Liverpool Lime Street service over the route, and local services between Northampton and Birmingham, they also operate local services between Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury.
- Arriva Trains Wales operate regional services between Birmingham International and various destinations in Wales via Shrewsbury.
- CrossCountry use part of the route for their service from Manchester Piccadilly to destinations in the south of England. Many trains on this route run via Wolverhampton, Birmingham and Coventry, turning off to Leamington Spa.
- 1967 - Stechford rail crash; 9 killed, 16 injured.
- Network Rail Route 17 PDF
- Tipton Civic Society - Brief History of Tipton
- Public Sculpture of Birmingham including Sutton Coldfield, George T. Noszlopy, edited Jeremy Beach, 1998, ISBN 0-85323-692-5
- "Where Black Country railway horse sculptures came from". bbc.co.uk. BBC. 13 March 1987. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
- Jowetts Railways Centres Volume 1, Alan Jowett (PSL, 1993)
- A Century of Railways Around Birmingham and the West Midlands, Volumes 1, 2 & 3, John Boynton (Mid England Books, 1997-1999)
- Rail Atlas of Great Britain and Ireland, S K Baker (OPC, 2004)
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