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Birmingham to Worcester via Kidderminster line

The Birmingham to Worcester via Kidderminster line is a suburban railway line from Birmingham Snow Hill to Worcester via Stourbridge and Kidderminster It is one of the Snow Hill Lines, with trains operated by London Midland and Chiltern Railways using Class 172 and Class 168 diesel units It is a future aspiration of Network Rail to electrify the entire line, as well as the Chiltern Main Line to London Marylebone1

The line is one of two railway routes between Birmingham and Worcester, the other route runs via Bromsgrove


  • 1 History
    • 11 Jewellery Line project
  • 2 Services
    • 21 Places served
    • 22 Service information
  • 3 See also
  • 4 References
  • 5 Bibliography
  • 6 External links


  • The line between Worcester and Stourbridge Junction was opened as part of the Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway OWWR, in 18522
  • Opening in 1867, the line between Stourbridge Junction and Smethwick was built by an independent company; the Stourbridge Railway; at Smethwick this line joined the Stour Valley Line at Galton Junction3
  • A short link was opened at the same time by the Great Western Railway GWR which connected the Stourbridge Railway at Smethwick to the Birmingham Snow Hill to Wolverhampton Line at Handsworth, allowing trains to run into Snow Hill station By 1870, the OWWR and Stourbridge Railway had been absorbed by the GWR, later passing to British Railways in 194843

The line was used mostly by GWR trains from Snow Hill, but some London and North Western Railway and Midland Railway trains from Birmingham New Street to Worcester and Hereford via Galton Junction also used the line, until 1917, when all trains on the line ran into Snow Hill5

In the late 1960s, services to Snow Hill were run down In 1967 most services on the line were diverted to Birmingham New Street However a skeleton service of four trains per day, was retained between Snow Hill and Langley Green until March 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 metals673

Jewellery Line projectedit

Plaque at Snow Hill station, commemorating the opening of the Jewellery Line in 1995

Snow Hill station was reopened to services from the south in October 1987 In 1993, as part of the project to restore services through Snow Hill, work began on reopening the 4 miles 6 km of line between Smethwick and Snow Hill as the "Jewellery Line"; the line was reopened on 24 September 19958

Three new stations were opened on the restored route: Smethwick Galton Bridge, The Hawthorns and Jewellery Quarter Smethwick Galton Bridge station was built as a two-level interchange with trains on the Birmingham New Street-Wolverhampton Line, and it replaced the nearby Smethwick West station which closed soon after910

The reopening cost £285 million in 1995 prices, with the majority of the funding coming from Centro8 It allowed cross-city rail services to operate through Snow Hill, and freed up much needed capacity at New Street station According to Centro, it created "a third cross city line linking the lines to Worcester and Hereford with those to Stratford-upon-Avon and Leamington Spa"611


Places servededit

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
  • Lye
  • Stourbridge – Junction station for the Town Branch
  • Hagley
  • Blakedown
  • Kidderminster – for Severn Valley Steam Railway
  • Hartlebury – Limited Service
  • Droitwich Spa
  • Worcester – Foregate Street/Shrub Hill

Service informationedit

See also: Snow Hill Lines

Passenger services are provided by London Midland between Birmingham and Worcester and beyond, and by Chiltern Railways between Birmingham and Kidderminster only

The local service provided by London Midland comprises:12

  • Six trains per hour from Birmingham Snow Hill to Stourbridge Junction;
of which four continue to Kidderminster of which two continue to Worcester Map of Birmingham to Worcester rail routes

All local services continue beyond Birmingham to either Dorridge, Whitlocks End or Stratford-upon-Avon, with some peak hour trains running to Leamington Spa London Midland trains heading to Stratford-upon-Avon call at all stations along the route between Stourbridge Junction and Birmingham Snow Hill, whereas trains to Dorridge or Whitlocks End operate a semi- fast service 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

Chiltern Railways run services to London Marylebone in the morning rush hour, which start from Kidderminster rather than Snow Hill, and reverse journeys during the evening13

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 consternation14 Passengers for New Street must now either walk between Moor Street and New Street stations, use the Midland Metro between Snow Hill and New Street, 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 Stourbridge6

Two CrossCountry services are timetabled to use the line each day — one service from Birmingham New Street via Smethwick Junction and Galton Junction in the early morning and a pair of reverse services in the evening None 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 which has a mainline connection at Kidderminster

See alsoedit

  • Birmingham to Worcester via Bromsgrove Line
  • Snow Hill Lines
  • Stourbridge Town Branch Line


  1. ^ Draft Electrifications RUS Response – Chiltern RailwaysNetwork Rail
  2. ^ Boynton 1997, pp 4
  3. ^ a b c Boynton 1997, pp 22-23
  4. ^ "Stourbridge Railway" John Speller's Web Pages Retrieved 29 June 2013 
  5. ^ Boynton 1997, pp 25-26
  6. ^ a b c "Historic timetables" Stourbridge Line User's Group Retrieved 29 June 2013 
  7. ^ Boynton, John 2001 Main Line to Metro: Train and tram on the Great Western route: Birmingham Snow Hill – Wolverhampton Kidderminster: Mid England Books ISBN 978-0-9522248-9-1
  8. ^ a b Boynton 1997, pp 82-86
  9. ^ "Smethwick Galton Bridge Station 1995 - Present" Rail Around Birmingham and the West Midlands Retrieved 4 Sep 2015 
  10. ^ "Jewellery Line Reopening" Stourbridge Line User Group Retrieved 7 September 2015 
  11. ^ "Jewellery Quarter Station 1995 - Present" Rail Around Birmingham and the West Midlands Retrieved 28 Oct 2013 
  12. ^ Table 71 National Rail timetable, May 2016
  13. ^ GB National Rail Timetable 2013-14, Table 71
  14. ^ "Passenger Train Services over Unusual Lines, Summer 2004 - West Midlands"Passenger Train Services over Unusual Lines; Retrieved 7 April 2016


  • Boynton, John 1997 Rails Through The Hills: Birmingham-Stourbridge-Worcester-Malvern-Hereford Mid England Books ISBN 0-9522248-2-8 

External linksedit

  • Stourbridge Line User Group — guide to stations

Birmingham to Worcester via Kidderminster line Information about

Birmingham to Worcester via Kidderminster line

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