Sat . 19 Jun 2019

Wolverhampton Low Level railway station


Wolverhampton Low Level was a railway station on Sun Street, in Springfield, Wolverhampton, England grid reference SO920989

It was built by the Great Western Railway, on their route from London Paddington to Birkenhead via Birmingham Snow Hill It was the most northerly broad-gauge station on the Great Western network

Contents

  • 1 Design
  • 2 History
  • 3 Closure
  • 4 Redevelopment
  • 5 Station surrounds
  • 6 References
  • 7 Further reading
  • 8 External links

Designedit

The OWWR's engineer, John Fowler, designed the frontage, while the GWR's Isambard Kingdom Brunel designed the layout1

The station building is two storeys high and constructed of Staffordshire blue brick in Italianate style, which is an unusual combination but the blue brick was abundant in the area in the 19th century The design of the station was similar to that of the earlier High Level station The main building has a large pediment; tall, round-headed, pedimented windows with ashlar brackets on the first floor which the main entrance on the ground floor Plainer wings extend to either side of the main building which protrude to the front The interior of the former booking hall continues the Italianate theme, with a high, coved ceiling and full-height cornices The interior was carefully restored in the early 2000s1

Historyedit

Diagram of railways around central Wolverhampton from 1914

The station opened in 1854, although construction was not completed until late 1855 The station was built jointly by the Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway OWWR and the Great Western Railway GWR The station was initially called Wolverhampton Joint and was renamed to Wolverhampton Low Level in April 1856, at the same time as the nearby London and North Western Railway station was renamed from Wolverhampton Queen Street to Wolverhampton High Level1

The station was converted to standard gauge in 1869, and remained basically the same until 1922, when new booking office was built within the booking hall, and a new telegraph department was added to the stationmaster's office The platforms were extended and the passenger footbridge was replaced The overall roof had corroded badly and was replaced with standard GWR platform canopies1

In July 1939, an Irish Republican Army bomb exploded at the station, wrecking the parcels office area2

Closureedit

Closure of the station was made likely by the West Coast Mainline electrification scheme in the 1960s which included the Stour Valley Line and a new High Level station From late 1963 to March 1967 the Low Level saw a considerable increase in traffic, but this was only while the electrification work was in progress, and many services were temporarily diverted away from High Level

When the Stour Valley Line reopened, the services through Low Level were quickly reduced The last Paddington to Birkenhead express ran in March 1967, and in 1968 Shrewsbury services switched to the High Level By 1970, the only services left running from Low Level were local trains to Birmingham Snow Hill This service ceased in 1972

In 1970, the station was converted to a Parcels Concentration Department Much of the trackwork was removed, the north signal box was demolished and the platforms were greatly modified It opened on 6 April 1970 and was very successful, handling up to 8,000 parcels each day

However, British Rail's policy on parcel handling soon changed, and the station was closed on 12 June 19811

Platforms and trackbed, prior to redevelopment, January 2006 A general view of the southern end of Wolverhampton lower level station in the year 2000

The building was listed as Grade II on 25 March 19863 It remained as the British Rail Divisional Engineer's Department until it was purchased by Wolverhampton Council in May 1986, who immediately renovated and preserved the exterior Meanwhile, the route of the trackbed between Bushbury and Birmingham Snow Hill was preserved in case of future reopening of the line

Redevelopmentedit

During the 1980s and 1990s, there were several proposals for redevelopment of the site, including re-opening the station and converting the station into a transport museum, but none came to fruition

In 1999, the Midland Metro tramway opened, using most of the GWR route between Wolverhampton and Birmingham, but this turns towards the centre of Wolverhampton to run along the A41 Bilston Road before reaching Low Level

Redevelopment of the Low Level station site began in 2006, retaining the main station building which is a listed building whilst the remainder of the station, including the former main southbound platform is being demolished to make way for a 'mixed use' retail, hotel and residential development This redevelopment of the station is now January 2009 mostly complete The station building itself was destined to become a casino This has now fallen through 1 The station now restored is currently home to an Art Gallery, although this is due to end 31 July 20102 The station building is now late 2012 being transformed into a banqueting hall and wedding venue 3

Station surroundsedit

Several other structures associated with the station are listed buildings A tall, blue-brick retaining wall and subway lead beneath the High Level tracks to the station, originally built as a shortcut between the two stations and known as "the colonnades" The brickwork on the interior is glazed white, and has decorative iron railings mounted to it The wall and subway form a grade II listed building14

Preceding station Disused railways Following station
Terminus   Great Western Railway
"The Wombourne Branch" 1925-1932
  Dunstall Park
Terminus   Great Western Railway
Wolverhampton-Shrewsbury 1854-1968
 
Priestfield   Great Western Railway
Later British Rail
Birmingham-Wolverhampton 1854-1972
  Terminus
  Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway
Later Great Western Railway, then British Rail
Oxford-Worcester-Wolverhampton 1852-1962
  Terminus

Referencesedit

  1. ^ a b c d e f Biddle, Gordon Britain's Historic Railway Buildings: A Gazetteer of Structures Second ed Hersham, Surrey: Ian Allan Publishing pp 380–381 ISBN 9780711034914 
  2. ^ Subterranea Britannica: SB-Sites: Wolverhampton Low Level Station
  3. ^ "LOW LEVEL STATION" The National Heritage List for England English Heritage Retrieved 11 October 2014 
  4. ^ "RETAINING WALL AND ARCADE TO SOUTH WEST OF LOW LEVEL STATION FORECOURT" The National Heritage List for England English Heritage Retrieved 11 October 2014 

Further readingedit

  • Mitchell, Vic; Smith, Keith 2007 Stourbridge to Wolverhampton West Sussex: Middleton Press figs 106-120 ISBN 9781906008161 OCLC 261924375 
  • Mitchell, Vic; Smith, Keith 2009 Wolverhampton to Shrewsbury West Sussex: Middleton Press figs 1-5 ISBN 9781906008444 OCLC 286385795 

External linksedit

  • Subterranea Britannica
  • Wolverhampton City Council regeneration
  • Rail Around Birmingham and the West Midlands: Wolverhampton Low Level railway station
  • Article from Disused Stations


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Wolverhampton Low Level railway station


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