RAILWAYS of the WEST MIDLANDS

A Chronology

1954 – 2014

 

Part Two: Recovery and Sectorisation, 1975 – 1993

Compiled by Robert Darlaston from the sources listed on last page

 

The two other parts of this Chronology may be found at:

RAILWAYS of W. MIDLANDS pt 1. (1954-1974)

RAILWAYS of W. MIDLANDS pt 3. (1994-2014)

 

 

1975

Next

Reference

Jun 6

L.M.R.

Derailment at Nuneaton Trent Valley of Euston - Glasgow sleeping car train, resulting in six fatalities.   Caused by failure to observe temporary speed 20 mph restriction for engineering work.    [HMSO]

Oct 6†

WMPTE/ L.M.R.

Improved frequency of weekday local services from Moor Street to Dorridge and to Shirley.  No Sunday local service.   [PT]  This was the first fruit of planned improvements to local rail services throughout the West Midlands County financed by local government under the Transport Act 1968.   Similar improvements to other lines phased in during subsequent years.

 

 

 

1976

Jan 26

L.M.R.

Birmingham International opened P.    Formal opening ceremony performed on 2nd February by H.M. Queen Elizabeth II who also opened the adjacent National Exhibition Centre.   [BLN289]   The station was the first new passenger station in the West Midlands since the opening of Butlers Lane in 1957.

 

Nov 1

L.M.R./W.R.

Stratford-upon-Avon - Long Marston closed G and abandoned.   [BLN313]

 

 

 

1977

Apr 2

L.M.R.

Accident at Stourbridge Town when single railcar from the Junction overran the platform and demolished the buffer stops.

 

1979   1989

May 2

L.M.R.

Leamington Spa - Coventry reopened P.   (Used by some Inter-city trains from Paddington/South Coast to Birmingham New Street which were no longer routed via Solihull, calling in lieu at Coventry and Birmingham International).    [BLN321]

 

Oct 3

W.R.

Official closure of Cheltenham Spa Lansdown Jc - Honeybourne West Jn.  Through traffic ceased on derailment of a down freight on 25/8/1976 but up line reportedly used subsequently for train testing purposes.   [BLN320]

 

 

 

1978

May 8

WMPTE/ L.M.R.

Through "Cross-city Line" service inaugurated:  Four Oaks-New Street-Longbridge with trains at 15-minute intervals. 

The following additional stations provided:

Five Ways reopened P.

University opened P

Longbridge reopened P

Staff restored at Selly Oak, Bournville, Kings Norton and Northfield stations.

The improved service was financially supported by local authorities and was thus confined to the West Midlands County.  The previous level of service to Lichfield (hourly intervals) and Redditch (peak-hours only) was initially maintained but was later increased, with hourly trains to Redditch from 1980 and half-hourly to Lichfield City from 1986.      [BLN344/5]    

1980

 

 

1979

Feb 19

WMPTE/ L.M.R.

Stourbridge Town station replaced by new station 57 yards nearer Stourbridge Junction.   Branch thus shortened. [BLN367]

 

1989

1994

Sep 23 (Sunday)

L.M.R.

Section from Queen's Head Sidings to Winson Green (retained since 1972 for Engineer's traffic) taken out of use.   [BLN392]

1994

 

 

1980

Feb 24

WMPTE/L.M.R.

Rebuilding of Northfield station completed and fast line platforms taken out of regular use.   [BLN393]

 

May

L.M.R.

Ryecroft Junction - Birchills Power station closed     [B] 

 

May 5

L.M.R.

Aston (including Windsor Street Wharf) closed G and Windsor Street branch abandoned.   [BLN393]

 

May 12

L.M.R.

Whitacre - Kingsbury reopened to regular passenger trains, use since 1971 having been by seasonal trains and diversions only.  [BLN403]

 

May 12

L.M.R.

Passenger service New Street - Redditch increased from three per day to hourly intervals through the day.   The serviced was financed by the Worcestershire County Council and was initially omitted from the B.R. Public timetable.  [BLN394]

 

1993

 

 

1981

??

L.M.R.

Heath Town - Wednesfield taken out of use.  

Exact closure date not known - BLN485/1984

 

Apr 6

L.M.R.

Wednesbury (Bagnall's Siding) - Princes End - Bloomfield Junction, also Tipton curve, closed G and abandoned.   [BLN416]

 

Jun 1

WMPTE/ L.M.R.

Cradley renamed Cradley Heath   [Q]

Aug 3

L.M.R.

Great Bridge (ex LNW) closed G.   [BLN426]

 

Aug 3

Walsall Tasker Street (ex-Midland) closed G.   [BLN426]

2007

Dec 12

L.M.R.

Wednesbury Central to Swan Village closed and abandoned on cessation of coal traffic to Swan Village.   [B]

1999

 

 

1982

Jan 1

B.R.B.

Sector Management introduced.  Railfreight, Parcels, InterCity, Network SouthEast and Provincial Sectors assumed commercial responsibility for services, specifying their operational and engineering requirements to the Regions.   The Parcels sector was rebranded Rail Express Systems in 1991 and Provincial became Regional Railways.   [G2]

 

1992    1994

July

L.M.R.

Soho Pool branch abandoned following closure of Texaco oil terminal.  [BLN449]

 

Aug 2

L.M.R.

Nuneaton Abbey Street closed G.   [BLN446]

 

Nov 1

L.M.R.

Coventry closed G.     [BLN521]

 

 

1983

Jan

Government sponsored report Review of Railway Finances ("The Serpell Report") published.  Inter alia, it offered a choice of reducing the network from its current 10370 miles to a 'profitable' core network of 1630 miles with alternatives requiring varying levels of subsidy.    In the West Midlands the core network would have retained only the lines from Rugby to Stafford via Birmingham and via the Trent Valley.   The report was largely abandoned by the government.    [G2]

 

May 7

L.M.R.

Wednesbury Central to Wolverhampton Steel Terminal (Walsall Street) closed and abandoned.  Access to Steel Terminal continued from Stour Valley line.   [BLN468]  

  

1999

Aug 9

L.M.R.

Oxley Chord for through freight traffic opened Bushbury - Stafford Road Junction, allowing closure of both lines previously converging at Cannock Road Junction at which point trains had hitherto been required to reverse.   (Cannock Rd Jc taken out of use on 24th July 1983).   [BLN479]

 

Sep

L.M.R.

The following Coal Concentration Depots closed:

   Coventry Coundon Road    [BLN521]

   Rugby    

 

Nov

L.M.R.

Wolverhampton Wednesfield Road Coal Concentration Depot closed.   [BLN476]

 

 

1984

Mar 19

L.M.R.

Ryecroft Junction to Anglesea sidings (Brownhills) closed G and abandoned.   [BLN485]

 

May

L.M.R.

Leamington Spa Avenue Coal Concentration Depot closed.

 

May

L.M.R.

Rugby closed G.    [BLN489]

 

.

May 14

L.M.R.

Oldbury & Bromford Lane renamed Sandwell & Dudley and upgraded for calls by InterCity trains to and from Euston.

 

 

 

1985

Aug 1

L.M.R.

Rugby - Marton Junction - Southam & Long Itchington (Cement Works) closed G and abandoned.   [BLN522]

 

 

1986

Aug 21

L.M.R.

Round Oak steel terminal opened G.    

 

Sept 29

L.M.R.

Last day of traffic at Dudley Freightliner terminal which was thereafter closed (traffic transferred to Birmingham Lawley Street).   [B]

 

Sep 19

L.M.R.

High speed collision at Colwich between the 17.00 Euston - Manchester (via Stoke) and the 17.20 Liverpool - Euston, the driver of the Manchester train having misinterpreted signals.   The driver of the Liverpool train was killed but there were no deaths among the 800 passengers on the trains, largely attributable to the robust construction of the rolling stock.   [HMSO]

 

 

1987

May 11

WMPTE/L.M.R.

Coventry - Nuneaton reopened P.   [BLN555]

 

1988

Sep 28

WMPTE/ L.M.R.

Birmingham Moor Street:  original GWR station closed P and connection severed.  New platforms opened P on former through lines and new station buildings provided.   [Q]

 

2011

Oct 5

WMPTE/ L.M.R.

Birmingham Snow Hill and line from Birmingham Moor Street reopened P.  (Ceremonial reopening train ran on Friday, 2nd October).    [Q, B]

 

1995

 

 

1988

May 16

WMPTE/ L.M.R.

Bedworth reopened P.   Trains also made special 'publicity' calls on May 14th.   [Q]

 

2004   2005

July

R.E.S.

Overnight newspaper trains withdrawn and traffic transferred to road.  [G2]  (News International had in January 1986 unilaterally broken its contract with B.R. following which the remaining traffic ceased to be profitable)

 

 

 

Nov 28

WMPTE/ L.M.R.

Lichfield City - Lichfield Trent Valley and  High Level platforms at Lichfield Trent Valley re-opened P   [Q]

1992

 

 

1989

[unknown]

L.M.R.

Kingsbury Branch Junction - Birch Coppice and Baddesley Colliery taken out of use.   [CC]

 

1994

Jan 21

L.M.R.

Further accident at Stourbridge Town when the 23.32 single railcar from the Junction overran the platform and demolished the buffer stops (see also 1/3/90).    [BLN604]

 

1990

Apr 10

WMPTE/ L.M.R.

Walsall - Hednesford and the following stations reopened P:  (note:  Gala Day opening on 8th April 1989).   [Q]

   Landywood

   Cannock

   Hednesford

 

1997

Apr 17

WMPTE/ L.M.R.

Bloxwich reopened P.  [Q]   (Station had not been ready for reopening of line a week earlier).

 

Nov 16

Metro

Royal Assent to Act of Parliament authorising Midland Metro between Birmingham and Wolverhampton, using track bed of former G.W.R. Line between Snow Hill and Priestfield.    [B]

 

 

1990

Jan 31

WMPTE

Brand name "Centro" introduced for WMPTE operations.   [B]

 

Feb 7

-

Government approval for electrification of Cross-city line (Lichfield T.V. – Redditch) announced by Secretary of State for Transport.   The announcement was made during the by-election campaign in the Lichfield constituency.   [B]

 

Mar 1

L.M.R.

Further accident at Stourbridge Town when single railcar forming the 14.46 from the Junction overran the platform and demolished the buffer stops.   [BLN630]

1994

May 11

L.M.R.

Advertised local passenger service (restricted to one daily train in the up direction) over Aston-Stechford line withdrawn.  The line remained in regular use for passenger diversions, special workings, and from time to time for timetabled long distance trains including Sleeping Car services.   [B]

 

2008

Jun 4

WMPTE/ L.M.R.

Tame Bridge opened P.    [Q]

1997

Aug 4

L.M.R.

Collision at Stafford station when an empty stock e.m.u. ran into the rear of the 22.18 Manchester - Penzance.   The driver of the e.c.s. train died as a result.    [HMSO]

 

Aug 16

WMPTE/ L.M.R.

Bescot renamed Bescot Stadium (not quoted in timetables until May 13 1991).   [Q]

 

Oct 2

WMPTE/ L.M.R.

Bloxwich North opened P.   [Q]

 

 

1991

Oct 20

L.M.R.

Butlers Lane temporarily closed P for rebuilding   [Q]

1992

 

 

1992

Feb 15

L.M.R.

Nuneaton Abbey Junction - Nuneaton Midland Junction closed G.   [BLN702]

 

2004

Mar 23

L.M.R.

Butlers Lane reopened P after rebuilding   [Q]

 

Apr 5

B.R.B.

Abolition of regional structure, with all management functions being assumed by the sectors (Railfreight, Parcels, Inter-city, Network Southeast and Regional Railways (formerly Provincial).   [B, G2]

 

1994

May 11

RR.

Rugeley renamed Rugeley Trent Valley   [Q]

 

1998

Jul 14

Publication of government White Paper New Opportunities for the Railways outlining proposals for privatisation, including a separate track authority and franchises of passenger services to Train Operating Companies.   [G2]

 

1993

Nov 26

WMPTE/ R.R.

First public electric service on Cross-city line:  17.28 New Street - Blake Street. Inauguration of regular electric service New Street - Lichfield Trent Valley H.L. took place on Nov 30th, but most trains continued to be diesel operated on a temporary basis.   [B]

 

1993

 

 

1993

Mar 19

R.R.

Alvechurch:   existing station closed P and replaced by new station slightly to the north.  [Q]

 

2014

Mar 21

RF.

Round Oak North - Wednesbury Town - Pleck Junction closed G following Wednesbury steel terminal closure.  (Round Oak still served from Stourbridge Jc).  [BLN703]

 

May 21

RF

Wednesbury Town - Bilston closed G and abandoned   [BLN703]

 

Mar 21

RF

Bescot Junction - Bescot Curve closed G.   [BLN703]

 

May 17

N.S.E.

Through 'semi-fast' service between London Marylebone and Birmingham Snow Hill inaugurated.   Trains initially ran every two hours but frequency increased to hourly in 1994 and half-hourly in 2004.   It is believed that the only previous occasion when a train from Birmingham Snow Hill had arrived at Marylebone was on 4th November 1946 when the 4.25 pm from Wolverhampton L.L. to Paddington behind 5021 Whittington Castle was diverted to Marylebone because of a mishap at Northolt.

 

2004

Jun 24

WMPTE/R.R.

First public electric service on southern section of Cross-city line, 16.15 New Street - Redditch, but most services continued to be diesel operated.   [B]

 

Jul 12

WMPTE/R.R.

Inauguration of full electric service Lichfield T.V. (H.L.) - Redditch.   [BLN710]

 

Nov 5

Railways Act 1993 received Royal Assent, authorising sale of British Rail assets to the private sector, to be effective from 1st April 1994.

 

1994

 

The two other parts of this Chronology may be found at:

RAILWAYS of W. MIDLANDS pt 1. (1954-1974)

RAILWAYS of W. MIDLANDS pt 3. (1994-2014)

 

If anyone notices an error or an omission, I shall be grateful to hear from them. 

I may be contacted at robertdarlaston[at]btinternet.com (replacing [at] with @ ).

 

Abbreviations

B.R.B.              British Railways Board

B.T.C.              British Transport Commission

L.M.R. British Railways London Midland Region

N.S.E. British Railways - Network Southeast

R.R.                  British Railways – Regional Railways

WCML             West Coast Main Line

WMPTA            West Midlands Passenger Transport Authority

WMPTE            West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive (later trading as “Centro”)

W.R.                 British Railways Western Region

 

 

 

Sources:

AA                    Automobile Association

B                      John Boynton:  Century of Railways around Birmingham (and other publications).

B&H                 I. Baxter and R. Harper:  Birmingham Snow Hill and Birmingham Moor Street (2 vols).

BEM                Contemporary issue of Birmingham Evening Mail

BP                    Contemporary issue of Birmingham Post

BR                   Contemporary British Railways publications, handbills and staff notices

C                      C.R. Clinker and J.M. Firth:  Register of Closed Passenger Stations and Goods Depots

CC                   Corrections to Col.  M.H. Cobb Historical Atlas

Chr                  R. Christiansen:  Forgotten Railways of West Midlands

Cooke              Track Layout Diagrams of GWR and BR WR

F&S                 R. Freeman & J. Shaw:  All Change:  British Railway Privatisation

G1                    T.R. Gourvish:  British Railways 1948-73

G2                                -do-    British Railways 1974-97

HMSO             Her Majesty’s Stationery Office (Accident Reports)

MA-W                          Motorway Archive web page

NAO                 papers published by National Audit Office

P                      Personal notes/observations

PC                    Paul Collins:  Birmingham Corporation Transport (Ian Allan 1999)

PT                    Contemporary Public Timetables

Q                      Michael Quick:  Railway Passenger Stations in Great Britain

RC                   Railway Codes web site

RCTS-W           Railway Correspondence and Travel Society web page

RM                   Contemporary issue of Railway Magazine

RoW                 Railways of Warwickshire web site

SB                   Signal Box web site

SLS                  Contemporary issue of S.L.S. Journal

SRS                 Signalling Record Society website

WT                   Contemporary Working Timetable