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GWR Route: Banbury to Wolverhampton
GWR Route: North Warwickshire Line

Small Heath and Sparkbrook Station (36) Small Heath and Sparkbrook Station's 20-Ton Goliath Crane (6)

Small Heath and Sparkbrook Station

Small Heath and Sparkbrook Station was located on the Great Western Railway's line between Birmingham Snow Hill and Paddington, London and opened in April 1863. The station was built specifically to serve the new Birmingham Small Arms (BSA) factory in Armoury Road. One year later, in April 1864, the station was renamed 'Smallheath & Sparkbrook' which it retained until January 1899 when it reverted to 'Small Heath & Sparkbrook' station. Access to the station was via Golden Hillock Road with paths running from the road, on each side of the railway, down to each platform. The main station buildings were located on the down platform reflecting most outward bound traffic was bound for Snow Hill station. In the early part of the 20th century, the Great Western upgraded part of the route to Leamington by adding relief lines to the two main lines. This required the station to be rebuilt with four platforms, two for the relief lines and two for the main lines. In the main the relief lines were used for commuter traffic during heavy periods of traffic. From an early date goods facilities were provided at or near the station. These were sited between Small Heath and Bordesley stations. Initially, up to the early 19th century, the GWR's main engine shed was located here, along with a carriage shed, goods shw

Much of the information on this and other webpages of Warwickshire Railways is derived from articles or books listed in our 'bibliography'.

General view of the original 1863 station looking in the direction of Snow Hill showing the booking office erected on Golden Hillock Road over bridge
Ref: gwrsh1335
RS Carpenter
General view of the original 1863 station of the booking office erected on Golden Hillock Road bridge
Close up of the down platform, the booking office erected on the overbridge and on the left the down platform's brick built passenger facilities
Ref: gwrsh1335a
RS Carpenter
Close up showing the down platform's passenger facilities and the booking office erected on the overbridge
Close up of the up platform with two platform structures, one brick built waiting room and Gentlemen's toilet and another small structure to its left
Ref: gwrsh1335b
RS Carpenter
Close up of the up platform showing one brick built waiting room and toilet and another small structure to its left
View of Small Heath and Sparkbrook station after quadrupling along the up relief platform whilst a train from Moor Street is arriving in the distance
Ref: gwrsh1336
C Gilbert
View along the up relief platform of Small Heath and Sparkbrook station after quadrupling of the lines
View of Small Heath and Sparkbrook station showing the relief lines either side of the platform on the right and on the left the main down platform
Ref: gwrsh1340
Anon
Small Heath and Sparkbrook station with the relief platform on the right and the main down platform on the left

View of Small Heath station's booking office situated on the bridge of Golden Hillock Road with just one exterior door in use
Ref: gwrsh265
ND Mundy
Small Heath station's booking office situated on the bridge of Golden Hillock Road with just one exterior door in use
Small Heath and Sparkbrook Station looking south from the edge of the down main platform on 18th July 1963
Ref: gwrsh3157
RG Nelson
Small Heath and Sparkbrook Station looking south from the edge of the station's down main platform
Looking in the direction of Birmingham with the main and relief lines to be seen on the left and a wartime 'Anderson' shelter in the garden
Ref: gwrsh1326
RG Nelson
Looking North towards Bordesley on 18th July 1963 with Small Heath North Signal Box in the centre
Close up showing the the throat to Small Heath & Sparkbrook station's up goods yard whilst on the right is the standard GWR water tank
Ref: gwrsh1326a
RG Nelson
Close up showing the throat to Small Heath & Sparkbrook up goods yard, on the right is the standard GWR water tank
View Small Heath's down sidings looking North of whilst a pair of unidentified ex-GWR 0-6-0PT 57xx class locomotives rest in between shunting the yard
Ref: gwrsh1325
AWV Mace
Small Heath's down sidings looking North as a pair of ex-GWR 0-6-0PT 57xx class locomotives rest in the yard

Looking towards Snow Hill with Small Heath station in the distance with the relief island platform on the left and the main island platform on the right
Ref: gwrsh752
NRM
Looking towards Snow Hill with Small Heath station in the distance with the relief island platform on the left
Looking in the direction of Birmingham with the main and relief lines to be seen on the left and a wartime 'Anderson' shelter in the garden
Ref: gwrsh753
NRM
Looking in the direction of Birmingham in 1942 with the main and relief lines to be seen on the left
An Edwardian view of Small Heath Bridge which opened in 1904 to span both the railway and the Warwick & Birmingham Canal
Ref: gwrsh3156
J Alsop
Small Heath Bridge which opened in 1904 to span both the railway and the Warwick & Birmingham Canal
View showing two GWR rail mounted cranes installing girders to a new bridge to the south of Small Heath Station in March 1907
Ref: gwrsh1367
P Whitehouse
March 1907 view of two GWR rail mounted cranes installing girders to a new bridge to the south of Small Heath Station
Close up of the two GWR rail mounted cranes installing girders to the new bridge
Ref: gwrsh1367a
P Whitehouse
Close up of the two GWR rail mounted cranes installing girders to the new bridge south of Small Heath Station

Signalling at Small Heath & Sparkbrook station

Small Heath North Signal Box viewed from beside the up main line under Golden Hillock Road bridge on 18th July 1963
Ref: gwrsh3154
RG Nelson
Small Heath North Signal Box viewed from beside the up main line under Golden Hillock Road bridge
View of Small Heath North Signal Box with the down relief line in front of the signal box and the up relief line behind the signal box
Ref: gwrsh1089
W Wright
Small Heath North Signal Box with the down relief line in front of the signal box and the up relief line behind
One of the Great Western Railway ‘Train Describer’ instruments thought to be from Small Heath South Signal Box
Ref: gwrsh2285
Winchcombe Railway Museum
Great Western Railway ‘Train Describer’ instruments thought to be from Small Heath South Signal Box
The GWR issued a Signalling Alteration Notice regarding a new signal box being opened at Small Heath
Ref: gwrsh3155
Great Western Railway
The GWR issued a Signalling Alteration Notice regarding a new signal box being opened at Small Heath
A copy of a Great Western Railway Goods Department Circular containing General Instructions to their staff
Ref: gwrsh3158
Great Western Railway
A copy of a Great Western Railway Goods Department Circular containing General Instructions to their staff

A low resolution version of the Signalling Diagram for Small Heath North Signal Box showing the arrangement post 1958
Ref: gwrsh3178
Signal Record Society
A low resolution version of the Signalling Diagram for Small Heath North Signal Box showing the arrangement post 1958

Peter Jordan writes, 'What folk might not appreciate is that Small Heath North Box had had a previous incarnation, because it started life as a temporary signal box during the rebuilding of Exeter St. David's station. Two large temporary signal boxes were erected as part of this work - the one at the London end of the station was 'Exeter Middle' and was the box that subsequently moved to Small Heath, while the other was 'Exeter West' which, far from being temporary, lasted in Exeter until 1985, and for which I started the preservation group in 1982. A frontal view of Small Heath North will reveal the fact that it was specially constructed to be easily dismantled because the main upright timbers at the ends of the wall panels are visible - on a timber box that was intended to be permanent the weatherboarding was run over these timbers and they are not visible as part of the walling'.

Trains seen at or near Small Heath & Sparkbrook station

Ex-GWR 4-6-0 No 6856 'Stowe Grange' is seen passing through the up main platform at the head of an empty stock working from Tyseley
Ref: gwrsh1334
M Mensing
Ex-GWR 4-6-0 No 6008 'King James II'passes through on the 2:10pm Paddington to Birkenhead service
Ex-GWR 2-6-2T No 5105 is seen entering Small Heath's up relief platform on a Snow Hill to Leamington local passenger service
Ref: gwrsh1090
RS Carpenter
Ex-GWR 2-6-2T No 5105 is seen entering Small Heath's up relief platform on a local service to Leamington
Ex-GWR 2-6-0 43xx class No 5386 at the head of a freight service pauses awaiting the all clear to proceed to one of Small Heath's goods sidings
Ref: gwrsh1341
Anon
Ex-GWR 2-6-0 43xx class No 5386 pauses awaiting the all clear to proceed to one of Small Heath's goods sidings
GWR 2-6-2T No 4167, a class 51xx 'Large Prairie' locomotive, is seen arriving at Small Heath's main down platform
Ref: gwrsh1087
P Riley
GWR 51xx class 2-6-2T 'Large Prairie' No 4167, is seen arriving at Small Heath's main down platform
Ex-GWR 4-6-0 No 6856 'Stowe Grange' is seen passing through the up main platform at the head of an empty stock working from Tyseley
Ref: gwrsh1091
M Mensing
Ex-GWR 4-6-0 No 6856 'Stowe Grange' is seen at the head of an empty stock working from Tyseley

Ex-GWR 4-6-0 No 7029 'Clun Castle' is seen heading Ian Allan's 'The Zulu' special on 4th March 1967
Ref: gwrsh3165
P Shoesmith
BR built 4-6-0 No 7029 'Clun Castle' is seen heading Ian Allan's 'The Zulu' special on 4th March 1967
Ex-GWR 4-6-0 No 7817 'Garsington Manor' is seen on a down local service on 12th April 1962
Ref: gwrsh3166
P Shoesmith
Ex-GWR 4-6-0 No 7817 'Garsington Manor' is seen on a down local service on 12th April 1962
Ex-GWR 4-6-0 No 6000 'King George V' passes through the station's up main platform on 12th April 1962
Ref: gwrsh3167
P Shoesmith
Ex-GWR 4-6-0 No 6000 'King George V' passes through the station's up main platform on 12th April 1962
Ex-GWR 2-6-2T No 8109 passes Small Heath North Signal Box on the up main with a local service to Leamington on 12th April 1962
Ref: gwrsh3168
P Shoesmith
Ex-GWR 2-6-2T No 8109 passes Small Heath North Signal Box on the up main with a local passenger service

Ordnance Survey Maps

An 1888 25 inch to the mile OS map showing Small Heath station and the entrance off Golden Hillock Road
Ref: gwrsh3163
National Library of Scotland
An 1888 25 inch to the mile OS map showing Small Heath station and the entrance off Golden Hillock Road
An 1888 25 inch to the mile Ordnance Survey map showing Small Heath station, engine shed and goods yard
Ref: gwrsh3162
National Library of Scotland
An 1888 25 inch to the mile Ordnance Survey map showing Small Heath station, engine shed and goods yard
A 1903 25 inch to the mile OS map showing Small Heath station and the entrance off Golden Hillock Road
Ref: gwrsh3159
National Library of Scotland
A 1903 25 inch to the mile OS map showing Small Heath station and the entrance off Golden Hillock Road
A 1903 25 inch to the mile Ordnance Survey map showing Small Heath station, engine shed and goods yard
Ref: gwrsh3164
National Library of Scotland
A 1903 25 inch to the mile Ordnance Survey map showing Small Heath station, engine shed and goods yard
A 1913 25 inch to the mile OS map showing Small Heath station and the goods yard and extensive sidings
Ref: gwrsh3160
National Library of Scotland
A 1913 25 inch to the mile OS map showing Small Heath station and the goods yard and extensive sidings


Ref: gwrsh3161
National Library of Scotland
A 1913 25 inch to the mile OS map showing Small Heath station now rebuilt with four platforms

Small Heath and Sparkbrook Station (36) Small Heath and Sparkbrook Station's 20-Ton Goliath Crane (6)