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GWR Route: Banbury to Wolverhampton

Solihull Station

Robert Ferris has transcribed two articles, one on the tests undertaken on the bridges located between Olton and Solihull and the other on the quadrupling of the Birmingham main line. They are available via Olton to Lapworth - Quadrupling the Birmingham Main Line.

SOLIHULL STATION late 1945-49 Notes by Colin Gorton

Visited on way home from school, lunchtimes & afternoons the following are bits and pieces of memories.

Only locos not Great Western were the Baldwins with USA on the tender but they soon disappeared. We were not impressed – basically very ugly and all those exposed steam pipes! Double-framed locos still around. Bulldogs and Aberdares on goods trains, the latter more frequent. Just once a ‘Duke’ passed through. With its huge dome, running board curved over the driving wheels and tall chimney it seemed very ancient. Number not spotted as it was filthy dirty and too far away. 5100 class 2-6-2s hauled all suburban traffic. Mostly 51xx, a few 41xx.

A variety of 4-6-0 namers on the Paddington services. I well remember seeing No 100 ‘A'A11 LLOYDS' on Line 1 with an up express. A really good ‘cop’ that was as were the totally new ‘County’ class and the 70xx series ‘Castles’. We soon got fed-up with the Kings (only thirty of them) and as soon as we spotted the plate-frame front bogey approaching, we moaned ‘Oh, it's just a King.’ Strangely I only ever saw ‘George V’ once. Halls and Saints seemed mostly confined to secondary through services (presumably going Oxford way?)

The four o'clock express ex. Snow Hill for London often had a couple of Ex-press Dairies six-wheel milk tankers attached at the rear, notable for the frantic, staccato rattle of their wheels over rail-joints at some sixty? m.p.h. (Destination may need correction). Another oddity was the occasional passing-by of a tube train, all red-painted, hauled by a steam engine of course and heading from possibly Washwood Heath to London.

Two regular freight trains, time-wise, appeared each day. The ‘parcels’ stopped at the station for a while around three-thirty. Hauled by a tender engine, usually a ‘namer’, it comprised a motley collection of goods vans, passenger brakes and full brakes. The ‘Stewart & Lloyds’ passed by later. Usually headed by a 28xx working hard with a load of full 16 ton iron ore wagons from Banbury. If at our other spotting place near Wadleys Road bridge (halfway to Olton) we often placed pennies on the line as the S&L moved very slowly – so we could find the coins afterwards.

We used a different terminology then. There were Lines 1,2,3 and 4. The call ‘peg on Line…’ meant signal lowered, train due. The crashing of levers in the station's signal-box was another clue!

Solihull's goods-yard was always busy. Shunting carried out by either 2292 or 2296 from TYS as far as I can recall. The shunter arrived around 9.30, left late afternoon. Woe betide the shunter if it drew up with wagons alongside Line 1 at the station blocking our view when an express was due as we usually leaned against the railings beyond the station entrance on our bikes. Rover car bodies were delivered from the Pressed Steel Co., Cowley to Soli-hull on flat trucks covered overall with bright orangey-red tarpaulins, the bodies were off-loaded onto lorries for the short trip up Lode Lane to the Car Works. The background sound of shunting was perfectly imitated by Reginald Gardiner later on his ‘Trains’ record.

We noticed little difference in 1948 except that we were appalled at the insipid-blue livery on one King and basically we ignored the occasional LMS stuff that snuffled through on goods trains. Fancy having painted numbers! By this time though we ‘spotted’ on the station (island platforms 3/4) as long as the ‘miserable’ porter wasn't on duty - platform-tickets, no way. The reason was the '12:30 turn round’. If we cycled like mad from School we made it just in time and if ‘our driver’ was on we always got a footplate ride. The other ones always said NO!

The engine would uncouple to run round the train and then shunt it from Platform Three round to Four ready for departure. Driver and fireman would then often pop into the porter's room leaving us three in charge of the engine. Health & Safety – what's that! The best bit was charging light-engine through the station on Line 4 along to the crossover. We always got to pull the whistle as we jumped down at one o'clock. Happy days. One day we were told ‘You must be here tomorrow as we're bringing a special engine.’ Slightly disappointed when it seemed only a fifty-oner, our minds soon changed as it drew to a halt. Ex works, painted in Great Western green and with British Railways emblazoned on the tank-side in gold lettering, we were very impressed. The date I cannot recall.

Colin Gorton

The original Solihull Station prior to the quadrupling of the main line

View of Solihull station looking towards Birmingham showing the use of mixed gauge on the main line
Ref: gwrs2314
Millbrook House
View of Solihull station looking towards Birmingham showing the use of mixed gauge on the main line
A panoramic view of the original station taken at the turn of the 20th century looking towards Birmingham
Ref: gwrs273
Solihull Public Library
A panoramic view of the original station taken at the turn of the 20th century looking towards Birmingham
Close up of the down platform building, the passengers footbridge with the original signal box in the background
Ref: gwrs273a
Solihull Public Library
Close up of the down platform building, the passengers footbridge with the original signal box in the background
Close up showing Permanent Way workers working on a turnout next to the barrow crossing with the up platform in the background
Ref: gwrs273b
Solihull Public Library
Close up of P&W workers working on a turnout next to the barrow crossing with the up platform in the background
Looking towards Snow Hill with the up platform and Solihull signal box on the right and goods yard in the distance
Ref: gwrs1027
AJ Harvey
Looking towards Snow Hill with the up platform and Solihull signal box on the right and goods yard in the distance

Close up of the goods yard and sidings situated on the Birmingham side of Solihull station and signal box
Ref: gwrs1027a
AJ Harvey
Close up of the goods yard and sidings situated on the Birmingham side of Solihull station and signal box
View of the original station looking in the direction of Leamington from the Birmingham end of the down platform
Ref: gwrs275
P Hopkins
The original station looking in the direction of Leamington from the Birmingham end of the down platform
Close up showing the original signal box which was sited on the up platform and the very ornate lampposts
Ref: gwrs275a
P Hopkins
Close up showing the original signal box which was sited on the up platform and the very ornate lampposts
Close up showing the down platform and buildings with an unknown GWR locomotive standing in the down refuge siding
Ref: gwrs275b
P Hopkins
Close up of the down platform buildings with an unknown GWR locomotive standing in the down refuge siding
View of the original signal box shortly before its demolition with the old goods shed and yard behind
Ref: gwrs270
P Hopkins
View of the original signal box shortly before its demolition with the old goods shed and yard behind

Close up view showing the  numerous coal wagons which originated from many sources in Solihull's goods yard
Ref: gwrs271a
P Hopkins
Close up view showing the numerous coal wagons which originated from many sources in Solihull's goods yard
A GWR Guard awaits to be given the right of way on the 9:15am local service from Solihull to Snow Hill in 1899
Ref: gwrs1609
HW Burman
A GWR Guard awaits to be given the right of way on the 9:15am local service from Solihull to Snow Hill in 1899
GWR Guard Denstone, wearing his frock coat, walks back to his guard van ready to wave the train off circa 1900
Ref: gwrs2306
A Bromwich
GWR Guard Denstone, in his frock coat, walks back to his guard van ready to wave the train off circa 1900

Solihull Station rebuilt after quadrupling

An official GWR Photograph of the new relief line island platform and signal box on 2nd May 1934
Ref: gwrs2621
Great Western Railway
An official Great Western Railway Photograph of the new relief line island platform and signal box on 2nd May 1934
Rebuilt station's from the Down Main platform with the Up Main on the right and on the left the Up Relief platform
Ref: gwrs268
Real Photographs
Rebuilt station's from the Down Main platform with the Up Main on the right and on the left the Up Relief platform
A 1951 view taken from the Relief island platforms and looking towards Snow Hill showing the Main platforms with the booking office behind
Ref: gwrs266
Real Photographs
A 1951 view taken from the Relief island platforms and looking towards Snow Hill showing the Main platforms
Close up view showing Solihull Station's Down Main platform on the left and the Up Main platform and buildings on the right with the goods yard and shed in the distance
Ref: gwrs266a
Real Photographs
Close up of the station's Down Main platform & the Up Main platform buildings with the goods yard and shed beyond
Close up showing the goods shed and yard which was located at the Birmingham end of the station and was rebuilt at the same time as the station
Ref: gwrs266b
Real Photographs
Close up of the goods shed and yard sited at the Olton end of the station both rebuilt at quadrupling

Panoramic view along the Down Main platform of Solihull station after rebuilding and looking in the direction of Leamington Spa
Ref: gwrs274
Real Photographs
View along the Down Main platform of Solihull station after rebuilding and looking in the direction of Leamington
Close up showing Solihull station's new Up Relief and Main platforms, platform furniture and the passenger facilities
Ref: gwrs274a
Real Photographs
Close up ofg Solihull station's new Up Relief and Main platforms, platform furniture and the passenger facilities
Close up showing Solihull station's new Down and Up Relief platforms and the replacement signal box
Ref: gwrs274b
Real Photographs
Close up showing Solihull station's new Down and Up Relief platforms and the replacement signal box
Photograph of the new Goods Yard built at the same time as the track was quadrupled between Olton and Lapworth
Ref: gwrs2620
Great Western Railway
Photograph of the new Goods Yard built at the same time as the track was quadrupled between Olton and Lapworth
Close up showing Solihull station's 1934 cattle dock, twin double sidings and coal stacks
Ref: gwrs2620a
Great Western Railway
Close up showing Solihull station's 1934 cattle dock, twin double sidings with wagons and coal stacks

Close up showing Solihull's rebuilt goods yard and shed with numerous open wagons and vans in the sidings
Ref: gwrs1017a
M Mensing
Close up showing Solihull's rebuilt goods yard and shed with numerous open wagons and vans in the sidings
Close up of Solihull's goods yard and shed with a four-wheel motor van buffered up to the landing dock
Ref: gwrs2311a
M Mensing
Close up of Solihull's goods yard and shed with a four-wheel motor van buffered up to the landing dock
Solihull signal box alongside the down relief line opened on 9th July 1932 replacing a GWR type 5 box
Ref: gwrs2621a
Great Western Railway
Close up showing Solihull signal box alongside the down relief line opened on 9th July 1932 replacing a GWR type 5 box
View of the replacement signal box which was larger than original to accommodate the extra points and signalling
Ref: gwrs269
P Hopkins
The replacement signal box which was larger than original to accommodate the extra points and signalling
View of the inside of Solihull station's new signal box showing the multitude of levers operated by George Horsley
Ref: gwrs267
P Hopkins
The inside of Solihull station's new signal box showing the multitude of levers operated by George Horsley

Ex-GWR Camping Coach No W9969 in the up sidings at Solihull Station on Saturday 19th April 1952
Ref: gwrs2626
HMRS ABW609
Ex-GWR Camping Coach No W9969 in the up sidings at Solihull Station on Saturday 19th April 1952
Ex-GWR Camping Coach No W9969 in the up sidings at Solihull Station on Saturday 19th April 1952
Ref: gwrs2630
HMRS ABW610
Ex-GWR Camping Coach No W9972 in the up sidings at Solihull Station on Saturday 19th April 1952
Ex-GWR four wheel Camping Coach No W9993 in the up sidings at Solihull Station on Saturday 19th April 1952
Ref: gwrs2631
ABW611
Ex-GWR four wheel Camping Coach No W9993 in the up sidings at Solihull Station on Saturday 19th April 1952
Behind the main island platform, three departmental coaches are stabled in the up sidings at the north end of Solihull station
Ref: gwrs2632
HMRS ABW608
Behind the main island platform, three departmental coaches are stabled in the up sidings of Solihull station
Ex-GWR brake third coach No W4944 in a passenger train from Birmingham on Thursday 27th July 1950
Ref: gwrs2634
HMRS AAZ631
Ex-GWR brake third coach No W4944 in a passenger train from Birmingham on Thursday 27th July 1950

Ordnance Survey maps and Signalling Diagram showing the original and rebuilt stations

A low resolution version of the Signalling Diagram for Solihull Signal Box thought to date from early 1952
Ref: gwrs2622
Signalling Record Society
A low resolution version of the Signalling Diagram for Solihull Signal Box thought to date from early 1952
Ordnance Survey map of the original Solihull station showing the goods yard which was used for mineral and other such traffic
Ref: Ref: gwrs2310a
Ordnance Survey
OS map of the original Solihull station showing the goods yard which was used for mineral and other such traffic
OS map showing the layout of Solihull's original station with the main entrance to the station being adjacent to the goods shed
Ref: gwrs2310b
Ordnance Survey
OS map showing Solihull's original station with the main entrance being adjacent to the goods shed
Ordnance Survey map of the original Solihull station showing the goods yard which was used for mineral and other such traffic
Ref: Ref: gwrs2309a
Ordnance Survey
OS map of the original Solihull station showing the goods yard which was used for mineral and other such traffic
OS map showing the layout of Solihull's original station with the main entrance to the station being adjacent to the goods shed
Ref: gwrs2309b
Ordnance Survey
Layout of Solihull station's remodelled goods yard showing the goods shed, cattle pens and sidings

A 1902 Ordnance Survey map showing the layout of Solihull station, goods shed and yard and refuge siding
Ref: gwrs3056
National Library of Scotland
A 1902 Ordnance Survey map showing the layout of Solihull station, goods shed and yard and refuge siding
A 1913 Ordnance Survey map showing the layout of Solihull station, goods shed and remodelled goods yard
Ref: gwrs3055
National Library of Scotland
A 1913 Ordnance Survey map showing the layout of Solihull station, goods shed and remodelled goods yard
A 1937 Ordnance Survey map showing the new four platform layout, relocated goods shed and goods yard
Ref: gwrs3057
National Library of Scotland
A 1937 Ordnance Survey map showing the new four platform layout, relocated goods shed and goods yard

Locomotives and trains seen at or near Solihull station

Great Western Railway 2-4-2T 36xx class No 3616 is posed with its crew in new condition at Solihull circa 1902
Ref: gwrs1607
HW Burman
Great Western Railway 2-4-2T 36xx class No 3616 is posed with its crew in new condition at Solihull circa 1902
An unknown GWR 2-2-2 locomotive, thought to be No 999 'Sir Alexander', approaches Solihull in 1898
Ref: gwrs1608
HW Burman
An unknown GWR 2-2-2 locomotive, thought to be No 999 'Sir Alexander', approaches Solihull in 1898
GWR 4-4-0 Bulldog Class No 3393 'Australia' stands at Solihull's extended up platform in Edwardian days
Ref: gwrs2313
BPC
GWR 4-4-0 Bulldog Class No 3393 'Australia' stands at Solihull's extended up platform in Edwardian days
An unknown GWR 0-4-4T 3521 Class locomotive is seen running bunker first on a Snow Hill to Stratford local service
Ref: gwrs1610
HW Burman
An unknown GWR 0-4-4T 3521 Class locomotive runs bunker first on a Snow Hill to Stratford local service
GWR 0-4-2T 517 Class No 215, designed by George Armstrong, poses for the camera at Solihull in 1900
Ref: gwrs1611
HW Burman
GWR 0-4-2T 517 Class No 215, designed by George Armstrong, poses for the camera at Solihull in 1900

GWR 4-6-0 No 4080 'Powderham Castle' is seen at the head of an up express as it passes Solihull's original goods yard
Ref: gwrs271
P Hopkins
GWR 4-6-0 No 4080 'Powderham Castle' heads an up express as it passes Solihull's original goods yard
GWR 4-6-0 No 6028 'King George VI' is seen at the head of an up express service entering Solihull station's on the Up Main line
Ref: gwrs1014
PC Wheeler
GWR 4-6-0 No 6028 'King George VI' heads an up express service on Solihull's Up Main line
GWR 4-6-0 No 5950 Wardley Hall is seen at the head of a down perishables express goods service passing through Solihull station
Ref: gwrs1015
RS Carpenter
GWR 4-6-0 No 5950 Wardley Hall is seen at the head of a down perishables express goods service
Measuring the deflection of the new plate girder bridges over Blossomfield Road just south of Solihull Station
Ref: gwrs1566
GWR
Measuring the deflection of the new plate girder bridges over Blossomfield Road just south of Solihull Station
Dynamic testing of the new plate girder bridge over Hillfield Road, halfway between Solihull and Widney Manor Stations
Ref: gwrs1567
GWR
Dynamic testing of the new plate girder bridge over Hillfield Road, between Solihull and Widney Manor

GWR 2-6-2T 61xx class No 6105 rests between duties on a short Permanent Way train at Solihull station
Ref: gwrs1016
M Mensing
GWR 2-6-2T 61xx class No 6105 rests between duties on a short Permanent Way train at Solihull station
GWR 4-6-0 No 6006 'King George I' is seen at the head of the 5 10pm Paddington to Wolverhampton express as it enters Solihull station
Ref: gwrs1013
M Mensing
GWR 4-6-0 No 6006 'King George I' at the head of the 5:10pm Paddington to Wolverhampton express
GWR 4-6-0 No 6022 'King Edward III' is seen at the head of an up express service as it restarts from a signal check north of Solihull station
Ref: gwrs1017
M Mensing
GWR 4-6-0 No 6022 'King Edward III' restarts from a signal check north of Solihull station on 25th October 1959
GWR 4-6-0 Saint class No 2941 'Eaton Court' is seen at the head of a down express as it approaches Solihull station
Ref: gwrs272
P Hopkins
GWR 4-6-0 Saint class No 2941 'Eaton Court' heads a down express as it approaches Solihull station
Ex-GWR 2-6-0 43xx Class No 6379 heads for Birmingham Snow Hill on 8:50 am from Margate
Ref: gwrs2311
M Mensing
Ex-GWR 2-6-0 43xx Class No 6379 heads for Birmingham Snow Hill on 8:50 am from Margate on 10th August 1957

Ex-GWR 0-6-0PT No 9753 on what is thought to be the 10:15am Leamington to Tyseley goods service
Ref: gwrs2312
BPC
Ex-GWR 0-6-0PT No 9753 on what is thought to be the 10:15am Leamington to Tyseley goods service
Ex-GWR 2-6-2T 5101 Class No 5194 stands at the down fast platform with a local stopping train to Birmingham
Ref: gwrs2315
M Mensing
Ex-GWR 2-6-2T 5101 Class No 5194 stands at the down fast platform with a local stopping train to Birmingham
Ex-LMS 3P 2-6-2T No 40002 is seen on a down local stopping service to Birmingham Snow Hill in 1947
Ref: gwrs2316
BPC
Ex-LMS 3P 2-6-2T No 40002 is seen on a down local stopping service to Birmingham Snow Hill in 1947
GWR 4-6-0 No 5031 'Totnes Castle' is seen standing at the head a train on the Down Main platform at Solihull
Ref: gwrs1012
P Hawkins
GWR 4-6-0 No 5031 'Totnes Castle' is seen standing at the head a train on the Down Main platform at Solihull
Ex-GWR 2-6-2T No 5187 departs Solihull on a down local passenger service using the down slow relief line
Ref: gwrs3054
JS Doubleday
Ex-GWR 2-6-2T No 5187 departs Solihull on a down local passenger service using the down slow relief line

Diesel Dawn

One of the down trains of the Birmingham Pullman service is seen passing Solihull on 12th September 1960
Ref: gwrs2307
M Mensing
One of the down trains of the Birmingham Pullman service is seen passing Solihull on 12th September 1960
BR Type 3 Diesel locomotives No D6534 and D6506 pass through Solihull on an empty up oil train on 11th April 1964
Ref: gwrs2308
M Mensing
BR Type 3 Diesel locomotives No D6534 and D6506 pass through Solihull on an empty up oil train on 11th April 1964
The experimental Associated Equipment Company Railcar 'arrives' at platform 4 for Snow Hill circa 1950
Ref: gwrs2707
M Morant
The experimental Associated Equipment Company Railcar 'arrives' at platform 4 for Snow Hill circa 1950
The experimental AEC Railcar stands at platform 3 having arrived on a local service from Snow Hill circa 1950
Ref: gwrs2708
M Morant
The experimental AEC Railcar stands at platform 3 having arrived on a local service from Snow Hill circa 1950