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Widney Manor Station

GWR Route: Banbury to Wolverhampton

Widney Manor Station, located between Knowle & Dorridge and Solihull, was opened on 1st July 1899. At the time of its opening the area immediately surrounding the station was rural and not well populated. Bob Pixton writes in his book Great Western Steam in Shakespeare Country (Kestrel Railway Books ISBN 978-1-905505-13-5) that 'in 1897 the Greswold family, the local landowners, had struck a covenant with the GWR guaranteeing a station would be maintained for a minimum period of fifteen years served by no less than six stopping trains per day and one freight train each weekday.' Initially the station was served by two platforms with a footbridge provided connecting both platforms. The station was located on the Leamington side of Widney Lane, which ran beneath the railway. The original station's main buildings were located on the up platform whilst the goods yard was also accessed from the up line via a refuge siding which also acted as a loop siding for the goods yard. The goods yard was equipped with a goods shed which could be accessed from both sides via the loop line having a through line passing through on one side of the structure. This through line also led on to the Cattle Pens. The goods yard had one long siding for general goods and at the far end of the siding was a hand operated crane.

In 1933 the GWR proceeded to quadruple the line from Lapworth to Tyseley in order to handle the increase in the amount of commuter traffic. This led to the stations between Lapworth and Acocks Green being rebuilt with four instead of the original two platforms. The original lines were designated the up and down main lines whilst the additional lines were designated as the up and down relief lines. The original single faced down platform configuration was therefore changed to an island configuration with a down main platform and an up relief platform. The new down relief platform was a single faced platform with fields to its rear. Both the rail and road access to the goods yard remained as before as was the access to the main station buildings. The signal box which prior to the quadrupling was located opposite the goods yard on the down line remained in the same position but with the new relief lines passing to its rear. Following the end of the Second World War there was a substantial increase in competition from road transport both for passengers and in particular freight traffic. This resulted in the closure of Widney Manor's goods services on 6th May 1963. Whilst passenger traffic declined to such an extent that the relief lines were eventually closed and lifted by the early 1970s. Today the station is served by the same two platform configuration as when built in 1899.

Robert Ferris writes , 'In 1927, the GWR introduced a new class of 4-6-0 express locomotives, which had an axle-load of 22 tons 10 cwt. This load exceeded the design capabilities of some bridges and the following letter describes the process of replacing one of these bridges. In order to minimise disruption to traffic the work took place during a Sunday night. Photograph gwrwm410 shows a train crossing the original brick bridge and gwrwm430 shows the new replacement steel girder bridge in position'.

'On the night of Sunday, March 25, 1928 and the following morning, the brick bridge which carried the main line of the GWR at Widney Manor, 8 miles south of Birmingham, was replaced by a steel girder bridge, so that the King class of engines may use this section of the line. At 5 pm the up line was pulled up and with the aid of a steam crane the timber baulks which had been placed in position about three months previously were removed; all the earth remaining on the old brick arch was cleared, a certain part of which was pulled down. At about 10.45 the new bridge, which has been built on scaffolding alongside, was hauled halfway across by means of winches. Shortly after 11 pm, the down line was pulled up (all traffic having been suspended), and the same procedure was carried out. When this was finished the bridge was pulled into its final position and was raised with hydraulic jacks so that the bogies and rails upon which it had rested could be removed. It was now lowered into its final position and the rails quickly restored; the up line being opened at 6.30 am and the down at 8.30 am.'

Robert Ferris has also transcribed the following extract from the Great Western Railway Development Works (Published December 1933) which is available via this link Olton to Lapworth - Quadrupling Birmingham Main Line.

These pages are divided into two different thematic subjects available by clicking on the links below:

Station (27) Locomotives (32)

The original Widney Manor Station prior to the quadrupling of the main line

View of the original station looking towards Birmingham from the  down platform with the goods shed in the distance
Ref: gwrwm432
P Hopkins
View of the original station looking to Birmingham from the down platform with the goods shed in the distance
Close up of the down platform building which provided passengers with a waiting room, ladies waiting room and toilet
Ref: gwrwm432a
P Hopkins
Close up of the down platform building which provided the waiting room, ladies waiting room and toilet
Close up of the goods shed and the signal box whilst a Permanent Way gang inspect the track
Ref: gwrwm432b
P Hopkins
Close up of the goods shed and the signal box whilst a Permanent Way gang inspect the track
Close up showing the up platform buildings which contained the booking office, a waiting room, ladies waiting room and toilet and gentlemen's toilet
Ref: gwrwm432c
P Hopkins
Close up showing the up platform building containing the booking office, waiting rooms, and toilets
Viewed from the footbridge this image gives a panoramic view of the original station and the contractors at work to quadruple the track
Ref: gwrwm430
P Hopkins
A panoramic view of the original station and the contractors at work to quadruple the track

Close up showing the contractors at work including the Ruston Bucyrus crane being used to dig the earth and the temporary track
Ref: gwrwm430a
P Hopkins
Close up showing the contractors at work including the Ruston Bucyrus crane being used to dig the earth
Close up showing the signal box and goods shed and yard whilst an unknown GWR 4-6-0 storms past the signal
Ref: gwrwm430b
P Hopkins
Close up showing the signal box and goods shed and yard whilst an unknown GWR 4-6-0 storms past the signal
Close up showing Widney Manor's goods shed in detail and the cattle pens and head shunt for the sidings
Ref: gwrwm430c
P Hopkins
Close up showing Widney Manor's goods shed in detail and the cattle pens and head shunt for the sidings
Close up showing the goods siding which has been utilised by the contractor to bring in material and fuel
Ref: gwrwm430d
P Hopkins
Close up showing the goods siding which has been utilised by the contractor to bring in material and fuel
Looking towards Birmingham a view of the construction of the bridge over Widney Lane and work associated with the quadrupling of the line
Ref: gwrwm425
Anon
Looking towards Birmingham and the building of Widney Lane bridge and other work to quadruple the line

Looking towards Birmingham north of the station this view shows the initial stages of widening the route to accommodate four tracks
Ref: gwrwm434
Anon
Looking towards Birmingham north of the station showing the initial stages of widening of the route to four tracks
View of Widney Manor station's 27 lever framed Signal Box as seen shortly after it was opened in 1899
Ref: gwrwm1915
Ordnance Survey
View of Widney Manor station's 27 lever framed Signal Box as seen shortly after it was opened in 1899
View of Widney Manor's original signal box which was upgraded from 27 levers to 44 levers when the line was quadrupled in 1932
Ref: gwrwm422
P Hopkins
Widney Manor signal box which was upgraded from 27 levers to 44 levers when the line was quadrupled in 1932

Station rebuilt after quadrupling

Looking towards Leamington along platform one with the signal box in the distance on 29th September 1960
Ref: gwrwm1906
HC Casserley
Looking towards Leamington along platform one with the signal box in the distance on 29th September 1960
A panoramic view of the rebuilt station taken from the Leamington end of the Down Relief, Platform No 4, with the signal box standing in the distance
Ref: gwrwm420
Lens of Sutton
Panoramic view of the rebuilt station from the Leamington end of the Platform No 4 on the Down Relief line
Close up showing the building on Paltform No 4 which offered passengers waiting room and toilet facilities only
Ref: gwrwm420a
Lens of Sutton
Close up showing the building on Paltform No 4 which offered passengers waiting room and toilet facilities only
Close up view showing the island platforms used to accommodate traffic using the Up Main and Down Relief lines and their passenger facilities
Ref: gwrwm420b
Lens of Sutton
Close up view showing the island platforms used to accommodate traffic using the Up Main and Down Relief lines and their passenger facilities
Close up showing the original station building situated on which is now the Up Main, Platform 1, after the quadrupling of the lines
Ref: gwrwm420c
Lens of Sutton
Close up showing the original station building situated on which is now the Up Main, Platform 1, after the quadrupling of the lines

View along Platform 1, now the Up Main, looking towards Leamington with a DMU approaching along the Down Main line
Ref: gwrwm428
Anon
View along Platform 1, now the Up Main, looking towards Leamington with a DMU approaching along the Down Main line
Close up showing the Down Main's Platform No 2 and the steps of the passenger footbridge erected at the time of the rebuilding of the station
Ref: gwrwm428a
Anon
Close up showing the Down Main's Platform No 2 and the steps of the passenger footbridge erected at the time of the rebuilding of the station
Close up view looking towards Leamington along the Up Main's No 1 platform with a DMU approaching on the Down Main line
Ref: gwrwm428b
Anon
Close up view looking towards Leamington along the Up Main's No 1 platform with a DMU approaching on the Down Main line
View of the station looking towards Leamington from the Birmingham end of the down No 4 platform
Ref: gwrwm433
Anon
View of the station looking towards Leamington from the Birmingham end of the down No 4 platform
Close up showing the Birmingham end of the original station building which after remodelling was now located on the slow down No 1 platform
Ref: gwrwm433a
Anon
Close up showing the Birmingham end of the original station building which after remodelling was now located on the slow down No 1 platform

Close up of the island platforms, Nos 2 and 3, which served the Down Main and Up Relief lines and the building and which housed the passenger facilities
Ref: gwrwm433b
Anon
Close up of platforms Nos 2 and 3, which served the Down Main and Up Relief lines and the passenger facilities
Ex-Barry Railway Auto-Trailer No W4303 in use by the Engineering Department, circa 1952
Ref: gwrwm2627
HMRS AEQ912
Ex-Barry Railway Auto-Trailer No W4303 is seen in use by the Engineering Department, circa 1952
Another photograph of ex-Barry Railway Trailer coach No W4303 in Departmental use at the back of the goods yard
Ref: gwrwm2628
HMRS AEQ913
Another photograph of ex-Barry Railway Trailer coach No W4303 in Departmental use at the back of the goods yard
Ex-Barry Railway Auto-Trailer No W4303 in use by the Engineering Department, circa 1952
Ref: gwrwm2629
HMRS ABW626
Close-up of the driving end of ex-Barry Railway Auto-Trailer No 178, when in BR Departmental ownership

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

A low resolution version of the Signalling Diagram for Widney Manor Signal Box produced courtesy of the SRS
Ref: gwrwm1937
Signalling Record Society
A low resolution version of the Signalling Diagram for Widney Manor Signal Box produced courtesy of the SRS
Widney Manor station layout prior to the quadrupling of the lines
Ref: gwrwm1909
Ordnance Survey
Widney Manor station layout prior to the quadrupling of the lines
Widney Manor station layout prior to the quadrupling of the lines
Ref: gwrwm1908
Ordnance Survey
Widney Manor station layout after the quadrupling of the lines

Station (27) Locomotives (32)