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Aston Station

LMS Route: Grand Junction Railway
LMS Route: Birmingham New Street to Lichfield
LMS Route: Birmingham - Soho Road - Perry Barr - Birmingham

Aston station was opened by the London North Western Railway (LNWR) in 1854 and is situated on an embankment adjacent to and above the Lichfield Road. Initially it serviced only the original 1837 Grand Junction Railway route (which together with the London & Birmingham Railway and others had been incorporated into the LNWR in 1846) but with the opening of the line to Sutton Coldfield by the LNWR in 1862 it served both routes. The station owes its existence to the refusal of James Watt junior, the tenant of Aston Hall and son of the renowned engineer, to allow the railway to encroach upon Aston Park in the grounds of the Hall as originally planned in the Grand Junction's Act of 1833. The line had originally been intended to enter Birmingham through a mile-long tunnel under the high ground on which the park is situated in order to provide a 'face on' junction with the L&BR. This would have allowed a continuous end to journey from London to Manchester of Liverpool something that was not achieved until New Street station was opened in 1851.

Following the formation of the LNWR in 1846, the railway began to expand its lines around the Birmingham area, in particular on the ex-GJR route from Curzon Street to Wolverhampton which only had five stations between these two points along its 14½ mile journey. Two of the areas to benefit from this expansion were the districts of Aston and Nechells being served by Aston station located in the heart of what is now inner-city Birmingham. In 1880 the LNWR opened a line from Aston to Stechford on the Birmingham to Coventry line which also gave access to the Metropolitan Carriage and Wagon Company's works (later Metro-Cammell) at Saltley, reached by a short branch from what the LNWR termed Washwood Heath Junction at the point where the Aston-Stechford line passed over the Midland Railway from Birmingham to Derby. The new line was also used for the Wolverhampton portions of some London expresses and also to provide through carriages between Euston and Walsall. In the same year, the LNWR opened a line for freight traffic from Aston to Windsor Street goods depot, the latter closing in 1980. The LNWR's Aston locomotive depot (Aston Shed) was opened in 1883 in the area between the Aston to Birmingham and the Aston to Stechford lines and with an entrance on Long Acre, Nechells. The station became part of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway during the Grouping of 1923. It then passed to the London Midland Region of British Railways on nationalisation on 1st January 1948.

Passenger services grew over time reflecting the increase in the number of commuters generated by the rapid expansion of Birmingham. In January 1858 eight trains on the Birmingham to Wolverhampton via Bescot Junction and Willenhall route called at Aston station. The first at 8:21 am and the last at 9:11 pm on weekdays. In the opposite direction, on weekdays, nine trains originating from Wolverhampton called at Aston station, the first arriving at 8:51 am with the last at 10:25 pm. Sunday services consisted of six trains in each direction. The timetable shows one "government" or Parliamentary train in each direction, running every day. Most trains provided through carriages to Derby via Walsall and Lichfield, dividing at Bescot. By the time the LNWR introduced its last independent timetable on 3rd October 1921 (it was amalgamated with the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway on 1st January 1922, a full year ahead of Grouping) the service to and from Lichfield City, the extension from Sutton Coldfield to Lichfield having opened in 1884, was approximately operated on a hourly basis during weekdays, with additional trains terminating at Four Oaks approximately every 30 minutes. Trains to Wolverhampton and Walsall ran at irregular intervals on weekdays. On Sundays, five trains ran between New Street and Sutton in both directions with the same number running to and from Walsall.

An interesting service was the New Street to New Street "circular" via Aston, Perry Barr, Soho Road and Monument Lane, with two trains completing the full anti-clockwise circuit, but only one in the opposite direction. Most clockwise trains finished their journey at Vauxhall and Duddeston. There was no Sunday service. British Railways' London Midland Region timetable dated 10th September 1951 shows again an irregular interval service of approximately hourly trains to and from Walsall with a similar service to Lichfield City via Sutton, with some trains running only as far as Four Oaks. In the Summer 1963 timetable, by which time Diesel Multiple Units were operating on both routes, there was a regular-interval service pattern throughout the day: on weekdays every hour to Walsall and Rugeley Town, and every 30 minutes to Sutton and Lichfield, with occasional trains still terminating at Four Oaks. The station remains open today (2012) with Aston receiving regular services on both the Cross-City Line, from Lichfield Trent Valley to Redditch and the Walsall Line, from Wolverhampton to Walsall via Birmingham New Street. In the evenings, services for the Chase Line call Aston.

Aston Station (18) Aston Shed (32)

Looking south to Aston shed and the junction between Stechford and New Street station on 23rd March 1962
Ref: lnwra1493
DJ Norton
Looking south to Aston shed and the junction between Stechford and New Street station on 23rd March 1962
View of the junction between New Street entering on the left and Stechford seen entering on the right
Ref: lnwra1494
DJ Norton
View of the junction between New Street entering on the left and Stechford seen entering on the right
Close up showing the junction between the NewStreet and Stechford lines and the approach to Aston station
Ref: lnwra1494a
DJ Norton
Close up showing the junction between the NewStreet and Stechford lines and the approach to Aston station
Looking to Witton and Walsall with the bridge carrying the railway over Lichfield Road in the foreground in 1961
Ref: lnwra1495
DJ Norton
Looking to Witton and Walsall with the bridge carrying the railway over Lichfield Road in the foreground in 1961
Close up of Aston's home signal bridge which controlled access to the two lines to Stechford and New Street
Ref: lnwra1495a
DJ Norton
Close up of Aston's home signal bridge which controlled access to the two lines to Stechford and New Street

Looking towards Witton and Bescot with Aston No 2 signal cabin on the left and the line to Lichfield on the right
Ref: lnwra2300
DJ Norton
Looking towards Witton and Bescot with Aston No 2 signal cabin on the left and the line to Lichfield on the right
View of the entrance to Aston station, still in LMS livery, and Lichfield Road overbridge on 23rd March 1953
Ref: lnwra2301
DJ Norton
View of the entrance to Aston station, still in LMS livery, and Lichfield Road overbridge on 23rd March 1953
Looking towards Witton station as platelayers and other members of the Permanent Way gang prepare the bridge
Ref: lnwra2358
J Alsop
Looking to Witton station as platelayers and other members of the Permanent Way gang prepare the bridge
Close up showing some of the platelayers aligning the rails to meet the track passing through the station
Ref: lnwra2358a
J Alsop
Close up showing some of the platelayers aligning the rails to meet the track passing through the station
View looking towards Lichfield showing remnants of the old viaduct and the new bridge being moved in to position
Ref: lnwra2359
J Alsop
View looking towards Lichfield showing remnants of the old viaduct and the new bridge being moved in to position

Ex-LMS 5XP 4-6-0 Jubilee class No 45639 'Raleigh' is seen passing Aston No 2 signal cabin in 1959
Ref: lnwra2302
K Berry
Ex-LMS 5XP 4-6-0 Jubilee class No 45639 'Raleigh' is seen passing Aston No 2 signal cabin in 1959
View from Aston No 1 signal cabin towards Vauxhall and Duddeston with the branch to Windsor Street on the right
Ref: lnwra2309
DJ Norton
View from Aston No 1 signal cabin towards Vauxhall and Duddeston with the branch to Windsor Street on the right
Close up showing the bridge carrying Long Acre over the railway and the start of the four track route to Vauxhall
Ref: lnwra2309a
DJ Norton
Close up showing the bridge carrying Long Acre over the railway and the start of the four track route to Vauxhall
Close up showing the branch line curving away to former LNWR Windsor Street Goods station
Ref: lnwra2309b
DJ Norton
Close up showing the branch line curving away to former LNWR Windsor Street Goods station
Looking towards Aston station and Bescot with Long Acre overbridge in the distance on 15th April 1961
Ref: lnwra2310
DJ Norton
Looking towards Aston station and Bescot with Long Acre overbridge in the distance on 15th April 1961

Looking towards Vauxhall and Duddestone with Nechalls Park Road overbridge in the distance on 15th April 1961
Ref: lnwra2311
DJ Norton
Looking towards Vauxhall and Duddestone with Nechalls Park Road overbridge in the distance on 15th April 1961
View of the hand operated tandem points on the Nechell Gas Works private siding seen on 15th April 1961
Ref: lnwra2308
DJ Norton
View of the hand operated tandem points on the Nechell Gas Works private siding seen on 15th April 1961
Ex-LMS 4-6-0 5XP Jubilee class No 45737 'Atlas' at the head of an up express to Euston station on 15th March 1959
Ref: lnwra1306
M Mensing
Ex-LMS 4-6-0 5XP Jubilee No 45737 'Atlas' at the head of an up express to Euston station on 15th March 1959
Schematic showing the track layout of Aston station and shed with lines to Lichfield, Stechford and New Street
Ref: lnwra2303
J Copsey
Schematic showing the track layout of Aston station and shed with lines to Lichfield, Stechford and New Street
Schematic showing the lines between Aston and Curzon street with the branch to Windsor Street Goods station
Ref: lnwra2312
DJ Norton
Schematic showing the lines between Aston and Curzon street with the branch to Windsor Street Goods station

Map showing the location of the station in relation to the shed, Lichfield Road and Holborne Hill
Ref: MAP
Andy Doherty
Map showing the location of the station in relation to the shed, Lichfield Road and Holborne Hill

Aston Station (18) Aston Shed (32)