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LMS Routes

LMS Route: Birmingham New Street to Tamworth

The Birmingham & Derby Railway (B&D) opened for traffic on 12th August 1839 and the section of the route which falls within the county border, was different to the route used by passengers today. Originally it was planned to connect with the London & Birmingham Railway at Stechford just outside Birmingham, where there was the possibility it would also meet with the Birmingham & Gloucester Railway. London bound traffic would be catered for via a short branch line from Whitacre to Hampton which was for a very short time the only route to the north from Euston. The Hampton interchange for London bound traffic soon proved to the B&D that sharing with the L&B was unsatisfactory and that the Stechford interchange would also be problematic. Consequently they applied to parliament to vary their powers for the yet to be built Whitacre to Stechford route so that they could run independently into the Lawley Street, adjacent to the L&B's and Grand Junction's Curzon Street station.

This meant that the route from Whitacre would now run along the River Tame valley connecting Castle Bromwich, Water Orton and Forge Mills. On the 10th February 1842 the new section of line opened to passengers with goods traffic following on 11th April and mail trains on 1st July 1842. The pictorial story of the Birmingham to Derby route is explained in Bob Pixton's thoroughly enjoyable book 'Birmingham-Derby Portrait of a Famous Route'. The Midland Railway, which was formed by the merger of the B&D with the Midland Counties Railway and the North Midland Railway in 1844, transferred passenger traffic back to Curzon Street via a new spur on 1st May 1851 and developed Lawley Street into a goods depot. Three years two months later passenger services were transferred yet again, this time to the newly opened LNWR's new 'Central' station in New Street station.

As Bob Pixton comments, "'so passengers for Derby would have used three different stations to depart from Birmingham!' In fact as the Hampton route was initially used for Birmingham to Derby traffic it could be argued they used four. Through trains however avoided New Street due to the necessity for a reversal and continued to use the old Birmingham & Gloucester (now part of the Midland Railway) railway's route via Camp Hill. Being a MR initiative the company classified traffic direction as starting from Derby meaning trains travelling to Birmingham were classified as 'down' trains and trains travelling to Derby were 'up' trains. Later the only significant change to the route was the adding of a short cut between Water Orton and Kingsbury used primarily by passenger traffic although fast fitted goods would also be allowed access at certain times during the day.

Select a station or subheading to view associated images. Numbers in [brackets] specify the number of photos on each page.

Birmingham New Street [428]
Southern Approaches [47]
Lawley Street Goods Station [72]
Duddeston Road Junction & Signal Box [38]
Saltley Station [50]
Saltley Shed [243]
Washwood Heath Goods Yard [71]
Fort Dunlop [8]
Bromford Tube Company [11]
Bromford Bridge Racecourse [65]
Castle Bromwich [59]
Water Orton [112]
Water Orton to Kingsbury Railway [16]
Whitacre Junction [57]
Kingsbury to Water Orton Railway [16]
Kingsbury Station [30]
Wilnecote [30]
Tamworth High Level [11]
The route then continues on to Derby via Wichnor Junction, Burton on Trent, Stenson Junction.

See below for a copy of the Official Notice issued by the B&DJR on the opening of the Whitacre to Lawley Street line.

A copy of the Official Notice announcing the start of the B&DJR's Direct Derby to Lawley Street services
Ref: mrforg1056
Railway Times
A copy of the Official Notice announcing the start of the B&DJR's Direct Derby to Lawley Street services