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