- Oxford-Worcester-Wolverhampton Line
MetaSidebar|23%|#eeffff|right|Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway (1860)|
Blockley Campden Mickleton
Littleton and Badsey
Storton Norton Junction
Worcester Shrub Hill
Tipton Five Ways
Princes End and Coseley
Wolverhampton Low Level
The Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Line was a railway line that was constructed by the
Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railwaycompany between 1845 and 1860.
The track exists today as far as
Dudley, with used track existing as far as the location of the old Harts Hill railway stationnear Dudley. North of Dudley, the trackbed has long since been replaced, and the Wolverhamptonterminus at the Low Level station - has, of January 2007, being almost totally demolished (bar its Grade II listed building) to make way for redevelopment.
Other branches included lines to
Kingswinford, and Tipton Basin. The Bill stated that the track was to be mixed gauge from Abbotswood near Worcester northwards. It also stated that if the Oxford, Worcester & Wolverhampton failed to complete the line, the Great Western Railwayshould either lease the line, or purchase the company and complete the line itself. The Bill also stated that the Wolverhampton Low Level station was to be constructed and run jointly with two other companies: the Shrewsbury and Birmingham Railwayand the Birmingham, Wolverhampton & Dudley Railway.
The chief engineer was
Isambard Kingdom Brunel. His gross underestimation of the cost resulted in the Great Western increasing their shareholding to four percent. Progress was slow and by 1st June 1849 all of the available money was spent, and only the middle section of the line was anywhere near complete, so the Railway Commissioners ordered the Great Western to complete the line. They refused and a legal battle started, but meanwhile the loyalty of the Oxford, Worcester & Wolverhampton towards the Great Western was in decline and it signed an agreement with the London & North Western Railwayand the Midland Railwayon 21st February 1851 which allowed those companies to finish the line themselves, and then run on it. The Great Western were furious and had the agreement made void, then offered the company a similar deal on their own terms.
The Great Western leased the line, but the ungrateful Oxford, Worcester & Wolverhampton made approaches to the London & North Western to reach Wolverhampton on the Stour Valley line with a junction at Tipton. The GWR protested to Parliament who refused to sanction such a thing and threatened the company with heavy penalties unless the line reached the Low Level station and Cannock Rd Junction by September 1853. The line was eventually finished in July 1853, and opened on 1st December.
Closures and changes
The final section of the railway between Dudley and
Bilstonwas closed to passenger trains in 1962 as one of the first casualties of the Beeching Axe. It remained open to goods trains until December 1967. The track was lifted shortly afterwards and parts of the line have since been built on. The grounds of the Angle Ringfactory in Bloomfield Road, Tipton, were the first to swallow up part of the trackbed during the 1980s. The section of line between the Birmingham New Road and Sedgley Road West overbridges on the Coseley-Tipton border was developed as a residential street called Oxford Way in 2002.
The section of the railway between
Stourbridgeand Dudleywas later absorbed into the South Staffordshire Line, which continued to Walsallafter forking off eastwards from Dudley. Passenger services had all been withdrawn by 1965, but goods trains continued to serve the route until 1993, when the line north of Round Oak closed. The line is still in use up to this point to serve the local steel terminal, and the closed section is due to re-open in 2011 as part of the Midland Metro's second phase. A single-track line for goods trains will run alongside the Metro between Brierley Hilland Wednesburyand continue on the old trackbed to Walsall.
Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway
West Midlands Railway
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