Kidderminster

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Kidderminster station
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UpIn reference to the direction of travel means towards the major terminus (i.e. towards Kidderminster on the present day SVR) DownIn reference to the direction of travel means away from the major terminus (i.e. towards Bridgnorth on the present day SVR) (towards Bridgnorth)
Line terminates
(Connection to Network Rail)
Bewdley (3½ miles)

The Station

Kidderminster Town is the Southern terminus of the SVRSevern Valley Railway, located within the county of Worcestershire. The railway shares a railway link at this location to the Network Rail mainline, on the Worcester Shrub Hill to Birmingham Snow Hill Line. The next station along the line, in the DownIn reference to the direction of travel means away from the major terminus (i.e. towards Bridgnorth on the present day SVR) direction towards Bridgnorth, is Bewdley. The town of Kidderminster is famous for its Carpets, for which it was of worldwide reknown for many years.

The station is the newest of the railway's stations, having been built by the railway on the site of the old Kidderminster Comberton Hill Goods Yard, which occupied the site before the railway was preserved. The building was constructed to blend correctly to the historic nature and atmosphere of the railway, and is home to a large covered concourse, booking office, and facilities for visitors. It is modelled on the design used for Ross-On-Wye station built by the GWRGreat Western Railway. Please see The development of Kidderminster Town Station for more details about the building of the station.

The layout of the station offers the railway a variety of running options, and is often home to frequent simultaneous train movements during the busier timetable spells. The station has two platforms for passenger use, which both offer the ability to depart towards Bewdley. These platforms are each served by their own engine runaround lines, where watering facilities for the steam locomotives are available. Both engine runaround lines also possess Dock platforms at the station building end, which are frequently used to stable the railway's inspection saloons and dining carriages for servicing and restocking between dining trains.

The station has a support group, the Friends of Kidderminster Town Station.

Facilities

Facilities for visitors at Kidderminster Station are comprehensive; Under the covered concourse is the railway's Cafe, the gift shop, and the heritage sweet shop. The "King & Castle" pub forms an integral part of the station building and serves a selection of real ales and alcoholic beverages. Also located on the site is the Kidderminster Railway Museum, and the Coalyard Miniature Railway, which offers a short ride adjacent to the Kidderminster Station platforms for a small additional fee.

The station has a large car park for those arriving by car to the railway, for which £3 a day is charged on a token barrier system. The Severn Valley Railway station at Kidderminster is located within easy walking distance of the Kidderminster mainline station, for those arriving by London Midland or Chiltern Mainline services.

Points of Interest

Station entrance

  • Main Entrance Canopy. The ‘Porte Cochere’ style canopy over the station entrance was the first major project undertaken by the Friends of Kidderminster Town Station. The canopy at Ross-on-Wye sloped downwards, but to allow additional clearance for coaches an upward sloping design was adopted based on a canopy at Kingham, Oxfordshire built in the 1880s. The stone corbels supporting the canopy were laid into the wall in a ceremony on 23 September 1994 and the canopy was completed in 1996[1][2]. Link
  • Ornamental Roof Crestings. The addition of the roof crestings was the Friends’ second major project. This type of cresting was produced to a standard design by the specialist foundry of McFarlain of Glasgow from about 1880, and was found on the roof towers of many GWRGreat Western Railway stations including Ross on Wye, on which Kidderminster Town is based. Fragments of the originals recovered from Ross-on-Wye were used by the SVRSevern Valley Railway's pattern shop to produce patterns for casting the new roof crestings (cast in Aluminium for lightness). Link
  • Bundy Time Clock. This clock, which can be seen outside the station, was used to provide a reliable method of time recording on the Birmingham Bus and Tram system. It was re-commissioned in October 2001. Link
  • Horse trough. The Horse Trough situated next to the Bundy Time Clock is a casting made by the Friends, from an original trough recovered from Wolverhampton Road, Sedgely and thought to date from the early 1920s. Link
  • Coal yard offices. The wooden building behind the Bundy clock was a coal merchant's office dating from the early 20th Century.[3] The coal yard was adjacent to the Comberton Hill goods yard on which the SVRSevern Valley Railway's present day Kidderminster Station was built.

Station concourse

The main station building and concourse have a ‘seamless’ appearance, but were actually built in stages over a period of more than 20 years. The first phase, the West wing with the Station Emporium and toilets, was built in 1984. The second phase including the entrance hall and ticket office was added in 1985. The third phase was the East wing, also known as The John Garth Building. This was opened by HRH The Duke of Gloucester on 18 October 2006. It mainly houses ‘The Valley Suite’, the station’s licensed restaurant and buffet and the King and Castle Pub.

The concourse roof was also added in 2006.

The concourse features the W.H. Smith & Son bookstall, now used as a sweet shop, and the replica independent tobacconists kiosk used as the Kidderminster Station Fund Shop. From time to time temporary sales stands manned by other preservation groups are also found on the concourse.

Main platforms

Passenger services normally depart from platforms 1 and 2, both accessed from the station concourse. A long term ambition remains to provide a canopy for these platforms, similar to that at Bewdley, when funds permit. An impressive running in board is situated at the far end of the platforms.

Bay Platform

Most of the buildings and structures alongside the Bay Platform are the work of the Friends of Kidderminster Town Station. Some are original and have been relocated and painstakingly restored, while others are newly built re-creations. Starting nearest the main station building, the Bay Platform includes:

  • Ex-Henley in Arden Parcels Office. This typical GWRGreat Western Railway wooden building was formerly situated at Henley in Arden station. It was declared surplus to requirements by Railtrack in 2000 and transported to Kidderminster by lorry. Link
  • Uffculme Building. This is a typical general purpose storage building which could be found on countless GWRGreat Western Railway stations. It is an accurate replica of one that stood on the platform at Uffculme in Devon. Much of the building was newly built but some components such as the sliding door and runners were recovered from other GWRGreat Western Railway sites. It is used by the Friends as a workshop. Link
  • Ex-Shrewsbury Pagoda. The GWRGreat Western Railway introduced this style of building in the early 1900s at many of its smaller halts. A newly built example can be seen at Northwood Halt. This example was relocated from Allscott Sidings near Shrewsbury in 2001.
  • Ex-Henley in Arden Lamp Hut. The former lamp hut comprises corrugated sheeting covering an angle-iron inner frame. It was recovered from Henley in Arden in 2000 along with the Parcels Office. Link
  • Covered Cycle Rack. The structure was newly built by the Friends in 1997, based on an original formerly at Droitwich Spa but now removed. The GWRGreat Western Railway racks themselves came from Claverdon station on the Stratford-on-Avon line. Link
  • The body of Goods Van 37150. Van bodies were often re-used for storage by the GWRGreat Western Railway and other railway companies of that era. Link

Infrastructure

The site at Kidderminster is also home to key parts of the preservation infrastructure of the railway. The main Carriage Repair Works, aka North Star Works, is located near the Network Rail car park, and is where a considerable amount of restoration on the railway's heritage carriage fleet takes place. Visitors riding the railway towards Bewdley, after passing under the footbridge, will also notice the large railway yard on the right, which includes the Diesel Depot and the 1/5th Mile long Carriage Shed, where the SVRSevern Valley Railway's working rakes of carriages are stored when not in use on the regular services.

Kidderminster is home to the SVRSevern Valley Railway's largest signal box. Adjacent to this is the station's water tower, which provides a supply for locomotives taking water at the southern end of the line. Also adjacent to the signal box is a small brick platelayers' hut dating from the early 20th century.

Kidderminster is also the site of the SVRSevern Valley Railway's Turntable, which is located near to the diesel depot and gives the railway valuable turning facilities for locomotives and stock.

The GWR Bus Garage (Ex Bridgnorth) has been re-erected at Kidderminster. The frame is original, although the cladding is new.

The coal yard offices, the main station building, the Railway Museum, the North Star Carriage Works, the signal box, water tower and platelayer's hut are all included on the Wyre Forest District Council Local Heritage List‎.

Water columns

Two water columns were erected following the opening of Kidderminster in 1984. Adjacent to the platform 1 run round was a fixed column, an original Kidderminster GWRGreat Western Railway item (having been cast at Wolverhampton). This column was erected on 29 June 1985 and officially 'launched' on 7 July 1985 by Ursula Broadhurst, mother of then Station Master Malcolm. 7819 Hinton Manor took part in the ceremony, although Tyseley's 7029 Clun Castle and the SVRSevern Valley Railway's 4930 Hagley Hall had already taken water earlier in the day before departing on a main line run.[4] Prior to the commissioning of this column, locomotives at the southern end of the line could only take water at Bewdley.

On platform two side is a standard GWRGreat Western Railway swing arm type, also cast at Wolverhampton in 1905. Platform 2 was brought into use on 25 November 1990.[5] SVRSevern Valley Railway News did not record the exact date of installation of this water column, although it was first pictured in use in Autumn 1993.[6]

In January 2018 the fixed column was replaced by another swing arm type, a project that had been planned since the 1980s, as the replacement is better suited to the variety of locomotives the SVRSevern Valley Railway sees. The replacement was restored, with new components fabricated under the watchful eye of retired civil engineer Brian Jones who was heavily involved with the installation of the watering facilities in the 1980s. At the same time the tank was relined using a GRP liner, proactive maintenance which greatly extends its life for a relatively modest cost.

The original fixed column was retired to the custody of Kidderminster Railway Museum for possible display.[7]

Other attractions at Kidderminster

Kidderminster is home to the Coalyard Miniature Railway and Kidderminster Railway Museum

History before preservation

Kidderminster station, 1963 (Geograph)
A 1938 aerial photograph of Kidderminster, showing the area around the station, the extensive goods yard, and the junction between the mainline from Hartlebury (right) and the Kidderminster loop line from Bewdley (left). Image from Britain from Above

The mainline station used by the OW&WOxford Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway, GWRGreat Western Railway, BRBritish Rail or British Railways and latterly Network Rail, is situated adjacent to the SVRSevern Valley Railway station. Today this forms part of the Birmingham to Worcester line.

  • 1852: The Oxford Worcester and Wolverhampton line between Stourbridge and Evesham via Kidderminster opened with a special train on 1 May 1852, with normal services beginning 2 days later.[8]
  • 1859: A second station building replaced the first building at Kidderminster.[9]
  • 1863: A third station building was constructed after the previous building was destroyed by fire.[10][11] This station building was of an unusual but attractive mock-Tudor style (see photo right), and survived until 1968 when dry rot resulted in the replacement of the original building with the current BRBritish Rail or British Railways brick buildings.
  • 1887/88: A Ladies waiting room, general waiting room, luggage and porters rooms and a footbridge were added.[11]
  • 1878: The Kidderminster Loop Line to Bewdley opened.
  • 1900: The northbound platform was extended to create the "Excursion Platform" with an additional access ramp from Comberton Road.[11]
  • 1917: Road bridge widened and southbound platform extended under bridge.[11]
  • 1937: It was announced "The sidings at Kidderminster are to be remodelled and new goods loop lines are to be added to facilitate the working of trains between there and Worcester."[12]
  • 1968: The third station building was demolished and replaced by a brick building. Footbridge demolished.[11]
  • 1982: Freight traffic from Foley Park ended, and use of the Comberton Hill goods yard ceased.
  • 2009: New footbridge opened.

See also

List of stations

References

  1. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 112
  2. Friends of Kidderminster Town website
  3. Wyre Forest DC Heritage Preservation List Retrieved February 2016)
  4. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 71
  5. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 98
  6. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 108
  7. SVRLive 'Winter works 2018' 16 January 2018
  8. Boynton (2002)
  9. Mitchell and Smith (2007), p12
  10. Mitchell and Smith (2007), p12
  11. 11.011.111.211.311.4 Kidderminster & District Archaeological & Historical Society Building Record of Kidderminster Railway Station.
  12. Meccano Magazine, January 1937 on Meccano magazine online web site

Links

Friends of Kidderminster Town web site