Kidderminster mainline station

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The SVRSevern Valley Railway's Kidderminster Town Station which opened in 1970 was built on the former goods yard of Kidderminster mainline station. The mainline station opened as part of the Oxford Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway in 1852 and become a direct destination for services from the Severn Valley Branch and Wyre Forest Line in 1878. Today it is managed by West Midlands Railway and forms part of the Birmingham to Worcester line. It has two platforms, with the main station building located on Platform 1, the DownIn reference to the direction of travel means away from the major terminus (i.e. towards Bridgnorth on the present day SVR) (northbound) platform. The SVRSevern Valley Railway and mainline stations are less than 100 yards apart and share the same station approach road.

Kidderminster mainline station history

Kidderminster station, 1963 (Geograph)
Kidderminster station building, 2020
Kidderminster station platforms, 2020
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 Kidderminster mainline station was built as part of the Oxford Worcester and Wolverhampton line between Stourbridge and Evesham which opened with a special train on 1 May 1852, with normal services beginning 2 days later.[1] At opening, both platforms ended at the Comberton Road bridge. The station building was a simple wooden structure which soon proved inadequate and was replaced in 1859 by a second building, also of wooden construction. This was described in a contemporary newspaper article as "…but one story in height, and comprised a booking office, two waiting rooms, a telegraph office, and closets, the entrance for passengers being by a door between the booking office and the waiting room. At the southern end was the telegraph office, a small compartment partitioned off from the booking office, and at the northern end, but detached at a distance of about three yards, was another wooden building, of recent erection, occupied by Mr. Done, of Kidderminster, as first and second-class refreshment rooms."[2]

On 1 July 1860 the OWWOxford Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway became part of the West Midland Railway (WMR) (a short-lived company not to be confused with the present operators of the station). The opening of the Severn Valley Railway on 1 February 1862 had no direct impact on Kidderminster, which could only be reached via a change at Hartlebury.

On the night of 14-15 February 1863 the second station building was destroyed by fire. Within days the OWWOxford Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway began construction of a third station building, which was substantially complete by May. A contemporary newspaper report noted that this "…will consist of a central building in the Elizabethan style, two stories high. This will comprise the booking offices and station-master's residence. To the left of this will be the waiting-rooms, and to the right the refreshment-rooms, offices, porter's-rooms, etc. The foundation is of stone, upon which a wooden framework is built filled up with bricks. The wooden portion is to be stained and varnished, and the brickwork covered with cement."

On 1 August 1863, the WMR was amalgamated with the Great Western Railway (GWRGreat Western Railway) which assumed responsibility for its operations.

In 1877 the GWRGreat Western Railway invited tenders for new waiting rooms and platform extensions.[3]

The GWRGreat Western Railway opened the loop line to Bewdley on 1 June 1878, giving direct access to Kidderminster from Bewdley and stations further up the Severn Valley Branch and Wyre Forest Line. In anticipation of the additional traffic this would bring, new buildings were added to the UpIn reference to the direction of travel means towards the major terminus (i.e. towards Kidderminster on the present day SVR) (southbound) platform during 1877-78, including a general waiting room, a ladies waiting room, luggage and porters rooms. A footbridge was also installed to connect the two platforms.[2]

By 1900 there had been an upsurge in excursion traffic to places like Blackpool and the Welsh coast resorts. In that year, in order to cater for longer trains, the northbound platform was extended beyond the Comberton Road bridge to create the "Excursion Platform" as it became known, with an additional access ramp from Comberton Road.[2] The extension required the re-siting of the Kidderminster Station signal box which was demolished and rebuilt a few feet nearer the running line to improve visibility for the signalman.

1908 and 1910 saw authorisation for the rearrangement of sidings and additional accommodation of 93 wagon capacity, and improved livestock accommodation respectively.[4] Following complaints from the Chamber of Commerce in 1913 of delays in collecting goods from then station due to a shortage of yard space, it was reported in 1914 that they were satisfied with the improvements being made in siding accommodation.[5][6] Further sidings were constructed in 1921.[7]

Around 1912 the 'closed station' arrangement was extended to Kidderminster and visitors required a 'platform ticket' at one penny each to enter.[8]

In 1917 the Comberton Road bridge was widened and the southbound platform extended under bridge[2]. The contract had been let in 1913 to H Elliott and Company, Ealing.[9]

GWR staff records for 1922 show the station had a staff of 57. This did not include those working in the goods depot, the locomotive shed (footplate men, fitters etc.) and Permanent Way department.

In 1923 it was reported that plans had been approved to increase siding accommodation at a cost of £10000.[10][11]

In 1924 it was announced that "Improved facilities for dealing with goods traffic are being provided"[12], also described as "extensive sidings schemes".[13] From February 1925 a 2 ton electric mobile crane made by Ransom and Rapield Ltd of Ipswich was installed, initially on trial, fitted with an internal combustion engine with small electric accumulators.[14]

In 1926 "Additional holding sidings and 20-ton cart weighbridge...were brought into use".[15]

In 1927 "improvements to goods accommodation are being effected at Kidderminster".[16]

From 1929 a Country Lorry Service was introduced.[17]

As late as 1935, 28 shunting horses remained in use.[18]

In 1937 it was announced that "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."[19]

In 1938 "Garage accommodation is to be provided at Kidderminster to facilitate the repair of road motor vehicles for the District."[20]

By the 1940s, nearly 300 railwaymen were employed at Kidderminster in various capacities including the passenger station, goods depot and goods yard, locomotive shed, traffic department, P-way and S&TSignals & Telegraph.[21]

September 1962 saw the end of passenger services north of Bewdley on the Severn Valley Branch, although they continued around the Kidderminster / Bewdley / Hartlebury triangle until January 1970.

In 1968 the 1860s station building was demolished due to dry rot, while the footbridge was also demolished. The simple BRBritish Rail or British Railways brick building which was built to replace it opened on 3 July 1974.[2]

In 1982 freight traffic from Foley Park ended, and the Directors of the SVRSevern Valley Railway were 'keeping a close watch' on the situation. Kidderminster Goods Depot was formally closed by BRBritish Rail or British Railways on 16 May 1983, and negotiations began in earnest with BRBritish Rail or British Railways on leasing an area of land in the freight yard to establish the SVRSevern Valley Railway's proposed new station. By February 1984 the exchange of contracts with BRBritish Rail or British Railways had taken place to purchase the line from Foley Park to Kidderminster and lease an area of the Goods Yard for construction of Kidderminster Town Station, which opened in July of that year.

A new footbridge in the mainline station was opened in 2009. In 2018 work began on a major upgrade which included reconfiguration of the existing road and forecourt area as well as demolition and replacement of the 1974 station building.[22] The new station building was opened on 7 June 2020[23].

Early Station Masters at Kidderminster prior to 1948 (incomplete)
Name Born From To Comments
John Mayers 1875 Around 1895 Formerly Station Master at Stourport.[24] Also listed in 1879 as an insurance agent.[25]
HG Simpkins 1943 Retired in 1943.[26]
FP Tredwell Made a retirement presentation in 1947.[27]

Goods yard

The goods yard consisted of the 'Top Yard' between Comberton Road and the Kidderminster Footbridge (the area now mainly occupied by the SVRSevern Valley Railway station) and the 'Bottom Yard' beyond the Footbridge, now mainly occupied by the SVRSevern Valley Railway’s Diesel Depot and Kidderminster Carriage Shed.[28]

The yard handled general goods traffic from the Severn Valley and Tenbury branches and elsewhere. By the mid-20th century the main local industries served were Carpets (jute from Dundee arriving, finished products leaving) and Sugar (beet, cane, limestone and coal arriving, refined sugar and molasses leaving). In 1939 16,000 tons of beet were sourced almost entirely from GWRGreat Western Railway territory: Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire, Dorset, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall; imported cane came via Cardiff docks.[29] The yard was extremely busy, with shunting taking place continuously from 6.00am on Monday to 2.00pm on Sunday.[28] The 1946 Service Timetable included the following details:


Start 6.0 am Monday morning
Shunt Yard, etc., trip to Foley Park 9.5 am, and trip Bewdley to Kidderminster, 12.50 pm.
Trip to Whitehouse's siding 2.0 pm, and trip to Foley Park 5.0 pm. :Engine changed daily at 1.0 pm.
To shed 2.0 pm Sunday.


Start 4.0 pm.
Shunts New Coal Yard and Mileage Sidings. To shed 12.0 midnight. Engine out continuously during Beet Season.

During the 1940s the regular yard shunter was normally a 57xx 0-6-0PT drawn from those available at Kidderminster. They included No. 8727 in particular, but also Nos. 8718, 4625, 4641 and 3609. 3609 was damaged in a shunting accident in the yard in October 1944 and replaced by No. 7700. The main yard shunter was paired with a Shunters Truck, No. 41803 (built in 1901) and later No. 41098 (built in 1938). The Coal Yard evening shunt was carried out by the Shrewsbury 0-6-0 tender engine which had worked that day's UpIn reference to the direction of travel means towards the major terminus (i.e. towards Kidderminster on the present day SVR) goods, or from the mid-1940s by any available Kidderminster engine.[30]

The yard's main goods shed now serves as the SVRSevern Valley Railway's Carriage Repair Works. During the GWRGreat Western Railway era, steam locomotives were prohibited from entering the goods shed. The GWRGreat Western Railway kept two shunting horses in a stable on the opposite side of the main line behind the carriage siding, one of which would be led across the tracks each day. Two men were required to manage shunting in the shed, one to tend the horse and the other the wagons. Messrs. Harvey & Co also employed a shunting horse to move wagons around their private siding.[31]

Kidderminster Railway Museum occupies a smaller warehouse built by the GWRGreat Western Railway in 1878 for grain and wool storage. The LMSLondon Midland & Scottish Railway, which had running rights in the area, had a depot known as a 'goods receiving office’ which was a short way from the station near the bottom of Comberton Hill.[32]

Thos. Bantock & Co. acted as the GWRGreat Western Railway's agent's representative at Kidderminster and also at Stourport and Bewdley.

Locomotive shed

Main article: Kidderminster Shed

Kidderminster had a small single-road locomotive shed which was situated close to the main line station, on the east side of the running lines opposite the main goods shed. The original shed, which was built by the OWWOxford Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway, dated from the opening of the station in 1852. It was of wooden construction and was closed at the north end. The 1885 map below suggests it was accessed from the south end via a turntable. It was rebuilt during 1899 as a through shed, accessed by a set of points with a head shunt as shown in the 1902 and 1924 maps.[33] Around 1923 the pit was extended by 95 feet.[34]

In February 1932 the small shed was closed and replaced by a new larger depot built on the south side of the line between Hoo Road Bridge and Worcester Road Bridge.[35] The 1938 map suggests the small shed and associated point work had been removed by that time.

Historic maps of Kidderminster Station

  • 1885 OSOrdnance Survey map showing the station and goods yard and two sidings extending to the south.
  • 1902 OSOrdnance Survey map showing the expanded goods yard with sidings extending in to gravel and sand pits.
  • 1924 OSOrdnance Survey map showing the extended Excursion Platform to the north and several more sidings.
  • 1938 OSOrdnance Survey map showing further expansion of the goods yard and sand pit.
  • 1905 GWRGreat Western Railway schematic plan of Kidderminster giving siding capacities and other details.


See also


  1. Boynton (2002)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Kidderminster & District Archaeological & Historical Society Building Record of Kidderminster Railway Station
  3. Railway News, 27 January 1877 via British Newspaper Archive (Retrieved 14 December 2021)
  4. Great Western Railway Magazine, June 1908 and August 1910
  5. Birmingham Mail - Wednesday 17 December 1913 on the British Newspaper Archive
  6. Evening Despatch - Friday 16 January 1914 on the British Newspaper Archive
  7. Great Western Railway Magazine, January 1922
  8. Great Western Railway Magazine, December 1912
  9. Great Western Railway Magazine, October 1913
  10. Great Western Railway Magazine, September 1923.
  11. Sheffield Daily Telegraph - Friday 28 December 1923 on the British Newspaper Archive
  12. Great Western Railway Magazine, January 1924.
  13. Great Western Railway Magazine, January 1925
  14. Great Western Railway Magazine, May 1925
  15. Great Western Railway Magazine, January 1927
  16. Great Western Railway Magazine, January 1927
  17. Great Western Railway Magazine, June 1929
  18. Great Western Railway Magazine, December 1935
  19. Meccano Magazine, January 1937 on Meccano magazine online web site
  20. Great Western Railway Magazine, May 1938
  21. Turley (2005) p. 17.
  22. SVRSevern Valley Railway NBINotice Board Issue. The SVR's on-line method of circulating information to working members. 5 September 2018
  23. Railway Gazette
  24. GWRGreat Western Railway Magazine June 1906
  25. Littlebury's Directory & Gazetteer of Worcester & District, 1879
  26. GWRGreat Western Railway Magazine May 1943
  27. GWRGreat Western Railway Magazine July 1947
  28. 28.0 28.1 Turley (2005) p. 13.
  29. SVRSevern Valley Railway Magazine, December 1939 pp. 484-5
  30. Turley (2005) p. 81.
  31. Turley (2005) p. 83.
  32. Worcester to Birmingham, Mitchell and Smith, 2007, fig. 34.
  33. Railways in Worcestershire, Locomotive Sheds (retrieved 11 July 2020)
  34. Great Western Railway Magazine December 1923
  35. Lyons (1972) p. 180.