The Severn Valley Railway is naturally most associated with the River Severn, whose course it follows closely between Shrewsbury and Bewdley. However the towns of Kidderminster and Stourport lie on the River Stour.
The Stour and the Severn Valley Railway
The river rises in the Clent Hills in north Worcestershire, initially following a generally north-easterly course, before turning north into the West Midlands at Halesowen. From there it flows through Cradley and Lye and then between Stourbridge, to which it gives its name, and Amblecote. It leaves the West Midlands conurbation at Wollaston and enters Staffordshire at Prestwood. Turning southwards, it is then shadowed on its eastern bank by the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal through Stourton and Kinver, from where it flows back into Worcestershire.
After passing through the villages of Caunsall, Cookley and Wolverley, the Stour and Canal bisect Kidderminster from north to south. The Stour also passes underneath the canal at Kidderminster to emerge on its eastern side. South of Kidderminster, the Stour and canal pass under the present day SVRSevern Valley Railway at Falling Sands Viaduct.
After passing the formerly navigable section around Wilden, the Stour is crossed by a viaduct west of Stourport which carried the former Severn Valley Railway (the Stourport Branch) over it. It finally enters the River Severn at Stourport, in a small, old industrial area to the east of the canal port.
By the time the Severn Valley Railway opened in 1862, the Staffordshire & Worcestershire canal was well established. Although part of the Stour was navigable, the canal would have carried more trade and therefore the Stour probably had little direct impact on the Railway in comparison with the Severn.
Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Stour Valley RailwayThe main line from Birmingham to Wolverhampton via Smethwick which opened in 1852, and which is still in use today, is commonly known as the "Stour Valley Line". The name is a contraction of that of the Company that built it, the Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Stour Valley Railway. The "Stour Valley" referred to a branch (proposed but never built) from Smethwick following the River Stour via Stourbridge and Kidderminster to its junction with the Severn at Stourport.
- Stour Valley Line on Wikipedia
- Worcestershire Chronicle, 20 August 1845, via the British Newspaper Archive