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Wyre Forest Line

3,197 bytes added, 5 January
1922 staff
==The completed line==
[[File:WyreForestRailcarColour.jpg|thumb|300px|right|In this photoshop 'colourised' image, an ex-GWR railcar runs through the Wyre Forest on a typical branch line service]]
[[File:Tenbury line rambles poster.jpg|thumb|300px|right|Poster advertising rambles from stations along the Tenbury Branch in 1957]]
Following the completion of the Tenbury & Bewdley Railway in 1864, the GWR took over the working of traffic over the Tenbury Railway section on behalf of the joint companies, with the LNWR also having running powers. As part of this process, the GWR telegraph system was extended to Woofferton; also the LNWR agreed to a turntable being installed at Woofferton Tenbury to be paid for by the GWR. This turntable was moved from Bewdley and re-erected in the goods yard at Tenbury. (Some confusion has occurred in the past, as there was a small wagon turntable at Woofferton in its early days.). The completed line ran north from the GWR station at [[Bewdley ]] on a single line track alongside the Severn Valley Line for a distance of about a mile before diverging to the west to cross the river Severn at [[Dowles Bridge]] (the viaduct referred to by Capt. Tyler), the remains of which are visible from trains on the SVR. The abutments where the line passed over what is now the B4194 remain in-situ. The line continued to Woofferton via Wyre Forest, Cleobury Mortimer, Neen Sollars, Newnham Bridge, Tenbury (later renamed Tenbury Wells) and Easton Court.
The route acquired a number of names. A platform sign at Woofferton station referred to 'The Bewdley Branch', while passengers at Bewdley could take 'The Tenbury Branch'. Informally the route was often referred to as 'The Wyre Forest Line' or 'The Tenbury Line'. The [[Engineer's Line References]] were TBY for 'Tenbury & Bewdley' and WTW for 'Woofferton and Tenbury Wells', while the 1905 Ordnance Survey map describes it as the 'GW&L&NW Joint Railway - Woofferton & Tenbury' and the 'GWR - Tenbury & Bewdley Branch' [http://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/print.cfm#zoom=15&lat=52.3167&lon=-2.5987&layers=171]
One purpose of the Tenbury & Bewdley Railway was for freight traffic to gain access to the expanding markets of the West Midlands. However at the time of opening, this journey would require traveling to the SVRs southern terminus at [[Hartlebury]], with a reversal to reach the West Midlands via [[Kidderminster]]. This was hampered by a lack of siding space at Hartlebury and resulted in frequent delays, leading to construction of the '[[Kidderminster Loop Line]]' from Bewdley to Kidderminster. After the GWR built 'The Loop', the majority of services from Stourbridge and Kidderminster to Bewdley continued on the Wyre Forest Line.
In January 1869, ownership of the Tenbury Railway was transferred jointly to the LNWR and GWR. It nominally remained an independent company until nationalisation in January 1948. The Tenbury & Bewdley Railway ceased to exist as a separate company when ownership was transferred to the GWR in February 1870. Both the GWR and the Tenbury Railway became part of British Railways Western Region after nationalisation.
In 1908 the [[Cleobury Mortimer and Ditton Priors Light Railway]] opened. This connected with the Tenbury & Bewdley Railway at Cleobury Mortimer and ran as a spur for 12½ miles to Ditton Priors.
==A Shropshire Lad==
:Low in the forsaken west
:Sank the high-reared head of Clee,
:My hand lay empty on my knee.<ref>[https://www.housman-society.co.uk/as-through-the-wild-green-hills-of-wyre/ Houseman, A.E., ''As through the wild green hills of Wyre'', A Shropshire Lad XXXVII, The Housman Society website] (Retrieved 14 October 2018)</ref>.
==Stations==
Woofferton was initially a station on the Shrewsbury and Hereford Railway (S&HR), later becoming a junction station with the Wyre Forest Line from [[Bewdley]]. The station name boards carried the name “Woofferton Junction” <Ref Name = "MS2007">Branch Lines around Cleobury Mortimer, Mitchell and Smith (2007)</ref>, although [[The Severn Valley Railway under GWR/BR ownership#Timetable extracts | timetables]] and tickets used the shortened name.
The station had two main line platforms, connected by a footbridge situated between the station building (nearest in the first photo above) and goods shed. It also had a bay platform used by the branch line trains and accessed via two diamond crossings over the main line. There were also a number of sidings. The signal box (SB in the OS Map of 1888-1913) stood in the junction of the S&HR line to the north and the “Bewdley Branch” to the east. [[SVR staff in 1922#Wyre Forest Line (Bewdley to Woofferton)|GWR staff records for 1922]] show the station had a staff of 16.
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File:Woofferton_OS.JPG | OS Map of Woofferton
===Easton Court===
Easton Court was a small single-platform station. It opened with the Tenbury Railway in 1861, but closed in October 1862 due to lack of use. It reopened in April 1865, 8 months after the though through connection between Woofferton and Bewdley was established.
For a time the station name board also referred to “Little Hereford”, although this was not used on timetables.
[[SVR staff in 1922#Wyre Forest Line (Bewdley to Woofferton)|GWR staff records for 1922]] show the station had a staff of 3. The station became unstaffed after September 1954, and closed with the line from Tenbury Wells to Woofferton July 1961.
===Tenbury Wells===
The station was initially the terminus of the Tenbury Railway from Woofferton, opened in August 1861, becoming the end-on junction of two separate railways when the Tenbury & Bewdley Railway opened in 1864. Despite the Wyre Forest Line thereafter being worked throughout by the GWR, the line was still worked in two halves. Although there were through services between Bewdley and Woofferton, some local services ran only between Tenbury Wells and Woofferton, while some services from Bewdley terminated at Tenbury Wells rather than running through. At the Bewdley end, many trains continued to [[Kidderminster]].
The station had two platforms, a number of sidings and in its early years, a turntable, still visible on the OS Map of 1888-1913. It had two signal boxes until the 1920s, when the LNWR-built West signal box closed. [[SVR staff in 1922#Wyre Forest Line (Bewdley to Woofferton)|GWR staff records for 1922]] show the station had a staff of 18.
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Newnham Bridge opened with the Tenbury and Bewdley Railway in 1864. The station had a siding which could act as a passing loop, but only a single platform for passengers. A signal box was originally provided, but later replaced by three ground frames. The [[The Severn Valley Railway under GWR/BR ownership# Timetable extracts | GWR Working Timetables]] included the following operating instruction: ''When necessary, a train (not conveying passengers) may be placed in the sidings at Foley Park and Newnham Bridge for another train to pass in the same or opposite direction''.
The layout of the station was also unusual in that the main station building was situated at rail level. From there, passengers had to use a barrow crossing to reach the platform via the loop and running line. Despite these arrangements, Newnham Bridge could be a busy station, particularly when fruit was in season. [[SVR staff in 1922#Wyre Forest Line (Bewdley to Woofferton)|GWR staff records for 1922]] show the station had a staff of 4.
===Neen Sollars===
Neen Sollars station began with a single platform. A second staggered platform, linked by a board crossing, was added in 1878, together with a signal box. The station served a small village and was little used; only 2,539 passenger tickets were issued in 1933. [[SVR staff in 1922#Wyre Forest Line (Bewdley to Woofferton)|GWR staff records for 1922]] show the station had a staff of 3. The 1878 platform was taken out of use and the signal box closed in August 1954; the station then became an unmanned stop in July 1961. Passenger services on the line ceased the following year.
A picture of the station may be found on [https://www.flickr.com/photos/irishswissernie/5820208959/in/album-72157626810295113/ Ernie's Railway Archive].
File: Cleobury_1937_OS.JPG | Cleobury Mortimer, OS Map 1937-1961 series
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[[SVR staff in 1922#Wyre Forest Line (Bewdley to Woofferton)|GWR staff records for 1922]] show the station had a staff of 15, including four porters at stations on the Ditton Priors branch.
 
===Wyre Forest===
Wyre Forest was a single-platform station which opened on 1 June 1869, five years after the line on which it stood. It also had a small goods siding. Set in the forest after which it was named, goods traffic from the late 19th century included timber from the local area. In 1896 the station was also used to deliver the pipes for the local section of the [[Elan Valley Aqueduct]]. [[SVR staff in 1922#Wyre Forest Line (Bewdley to Woofferton)|GWR staff records for 1922]] show the station had a staff of 2, the station master and a gatewoman.
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==Closure==
[[File:Tenbury line closure poster.jpg|thumb|300px|right|1964 Poster advertising the closure of the line (passenger services had ended in 1962)]] In November 1960 British Railways published a proposal to close the entire line between Woofferton and Bewdley.<ref>[[Bibliography#Books|Magner (1997)]] p. 16.</ref> The West Midland Transport Users Consultative Committee met in March 1961 to discuss the closure. Many representations were made on the hardships that closure would cause, particularly for school children who made use of the the line. A compromise was reached whereby the old Tenbury Railway (Woofferton to Tenbury Wellsincluding Easton Court station) would close with effect from Monday 31 July 1961, but one passenger train each way would continue between Kidderminster and Tenbury Wells for a trial period of one year.<ref>[[Bibliography#Books|Beddoes & Smith (1995)]] pp. 190, 195.</ref>  The last through passenger service between Bewdley and Woofferton was the 7.50 pm return working to Kidderminster on 28 July 1961.<ref>[[Bibliography#Books|Beddoes & Smith (1995)]] p. 190.</ref> The 'special', which was hauled by GWR 2-6-2T No 6144, can be seen at the beginning of this film by 'Cam' Camwell on [http://player.bfi.org.uk/film/watch-camwell-personal-film-no-54-special-last-train-kidderminster-to-woofferton-junction-1961/ BFIPlayer].
The last through passenger steam hauled "school childen's train" service between Bewdley and Woofferton duly began on Monday 31 July 1961, notwithstanding that this was the school holiday period. It left Tenbury Wells at 7.50 55 am with the return working leaving Kidderminster at 4.10 pm . On the same day Wyre Forest station became unstaffed and was closed to goods services. Over the next year BR allowed the service to run as 'mixed' if required, and also advertised cheap day excursions to Birmingham. However the one year trial was not deemed a success and BR successfully proposed a full closure from 1 August 1962. The last steam-hauled service to return working to Kidderminster Tenbury Wells ran on 28 31 July 19611962 and comprised two coaches hauled by ex-GWR 0-6-0PT No 3619.<ref>[[Bibliography#Books|Beddoes & Smith (1995)]] ppp. 190192-193, 195.</ref> The 'special', which was hauled by GWR 2-6-2T No 6144, can be seen at the beginning of this film by 'Cam' Camwell on [http://player.bfi.org.uk/film/watch-camwell-personal-film-no-54-special-last-train-kidderminster-to-woofferton-junction-1961/ BFIPlayer].
The steam hauled "school childen's train" Following the end of passenger services, Wyre Forest station closed completely on 1 August 1962. However the daily Stourbridge - Tenbury goods service duly began on Monday 31 July 1961continued, notwithstanding that this was serving the school holiday period. It left remaining stations at Cleobury Mortimer, Newnham Bridge, Neen Sollars and Tenbury Wells at 7.55 am with At the return working leaving Kidderminster at 4.10 pm. Over end of that month, the next year BR allowed the service to run as 'mixed' if required, Daily Telegraph reported that Tenbury Wells still had 12 staff serving no passengers and also advertised cheap only one goods train per day excursions to Birmingham. However Staff numbers soon reduced, with the one year trial was not deemed a success and BR successfully proposed a full closure from 1 August 1962signal box being closed on 28 April 1963. The last steam-hauled service to return to following day electric token working between Cleobury and Tenbury Wells ran on 31 July 1962 and comprised two coaches hauled was replaced by ex-GWR 0-6-0PT No 3619a single wooden staff for 'one engine in steam'.<refname=BS196>[[Bibliography#Books|Beddoes & Smith (1995)]] ppp. 192-193196.</ref>
The next significant closure resulted from the end of the daily Stourbridge - Tenbury goods service ended in on Saturday 4 January 1964. The remaining stations were closed from 6 January, with all traffic ceasing as seen in April 1965the closure notice. An infrequent goods service continued to the [[Cleobury Mortimer and Ditton Priors Light Railway|Admiralty depot at RNAD Ditton Priors]], using locos from [[Kidderminster Shed]] until its closure on 10 August 1964 and subsequently from Stourbridge shed. In the meantime the line between Tenbury and Newnham Bridge was used to store up to 1,000 condemned wagons. <ref name=BS196/>
At By early 1965 the Admiralty had announced the closure of Ditton Priors and only a few goods services still ran 'as required'. The last of that timetraffic ended from Good Friday 16 April 1965. Electric token working between [[Bewdley North signal box]] and Cleobury Mortimer was withdrawn on 8 May 1965 along with the wooden staff to Tenbury Wells. The branch was then worked as a siding while dismantling progressively took place, ending with the demolition of Dowles Bridge in March 1966. In 1965 the line between Bewdley and Cleobury Mortimer was considered as a possible candidate for preservation in the [[Severn Valley Railway Timeline 1965-1969#1965 | early days]] of the Severn Valley Railway Society. However continued use of Bewdley Station by BR meant this was not possible. Much of the line was demolished shortly thereafter, with Dowles Bridge being dismantled in March 1966<ref>[[Bibliography#Books|Beddoes & Smith (1995)]] pp. 196-198.</ref>.
==Use by the present day SVR==
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