Private sidings connected to the Severn Valley Railway
Traffic statistics published by the GWR showed that by the late 1930s almost 90% of revenue generated at stations on the Severn Valley Branch arose from freight traffic, particularly coal. Many industries and businesses had direct rail connections with their own private sidings.
Four collieries were served by the Severn Valley Branch. The exchange sidings for Highley Colliery were built alongside the Branch south of Highley Station, on what is now the site of The Engine House. Main line railway trucks were filled with coal at the colliery, and then run down a standard gauge incline to the sidings.
By 1939 production at Highley had moved to the new pithead at Alveley Colliery. The Alveley Sidings were located on what is now the site of Country Park Halt. Coal was brought from the colliery to the sidings, initially by a narrow gauge cable-worked tramway across a bridge over the River Severn and later by an aerial ropeway above it. With the closure the original Highly pithead, the sidings at Highley station became the landsale yard for Alveley Colliery.
6388 passes Alveley Sidings in October 1959 (Sellick Collection)
The Kinlet and Billingsley Colliery exchange sidings came into use in 1895 and were situated adjacent to the Branch immediately south of Borle Viaduct between Highley and Arley. Billingsley Colliery closed in 1921 and Kinlet Colliery in 1937 when production moved to Alveley. The Highley Mining Company then established a wagon repair works at the location. Working Timetables as late as 1960 refer to the arrangements for accessing these sidings.
The two power stations served by the Severn Valley Branch both had extensive sidings worked by their own locomotives. The seven exchange sidings at Stourport Power Station were accessed via a short branch line just under a mile in length which opened during World War 2. Ironbridge power station opened in 1932 and was located immediately north of Buildwas railway station. Its exchange sidings received deliveries from the Severn Valley Branch (until closure in 1962) as well as from the Wellington to Craven Arms Railway.
Other private sidings
Severn Valley Branch
Travelling along the Severn Valley Branch from south to north, the Leapgate Private Sidings between Hartlebury and Stourport served a depot of the Regent Oil Company (named Texaco after 1967) which opened on 28 August 1939. Nearby, the Wilden Sand Siding served a sand quarry until its closure and was later used to store wagons waiting to enter Stourport Power Station (see above).
A short way north of Stourport, the Burlish Branch gave access to a private siding for Steatite & Porcelain Products Ltd. During the Second World War a siding was also built for National Cold Stores to serve the emergency grain silo and food store there.
Between Bewdley and Arley, a Temporary siding for construction of the Elan Valley Aqueduct existed between 1899 and 1906.
A short-lived stone quarry siding opposite Highley Station was built in 1880. It was decommissioned the following year after the death of the quarry owner, and the land on which it stood became the site of Highley signal box which was built in 1883.
The two private sidings for Knowlesands Brick Works opened in 1922 and were located between Knowlesands Tunnel and Bridgnorth. The site is now occupied by the Severn Valley Industrial Estate which can be seen from the railway, although no trace remains of the sidings themselves.
North of Bridgnorth, another short-lived temporary siding for the Shropshire and West Midlands Agricultural Show at Bridgnorth was built in 1896.
The main Jackfield sidings were progressively extended; by 1900 reaching almost ½ mile in length and containing three ground frames, each controlling the local points and signals. Among the businesses served by them were Jackfield Brick & Tile Works, Doughty and Prestage's Wharf, Exley's Wharf and W. P. Jones' Wharf.
North of Ironbridge a private siding served Bower Yard Lime Kilns. Mr Griffith's Sand Siding at Buildwas was accessed via the station exchange sidings. There was also a Sand Pit siding at Buildwas located opposite Buildwas Abbey.
Kidderminster goods yard
Several private sidings were accessed via the goods yard at Kidderminster. These included J. P. Harvey's Corn Mill which led to other private sidings for J.H.Smith and the Summerfield Siding, the latter added in 1943 during the Second World War. The bottom yard at Kidderminster (the area now mainly occupied by Kidderminster Carriage Shed) was also enlarged in 1943 and two sidings added for Wagon Repairs Limited.
Sand and gravel quarries around the yard were served by Guiseley Silica's siding at Kidderminster which also gave access to a siding for General Refractories, and Thatcher and Whitehouse's Sand Siding.
Travelling along the Kidderminster Loop Line towards Bewdley, H. Whitehouse's Sand Siding at Kidderminster was situated to the right of the line opposite Kidderminster Shed. The siding could hold up to 12 wagons.
The main private sidings on the Loop Line were those which served the Sugar Beet Factory at Foley Park. A temporary siding for construction of the factory was built in 1925; once completed the sidings themselves remained in use after the closure to passengers of the Kidderminster-Bewdley line on 6 January 1970, finally closing on 25 October 1982. Other businesses south of the factory had their own private sidings accessed via the Foley Park sidings, namely:
An 1876 GWR plan shows a proposed siding for a 'Mr. Green' at Kidderminster, possibly George Ferrer Green, timber dealer and sand merchant.
An 1897 photo from the GRC&W shows a wagon built for E.B.Mason marked with "Return to Sand Quarries, Stourport". The location of the sand quarry and its associated siding are not known, however, a visitor to the SVR in 2022 recalled meeting someone who worked for Masons in the 1930s loading sand into canal boats to be shipped to Stourport where it was transferred to railway wagons. Ordnance Survey maps show sand pits adjacent to the canal north of Stourport from the 1880s to the 1950s. Link to map