Stourport

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1948 aerial photograph of Stourport. The station is at top centre, the SVRSevern Valley RailwaySVRA:Severn Valley Railway AssociationSVRS:Severn Valley Railway Society passing from left (Bewdley) to right (Hartlebury). The River Severn, Stourport Power Station (plus sidings), and canal basins on the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal are also visible. Image from Britain from Above
Extract from 1951 OS Map showing Stourport
Next stations pre-closure
Towards Hartlebury Towards Shrewsbury
Hartlebury (3 miles) Bewdley (2½ miles)
via Burlish Halt (from 1930)

Stourport Station

Stourport Station was located 3 miles from Hartlebury and 37¾ miles from Shrewsbury. It was considered one of the principal stations on the line, with two platforms and a passing loop from opening in 1862 as well as a small goods yard and goods shed. The station building was almost identical to those at Bewdley and Buildwas. The location of the station just a short way north of the town made it perhaps the most convenient of the Severn Valley Railway’s stations relative to the town it served.[1]

The line through Stourport ran east-west, the goods yard being situated south of the line. In 1885, additional sidings were installed north of the line connecting to a newly built basin on the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal. Around this time the GWRGreat Western Railway also built two new interlocked signal boxes at each end of the station; these were named Stourport North and Stourport South, referring to the overall direction of travel rather than the geography of the station itself. From late 1887 the double line between the boxes was worked under absolute block regulations.[2]

A level crossing was situated immediately to the west of the station. Construction of the Kidderminster and Stourport Electric Tramway was authorised in 1896. The tramway ran along Minster Road, crossing the railway at Stourport via the level crossing at a skew angle. During the tramway's construction, the GWRGreat Western Railway took the opportunity to extend the passing loop beyond the level crossing at a cost of £349, of which the Tramway company reimbursed £202.[3]

Stourport station was officially renamed 'Stourport-on-Severn' in 1934, possibly to avoid confusion with nearby Stourbridge as there was no other Stourport station.[4]

The Shropshire & Worcestershire Electric Power Co built a power station at Stourport after the First World War. However a direct rail connection to the Severn Valley Railway was only opened in 1940, coal deliveries before then being mainly via the River Severn or the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal. Once opened, the rail connection remained until January 1981, prolonging the life of the southern end of the Severn Valley Railway.

The extract from Ordnance Survey Map SO87, surveyed 1938 - 1949, published 1951, shows the branch line between Stourport Power Station (bottom) and Stourport Station (marked ‘Sta’). The line continues northwards towards Burlish Halt (top).

The area formerly occupied by the station is now part of a housing estate.

GWR Traffic statistics for Stourport, selected years prior to 1939[5]
Passenger Traffic Freight Traffic
Year Tickets issued Parcels despatched Revenue (£) Tons received & despatched Revenue (£) Total revenue (£)
1903 29,300 21,338 3,155 76,174 24,437 27,592
1913 36,902 32,380 4,300 88,667 31,006 35,306
1923 37,736 22,474 6,286 96,711 49,168 55,454
1933 17,137 28,787 4,176 133,929 61,403 65,579
1938 16,269 36,566 4,078 130,922 61,178 65,256

Historic maps of Stourport

  • 1885 map showing Minster Road level crossing to the west and the canal to the east.
  • 1902 map showing the canal basin and sidings.
  • 1924 map showing the Burlish Branch to the west and a wagon turntable at the canal basin.
  • 1938 map showing the junction to the power station to the east.

The town of Stourport

The origins of the Worcestershire town of Stourport date back to the completion of the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal in 1771. In that year John Wesley described Stourport as a "well-built village", but following the opening of the canal for trade in 1772 the village quickly grew into a town based around the large canal basins that served as the ‘port’, reaching a population of 1,300 by 1795.[6]

The early growth of Stourport saw a corresponding decline in the fortunes of Bewdley as a port.[7] However further significant growth of Stourport was effectively ended by the opening of the Worcester and Birmingham Canal in 1816. This provided a direct link between the two towns.

A description of the newly opened Severn Valley branch in 1863 describes: "Stourport is marked in the distance by three tall smoking chimneys, and as you pass through the station the sensitive nose detects the not unpleasant aroma of bark, leather-tanning being the staple trade of the town. Just before reaching the station the line crosses the little river which gives its name to the town, and we arrive within sight of the Severn"[8].

Gallery

See also

The Severn Valley Railway under GWR/BR ownership

References

  1. Vanns (1998/2013) p. 75.
  2. Vanns (1998/2013) p. 77.
  3. Marshall (1989) p. 90.
  4. Marshall (1989) p. 89.
  5. Nabarro (1971) p. 54.
  6. Stourport on Wikipedia
  7. Marshall (1989) p.12.
  8. "Excursions by Railway", Worcester Journal, 25 April 1863