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Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Stour Valley Railway support notice 1846 | by ian.dinmore
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Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Stour Valley Railway support notice 1846

The Stour Valley line was originally known as the Birmingham, Wolverhampton & Stour Valley Railway, its construction was authorised by an Act of Parliament passed on 3rd August 1846. The capital was equally divided between four sources; the company itself, the Shrewsbury & Birmingham Railway, the Birmingham Canal Company, and local interests. The line was to start at New Street station which was initially known as Navigation Street station until its name changed in timetables in November 1852. The route was to run from the London & Birmingham line at New Street station to Bushbury where it would join the Grand Junction Railway. There would also be a short branch to Dudley from Dudley Port.

There were seven intermediate stations; Smethwick, Spon Lane, Oldbury & Bromford Lane, Dudley Port, Tipton, Deepfields & Coseley, and Ettingshall Road & Bilston. The route was called the Stour Valley Line because of a projected line from Smethwick through the valley to Stourbridge, which never happened.

Right from the beginning the London & North Western Railway wanted to gain control of the line, which after all ran from their station at Birmingham to the old Grand Junction line which was also in their possession. It strengthened its control in three ways:

 

1.It took over the Birmingham Canal Company.

2.It leased the line under the terms of an Act passed on 1st July 1847 which would prevent the Shrewsbury & Birmingham from using the line if they joined the Great Western Railway, who were intense rivals of the London & North Western.

3.By making the Wolverhampton General station (High Level) and the section to Bushbury joint property with the Shrewsbury & Birmingham in an Act of 9th July 1847, which also gave the Shrewsbury & Birmingham running powers over the Stour Valley Line.

 

Having secured control of the line they could begin its construction.

 

This was split into three sections; Birmingham to Winson Green, Winson Green to Oldbury (it is this section that the notice refers to), and Oldbury to Bushbury.

The engineers in charge were Robert Stephenson and William Baker. Initially work proceeded briskly.Their report of August 1847 indicated that one third of the 845yard tunnel into New Street was already complete. Having secured control of the line, the London & North Western were in no hurry to complete the task and so the remaining work proceeded at a more leisurely pace.

The progress was also slow on the section near Bushbury due to difficulties in acquiring land.

Work finished on 21st November 1851, and was officially announced on 1st December.

It had taken just over four years to complete.

 

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Uploaded on October 14, 2014