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Bromsgrove 1965

This year was to see the virtual elimination of steam over the Birmingham to Bristol route with dieselisation of all freight services from Monday 1st March and  elimination of steam from all traffic by September being the aim of the operating authorities. in the event this would not be achieved, but more of that later.

Plans to close stations   

The main topics of interest in January were the continuing debate about station closures and cessation of passenger stopping services and an accident at the bottom of the Lickey Incline. British Railways had announced  their  proposal to  close local stations from early January, but  the strength  of  opposition from  local  residents  and Bromsgrove Urban District Council caused  the whole matter to be delayed, with British Railways announcing on Friday 29th January  that the proposals  for  closure  would  be discussed  at a  public  hearing  at The Grand  Hotel in Birmingham City Centre on 16th March. There were many objectors, for instance 197 people from Barnt Green alone. At the hearing itself it was revealed that there were 948 written objections with over 100 objectors at the meeting, which took over five hours. Support to the objections was given by James Dance who was at the time the Member Parliament for Bromsgrove, Worcestershire County Council and the Redditch and Bromsgrove Urban District Councils. The stations listed for closure included Bromsgrove, Stoke Works, Blackwell, Barnt Green, Bourneville, Northfield, Selly Oak, Alvechurch and Redditch. Much  of  the  evidence given against the closures centred on the poor alternative bus  services, greater road congestion, effect on local trade and hardship and inconvenience to current rail users. Particular emphasis was attached to the hardship case by the local Passenger Action Committee. The pressure that these objections created was to have the  desired  effect  because later in the year (December) a public announcement was made regarding reductions in services as from Sunday 3rd January 1966, the only closures being  Blackwell and Stoke Works  stations, the dates of these closures to be decided later. However, these stations became classified as unstaffed halts as from Monday 13th December.

More accidents 

The accident at the bottom of the Incline occurred on Saturday 16th January at about 2115 and involved a derailment of a north-bound freight train just above St Godwald’s Road Bridge. The train, consisting of mostly empty mineral wagons (49 in total) was en route from Stoke Gifford to Washwood Heath, hauled by a steam locomotive. Banking assistance was  provided by two  diesel type '3's (one being D6938), but after starting away from Bromsgrove one of  the wagons reared up, overturned and affected seven other wagons. The result was both lines being blocked for the next 24 hours. A crane, in charge of 48027, arrived early on Sunday to lift away the wagons and the badly distorted track was repaired over a distance of about 100 yards. Fortunately, no one was hurt. Whilst on the subject of accidents another derailment took place on Friday 12th February at Dunhampstead between Stoke Works and Norton Junction. A Bristol to Derby parcels train jumped the rails at about 50 mph, severely damaging the track for about two miles. The crew were not injured and services were diverted via Worcester.

Interesting motive power  

On the traffic front the beginning of March signalled all but two of the Birmingham to Gloucester steam turns being taken over by Brush 4 haulage (latter Class 47’s), and by summer all the Saturday extras were dieselised except for isolated steam substitutions  for failed diesels. By comparison steam-powered freights continued right through to the end of the year (and into 1966) but generally diesels dominated the scene with steam engines very much in a minority. The diminishing steam scene is recorded below, together with some of the more interesting diesel workings through the year.

Monday 25th January

On a journey between Bristol and Bromsgrove,  seven steam-hauled freights were noted, mostly  headed by Stanier 8F 2-8-0's 

Saturday 6th March 

Type 4  diesel D330 worked down the Redditch  branch on a FA Amateur Cup Special bringing 10  coaches  and 800 football fans from Enfield to  Alvechurch, probably the first visit of this class to  the branch.

Friday 13th March  

8415 (85A) was at Bromsgrove as yard pilot

Thursday 8th March

Warship Class D870 'Zulu' was noted at Bromsgrove with  the northbound  'Devonian'

Saturday 3rd April   

Castle Class 7029 'Clun Castle' (still in British Rail  service at this time) was used on a special railtour which ran from Birmingham Snow Hill (departed 0930) via Greenford to Swindon for a works visit. The return route, however, was via Oxford, Honeybourne, Worcester and Lickey arriving at Birmingham New Street at 1930. The  Castle worked through to Kings Norton being changed there for a diesel because of  clearance problems in New Street.

Saturday 10th April

5675 'Hardy' (55A Leeds) was on the 1153 York to Bristol

Tuesday 1th May

Black '5' 44945 worked the 1730 Birmingham to  Redditch service, returning with the evening  parcels train

Saturday 29th May

4472 'Flying Scotsman'  headed the 'East Midlander No.8' railtour from Nottingham Midland to Clapham Junction (for the museum) and Swindon (for a visit to the works and shed). The route home was via Gloucester and the Lickey Incline, the  climb up the incline being described as follows : "The start from Swindon had been 16 minutes late  and a  bad permanent way check after Gloucester, At  Bromsgrove the diesel banker had buffered up in  less  than a minute  and was anxious to be away,  but the crew of 4472 'Flying Scotsman' were wisely making certain  of a full boiler before  attacking the Lickey Incline - as spectators on Bromsgrove  station were soon to discover: Any priming  difficulties were soon overcome, however, as the climb was achieved in less than six minutes, a feat fit to confound the diesel enthusiasts.

Friday 4th June

K1 Class 62057 (50A York) was on a Washwood  Heath to Stoke Gifford freight; it remained at  Cardiff  for some while thought to have a cracked  frame - this was found not to  be so and it worked  back home via Gloucester and Saltley on Tuesday 13th July (the  first known working  on this route  by a K1 engine.

Monday 7th June

48506 (10F  Rose Grove) noted passing Bromsgrove

Tuesday 8th June

92223 (ex-Banker) noted passing Bromsgrove.


The first week in June also produced a number of interesting locomotives:

6932    Burwarton Hall' down freight

44965  down freight

45564  'New South Wales' up freight.

45598  'Basutoland' stopping  train.

45622  'Nyasaland ' up express.

45674  'Duncan' down  express freight.

61153  (41D Canklow) up Nottingham express.

62010  (K1 Class) unknown working (50A York).

92127  up  freight.

92230  freight.

70001 'Lord Hurcombe' down Sunday coal return (12A Carlisle) returning on Monday evening with a Worcester to Birmingham via Bromsgrove stopping train. The same duty being performed the  following week by 70045 'Lord Rowallan'.

plus  numbers of Peaks and Brush 4 diesels, and one diesel hydraulic D1007 'Western Talisman' on a down steel train. The decline of steam is evident with the majority of locomotives on freight or stopping trains. The visit of a second K1 locomotive was particularly notable.

Monday 14th June

One  steam banking turn survived until this date  using Worcester Based engines, such as 8415    (see 13th March above), but thereafter all duties,   including shunting, were performed by EE Type 3  diesels.     

Monday 14th June   

Further arguments about the local train services developed when a revision to the timetable was announced. The service between Worcester and Birmingham, New Street was slightly revised from Monday 14th June.


K1 61013 'Topt' (56B Ardley) noted on an up Saturday express to Nottingham.


The last seven examples of the 9400 0-6-0 Pannier tank class were withdrawn, three being  former Bromsgrove engines, namely 8403 (from 82E  Bristol), 8415 (from 85A Worcester) and 9430 (from 82E Bristol).

Saturday 17th July

Type 4  D382 was on the 2205 departed on Friday 16th July Hull to Paignton.

Saturday 31st July

D1802  on  the 14 coach 0750 Paignton to Newcastle  totalling 480 tons tare, ran unassisted up the Lickey (Bromsgrove to Blackwell) in 52 minutes.

Wednesday 4th August

Type 4 D233 'Empress of England' was on a 'City  of Birmingham' special throughout from Birmingham to Weston super Mare. 

Wednesday 11th August

D80/D307 on the Friday night 2042 Bradford to Paignton.

Thursday 19th August

K1 62057 (again) on a York to Stoke Gifford fitted freight. 

Monday 6th September

On a journey between Birmingham to Bristol,  steam freights were noted hauled by 48063(16E  Kirkby), 48131(5D Stoke), 48381(15A Leicester) and 92113 (16E Kirkby).

Thursday 7th October Hall  Class 6947  'Helingham Hall' (81F Oxford) was used for temporary  banking after the derailment  of diesel banker D6939 at Bromsgrove.
Saturday 9th October 4472 'Flying Scotsman' returning lightengine through Bromsgrove  en-route from Swindon to Doncaster after failing earlier in the day on a Paddington to Cardiff The Welsh Flyer railtour.
Friday 29th October Western Class  D1015 'Western Champion' worked through to Derby with the northbound 'Devonian'
November EE Type 3 diesel D6938, which had been the first diesel banker, was sent to Crewe Works for  overhaul; it was replaced by D6977 from Cardiff
Friday 3rd December 45697 'Achilles' worked an afternoon Birmingham to Bristol parcels train for special Christmas traffic as far as Gloucester Eastgate station.
Thursday 30th December An  unidentified Class 5 4-6-0 worked the 0610 Derby to Taunton right through to Bristol Temple Meads station.

So, even in the last full year of steam there had been new ground  broken with the first recorded visits of the ex-LNER K1 class, but the last known steam banking turn had passed and 1966 promised the final  demise of steam altogether.

More timetable changes

Looking at the timetable for 1965, the summer schedules saw an the morning  train which left Bromsgrove for Birmingham at 0818 now leaves some 20 minutes  earlier at 0755. This alteration has caused the residents of Bromsgrove to rise up  in wrath at losing half an hour's sleep in trying to catch this particular train to town: The local Passenger Action Group at Bromsgrove has complained bitterly  to British Rail about this alteration. One suggestion put forward by them, which appears  practical, was to extend a local train from Birmingham through to Bromsgrove. This is a new train, steam worked, leaving New Street at 0735, due at Barnt Green at 0759, where it waits until the 0755 has arrived and then at 0833 runs  all  stations to Birmingham. It was suggested that this train be  extended to  Bromsgrove where it could turn and be back at Barnt Green to continue in the same  timings  as at  present. British Rail refused to do this, and further meetings were held at Bromsgrove. They have stated that the service loses £159,000  a year, but this figure has been challenged in  that it is based on steam  haulage and not diesels, which work all the local services now.

More interesting motive power

Wednesday 16th June

48762 (2E  Saltley) assisted failed D5239 on  the 1740 New Street to Redditch through  Northfield 

Friday 25th June 

6859 'Yiewsley Grange' (88A Cardiff Canton) passed through Bromsgrove 

Thursday 1st July  

92067 (2D Banbury) passed through Bromsgrove

Friday 2nd July

45232 (16F Burton) passed through Bromsgrove

A visit  to Bromsgrove on Saturday 3rd July showed the typical traffic scene of the times :

Peak dieselsD30 D35 D42 D60

Brush Types 4's:  D1590, D1608, D1614, D1691, D1712, D1774 and D1804

EE Type 3's : D6938, D6941 and D6943 (bankers)

Steam 44663 (2E Saltley)

Steam 44663 (2E Saltley)

Train services speeded up because of diesel power

With the acceleration  in timings with, for example, the 'Cornishman' leaving Penzance 30 minutes later  and  arriving  at Birmingham seven minutes earlier at 1830. The fastest time ever between Birmingham and Bristol was attributed to the southbound 'Devonian' at 1 hour 40 minutes.

Train services speeded up because of diesel power

In earlier years the newly-built Type 3 locomotives allocated to South Wales were delivered from Doncaster (where they were on trial) to Cardiff via the Great Central Route and Banbury and Gloucester, but in 1965 the route was changed to Saltley, and Gloucester via the Lickey Incline. This caused Bromsgrove crews to gain a new turn working these engines from Saltley down to Gloucester, handing them over there to a Cardiff crew. The later built members of the class were involved, including the D6600 series (D6603/4/6/7 were allocated new to 87E, and D6605 to 86A, all in the period ending Sunday 7th November 1965). A fireman at Bromsgrove remembers this duty sometimes involved a long wait at Saltley paid, of course!) until the engine in question turned up, and on one occasion finding the brakes would not hold descending the Lickey Incline due to faulty adjustment, with the engine not pulling up until about Stoke Works. The locomotive could have been written off before it was even delivered to its first depot.