September 28th, 2016

Bromsgrove celebrates railway milestone

A RAILWAY milestone was reached last week with the 175th anniversary of the opening of the railway in Bromsgrove.

The historic day of June 24 1840 saw the opening of both the original station in Bromsgrove and the introduction of services between the town and Cheltenham.

The town’s first station consisted of a booking office, clerk’s office, waiting rooms and toilets. A platform 10ft wide was provided and a colonnade stretched along the buildings.

The inaugural service arrived from Cheltenham that morning with tickets priced at 11 shillings for first class and 5 shillings for second class.

Built by the Birmingham and Gloucester railway company, the origin of the railway in Bromsgrove was influenced by the supply of goods to Birmingham from the docks at Gloucester.

At the time the chosen route was described as the only direct link between the north and west of England.

Neville Billington who has recently written a book on the founding of The Institution of Mechanical Engineers said: “The route was a logical line of communication and was an important catchment for passenger and goods traffic, particularly salt from Droitwich.”

Over 3,500 men were involved in the construction of the railway under the guidance of Engineer William Moorsom, with Bromsgrove being a terminus initially until the line was opened to Cofton three months later. It was then completed to Curzon Street Station in Birmingham the following year.

A relic of the original railway company remains evident today with the letters BAG (Birmingham and Gloucester) being applied to mileposts along the route.

This milepost on Newton Bridge (pictured) overlooks construction of the new station that is set to open later this year.

That will enable the vital role fulfilled by the railway in Bromsgrove to continue for another 175 years.