18th Aug, 2019

As Bromsgrove gets its electric rail service, we look at the trains which have served the town over the years

Bromsgrove Editorial 29th Jul, 2018

AHEAD of Bromsgrove getting electric trains (see panel below) The Standard’s Neil Gordon books back at some of the diesel trains serving the town over the years.

The first picture, taken around 1985, shows a three-carriage, first-generation, diesel multiple unit (DMU) which operated British Rail services at Bromsgrove from the 1960s to the 1980s.

Lacking real power these trains struggled to climb the town’s infamous Lickey Incline and did so at a snail’s pace. Assistance from a banking locomotive was not uncommon.

Only a handful of services stopped at Bromsgrove, Monday to Saturday, for much of the 1970s and 1980s. The 5.36pm from New Street is pictured – the last service of the day to Bromsgrove.

Passengers missing this service needed to catch a bus, or take a train to Northfield, Longbridge or Barnt Green and arrange a lift home. Commuters walking home from Barnt Green was not unheard of.

The solitary platform, situated on the up line, can be seen. Trains from Birmingham would cross-over from the down line, via a set of points by St Godwalds Road bridge to access the platform.

The portal cabin served as ticket office, waiting room and staff restroom whilst on the left is the former Railway Carriage and Wagon works site which was cleared for the development.

The shop on Stoke Road, now Co-op, stayed open until 6.30pm for passengers on this service.

During the mid-1980s the Class 150 Sprinter train was introduced around the country as a more-powerful, second-generation, DMU (Picture 2). Trials were held at Bromsgrove in 1987 and the Sprinters were rolled-out locally soon after.

New services were gradually introduced in the late-1980s, resulting in more people travelling by train. The Sprinter has an access point behind the driving compartments that acted as an overspill area for passengers boarding busy services at New Street Station. This sometimes prevented guards and drivers from being able to board trains. Some services were cancelled when passengers refused to vacate the area following appeals.

A handful of Sprinters still call at the town today having seen service with British Rail, Central Trains, London Midland and now West Midlands Railway.

Finally, the class 170 Turbostar DMU [Picture 3] was designed for both regional and long-distance services. It has operated the bulk of services since its launch in 1999 but that will change on Sunday when the electric trains begin stopping in Bromsgrove.

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