Knowle & Dorridge Station
The original station was built by the Great Western Railway
as a condition of the land purchase and was opened for passengers on 1st
October 1852. This followed an inspection of the complete Birmingham and Oxford
Junction Railway (B&OJR) line by Captain Galton of the Board of Trade on
14th September 1852. The stations on the line opened for goods traffic several
months later in February of the following year. The line was originally built
as mixed gauge track, but converted to narrow (standard) gauge on 1st April
1869. This left a wide gap between the tracks and advantage was taken to erect
a water column between the tracks at the north end of the station. Although the
village of Knowle is about two miles distant from the station, it was initially
named Knowle station by the Great Western Railway before changing to Knowle and
Dorridge station on 1st July 1899.
The resident engineer for the B&OJR line was Isambard
Brunel and the station architecture at Knowle was very similar to other
Stations built by him around the same time (e.g. Aldermaston and Yatton
stations on the Berks & Hants Railway and Chepstow station in South Wales).
The semi-circular brick arches over the doors and windows in an Italian style
and the low roof, which extended over the platform being the most noticeable
features. The station had a goods yard at the London end on the Up side with a
single road timber goods shed. In 1875 a signal box with 18 levers was built on
the down side to control the yard and adjacent main line blocks. The signal box
frame was extended to 29 levers in 1901. In 1921 the yard was extended, with an
extra siding and cattle pens for the local race course traffic being provided.
A ground frame was added because of the distance to the signal box. In 1929 the
yard was recorded as having a six ton crane as well as facilities for dealing
with horses and cattle.
Between 1932 and 1933 the station was extensively remodelled
as part of the quadrupling of the Birmingham main line with new platforms and
station buildings being provided. A new signal box with 74 levers opening in
August 1932, replacing the original. This was a type GW10 signal box with a
distinctive steep pitched hip roof and narrow 3 up / 2 down windows. At the
same time the original goods shed was demolished and yard reduced to make way
for the additional main lines, but additional refuge sidings were provided on
the down side. A larger replacement goods yard, with a cattle dock suitable for
14 horse boxes, plus a 120 foot long by 40 foot wide metal framed goods shed
was constructed on the Birmingham Up side of the station. The goods shed
incorporated a one ton travelling crane. According to the 1956 RCH Handbook,
the six ton crane also remained available.
The track work in the south yard was altered in December
1961 and again in December 1964, with all the goods facilities here finally
being removed in February 1968. The 1933 north goods yard became a car-train
loading depot at this time. The double track main lines were retained, but the
relief lines became storage sidings for the car-train traffic. At the same time
the station was renamed Knowle Station again by British Rail. On 1st September
1969, the signal box was closed and on 6th June 1974 the station changed its
name to Dorridge Station.
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