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.
The following extract from the Great Western Railway
Development Works (Published December 1933) is available via this link
Olton to Lapworth - Quadrupling Birmingham
The original pre-1930s Knowle and Dorridge
Ordnance Survey maps of the original station
The replacement four-platformed Knowle and Dorridge
Locomotives and trains seen at or near Knowle and
Report on the Collision that occurred on 15th August 1963
at Knowle and Dorridge
The report into the collision between an express
passenger train and a freight train at Knowle and Dorridge in 1963. This
document was published on 19th February 1964 by Ministry of Transport. It was
written by Col. D. McMullen.
"The signalman at Bentley Heath Crossing signalbox had
accepted the 1.0 p.m. Birmingham (Snow Hill) to Paddington Pullman express
train on the Up Main line and had received "Line Clear" for it from the
signalman at Knowle and Dorridge, the next box in advance and less than mile
distant. and he had then lowered all his signals, including the Distant. The
signalman at Knowle and Dorridge did not, however, lower his signals and,
forgetting that he had accepted the express. He allowed a shunting movement to
pass onto the Up Main line and to proceed along it in the facing direction. He
realised his mistake at the last minute and stopped the shunting movement
almost opposite his box. but in that position it fouled the clearing point
which is 440 yards beyond the Up Main Home signal.
The Pullman express, which comprised nine coaches drawn by a
diesel-hydraulic locomotive, was travelling at about 80 m.p.h. as it approached
Bentley Heath Crossing box. The driver evidently saw the Knowle and Dorridge
Outer Distant signal, which is on the same post as the Bentley Heath Crossing
Home signal, at Caution, and he certainly made an emergency application of the
brakes. The Outer Distant is, however, only 902 yards from the Home signal,
which is not an adequate braking distance from such a speed, and the train
passed the latter signal at Danger and collided at about 20 m.p.h. with the
leading vehicle of the shunting movement at a point about 377 yards beyond that
signal. The special Regulation for the operation of trains where the braking
distance beyond a Distant signal is inadequate, which is applicable to the two
boxes concerned, had been disobeyed on this occasion by the signalmen.
The express was not derailed, but the leading end of its
locomotive was wrecked, and I regret to report that the driver and the two
others in the driving compartment, the co-driver and a fireman, were killed.
One member of the staff of the restaurant car was severely scalded; he was
removed to hospital without delay and was detained. Two other members of the
railway staff suffered from shock."
Views of the 1963 accident