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Knowle & Dorridge Station

GWR Route: Banbury to Wolverhampton

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 Main Line.

Robert Ferris

The original pre-1930s Knowle and Dorridge station

Edwardian view of Knowle and Dorridge station looking towards Birmingham with the down platform building on the left
Ref: gwrkd1007
Lens of Sutton
Edwardian view of Knowle and Dorridge station looking towards Birmingham with the down platform on the left
A view of Brunel's original station buildings looking towards Birmingham prior to the quadrupling of the tracks
Ref: gwrkd131
P Hopkins
A view of Brunel's original station buildings looking towards Birmingham prior to the quadrupling of the tracks
Close up showing the Birmingham end of the station including the footbridge and the loop lines
Ref: gwrkd131a
Real Photographs
Close up showing the Birmingham end of the station including the footbridge and the loop lines
Close up showing the up platform building and the end of the goods yard with coal merchants office
Ref: gwrkd131b
P Hopkins
Close up showing the up platform building and the end of the goods yard with coal merchants office

The replacement four-platformed Knowle and Dorridge station

The 1930s frontage of Knowle and Dorridge station after quadrupling of the line resulted in a new station
Ref: gwrkd1010
RS Carpenter
The 1930s frontage of Knowle and Dorridge station after quadrupling of the line resulted in a new station
View of the new station looking towards Birmingham as viewed from Platform 1 with Platform 2, 3 and 4 being the other platforms from right to left
Ref: gwrkd130
Real Photographs
Looking towards Birmingham as viewed from Platform 1 with Platform 2, 3 and 4 being from right to left
Close up view showing the Down Relief line platform in the distance with the platform accommodating both the Down and Up Main lines in the foreground
Ref: gwrkd130a
Real Photographs
Close up showing the Down Relief line platform in the distance with the Down and Up Main lines in the foreground
Close up view of the Down and Up Main platforms including the main station building which is to the right of the Up Main platform
Ref: gwrkd130b
Real Photographs
Close up view of the Down and Up Main platforms including the main station building which is to the right
Knowle and Dorridge Signal Box seen on 17th August 1969 shortly before being closed in September 1969
Ref: gwrkd2263
W Wright
Knowle and Dorridge Signal Box seen on 17th August 1969 shortly before being closed in September 1969

Three arch brick over bridge at Chessett’s Wood being modified by the replacement of one of the side arches
Ref: gwrkd1594
GWR Official Photograph
Three arch brick over bridge at Chessett’s Wood being modified by the replacement of one of the side arches
Original B & OJ Railway three arch brick over bridges were designed to cross double mixed gauge track
Ref: gwrkd1595
GWR Official Photograph
Original B & OJ Railway three arch brick over bridges were designed to cross double mixed gauge track
Map of Knowle and Dorridge station prior to the remodelling of the station due to the quadrupling of the lines
Ref: knowle_dorridge_map
Ordance Survey
Map of Knowle and Dorridge station prior to the remodelling of the station due to the quadrupling of the lines

Locomotives and trains seen at or near Knowle and Dorridge

GWR 4-2-2 Dean Single 'Achilles' class No 3013 'Great Britain' on the 3:28 pm down local from Knowle & Dorridge
Ref: gwrkd1623
HW Burman
GWR 4-2-2 Dean Single 'Achilles' class No 3013 'Great Britain' on the 3:28 pm down local from Knowle & Dorridge
An unknown Achilles class 4-2-2 locomotive doubleheads an outside framed 0-6-0 locomotive on a down fast service circa 1910
Ref: gwrkd1624
HW Burman
An unknown Achilles class 4-2-2 locomotive doubleheads an outside framed 0-6-0 locomotive on a down service
GWR 4-4-0 No 3814 County of Chester leaves Knowle & Dorridge on 12:30pm service to Birmingham in 1913
Ref: gwrkd1625
HW Burman
GWR 4-4-0 No 3814 County of Chester leaves Knowle & Dorridge on 12:30pm service to Birmingham in 1913
GWR 4-6-0 Saint class No 2901 'Lady Superior' is seen working a freight service near Knowle & Dorridge in August 1913
Ref: gwrkd1626
HW Burman
GWR 4-6-0 Saint class No 2901 'Lady Superior' is seen working a freight service near Knowle & Dorridge in 1913
GWR 2-4-0 No 3212 stands at Knowle and Dorridge with an up semi-fast service shortly prior to the First World War
Ref: gwrkd1629
HW Burman
GWR 2-4-0 No 3212 stands at Knowle and Dorridge with an up semi-fast service shortly prior to the First World War

GWR 4-4-0 No 3823 'County of Carnarvon' is about to leave with the 10:20am up express from Snow Hill on 18th April 1912
Ref: gwrkd1630
HW Burman
GWR 4-4-0 No 3823 'County of Carnarvon' is about to leave with the 10:20am up express from Snow Hill
GWR 'Dean Goods' 0-6-0 No 2410 hurries past with an up freight service near to Knowle & Dorridge circa 1911
Ref: gwrkd1631
HW Burman
GWR 'Dean Goods' 0-6-0 No 2410 hurries past with an up freight service near to Knowle & Dorridge circa 1911
GWR 'Dean Single' 4-2-2 No 3060 John G Griffiths stands at Knowle & Dorridge station heading a train to London via Oxford
Ref: gwrkd1632
HW Burman
GWR 'Dean Single' 4-2-2 No 3060 John G Griffiths stands at Knowle & Dorridge station heading a train to London
GWR Queen class  2-2-2 No 1128 Duke of York is seen standing at Knowle & Dorridge with an up local service
Ref: gwrkd1633
HW Burman
GWR Queen class 2-2-2 No 1128 Duke of York is seen standing at Knowle & Dorridge with an up local service
GWR Dean Goods 0-6-0 No 2579 is seen on a local up passenger service to Leamington circa 1911
Ref: ggwrkd1634
HW Burman
GWR Dean Goods 0-6-0 No 2579 is seen on a local up passenger service to Leamington circa 1911

GWR Saint class No 2903 'Lady of Lyons' approaches Knowle & Dorridge with an up express circa 1912
Ref: gwrkd1635
HW Burman
GWR Saint class No 2903 'Lady of Lyons' approaches Knowle & Dorridge with an up express circa 1912
An unknown GWR 4-6-0 Star class locomotive is seen at the head of a rake of GWR crimson lake liveried coaches
Ref: gwrxxxx
HW Burman
An unknown GWR 4-6-0 Star class locomotive is seen at the head of a rake of GWR crimson lake liveried coaches
GWR 4-2-2 Achilles class 7'-8'' Single No 3050 'Royal Sovereign' is seen at the head on an express near Knowle and Dorridge circa 1909
Ref: gwrkd1005
Anon
GWR 4-2-2 Achilles class No 3050 'Royal Sovereign' at the head on an express near Knowle and Dorridge C1909
GWR 4-4-0 No 3252 'Duke of Cornwall', the founding member of the class, is seen with an inspection coach during the quadrupling of the lines
Ref: gwrkd111
P Hopkins
GWR 4-4-0 No 3252 'Duke of Cornwall', with an inspection coach during the quadrupling of the lines
GWR 4-6-0 No 4017 'Knight of Leige' is seen at the head of a Birmingham to Paddington express train as it passes the up loop line near Knowle and Dorridge
Ref: gwrkd113
WL Good
GWR 4-6-0 No 4017 'Knight of Leige' is seen at the head of a Birmingham to Paddington express train

GWR 4-6-0 Star class No 4048 'Princess Victoria' is at the head of express with a Siphon G immediately behind the tender
Ref: gwrkd114
WL Good
GWR 4-6-0 Star class No 4048 'Princess Victoria' heads an express with a Siphon G behind the tender
Great Western Railway 4-2-2 3031 or ‘Achilles’ class No 3070 Earl of Warwick waiting at the original Knowle and Dorridge Station
Ref: gwrkd1601
HW Burman
GWR 4-2-2 3031 or ‘Achilles’ class No 3070 Earl of Warwick waiting at the original Knowle and Dorridge Station
Great Western Railway 2-4-0 ‘3206’ or ‘Barnum’ class No 3212 seen waiting at the starting signal with an up local passenger train
Ref: gwrkd1602
HW Burman
GWR 2-4-0 ‘3206’ or ‘Barnum’ class No 3212 seen waiting at the starting signal with an up local passenger train
GWR 4-6-0 No 'Dartmouth Castle' is seen at the head of an up express having just left Knowle and Dorridge en-route to Lapworth
Ref: gwrkd119
P Hopkins
GWR 4-6-0 No 'Dartmouth Castle' heads an up express having just left Knowle and Dorridge en-route to Lapworth
GWR 4-6-0 Star class No 4049 'Princess Maud' is seen at the head of an express approaching Knowle and Dorridge station in July 1925
Ref: gwrkd115
WL Good
GWR 4-6-0 Star class No 4049 'Princess Maud' approaches Knowle and Dorridge station with an express service

GWR 4-6-0 No 6013 'King Henry VIII' is seen approaching Knowle and Dorridge at the head of an express train in September 1929
Ref: gwrkd116
WL Good
GWR 4-6-0 No 6013 'King Henry VIII' is seen near Knowle and Dorridge at the head of an express train
GWR 4-4-0 Bulldog class No 3372 'Sir N Kingscote' on an up excursion train with the  two clerestory coaches behind the tender
Ref: gwrkd117
WL Good
GWR 4-4-0 Bulldog class No 3372 'Sir N Kingscote' on an up train with two clerestory coaches behind the tender
GWR 4-6-0 Castle class No 4016 'Night of the Golden Fleece' is seen at the head of a down express service during the quadrupling of the line
Ref: gwrkd118
P Hopkins
GWR 4-6-0 Castle class No 4016 'Night of the Golden Fleece' is seen at the head of a down express service
GWR 4-6-0 Saint class No 2989 'Talisman' is seen in full cry on the Down Main at the head of a Birkenhead express
Ref: gwrkd125
P Hopkins
GWR 4-6-0 Saint class No 2989 'Talisman' is seen in full cry on the Down Main at the head of a Birkenhead express
View of the GWR's founding member of the Star class, No 4000 'North Star' at the head of Paddington to Birmingham Snow Hill two-hour express
Ref: gwrkd120
WL Good
GWR Star class, No 4000 'North Star' at the head of Paddington to Birmingham Snow Hill two-hour express

GWR 4-4-0 Straight-framed Bulldog class No 3404 'Barbados' is seen at the head of a rake of close coupled six-wheel stock near Knowle and Dorridge
Ref: gwrkd121
WL Good
GWR 4-4-0 Straight-framed Bulldog class No 3404 'Barbados' heads a rake of close coupled six-wheel stock
GWR 4-6-0 Saint class No 2983 'Redgauntlet' is seen at the head of a down express train as it approaches Knowle and Dorridge
Ref: gwrkd124
P Hopkins
GWR 4-6-0 Saint class No 2983 'Redgauntlet' heads an express train approaching Knowle and Dorridge
Ex-London South Western Railway 4-4-0 class T9 No 288 is seen at the head of an up express made up of Southern rolling stock in September 1926
Ref: gwrkd129
WL Good
Ex-LSWR 4-4-0 class T9 No 288 is seen at the head of an up express of Southern rolling stock in September 1926
Southern Railways Class D15 No 466 is seen at the head of a down express approaching Knowle and Dorridge
Ref: gwrkd126
WL Good
Southern Railways Class D15 No 466 is seen at the head of a down express approaching Knowle and Dorridge
Southern Railways Class D15 No 465 is seen at the head of an up express of Southern coaching stock near Knowle and Dorridge
Ref: gwrkd127
WL Good
Southern Railways Class D15 No 465 is seen at the head of an up express of Southern coaching stock

London South Western Railway's superheated Class L12 No 418 is seen at the head of an express comprised of Southern coaching stock
Ref: gwrkd128
WL Good
London South Western Railway's Class L12 No 418 is seen at the head of a train of Southern coaching stock
British Railways Standard 9F 2-10-0 No 92120 is seen on a northbound part fitted freight on 14th August 1959
Ref: gwrkd1596
M Mensing
British Railways Standard 9F 2-10-0 No 92120 is seen on a northbound part fitted freight on 14th August 1959
Ex-GWR 4-6-0 Hall class No 4944 'Middleton Hall' is seen on 6:55am Wolverhampton to Paignton service
Ref: gwrkd1597
M Mensing
Ex-GWR 4-6-0 No 4944 'Middleton Hall' is seen on 6:55am Wolverhampton to Paignton service
GWR 2-6-2T Large Prairie class No 4170 is seen at the head of an Down local Leamington to Birmingham Snow Hill service standing at Platform 4 on the Down Relief line
Ref: gwrkd1006
JWT House
GWR 2-6-2T No 4170 is seen at the head of an Down local Leamington to Birmingham Snow Hill service
GWR 4-6-0 Hall class No 5990 'Dorford Hall' is seen entering the station at the head of a fast goods service on 22nd April 1958
Ref: gwrkd122
HC Casserley
GWR 4-6-0 No 5990 'Dorford Hall' enters the station at the head of a fast goods service on 22nd April 1958

View of the scene  following the fatal accident at Knowle and Dorridge on 15th August 1963
Ref: gwrkd2265
M Mensing
BR built 4-6-0 No 7008 'Swansea Castle' departs with an Oxford slow train on Sunday 10th July 1960
Great Western Railway 4-4-0 37XX or ‘City’ class No 3711 ‘City of Birmingham’ at Knowle and Dorridge Station with an up express
Ref: gwrkd1603
HW Burman
GWR 4-4-0 'City' class No 3711 ‘City of Birmingham’ at Knowle and Dorridge Station with an up express
Ex-GWR 4-6-0 68xx class No 6853 ‘Morehampton Grange’ passes through Knowle and Dorridge Station
Ref: gwrkd2326
C Gorton
Ex-GWR 4-6-0 68xx class No 6853 ‘Morehampton Grange’ passes through Knowle and Dorridge Station

Views of the 1963 accident

The Cowans Sheldon steam crane raises steam in order to start recovery operations on 15th August 1963
Ref: gwrkd2264
M Mensing
The Cowans Sheldon steam crane raises steam in order to start recovery operations on 15th August 1963
View of one of the cranes lifting debris from the site whilst other traffic continued on the adjacent lines
Ref: gwrkd1954
M Mensing
View of one of the cranes lifting debris from the site whilst other traffic continued on the adjacent lines
View of the scene  following the fatal accident at Knowle and Dorridge on 15th August 1963
Ref: gwrkd1953
M Mensing
View of the scene following the fatal accident at Knowle and Dorridge on 15th August 1963