The line from Barnt Green to Redditch was opened for
passengers on 19th September 1859 and for goods traffic on 1st October 1859.
Alvechurch Station was opened a few weeks later on 1st November 1859. The
station was built on a 1 in 74 falling gradient which should have meant that
access to the ten wagon single siding was from the opposite end to that
constructed. The reason being that the Board of Trade (the government
department responsible for railways) normally insists that the locomotive is at
the lower end to prevent break away wagons. Bob Essery suggests that it is
likely the railway was built prior to this ruling becoming a statutory
This led to the primitive method of shunting with a tow rope
being employed for trains travelling in the up direction. Wagons required to be
placed in the siding from up trains were attached to a tow rope sufficiently
long to allow the locomotive to pass through the points and stop so the points
could be reset to allow the wagons to enter the siding. The locomotive pulling
the wagons forward on the parallel siding. As Bob Essery comments 'It was a
dangerous practice and men could be injured if the rope broke under the strain.
During Bob Essery's time on the line the simple practice of taking wagons to
Reditch for traffic destined north of Barnt Green was employed whilst traffic
required to go south was taken to Barnt Green.
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