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LMS Route: Nuneaton to Birmingham New Street
LMS Route: Birmingham New Street to Tamworth

Castle Bromwich Station

Location

The original Castle Bromwich station was opened on 10th February 1842 on the Birmingham and Derby Junction Railway's (B&DJR) section of line between Lawley Street, Birmingham and Whitacre at the behest of the Earl of Bradford, a local landowner. This section of the B&DJR was initially authorised in 1836 with the bill originally envisaging the line running from Derby via Whitacre to Stechford, and then from here, over the London and Birmingham Railway's metals into Curzon Street station. London traffic was intended to run from Whitacre to Derby Junction (later known as Hampton station) at Hampton in Arden and then to be taken forward by London & Birmingham Railway (L&BR) services to Euston. The first section opened was from Whitacre to Hampton where onward traffic to and from Birmingham and London over L&BR rails commenced. However due to the high tolls charged by the L&BR, and also the significant traffic delays experienced by B&DJR travellers using the L&BR's services into Birmingham, the B&DJR very quickly decided to built their own direct line to Birmingham. However because their route needed to be terminated in Birmingham, they elected to run along the Tame and Rea valleys to a new station in Lawley Street rather than at Stechford as originally planned. Also known as the Tame Valley Railway, this and the Birmingham & Gloucester railway were merged in 1846 with other companies to become part of the Midland Railway.

The Station and its facilities

Castle Bromwich station was orientated roughly east to west with east being on the Whitacre side of the station and west being on the Lawley street side of the station. The station was located on the east side of Chester Road and was provided with two platforms, with the two running lines being located in between the two platform faces, and with its main passenger facilities located on the down platform. The up platform was only provided with waiting facilities reflecting the fact that the majority of traffic was to and from Birmingham. As seen on the 1886 OS map passengers requiring tickets to travel to stations east of Castle Bromwich would cross via the road bridge, utilising steps located on either side of the bridge. The station's goods facilities were limited being just a single siding located to the rear of the down platform. Access by road to both the goods yard and passenger facilities on the down platform were via a long drive off and running parallel to the Chester Road. A signal box, located on the Whitacre side of the up platform, had been erected to control the main line through the station and movements into and out of the goods siding. So busy was the Tame valley line to become that in 1902 the Midland Railway quadrupled the route through Castle Bromwich. The installation of these two extra lines required the station to be completely remodeled with the signal box being moved from the up line to the down line.

In its new form Castle Bromwich retained its East to West orientation but this time sited its principal building and entrance to face directly on to Chester Road (see image 'mrcb34'). The two storey building was erected to the south of the road bridge, with its upper storey facing on to Chester Road and at ground level goods offices facing on to the goods yard (as seen in image 'mrcb1030'). The goods facilities were expanded during the remodelling to include an additional siding, one following more or less the line of the original siding, the other angled to follow the yard's boundary yard to access a landing dock sited behind the weighbridge and office. Terry Callaghan describes the architectural style of the building fronting on to the Chester Road in Disused Stations as follows, 'Although built in brick there were occasional terra-cotta courses to provide some fashionable distinction. The ridge of the roof was parallel to the road and ended with two tall chimney stacks which were treated to terra-cotta courses. The road frontage looked unbalanced with a large gable, topped with a ball finial, facing the road towards its southern end and pierced by an oeil-de-boeuf window; a much smaller but more elaborately designed gable, with a similar window and a ball finial, was found towards the northern end. A verandah was clasped between wing walls at each end of the building which were capped by remarkably large ball finials. The building was entered via a triple arcade. The two storey building viewed from the platform elevation was less elaborate, but not without interest. Two asymmetrically placed gables projected a short distance from the structure, one with a tall chimney stack springing from it. Openings on this elevation were a mixture of complete and segmental arches'.

The layout of the rebuilt station was unusual insofar that when looked at in plan (see image 'mrcb1020a') it appeared as having two island platforms with the four lines running on either side of the two islands with a stand-alone platform sited to the north of the up platform. This stand-alone platform was served by a single line ending at a buffer stop located just short of the embankment leading up to the bridge carrying the Chester Road over the railway. Adjacent to this single line and also ending in a buffer stop by the embankment was a refuge siding accessed off the up slow line east of the station. In fact each of the two island platforms only had one platform face being used for passenger trains. The other side of both island platforms were fenced off by railings as the track running on this side of the island platforms were for use by goods traffic proceeding to and from Washwood Heath Sidings and beyond. The down platform was numbered '1' (for passenger traffic to Birmingham) and the up platform was numbered '2' (for traffic from Birmingham). The standalone platform was numbered '3'. Both the up and down platforms were provided with timber framed buildings with the down platform having the larger structure as the majority of passengers leaving the station (and therefore require waiting facilities) were bound for Birmingham. The platform buildings had a roof line which continued as a cantilevered canopy to the full depth of the platform and set at angle with the 'fall' of the canopy and roof being to the rear of the buildings. The third platform had no such structure on the platform.

The third stand-alone platform was allegedly to be used for excursion traffic, but how this traffic was to be generated at the turn of the 20th century in what was still primarily a rural environment, is unclear to the writer. The refuge siding located adjacent to the third platform was still being used in the 1960s (as seen in image 'mrcb1032'). The station's booking office was located at road level by the main entrance. Following the purchase of their tickets passengers then gained access to their platform via a covered footbridge which bridged all four lines. The covered passenger steps to both the up and down platforms were at sited 90º to the covered footbridge as can be seen in image 'mrcb1740'. A similar set of steps which led down to the third 'excursion' platform was also provided, as seen in the 1916 Ordnance Plan, but by the 1960s this had been removed and reoriented as an open set of stairs to run parallel with Chester Road. It has been suggested that this set of open stairs was to provide access to the British Industries Fair Exhibition and their length and angle of descent would support this theory (see iimage 'mrcb1031b').

Passenger and Goods Services

The timetable for March 1850 showed three trains from Castle Bromwich to Derby and four trains to Birmingham Lawley Street on Mondays to Saturdays with no service being available on Sundays. On 1st July 1879, a new service began between Birmingham New Street and Wolverhampton via Sutton Park which also called at Castle Bromwich. This used the Midland Railway's new route to Walsall from a junction opened just short of a mile to the east of Castle Bromwich. As stated above, during the last decades of the 19th century the Tame valley line became a very busy main line for the Midland Railway handling significant amounts of freight traffic as well as passenger traffic. The expansion of Washwood Heath Sidings and New Street Station bearing testomony to this expansion. The timetable for December 1895 showed Castle Bromwich as having nineteen up and twenty-three down trains Monday to Saturday with none on Sundays, of these eleven trains in each direction ran between Birmingham and Wolverhampton. By July 1922 (which was the Midland Railway's last year of independence prior to grouping), Castle Bromwich station was being served by twenty-two up and nineteen down trains Monday to Saturday with again none on a Sunday. Twenty-five years later, when the railways were nationalisation on 1st January 1948, Castle Bromwich became under the juristiction of the London Midland Region of British Railways. The timetable for the summer 1948 showed twenty-three up and sixteen down trains Monday to Friday but with additional services on Saturdays and for the first time, two trains calling in each direction on a Sunday. The British Railways timetable for the winter of 1948 showed an ammended service with twenty-two up and twenty-one down services Monday to Friday with a couple of extra trains on a Saturday. As would be expected, trains calling at Castle Bromwich were in the main local return services from Birmingham New Street to Derby, Leicester via Nuneaton Abbey Street and to Walsall via Sutton Park. It was recorded that a few express trains stopped here including the Worcester to York service.

The Railway Clearing House's 1929 Handbook of Railway Stations states Castle Bromwich provided the general public and commerce with a full set of services. These are recorded as: Goods traffic; Passenger and Parcels traffic; Furniture Vans, Carriages, Portable Engines, and Machines on Wheels; Live Stock; Horse boxes and Prize Cattle Vans; Carriages by Passenger Trains (GPFLHC). There were no cranage facilities provided in the goods yard so merchants would either have to man handle the loading/unloading of goods themselves or, if necessary, bring in a mobile crane. The British Industries Fair (BIF) exhibition centre opened in 1920 and located alongside the railway to the north of the station. In 1933 the BIF annual fair exhibited the first diesel train in the country which had arrived on its maiden run from Euston. In 1934 LMS 6P 4-6-0 No 6100 'The Royal Scot', complete with it with American issued large lamp and bell, was exhibited at the British Industrial Fair's siding located adjacent to the station. From 1920 until 1960 (with the exception of 1925 and the period 1941 to 1946), exhibitions lasting two weeks were held every year at this fore runner of the NEC. Thousands of people travelled to these fairs by service train and by special excursions making Castle Bromwich a very busy station. With the opening of the British Industries Fair in 1956, British Railways operated new Diesel Multiple Units to carry visitors to the event on a shuttle service between Birmingham New Street and Castle Bromwich.

Closure

The 'Beeching’ report of 1963 recommended the withdrawal of all stopping services between Birmingham and Derby and the closure of the stations at which they called. Despite the identification of this route for closure Castle Bromwich was, surprisingly, not named in the list of stations to be closed. The summer 1962 timetable showed that the station had a good service of thirty-two up and twenty-eight down trains Monday-to-Friday; it served a large residential area close to the centre of Birmingham. The Major Trunk Routes for Development report of 1964 (follow up to the Reshaping of British Railways) recognised the importance of the Tame valley line as part of a north-east and south-west trunk route, and it was recommended for retention and improvement. On 9th September 1964 formal notice was published of the proposal to withdraw Derby – Tamworth – Birmingham local trains, but it took until 16th August 1967 for Barbara Castle, Secretary of State for Transport to give her approval, reprieving one of the stations. Castle Bromwich station finally closed to passenger services on 4th March 1968.

Our thanks to Terry Callaghan of www.disused-stations.org.uk for additional information.

Castle Bromwich station and goods yard

Castle Bromwich station's road bridge entrance  with a long canopy carried between its two wing walls
Ref: mrcb1717
British Railways
Castle Bromwich station's road bridge entrance with a long canopy carried between its two wing walls
The exterior of Castle Bromwich station which fronted on to Chester Road is all decked out with bunting in 1955
Ref: mrcb34
Lens of Sutton
Exterior of Castle Bromwich station, which fronted on to Chester Road, is all decked out with bunting in 1955
Close up showing the entrance to the station's booking office from which access to the platforms was via a footbridge
Ref: mrcb34a
Lens of Sutton
Close up of the entrance to the station's booking office from which access to the platforms was via a footbridge
The rear of Castle Bromwich's brick built two-storey station building which fronted on to Chester Road
Ref: mrcb1030
B Pixton
The rear of Castle Bromwich's brick built two-storey station building which fronted on to Chester Road
An Edwardian postcard looking along the down platform in the direction of Birmingham New Street
Ref: mrcb1027
Postcard
An Edwardian postcard looking along the down platform in the direction of Birmingham New Street

LMS railway photo
Ref: mrcb36
Lens of Sutton
Looking north along the station's up platform towards Castle Bromwich junction during the mid 1950s
Close up of the up platform's facilities which housed a both a general and a separate ladies waiting room
Ref: mrcb36a
Lens of Sutton
Close up of the up platform's facilities which housed a both a general and a separate ladies waiting room
Close up showing the station building accommodating passenger facilities on the down platform
Ref: mrcb36b
Lens of Sutton
Close up showing the station building accommodating passenger facilities on the down platform
Close up showing Castle Bromwich Junction in the near distance and the goods yard on the right
Ref: mrcb36c
Lens of Sutton
Close up showing Castle Bromwich Junction in the near distance and the goods yard on the right
Looking along the station's up platform which has very little furniture evident other than the bench seat on the left
Ref: mrcb1718
A Brookes
Looking along the station's up platform which has very little furniture evident other than the bench seat on the left

Looking towards New Street along the station's up platform with the goods yard on the left
Ref: mrcb1719
A Brookes
Looking towards New Street along the station's up platform with the goods yard on the left
Close up showing the stairs to the passenger footbridge which led to the booking office and the other platform
Ref: mrcb1031a
RS Carpenter
Close up showing the stairs to the passenger footbridge which led to the booking office and the other platform
Close up showing part of the covered stairs onto the down platform and on the right open steps to the sidings
Ref: mrcb1031b
RS Carpenter
Close up showing part of the covered stairs onto the down platform and on the right open steps to the sidings
The steps from the footbridge leading down from the covered footbridge on to the western end of the up platform on 28th July 1973
Ref: mrcb1740
A Young
The steps from the footbridge leading down from the covered footbridge on to the western end of the up platform on 28th July 1973
Looking West towards Castle Bromwich station with the junction signal box on the left from North of the station
Ref: mrcb1032
DJ Norton
Looking West towards Castle Bromwich station with the junction signal box on the left from North of the station

Close up showing Castle Bromwich Junction signal box and the entrance to the station's goods yard
Ref: mrcb1032a
DJ Norton
Close up showing Castle Bromwich Junction signal box and the entrance to the station's goods yard
Two views of the western elevation and front of Castle Bromwich Junction Signal Box as seen in 1963
Ref: mrcb1738
MA King
Two views of the western elevation and front of Castle Bromwich Junction Signal Box as seen in 1963
Close up showing part of Castle Bromwich Junction and the approach to the station and goods yard
Ref: mrcb32a
WL Good
Close up showing part of Castle Bromwich Junction and the approach to the station and goods yard

Trains seen at or near Castle Bromwich

LMS Period (1st Jan 1923 to 31st December 1947)

LMS 4P Compound 4-4-0 No 1079 is seen at the head of a Derby to New Street express on 3rd June 1925
Ref: mrcb32
WL Good
LMS 4P Compound 4-4-0 No 1079 is seen at the head of a Derby to New Street express on 3rd June 1925
LMS 4P Compound 4-4-0 No 1162 stands light engine on one of the two up refuge sidings at Castle Bromwich
Ref: mrcb35
WL Good
LMS 4P Compound 4-4-0 No 1162 stands light engine on one of the two up refuge sidings at Castle Bromwich
Ex-MR 1P 2-4-0 No 1 stands at the up platform on a Birmingham to Derby local train on 3rd June 1925
Ref: mrcb37
WL Good
Ex-MR 1P 2-4-0 No 1 stands at the up platform on a Birmingham to Derby local train on 3rd June 1925
Ex-MR 2P 4-4-0 No 371 approaches Castle Bromwich station with a local service for New Street on 3rd June 1925
Ref: mrcb38
WL Good
Ex-MR 2P 4-4-0 No 371 approaches Castle Bromwich station with a local service for New Street on 3rd June 1925
Ex-MR 2P 4-4-0 No 375 enters the station whilst at the head of Derby to New Street service on 3rd June 1925
Ref: mrcb39
WL Good
Ex-MR 2P 4-4-0 No 375 enters the station whilst at the head of Derby to New Street service on 3rd June 1925

Ex-MR 2P 4-4-0 No 531 passes through the station on an up express service on 3rd June 1925
Ref: mrcb40
WL Good
Ex-MR 2P 4-4-0 No 531 passes through the station on an up express service on 3rd June 1925
Ex-MR 3P 4-4-0 No 776 stands at Castle Bromwich's up platform on a local service on 3rd June 1925
Ref: mrcb41
WL Good
Ex-MR 3P 4-4-0 No 776 stands at Castle Bromwich's up platform on a local service on 3rd June 1925
LMS railway photo
Ref: mrcb42
WL Good
Ex-MR 4-2-2 1P MR 'Spinner' No 673 arrives at the station with a local Birmingham bound train
Midland Railway 2P 4-4-0 No 517 approaches the station on a down train for New Street on 9th May 1936
Ref: mrcb30
HC Casserley
Midland Railway 2P 4-4-0 No 517 approaches the station on a down train for New Street on 9th May 1936
LMS 6P 4-6-0 No 6100 'The Royal Scot' stands at the British Industrial Fair adjacent to the station
Ref: mrcb31
E Manley
LMS 6P 4-6-0 No 6100 'The Royal Scot' stands at the British Industrial Fair adjacent to the station

British Railways Period (1st January 1948 onwards)

BR 5MT 4-6-0 No 73028 departs Castle Bromwich on an up passenger service on 5th September 1959
Ref: mrcb1025
M Mensing
BR 5MT 4-6-0 No 73028 departs Castle Bromwich on an up passenger service on 5th September 1959
Ex-S&D 3F 0-6-0 No 43194 is seen at the head of a freight en-route to Kings Norton during May 1957
Ref: mrcb1021
Real Photographs
Ex-S&D 3F 0-6-0 No 43194 is seen at the head of a freight en-route to Kings Norton during May 1957
An unidentified ex-LMS 5MT 4-6-0 'Black Five' roars through the station on an up express service to Derby
Ref: mrcb1031
RS Carpenter
An unidentified BR built 5MT 4-6-0 'Black Five' roars through the station on an up express service to Derby
Ex-LMS 4P 4-4-0 'Compound' No 41157 departs Castle Bromwich station on an up service on 15th May 1959
Ref: mrcb33
ND Mundy
Ex-LMS 4P 4-4-0 'Compound' No 41157 departs Castle Bromwich station on an up service on 15th May 1959
Ex-LMS 2-6-0 'Horwich Crab' No 42826 heads towards Washwood Heath on a Class D semi-fitted express freight
Ref: mrcb1033
DJ Norton
Ex-LMS 2-6-0 'Horwich Crab' No 42826 heads towards Washwood Heath on a Class D semi-fitted express freight

LMS railway photo
Ref: mrcb1019
DJ Norton
BR 5MT 4-6-0 No 73003 approaches the station from Washwood Heath on an up express service in 1953
Ex-LNWR 'Super D' 0-8-0 No 49212 nears Castle Bromwich with a freight train on the down goods line
Ref: mrcb1022
DJ Norton
Ex-LNWR 'Super D' 0-8-0 No 49212 nears Castle Bromwich with a freight train on the down goods line
BR Standard 9F 2-10-0 No 92156 approaches Castle Bromwich with an express service on 5th September 1957
Ref: mrcb1028
M Mensing
BR 9F 2-10-0 No 92156 approaches Castle Bromwich with an express service on 5th September 1957
Ex-LMS 5XP 4-6-0 No 45519 'Lady Godiva runs through the station on the up Devonian on Saturday 5th September 1959
Ref: mrcb1023
M Mensing
Ex-LMS 5XP 4-6-0 No 45519 'Lady Godiva runs through the station on the up Devonian on Saturday 5th September 1959
Ex-LMS 4F 0-6-0 No 44562 passes through Castle Bromwich with an East bound freight on 4th May 1963
Ref: mrcb1026
G Robinson
Ex-LMS 4F 0-6-0 No 44562 passes through Castle Bromwich with an Eastbound freight on 4th May 1963

British Railways B1 4-6-0 No 61318 passes Castle Bromwich signal box with the daily Cleethorpes to New Street service on 7th July 1962
Ref: mrcb1029
RJ Buckley
BR B1 4-6-0 No 61318 passes Castle Bromwich signal box with the daily Cleethorpes to New Street service
LMS railway photo
Ref: mrcb1034
DJ Norton
BR Standard 5MT No 73030 approaches Castle Bromwich at the head of a down express service
BR Derby Lightweight two-car Diesel Multiple Units stand on the down platform during May 1955
Ref: mrcb1024
C Banks
BR Derby Lightweight two-car Diesel Multiple Units stand on the down platform during May 1955
Bulleid Diesel 10203 departs Castle Bromwich with a return British Industries Fair special service on 15th May 1957
Ref: mrcb1720
P Shoemaker
Bulleid Diesel 10203 departs Castle Bromwich with a return British Industries Fair special service on 15th May 1957
Bulleid 1CoCo1 Diesel Electric No 10203 passes the fine array of signals, controlled by Castle Bromwich Junction Signal Box
Ref: mrcb1722
P Shoemaker
Bulleid No 10203 passes the fine array of signals, controlled by Castle Bromwich Junction Signal Box

An unidentified ex-MR 3F 0-6-0 locomotive runs tender first and light engine through Castle Bromwich station's down platform in 1957
Ref: mrcb1721
A Brookes
Anex-MR 3F 0-6-0 locomotive runs tender first and light engine through the station's down platform in 1957
An 1886 25 inch to the mile Ordnance Survey Map showing the original two platform station, down refuge siding and goods yard
Ref: mrcb1739
J Cutts
An unidentified Ivatt 2MT 2-6-0 locomotive runs tender first past Castle Bromwich Signal Box with a down Class J train
A three car Class 101 Metro-Cammell unit arrives at Castle Bromwich station on an up service in 1963
Ref: mrcb1741
P Shoesmith
A three car Class 101 Metro-Cammell unit arrives at Castle Bromwich station on an up service in 1963
A three car Class 101 Metro-Cammell unit arrives at Castle Bromwich station on an up service in 1963
Ref: mrcb1742
P Shoesmith
A three car Class 101 Metro-Cammell unit arrives at Castle Bromwich station on an up service in 1963

Ordnance Survey Maps and Miscellaneous

Close up of the 1886 25 inch to the mile Ordnance Survey Map showing the original two platform Castle Bromwich station and goods yard with single siding
Ref: mrcb1735
Ordnance Survey
Close up of the 1886 OS Map of the original two platform station and the goods yard with single siding
An 1886 25 inch to the mile Ordnance Survey Map showing the original two platform station, down refuge siding and goods yard
Ref: mrcb1736
Ordnance Survey
An 1886 Ordnance Survey Map showing the original two platform station, down refuge siding and goods yard
Close up of the 1916 OS Map showing the station, the two sidings in the goods yard plus the weighbridge and office
Ref: mrcb1020a
Ordnance Survey
Close up of the 1916 OS Map showing the station, the two sidings in the goods yard plus the weighbridge and office
A 1916 25 inch to the mile Ordnance Survey Map showing Castle Bromwich station and the layout of the track
Ref: mrcb1020
Ordnance Survey
A 1916 25 inch to the mile OS Map showing Castle Bromwich station and the layout of the track
Illustration of the variety of the oil lamps employed along the route between Castle Bromwich and Stockingford
Ref: mr-misc001
J Griffiths
Illustration of the variety of the oil lamps employed along the route between Castle Bromwich and Stockingford

Aerial views of Castle Bromwich station & Exhibition Halls

First of seven aerial photographs showing the British Industries Fair exhibition hall and Castle Bromwich station and goods yard
Ref: mrcb1723
English Heritage
First of seven aerial photos showing the BIF exhibition hall and Castle Bromwich station and goods yard
Second of seven aerial photographs showing the British Industries Fair exhibition hall and Castle Bromwich station and goods yard
Ref: mrcb1724
English Heritage
Second of seven aerial photos showing the BIF exhibition hall and Castle Bromwich station and goods yard
Third of seven aerial photographs showing the British Industries Fair exhibition hall and Castle Bromwich station and goods yard
Ref: mrcb1725
English Heritage
Third of seven aerial pphotos showing the BIF exhibition hall and Castle Bromwich station and goods yard
Fourth of seven aerial photographs showing the British Industries Fair exhibition hall and Castle Bromwich station and goods yard
Ref: mrcb1726
English Heritage
Fourth of seven aerial photos showing the BIF exhibition hall and Castle Bromwich station and goods yard
Fifth of seven aerial photographs showing the British Industries Fair exhibition hall and Castle Bromwich station and goods yard
Ref: mrcb1728
English Heritage
Fifth of seven aerial photos showing the BIF exhibition hall and Castle Bromwich station and goods yard

Sixth of seven aerial photographs showing the British Industries Fair exhibition hall and Castle Bromwich station and goods yard
Ref: mrcb1729
English Heritage
Sixth of seven aerial photos showing the BBIF exhibition hall and Castle Bromwich station and goods yard
Last of seven aerial photographs showing the British Industries Fair exhibition hall and Castle Bromwich station and goods yard
Ref: mrcb1734
English Heritage
Last of seven aerial photos showing the BIF exhibition hall and Castle Bromwich station and goods yard