Stenlake Publishing - The Redditch & Evesham Line – The story of the line from Barnt Green through Redditch and Evesham to Ashchurch

The Redditch and Evesham Line - The story of the line from Barnt Green through Redditch and Evesham to Ashchurch

Author : Bob Yate
ISBN : 9780853617365
Cover : paperback
Price : £16.95

The line from Barnt Green via Redditch and Evesham to Ashchurch has been gifted several names over the years: the Redditch Line, the Redditch Branch, the Evesham Route, the Barnt Green to Aschurch Loop, and the Birmingham-Gloucester Loop. The latter was shortened with use to the ‘Gloucester Loop&rsquo.

The country through which the line ran was mostly rural, and the towns it served whilst important, were not large. So the number and complexity of proposed lines in this area is somewhat surprising – these are examined as part of the chronological survey of railway developments along each part of the line. As no railway exist in isolation, the events and services on the connecting lines as far as they affect this line, are also examined.

The line was built by three separate companies and opened in stages between 1859 an 1868. However, the Midland Railway had seen the potential and backed the nominally independent companies, and furthermore, each section of the line was operated by the Midland Railway. Although the line was never originally conceived as a strategic route, it was developed gradually from a desire to keep competitors at bay into a useful diversionary route.

The line proved prosperous as it served the developing manufacturing towns of Redditch and Alcester, and important fruit and vegetable growing area of the Vale of Evesham. Passenger traffic was normally fairly light, but the area served also brought a good deal of day trippers from the Birmingham area at the weekends and holidays. In modern times the passenger traffic from Redditch was at first roundly discouraged,until common sense prevailed and the now much shortened line was modernised. The growth of Redditch as a New Town created a level of passenger traffic never previously imagined, and the surviving line has a frequency of trains that is the envy of much larger towns. It now forms the southern end of the electrified ‘Cross City’ rail link from Lichfield through Birmingham. The corollary is that freight traffic on the branch is nowadays non-existent.

A5 format, 224 pages, 205 illustrations.

The Redditch and Evesham Line - The story of the line from Barnt Green through Redditch and Evesham to Ashchurch

1 reviews for this book
Review by Glenn Sealey : 2018-06-06
This book arrived as the unexpected gift from a friend. Having grown up in Redditch, and developed an early interest in railways that has continued throughout my life, this book had a personal relevance.

One of my earliest memories was at the age of four, in 1955 or so, going on an excursion from Redditch to Weston Super Mare. Whilst mother bagged some seats, my father took myself and my younger brother to see the engine. I now realise it was a Fowler or Fairburn tank. The sight, the smell, the sound of sheer life of it had me hooked and it still does. As a child I remember standing on the bridge over the yard trying to get covered in smoke as the Jinty carried out its shunting duties. Trips past the station and trips by train are lasting memories, as was a little geography project I did as a schoolboy visiting the North End Signal Box, being welcomed in and shown around by the signalman.

A day out during school holidays was to catch the rush hour train (because it was locomotive hauled) to Barnt Green and spend the day on that bridge, before taking the return train home at teatime. We never misbehaved and the station staff left us alone.

One of my earliest ever photographs is of DMU on the up line in Redditch Station. I was amazed at how little it had changed from the early 1900s photographs in the book to the memories I have and that little picture I took in the early 1960s.

The book brought back many memories, and to see the photographs of places where I had stood was truly amazing. Then of course the story filled in so many gaps in my knowledge. A considerable amount of research has gone into this volume, and I commend this book not only to those who know the line but to other enthusiasts as well.