The Anonymous Widower

Electrification At Bromsgrove – 26th December 2017

These pictures show the electrification works at Bromsgrove station and up and down the Lickey Incline.

Nearly all the gantries seem to have been erected and much of the wiring seem to have been added.

It would appear that there is every chance that Bromsgrove will be able to run an electric service on Birmingham’s Cross-City Line in May 2018.

Onward From Bromsgrove With Electric Trains

It is worthwhile to look at the options for taking electric trains onward from Bromsgrove station.

The distances to and from Bromsgrove are as possible.

  • Birmingham – 25 miles – Electrified
  • Worcester – 16 miles – Not Electrified
  • Hereford – 42 miles – Not Electrified

West Midlands Trains‘ fleet of four-car diesel CAF Civity trains would handle Birmingham to Hereford with ease.

Abellio, who are a partner in West Midlands Trains, have ordered Stadler bi-mode Class 755 trains for Greater Anglia.

These trains are ideal for routes like Norwich to Stansted and Cambridge to Ipswich, but they would also be efficient on the Birmingham to Hereford route.

So perhaps we might see bi-mode trains or trains with batteries on suburban routes from Birmingham.

I doubt a battery train could go further than Worcester.

The Lickey Incline

Electrifying from Birmingham to Bromsgrove means that the steep Lickey Incline will be included in the works.

Once the Lickey Incline is electrified, I would think it more likely that bi-mode trains could be seen on the routes to Hereford and Worcester.


December 29, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

The New Bromsgrove Station

This is the new Bromsgrove station, which opened this week.

It is not what you’d call a spectacular station, but it certainly fulfils the objectives of the design.

  • Act as a second Southern terminus for three trains per hour on Birmingham’s Cross-City Line.
  • Be able to accept trains up to nine cars on the Cross-Country route from Gloucester, Worcester and Hereford through Birmingham and onto the East Midlands and Yorkshire.
  • Provide a step-free interchange, between trains, buses, cars and cycles.
  • Provide a Park-and-Ride station for Birmingham.

But as it has four platforms, will soon be electrified and have connections across the City, will it after the timetable has settled, become an important interchange that takes the pressure from Birmingham New Street? I think it will, as Reading does for Paddington, Stratford does for Liverpool Street and Clapham Junction, does for ictoria and Waterloo, in London.

It is also not finished and needs a shop and coffee stalls. In some ways it has a similar aura to the new Lea Bridge station in East London. Both stations shout that they are open for business, so please send us some trains and we’ll make the passengers happy.

It could turn out to be a masterstroke.

The electric trains on the line that will work the electrified service are Class 323 trains. There are forty-three, three-car units of which London Midland have twenty-six units, or just thirteen six-car trains, which is the train-length, the line obviously needs.

Will they get the other seventeen units from Northern, as that company gets new rolling stock, to create a fleet that could serve the line adequately?

They could also be looking at new trains. Something like four-car Class 710 trains, which are being built for similar urban routes on the London Overground, would be ideal. And in these Brexit times, they are built in Derby.

If Class 710 trains were to be used, they open up the intriguing possibility of fitting some or all of them with on-board energy storage.

This would enable the following routes.

  • Bromsgrove to Worcester is only a dozen miles, and doesn’t include the notorious Lickey Incline, which will soon be electrified. So it would be possible to run a frequent Birmingham to Worcester service using onboard energy, which would also serve Droitwich Spa and the new Worcestershire Parkway station.
  • The Camp Hill Line provides an alternative route across Birmingham City Centre. It is not electrified, but as it is short, it would be well within onboard energy storage range.
  • On the other side of Birmingham, it is only about twenty-five miles or so from the electrified Cross-City Line to the electrified West Coast Main Line at Nuneaton.

So could we see a second Cross-City Line in Birmingham from Worcester to Nuneaton via Bromsgrove, Camp Hill, Water Orton and Coleshill Parkway?

It would need no new electrification and just appropriate track and station improvements.


July 14, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Bromsgrove Station

Bromsgrove station is unusual in that it is at the bottom of the historic Lickey Incline, which for in railway terms is a very steep hill. Wikipedia says this about the station.

Bromsgrove is only one of four stations in the UK which get annual usage of over half a million journeys with just an hourly service (Blackrod, Hartlepool and Inverurie being the other 3 stations).

So Network Rail are rebuilding the station and electrifying the Lickey Incline to add Bromsgrove to Birmingham’s Cross-City Line as described in this section in Wikipedia. These pictures show the current station and the works for the new one.

There will be four platforms and a large car-park, so obviously they are expecting an increase in passenger numbers. This Google Map shows the station and its relationship to the town.

Bromsgrove Station

Bromsgrove Station

I can’t visit Bromsgrove station without commenting on the Lickey Incline, which I talked about in Up And Down The Lickey Incline. The views are pretty good as you look out over the Worcestershire countryside.

Going down, I felt that the train was very quiet, as the driver was relying on Newton’s friend, but going back to Birmingham, the underfloor diesel engines on my fully-loaded Class 172 train, were working very hard.

My train had taken the Lickey Incline from a standing start at Bromsgrove station, unlike the trains going straight through, which seemed to use the extra momentum of higher speed to climb the slope as easily as possible.

Sadly, I wasn’t treated to a show, as a banking engine pushed a heavy freight train up the hill.


August 6, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment