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Private Railways In Birmingham

Heartland

master brummie
Gas Works railways were once a common site throughout the country wherever coal was carbonised in retorts. The Birmingham Gasworks were originally horizontal retorts, but Saltley later had inclined retorts and then as the business was modernised the vertical retort became common. The locomotives were used for internal transport within the gasworks. Not all coals were suitable for carbonisation, although any coal could be used to heat the retorts. Gas coals arrived in railway wagons and where taken to the retort house by the private locomotives. Whilst much is known about these industrial locomotives, less is known about the system employed in the modern vertical retorts where the coke was taken away- there being some evidence to suggest light railways might have been used.
 

Dave M

Pheasey Born Bumper
Leonard in the late Science Museum, a great museum, Newhall St, was on the footplate of Leonard Sat 1st April 2017Leonard  Birmingham Science Museum Newhall St  .jpg
 

DavidGrain

master brummie
I have seen Birmingham Chamber of Commerce listed as a railway operator. Obviously not at their offices near Five Ways or their previous offices in New Street so I assume that this would have been on the British Industries Fair site at Castle Bromwich, now part of the Castle Vale Housing Estate.

Albright & Wilson at Langley had their own steam engines and I know that one of them went to the Chasewater Light Railway.
 

Heartland

master brummie
Yes the Albright & Wilson Peckett was kept in a shed there. They had diesels later until the rail traffic ceased. That traffic was along the Oldbury Railway from Langley Green.

The reference to the Chamber of Commerce, is one that perhaps needs further investigation. The British Industries Fair had a siding at Castle Bromwich. This siding provided a standard gauge link to the LMSR/BR for Guanogen and for the BIF. During the war the Air Ministry had their own loco (a Ruston diesel) for their traffic associated with the aerodrome and the nearby aircraft factory.
 

Harbornite76

master brummie
I know this technically doesn't count as Birmingham, but Mitchells and Butlers at Cape Hill had their own locomotives and sidings, which were connected to the national network at Rotton Park Road on the Harborne branch.
 

DavidGrain

master brummie
I know this technically doesn't count as Birmingham, but Mitchells and Butlers at Cape Hill had their own locomotives and sidings, which were connected to the national network at Rotton Park Road on the Harborne branch.

I have referred on another thread to a walk I led for the Black Country Society along the Harborne railway line. I have walked this route several times and it is not easy to find the point at which the line to M&B left the branch line. I knew roughly where it was in relation the the point at which it crossed City Road. However studying the old maps you can just about see traces of it if walking the Rotten Park Road area. The reason it has almost disappeared is that the cuttings have been filled in. The line to M&B made a triangular junction with the Harborne Line. It was M&B's change to road haulage for its fuel and materials in and and its product out that finally closed the Harborne Line in the early 1960s
 

Harbornite76

master brummie
I have referred on another thread to a walk I led for the Black Country Society along the Harborne railway line. I have walked this route several times and it is not easy to find the point at which the line to M&B left the branch line. I knew roughly where it was in relation the the point at which it crossed City Road. However studying the old maps you can just about see traces of it if walking the Rotten Park Road area. The reason it has almost disappeared is that the cuttings have been filled in. The line to M&B made a triangular junction with the Harborne Line. It was M&B's change to road haulage for its fuel and materials in and and its product out that finally closed the Harborne Line in the early 1960s

We discussed it a while back on the dedicated Harborne railway thread. It's quite easy to locate the triangle junction for the branch, basically it's where the trackbed widens just before Rotton Park road bridge although as you say, there's not much evidence for the line existing due to the filling-in of cuttings. It's fortunate that most of the cuttings on the Harborne branch were not filled-in.

On another note, I dont think' its a coincidence that roads were named "barleycorn" and Boniface on the estate built on the brewery site; These were two of the locomotives used by M&B.
 

Heartland

master brummie
The M & B Brewery at Cape Hill was the only one of the Birmingham Breweries to have a rail link. All others relied on road transport. Butler's Springfield Brewery at Wolverhampton (later M & B) had a siding that linked with the GWR north of Low Level Station. The Lichfield Brewery Co had a siding that was near City Station, whilst Evans and Co had rail served Maltings near Trent Valley Station
 

Laurie_B

master brummie
Does anybody remember the steam locomotives at Nechells Power Station. They worked from the exchange sidings at Bromford Bridge. Here were also a group of sidings once connected with the Gas Board wagon repair shops. Many old wooden bodied wagons were to be found there in the 1960's.

The steam locomotives that worked to the power station were the six coupled side tanks by Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn. There was also a Peckett saddle tank locomotive.
I can just about remember the locos from when I was an apprentice at the power station.The loco fitter was Harry Meakin.Attached is a photo of one of the Pecketts.Loco no 2.jpg
 

sidwho

master brummie
metro camel midland works had at least 2 diesel engines for shunting rolling stock around the works. the loco shed was at the far end of the works at the end of f shop king regards sidwho
 

Ken_R

master brummie
Cadbury No. 1 became the first operating loco at the GWSR (Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam Railway).

https://www.gwsr.com/enthusiasts/History/Cadbury.html

Seemingly, it is now in an unrestored state at Tyseley.

I can remember, in the late 60's, visiting the sewerage works at Lea Hall, and they also had their own internal narrow gauge railway system, although I can't ever remember seeing any of it working.

However, what I can remember is that they had some remarkable flower beds. Can't imagine where they got their 'compost' from.:)
 

Morturn

Super Moderator
Staff member
I can just about remember the locos from when I was an apprentice at the power station.The loco fitter was Harry Meakin.Attached is a photo of one of the Pecketts.View attachment 122811

I can certainly remember the steam loco's that worked from the exchange sidings at Bromford Bridge. I thought at the time they were working for Tubes Ltd, but not quite sure. I recall there was a driver called 'Bailey'.
 

boomy

master brummie
The locomotive used in the Wolseley works at Drews Lane was called "Prospect".
The Wolseley Tool & Motor Car Co. Ltd., at Adderley Park actually made some petrol powered industrial locomotives.
 

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Lady Penelope

master brummie
Probably off-topic but can someone explain the term 'stationary engine driver' please? It's appeared on a couple of death certificates.
 

mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
It meant the person who cared and looked after a steam engine such as a beam engine, which was used to power some process. Basically any setam engine which did not move. At that time "steam engine" had not so universally been assumed to refer to the motive power unit of railway trains
 
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