• Welcome to this forum . We are a worldwide group with a common interest in Birmingham and its history. While here, please follow a few simple rules. We ask that you respect other members, thank those who have helped you and please keep your contributions on-topic with the thread.

    We do hope you enjoy your visit. BHF Admin Team

Unused railway "arm" in Digbeth.

Lady Penelope

master brummie
If I remember correctly, Speedwing added a lot of information on this area. I think it was on the thread begun by a query about the panorama. Any ideas?
 

badpenny

Deleted Upon Request
I think its important to remember where the Birmingham stations were before Snow Hill and New Street existed.

As for demolition, well that costs money but i suppose in time it will happen.
 

sospiri

Ex-pat Brummie
Capital cost of demolition versus the rather smaller annual maintenance charge seems to be the main reason why these viaducts still stand. There are two huge tall viaducts crossing Gordon Road & Surrey Road in Branksome between Poole & Bournemouth opposite where I used to live, which are now trackless. They used to serve the old Bournemouth West Station, which was demolished in the 1960s, and the carriage cleaning works, and whilst they could still serve the latter if track was relaid, the rail authorities now find it easier to shunt trains from Branksome Station to be cleaned. This wasn't so easy before they laid the oil pipeline from Purbeck to Fawley as we had far more rail traffic transporting the oil. My sons have climbed up and walked across the old viaducts years ago, and with no rail traffic the required maintenance must be quite small, so I expect they will be standing for many more years.

Ironically I was looking at the old Digbeth branch on Street View last week and wondered if access was possible up to where the foliage is now growing.

Maurice
 

pistonvalve

master brummie
I remember some track over the viaduct was connected to the Snow Hill line. The viaduct was meant to bring the line from Oxford to Curzon Street station but was never completed.

Mike.
 

mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
From the Warwickshire Railways site (https://www.warwickshirerailways.com/misc/stations.htm)
Captain Mark Huish of the Grand Junction Railway lured the GWR with promises of a route through to Liverpool over his Grand Junction Railway (GJR). This was merely a ploy on Huish's part to force the hand of the London & Birmingham Railway (L&BR). Huish wanted an amalgamation of the GJR and L&BR and the L&BR was reluctant but they eventually caved in to Huish's threat of allowing the GWR a passage northwards and agreed to amalgamate with the GJR to form the London & North Western Railway. Once he had that agreement Huish repudiated his promise to the GWR but still demanded that the Act of Parliament provision of building the viaduct was kept. Most of the viaduct remains standing to this day (2015) having never been used other than as a long siding.
 

Heartland

master brummie
The Bordesley Viaduct (there were 2), which is disused formed the route of the Birmingham & Oxford Junction Railway into Curzon Street to join the London & Birmingham Railway there. It was almost completed, but the junction was never made. The take over by the Great Western of the BOJR and the merger of the LBR with others to form the London & North Western Railway created rival routes to London from Birmingham and elsewhere. A growing tension between the GWR and LNWR led to the delay of making the junction. Though work started on making the BOJR viaducts before Brunel took charge, the one that unites Bordesley with Moor Street was initially a two track affair and is often described as the Brunel Viaduct. Branson & Gwyther contractors appears to have constructed both of them.
In recent times bits of the viaduct to Curzon Street have been removed. There was a length of track on the viaduct which acted as a head shunt for Trinity Street goods depot. The original Bordesley Station was also there and passengers had to cross the tracks by a board crossing, I believe. The general role of Trinity Street as a goods depot was reduced once Moor Street goods was made, The viaduct, into Moor Street, was widened at the same time (1909-1914).
 

pistonvalve

master brummie
I have heard rumors that the viaduct could be repaired and used in conjunction with HS2, presumably as a service connection?

Mike.
 

Heartland

master brummie
There are those rumours, not sure how practical they are for the viaduct to be reused.

As to Trinity Street Goods, the track arrangements on the First Ordnance Survey (1887) are clear to see

Trinity Street.png
 

DavidGrain

master brummie
Although many of the bridges are still intact, the one across Great Barr Street has been taken out. This view taken from Google Street View shows the three levels of canal, road and never used railway viaduct
Great Barr St.jpg
However, as the bridge abutments appear to be intact, it cannot be a case of street widening. The alignement of the viaduct shows that it is heading for Curzon Street so the decision of the LNWR to build New Street would have forced the GWR to find a site for their own station in Birmingham and they chose to tunnel under the city centre to Snow hill.
 

ellbrown

ell brown on Flickr
^^

The view of the Duddeston Viaduct from the Grand Union Canal with the Great Barr Street bridge, in 2014.

 

Heartland

master brummie
The tunnelling to what became Snow Hill was I believe contemporary with making the viaduct to Curzon Street. It was the railway politics that influenced the unfinished state of the viaduct railway. The making of the extension to New Street from beside Curzon Street came later.
 

DavidGrain

master brummie
There was only a few months in it. Snow Hill opened 1st October 1852 and New Street 1st June 1854. The planning and building would have been going on at the same time as it takes several years to get the plans through parliament and then the actual construction. I have been told that dual gauge track for both standard gauge and Brunel's 7ft gauge had been found on the viaduct but I have never seen any photographs.

New York's High Line which is a disused railway viaduct formerly carrying a freight line through Manhattan's West Side has become a linear park and is greatly appreciated.
 

ellbrown

ell brown on Flickr
On the Coventry Road, not far from Bordesley Station, some of the arches are being used for shops, although only one is in use. Did there used to be a bridge next to the current one on the Bordesley Viaduct?

 

devonjim

master brummie
If I've got my bearings(Bordesley Station behind the camera)those same arches were used as a car workshop in 1950's by Cole's. Certainly now doesn't look big enough, not even any drop kerbs.
 

DavidGrain

master brummie
There were sidings at Bordesley Station for cattle for the markets as has been mentioned either in this thread or others on the forum. There was also the link to the unused viaduct to Curzon Street. These would have required a wider bridge than the present one over the Coventry Road. I have been told that within living memory there were still some broad gauge rails on that viaduct and sidings long after the broad gauge was taken out of use.
 

mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
If you look at the maps for c1915 and c1951, then it does appear that the bridge was widened between those dates, but not at the point over those two arches.The google view from above today shows the same configuration. I would guess that originally they palnned to have another bridge and allowed for it, but it never was built as the viaduct was never used for through trains only cattle and storage.

google view of track by bordesley station.jpg map c 1915 bordesley station.jpg map c 1951 bordesley station.jpg
 

devonjim

master brummie
Mike, Am I reading your two maps correctly? Do they show that the station migrated from N of Coventry Rd to S of Coventry Rd?
 

mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
Yes Jim. It looks like it happened before the c1937 map. the Warwickshire railways site does not make it clear that it moved (https://www.warwickshirerailways.com/gwr/bordesley.htm ), but states that "As part of the extensive upgrade to the route in to Birmingham, which saw the construction of Moor Street to handle local passenger services, Bordesley station was upgraded to a two-island platform facility, with one island handling local passenger services to and from Moor Street and the other handling traffic to and from Snow Hill. "
 

DavidGrain

master brummie
Bordesley Station opened 7th March 1915 replacing previous station which closed the same day.

Date corrected form 2015 to 1915
 

Heartland

master brummie
I understand that Carl Chinn on his guided walks states that the Viaduct from Bordesley Street to Curzon Street never had a train work along it. Whilst it is probably fair to state that a train never covered the whole length, apart from may be a contractors train, the section from Bordesley to Liverpool Street had track, a double line, which first was associated with the Goods Depot and later with the cattle dock. I recall seeing a 9F 2-10-0 at the head of waggons on the viaduct in the 1960's.

A question that needs to be resolved is whether there was an arch that spanned Great Barr Street, or whether the contractors building this viaduct were told to stop before completion.

The alignment of this viaduct was intended to meet up with the Grand Junction Railway, who, at first, helped to promote the Birmingham & Oxford Junction Railway. This state of affair had been the result of high freight charges imposed by the London & Birmingham Railway.

It would appear the need for moving goods, was not only to influence the GWR expansion into South Staffordshire, but also another the Oxford, Worcester & Wolverhampton, then a separate undertaking.
 
Top