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Birmingham Loop Line

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Birmingham Loop Line

Rugby–Birmingham–Stafford Line
Diagrammatic map of the route in orange.
Overview
Locale

West Midlands (region)
Warwickshire
West Midlands
Wolverhampton

Staffordshire
Termini Rugby
Stafford
Stations 21
Operation
Opening 1837
Owner Network Rail
Technical
Track gauge
Rugby-Birmingham-Stafford Line

The Rugby–Birmingham–Stafford Line (also known as the Birmingham loop[1]) is a railway line in central England. It is a loop off the West Coast Main Line (WCML) between Rugby and Stafford via the West Midlands cities of Coventry, Birmingham and Wolverhampton. The direct route between Rugby and Stafford is the Trent Valley Line.

Places served

The cities, towns and villages served by the line are listed below.

History

The line from Rugby to Birmingham Curzon Street opened as part of the London and Birmingham Railway in 1838. A year earlier, the Grand Junction Railway had opened from Curzon Street to Wolverhampton, Stafford and north to the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. However, this ran via Aston to Wolverhampton (see map). These two companies merged in 1846 to form the London and North Western Railway (LNWR). On 1 July 1852, the Stour Valley Line from Birmingham to Wolverhampton via Smethwick opened (promoted by the Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Stour Valley Railway, which was later absorbed by the LNWR).[2]

The LNWR itself became part of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) in 1923, and part of British Railways at Nationalisation in 1948.

The line was electrified along with the rest of the WCML during the late 1960s in the wake of the BR 1955 Modernisation Plan.

In 1987 twelve different horse sculptures by Kevin Atherton, titled Iron Horse, were erected between New Street station and Wolverhampton.[3]

Services

Main-line services are operated by Virgin Trains and London Midland, and stop at the principal stations only. These are joined by occasional services over the northern section of the route by Arriva Trains Wales. Local services are operated by London Midland, generally to the following daytime patterns:

  • Birmingham to Birmingham International, then all stations to Coventry: two trains per hour, with one going on to Rugby and Northampton.
  • All stations between Birmingham and Wolverhampton: two trains per hour.
  • Additionally, one train per hour between Birmingham, Stafford and Liverpool Lime Street calls at Coseley, Wolverhampton and Penkridge.

Trains from London to the north of England and Scotland are diverted via this route at some weekends, due to engineering work on the Trent Valley Line - the direct route from Rugby to Stafford.

References

  • Jowetts Railways Centres Volume 1, Alan Jowett (PSL, 1993)
  • A Century of Railways Around Birmingham and the West Midlands, Volumes 1, 2 & 3, John Boynton (Mid England Books, 1997-1999)
  • Rail Atlas of Great Britain and Ireland, S K Baker (OPC, 2004)

External links

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