John Speller's Web Pages Harborne Branch

John Speller's Web Pages - L&NWR
L&NWR Harborne Branch LNWR Untitled
The 2 mile Harborne Railway from near Monument Lane, Birmingham on the London & North Western Railway's main line to Harborne was once the most profitable railway in England. The line was incorporated by an Act of 28 June 1866, and it was originally intended to build branches from both the Great Western Railway and the London & North Western Railway to the suburb of Harborne. Owing largely to opposition from landowners in the heavily settled area through which the line was to pass, the Great Western scheme was originally abandoned, and even the shorter link to the London & North Western line was not opened to passengers until 10 August 1874 and to goods on 1 October 1874. The line was operated by the L&NWR in return for 50% of the profits although it remained nominally independent until the Grouping of 1923. At the height of its success in 1914, there were 27 trains each way daily between Birmingham New Street and Harborne. Trains were operated by Webb 2-4-2 Radial Tanks and 0-6-2 Coal Tanks. Owing to competition from road transportation, the line went into a severe decline after the First World War, and the situation was not helped by constant delays at Harborne Junction the L&NWR main line. The final passenger train ran on 26 November 1934, though goods traffic continued until 4 November 1963.
Map of the Harborne Railway as originally planned, together with a later proposal for a connection with the Midland Railway's Birmingham West Suburban line
Gradient profile of the Harborne Railway as originally planned
Postcard view of Harborne station, circa 1905, showing a Webb Radial Tank with a passenger train of four six-wheelers
Hagley Road station on the Harborne Branch in a postcard view of around 1910
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