John Speller's Web Pages Redditch Branch

John Speller's Web Pages - Midland Railway
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The Redditch branch or Gloucester Loop as it was often called, was a loop line off the Birmingham to Gloucester main line from Barnt Green via Redditch and Evesham to Ashchurch. The line was built in sections. The single line Redditch Railway was authorized by an Act of 23July 1858 to build a fourteen-and-a-half mile line from Barnt Green to Redditch, which was opened on 18 September 1859. The seventeen-and-a-half mile Evesham & Redditch Railway was authorized by an Act of 16 July 1868, with Thomas Brassey as the engineer and contractor. Meanwhile under the Midland Railway Additional Powers Act of 1861, the Midland Railway had built a double line between Evesham and Ashchurch, thereby completing the loop. The nominally independent Evesham & Redditch Railway was absorbed by the Midland Railway in 1882. Besides serving stations along the line, the loop provided an alternative route for heavy goods trains avoiding the Lickey Incline. The ex-Midland lines between Bristol and Birmingham, including the Redditch Branch, became part of the Western Region of British Railways following nationalization. For a video from the long-running BBC series Railway Roundabout describing the Redditch Branch click here. The Barnt Green to Redditch line is still open, but the rest of the loop closed under the Beeching Axe on 14 June 1963.
Map of the Redditch Branch or Gloucester Loop and connections
Stratford to Worcester Shrub Hill train at Evesham G.W. station behind ex-GWR "Prairie" tank No. 4152 on 14 April 1959. The Midland station was nearby. Image copyright Ben Brooksbank and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
Local goods train at Barnt Green on 16 August 1963 behind Fowler 4-F 0-6-0 No. 44226. Image copyright Ben Brooksbank and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
The Midland Railway station at Alcester in a postcard view of around 1910
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