"The Halesowen Railway is a much-lamented curiosity in the railway
heritage of Birmingham and the West Midlands. The line was, in
reality, two distinct branch lines that met at Halesowen station: one
the GWR branch linking Dudley with Halesowen, and a second line built
under the auspices of an independent railway company, the Halesowen
Railway (a company later to be jointly purchased by the Midland Railway
and the GWR when in administration), linking the Midland Railway’s
Birmingham to Gloucester line with Halesowen.
The photographs below are concerned with the latter mentioned section
of the line which, in itself, enjoyed a fascinating history. Opening to
passenger services in 1883 (some 18 years after the Act authorising its
construction was passed), the section of the line seen here was
operated by the Midland Railway (although occasional GWR traffic did
pass through), and carried services from Northfield station which left
the Midland line at Halesowen Junction passing through the Austin car
works to Longbridge (not to be confused with the current Longbridge
station), Rubery and Hunnington stations before arriving at Halesowen.
However, passenger traffic was largely insignificant and the stations
on the line closed in 1919 with the line remaining open for goods
traffic and ‘Workmens Trains’ carrying ‘commuting’ Austin workers from
Halesowen to the Longbridge works: a service which continued up until
The small branch line had itself three branches stemming from it at
various periods of its history: a short branch leading to the Frankley
waterworks and reservoir for construction traffic, a short branch
leading to Hollymoor Hospital for the same reason, a goods siding at
Hunnington serving the nearby Bluebird Toffee factory and a link to a
quarry near the site of Rubery station. Arguably, however, the
most impressive part of the branch was the 660 feet long, 100 feet high
Dowery Dell (which itself was the area surrounding a small stream
running through Twiland Wood between Rubery and Hunnington) trestle
viaduct that was sadly cut up for scrap shortly after the line’s final
closure in 1964.
Unfortunately, the line is no more but these previously unpublished
photographs provide a fascinating insight into this rural branch line
and their publication seems further apt by the recent planning and
consultation exercises undertaken considering the feasibility of
reopening part of the line from Halesowen Junction to near the site of
Rubery Station, now in the heart of the Frankley housing estate."
Many thanks to Andy Doherty of Rail Around Birmingham
who provided the notes above. You can find more information about
the line on the MIAC
website. Also, I'm sure this Railway
Clearing House junction diagram
from 1903 will be of interest.
To try and reduce download times I have divided the photographs into
various sections. Please select the link of interest.