Notes: In 1873, the East and West Junction Railway (E&WJ) received Parliamentary authorisation to construct a 7.75 miles eastwards extension of its Stratford to Blisworth line to join with the Evesham & Redditch Railway's (E&R) Barnt Green to Ashchurch line which had opened six years previously. The new line joined at the village of Broom where it formed a northward facing junction with the E&R's line. In completing the line to Broom, the length of the Stratford-upon-Avon and Midland Junction Railway (SMJR) was increased to 45 miles, rising to 55.5 miles in 1882 with the completion of a further extension south to Olney.
The completed line also provided a connection between two lines worked by the Midland Railway which absorbed the E&R in 1882. The new line opened to traffic on 2 June 1879 and an island platform was provided at Broom to allow passengers to change trains en route. Trains from the E&WJ worked into a single north-facing platform by an awkward west to north movement, across the main lines. The return journey required a reversal south to the engine turntable situated at the end of a siding on the other side of the road bridge. The Midland allowed the E&WJ to use the station subject to the sharing of costs, and the E&WJ were given running rights over the Midland's line although it only ever exercised use of the 5 chains (330 ft) into the station.
Broom first appeared in public timetables in November 1880. Meagre passenger facilities were provided in the shape of two old coach bodies and a small brick booking office; a sectional concrete shed was added later. At first two north and south signal boxes were provided, but this arrangement was rationalised in 1934 by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway, which concentrated the junction's workings into one box known as Broom Junction. The advent of the Second World War led to the installation of a south-to-east curve between the SMJR and Barnt Green line to allow through running of Gloucester to London services. This required two new signal boxes: one on the curve entrance from Stratford known as Broom West, and another on the original connecting line known as Broom East. All three later closed on 5 July 1962.
As a passenger station, Broom was not particularly successful: it served a small rural community and was very susceptible to road competition. Passenger services to Stratford were temporarily withdrawn on 16 June 1947 and permanently from 23 May 1949, at which point the station was only seeing two daily workings. Its ghost lingered on in the Barnt Green to Ashchurch timetables until 1962, as the 1pm service from Birmingham New Street to Ashchurch continued to wait at Broom for 20 minutes for a connection which had long ceased (see 1950 Bradshaw below). Goods services between Stratford and Broom continued until 13 June 1960, the freight being diverted via a new south curve at Stratford between the SMJR and Honeybourne line. The Barnt Green line itself closed between Redditch and Evesham from 1 October 1962 due to the unsafe condition of the track; British Railways provided a replacement bus service using hired Midland Red buses, but this was found to be similarly uneconomical and was withdrawn from 17 June 1963.
BRIEF HISTORY OF THE 'GLOUCESTER LOOP' LINE
The line between Barnt Green and Ashchurch was built in four
stages between 1859 and 1868, providing an essential link for
the various communities along it. The main line from Birmingham
to Gloucester had failed to serve such centres as Redditch,
Evesham and Alcester. The line also formed an important diversionary
route running parallel to the main line this was particularly
important in the days of steam as the route bypassed the notorious
In July 1858 the Redditch Railway Act authorised a line between
Barnt Green & Redditch which opened on 18th September 1859.
Authorisation to build the Ashchurch and Evesham Railway was
given under the Midland Railway (New Lines) Act of 1861. It
opened to goods traffic on 1st July 1864 and to passengers on
1st October 1864.
Evesham and Ashchurch there were intermediate stations at Bengeworth, Hinton, Ashton-under-Hill and Beckford.
The gap between those two lines was filled by the Evesham and
Redditch Railway which was authorised in 1863. The stretch between
Evesham and Alcester opened to goods traffic in June 1866 and
to passengers on 17th September 1866. The remaining section
between Alcester and Redditch opened on 4th May 1868 running
into a new station at Redditch 1/4 of a mile south of the original
From the start the service was provided by the Midland Railway.
The Redditch Railway was bought by the Midland Railway in 1865
while the middle section between Redditch and Evesham was taken
over by the Midland in 1882.
From Redditch the line ran south through Evesham to a junction
at Ashchurch where it rejoined the Birmingham & Gloucester
Railway; the line became known as the Birmingham & Gloucester
Loop. There were intermediate stations between Redditch and
Evesham at Studley & Astwood Bank, Coughton, Alcester, Wixford,
Broom Junction (junction for The Stratford-upon-Avon and Midland
Junction Railway), Salford Priors, and Harvington. Between
Although some stations on the line had closed during the 1950's.
The Evesham to Redditch section of railway line was closed to
passengers on a temporary basis on 1st October 1962 because
of the poor condition of the track and substitute bus service
was introduced. Goods traffic was retained at Studley and Alcester.
The passenger service between Evesham and Redditch was withdrawn
from 17th June 1963 and the line closed completely on 6th July
1964 with the track being lifted by January 1965.
On 1965 there was an attempt to close the remaining section
between Redditch and Barnt Green but the line was reprieved.
Redditch station was moved to north side of Bromsgrove Bridge
into the former goods yard. This allowed the former station
site to be cleared for the construction of a new bus station
as part of the Kingfisher Shopping Centre development.
In February 1990 the Cross City Line between Redditch and Litchfield
was authorised. This involved the electrification of existing
lines including Barnt Green to Redditch and the rebuilding of
Redditch Station, with a new brick station building and an extension
to the platform to accommodate 6 car trains. This section of
the former Ashchurch line is still open forming an important
part of Centro's
line to Birmingham New Street and Litchfield.
Today much of the former track bed can still be traced; part
of the line has been incorporated into the Evesham
Country Park while another short section south of Redditch
now forms part of the realigned A441.
Tickets from Michael Stewart. Route map drawn by Alan Young. Bradshaw from Nick Catford. Some text copied from Wikipedia under creative commons licence.
Further reading: An
illustrated History of Ashchurch-Barnt Green Line by R.J.
Essery published by Oxford Publishing Company 2002 ISBN 0860935620
See Warwickshire Railways web site for more pictures of Broom Junction station
To see the other
stations on the 'Gloucester Loop' line click on the station
name: Redditch, Studley
for Astwood Bank, Coughton,
Beckford & Ashchurch