Notes: 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.
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
Evesham and Redditch was withdrawn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.
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 Evesham
and Ashchurch there were intermediate stations at Bengeworth,
Hinton, Ashton-under-Hill and Beckford.
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
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.
Route map drawn by Alan Young.
Further reading: An
illustrated History of Ashchurch-Barnt Green Line by R.J.
Essery published by Oxford Publishing Company 2002 ISBN 0860935620
To see the other
stations on the 'Gloucester Loop' line click on the station
name: Redditch, Studley
for Astwood Bank, Coughton,
Broom Junction, Salford