Branch Line Britain - celebrating Britain's minor railways

Midland - Stourbridge review 2

Class 153 unit at Stourbridge Town Railway station - July 2008 Andrew Berry

July 2008

A single car Class 153 was waiting in the bay platform at Stourbridge Junction when I arrived. The 153 runs around every 15 minutes on this line with journey times taking just three minutes each way. We left the Junction station on time and after leaving the platform the train moves on to the Stourbridge Town line and passes the end of Stourbridge yard, mainly used nowadays to stable DMU's in between turns of duty. The train passes over a roadbridge that is slowly rusting and we are suddenly on an embankment above houses and their back gardens. The train's top speed along this line is 30mph and we quickly find ourselves in a cutting riding on jointed track. There is still evidence here of the freight line that ran down to Stourbridge Basin. The cutting is badly overgrown here with foliage and trees, though I suppose the trees do drown out the roar of the 153 when the unit climbs the gradient from the Town station. We pass under a brick built road bridge which is fairly tall considering the height of the train. Maybe the line was destined to see some bigger freight wagons that never materialised? The line is now straight for 100 yards or so before we pass under another road bridge and round a curve to see brick retaining walls on both sides of the train. The driver applies the brakes as we come round the last curve at a 5 degree angle and we coast in to Stourbridge Town station which looks relatively new. Surprisingly there is a ticket office here staffed by at least one person though I saw two people on duty when I was here. I do think the driver and guard get bored very easily on this line as the driver was a bit grumpy when I tried to talk to him (maybe he was having an off day) and the guard was always using the opportunity to chat to other passengers.

Review by Andrew Berry