B.14

BIRMINGHAM…….B14

KINGS HEATH & DISTRICT

HISTORY

TRANSPORT

©  COLIN BAKER   2007                                                                                      

TRAINS

When the railway built by the Birmingham & Gloucester Railway (B&GR) was opened in December 1840, there was no station at Kings Heath. It wasn’t until twelve months later that a simple station with two wooden platforms was built and opened in November 1841.This was replaced by a brick built station opened November 1st 1867.The line was built by the B&GR to connect Gloucester to the City of Birmingham, and became part of the Midland Railway in August 1846.

The station handled passenger and freight traffic and during the period between 1876-1906 passenger numbers increased to a maximum in 1900 of 184,000 per year, with up to 25 trains a day. Numbers reduced from 1906 when the steam tram service introduced in 1887 was replaced by electric trams giving an improved service to the City. As a result the station was closed to passenger traffic, and on 27th January 1941 the passenger service between Birmingham and Gloucester was withdrawn. The station continued as a freight only depot until 2nd May 1966,  the station was then demolished in September 1976 and the area is now the Homebase car park.

 The original bridge adjacent to the station was built in 1838 and named Queens Bridge, following the succession to the throne of Queen Victoria in 1837, a name that still lives on with Queensbridge Road. The bridge that carries the main Alcester Road was rebuilt, wider in 1886.

The line remains open as a freight line and is used on occasions as a diversionary route for passenger trains.

However, due to local interest a survey has shown that there is a possibility of reopening the line to a local passenger service, although there are questions of where the stations and car parks could be sited.

 

Adapted from an article by Barrie Geens published in Railway Archive

TRAMS

The Steam tram service to Kings Heath came in 1887 when the Birmingham Central Tramways service to Moseley was extended to include Kings Heath. The original Terminus was the tram depot in Silver Street, anyone wishing to travel further south then transferred to horse and cab. It became a popular route with service starting at 5:45am,7:30 and then every 9 minutes until 11:41pm. The route was converted to electric trams when ownership was transferred to Birmingham Corporation on 31st December 1906.The extension to Alcester Lanes End was opened on 12th January 1907, this became a very busy terminus especially when there was a meeting at the Kings Heath dog track. The success of the service was said to have brought about the demise of the train service from Kings Heath Railway station.

The last tram ran on Saturday 1st October 1949, the final service was to Alcester lanes End for that evenings meeting at the Kings Heath Dog Track. The following day brand new Daimler  CVD6 buses were introduced.

BUSES

The new extended service, now continuing to the city boundary at the Maypole began on 2nd October 1949, using brand new Daimler CVD6 buses based at Moseley Road Garage.

Kings Heath became well serviced with bus routes, with route nos. 48, 49 & 50 giving direct travel to the City. The number 2 linked to Handsworth via the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, the number 27 to West Heath via Bournville, and also the famous no.11 Outer Circle route. Links with this 25 mile circular route around Birmingham made travel possible to most areas of the city. The route was designated 11A and 11C with the 11A travelling in a anti-clock wise direction, and the 11C a clockwise direction. The 27 route was always covered by single deck buses usually Leyland PS2 Tigers, based at Selly Oak Garage, due to bridge height restrictions where the Birmingham & Worcester Canal and the Birmingham / Bristol railway line crossed the route at Bournville. .

Leyland PS2 Tiger 2245 built 1950, withdrawn 1969, now preserved at Wythall Transport Museum.