Stourbridge Town Branch Line
|Stourbridge Town Branch Line|
The Stourbridge Town Branch Line is a short (0.8 mile) branch line, claimed to be the shortest in Europe. It opened in 1879, and has operated continually since, save for a short break for the First World War. The short and steeply inclined branch originally carried both passenger traffic from nearby Stourbridge Junction to the terminus at Stourbridge Town, near the centre of Stourbridge. Freight was also carried to Stourbridge basin, but all freight traffic ceased in the 1960s and the bridge carrying the line beyond Stourbridge Town station into the freight yard has been demolished.
The line has been used several times as the test route for new types of small rail transport. The Great Western Railway used both autotrains and one of the early railcars on this route, and in December 2005 the route began being used to test the Parry People Mover, a highly energy efficient railcar to provide the Sunday service. The experiment has been sufficiently successful to the extent that the Sunday service in June 2006 was included in both the Network Rail printed timetables and Internet site. Provision was included in the West Midlands refranchising documents published in June 2006 for People Mover to be considered as an option.
Although the line has been threatened with closure several times in the past, People Mover have suggested that should their railcar prove a success, their service could be further extended into Stourbridge town centre as a light rail system.
Trains/trams operated on the line
- British Rail Class 153 DMU - Single car operating Monday - Saturday
- Parry People Mover - Experimental Sunday service
- Formerly a British Rail Class 121 was the main service provider on the line, and was locally known as Daisy the DMU.