Trent Valley Line

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Trent Valley Line
from north to south

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for West Coast Main Line to Crewe and Rugby-Birmingham-Stafford Line
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for Chase Line
Lichfield Trent Valley Centro other car parking large.png
for Birmingham Cross-City Line
Tamworth Centro other car parking large.png
for Cross-Country Route
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Atherstone Centro other car parking large.png
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for Birmingham to Peterborough Line and Coventry to Nuneaton Line
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for Rugby-Birmingham-Stafford Line, West Coast Main Line to Milton Keynes and Northampton Loop

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Map of the Trent Valley Line, and other local routes.

The Trent Valley Line is a section of railway line in England. It forms the section of the West Coast Main Line between Rugby and Stafford.

The line was electrified during the 1960s in the wake of the 1955 BR modernisation plan.

The cities, towns and villages served by the line are listed below.


The Trent Valley Line was opened in 1847 to give a more direct route from London to the North West of England, bypassing the existing route via Birmingham, which had been constructed by the Grand Junction Railway and the London and Birmingham Railway a decade earlier. The contractor for the original 50 miles of line was Thomas Brassey working in partnership with Robert Stephenson and William Mackenzie. The engineers were Robert Stephenson, a Mr. Bidder and a Mr. Gooch[1].

Initially, the Trent Valley Line was owned by an independent company, who started construction of the line in 1845. However whilst the line was still being built, it was absorbed into the newly created London and North Western Railway (LNWR) in August 1846 and became an important part of the West Coast Main Line. The line was opened officially on November 30 1847.

Improvement works

The Trent Valley Line looking north from Hademore Crossing on 15 October 2006, showing the track bed for the new lines and works for the new bridge.
The same view on 7 January 2007, showing the newly opened bridge at Hademore.

The West Coast Main Line has four tracks between London and Rugby, a "fast" line and a "slow line" in each direction (the slow lines diverting via the Northampton Loop Line). Similarly, there are four tracks north of Stafford. Although parts of the Trent Valley Line are four tracks, there is an 18km (11 miles) long section of track between Tamworth and Armitage that has only ever been double track. When plans for the modernisation of the WCML were being developed in the 1990s, it was realised that the existing arrangements could not accommodate the faster Pendolino trains as well as slower local services. It was therefore decided to increase the number of tracks between Lichfield and Armitage to four; later it was decided to extend this from Tamworth as well, giving four tracks from Nuneaton to Colwich Junction, north of Rugeley.

Work started in 2004, and access roads were built on the eastern side of the line. Earthworks for the new track are currently (October 2006) in progress, with work also being done to rebuild or replace the 37 bridges on that section of line. There was also a level crossing at Hademore that was replaced by a bridge early in 2007.

Additionally, the line between Rugby and Brinklow, which is currently three tracks, is being quadrupled. The line from Brinklow to Nuneaton will remain three tracks, at least for the time being. A 3km (two-mile) section north-west of Colwich Junction will remain double track, as this goes through the 710 metre long Shugborough Tunnel, which would be too expensive to widen.

As well as the civil engineering works, the whole of the Trent Valley line will be resignalled. The work is scheduled for completion in August 2008, at an estimated cost of £350 million.


  1. Helps, Arthur The Life and Works of Mr Brassey, 1872 republished Nonsuch, 2006, p. 107. ISBN 1845880110


  • The Railway Magazine, August 2006
  • Railway Track Diagrams - Midlands & North West, ISBN 0-9549866-0-1

Railway lines in Central England:
Main lines:  Cross-Country Route   Midland Main Line   West Coast Main Line
 Birmingham-Peterborough via Leicester Line   Birmingham-Worcester via Bromsgrove Line  
 Birmingham-Worcester via Kidderminster Line   Cherwell Valley Line   Chiltern Main Line  
 London-Aylesbury Line   Trent Valley Line   Welsh Marches Line   Wolverhampton-Shrewsbury Line
Commuter lines:  Birmingham-Rugeley "Chase" Line   Birmingham-Stratford Line   Birmingham-Walsall Line  
 Coventry-Nuneaton Line   Cross-City Line   Leicester-Loughborough "Ivanhoe" Line  
 Northampton Loop Line   Robin Hood Line   Rugby-Birmingham-Stafford Line  
 Stourbridge Junction-Stourbridge Town Line   Walsall-Wolverhampton Line 
Rural lines:  Cotswold Line   Crewe-Derby Line   Derwent Valley Line   Leamington-Stratford Line  
 Marston Vale Line   Nottingham-Lincoln Line   Nottingham to Grantham Line  
 Oxford-Bicester Line   Princes Risborough-Aylesbury Line   Shrewsbury-Chester Line