Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Birmingham Snow Hill Station

Birmingham Snow Hill has had a long history though the current station is very different to the original GWR one.

This station opened in 1852 on the London Paddington to Wolverhampton line with major rebuilding and enlarging in the early 1910s to compete with New Street. The station had a huge roof and an ornate facade like many major rail stations of the time. Snow Hill was a victim of the Beeching railway cuts of the 1960s which saw the station closed1. The facade was demolished in the 1970s, the station area itself surviving as a car park for a time. Interestingly it featured in the 1970s BBC TV series Gangsters which had a fight scene take place in its crumbling ruins.

In this clip from Gangsters you can see the old station in its crumbling 1970s "glory".

The original station clock was bought by a commuter for £125 when the station was closed as he had met his future wife under the clock years before. He said he intended to put the clock up on his farm in Uttoxeter2. Some items from the original Snow Hill including the Booking Hall sign were later reused in the refurbishment of the nearby Birmingham Moor Street.

Snow Hill was reborn in the 1980s as a very different station though reusing the old lines with services to London Marylebone, Stratford-upon-Avon and Worcester the main destinations. The Midlands Metro when built in the 1990s had its Birmingham terminus located at Snow Hill. New developments in the Snow Hill area around the station plus a planned extension to the Metro mean that Birmingham Snow Hill is likely to have a much brighter future than seemed possible in the late 60s and early 70s.
Birmingham Snow Hill Station
1) The Guardian (1959-2003) [London (UK)] 01 July 1966: 12.
2) Daily Mirror, Tue 1 Jul 1969 Page 2-3

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