Unlocking Stourport's Past

Stourport Station

Old newspaper article.which contrary to the text shows the station buildings level crossing and footbridge in Minster Road. Great Western way replaced the depot and silos in the top right hand corner of the picture
Stourport was on the original Severn Valley Railway that ran from Hartlebury (joining the Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway) to Shrewsbury; It was opened in 1862, being taken over by GWR in 1863 and closed just over a hundred years later.The last day of passenger services was Saturday, 3rd January 1970.

The SVR joined two important railway centres, Worcester and Shrewsbury: it served Stourport which was on the decline as a port but going up as an industrial town. It gave access to the East Shropshire coalfields around Ironbridge and at Highley.

The late Stan James, former mayor of Stourport lived alongside the GWR basin. This was in the 1930s and he gives a vivid description of the hectic activity. Loaded trucks came down the incline from Stourport station by gravity; they were controlled by a man in the brake. Runaway trucks were uncommon - but dramatic! The O/S map shows two lines on the north and one on the south side of the basin. Stan recalls that the lines on the north side were usually used and that their termination was protected by heavy-duty buffers. The commonest freight was iron and steel bars (10 ft) from South Wales. Each of these would be thrown into Merchants barges making a noise Stan still recalls. When full each 'barge' would set off for Pratt's Wharf Lock, the Stour and Wilden Iron Works. Coal from Highley followed the same route. George Wood (who was employed all his working life, like his father and grandfather, with the S & W canal Company) recalls that in the 40s many boats in the basin were loaded bound for Stourvale, also part of Baldwin's, just north of Kidderminster. Just beyond the heavy-duty buffers was a platform made of Staffordshire blue bricks; it is still there though displaced. Stan recalls that trucks of sand came onto this from a quarry where there are now houses. These trucks came on a short rail¬way line and sand was tipped from a considerable height into 'cut boats' on the main line. The quarry and short railway line belonged to Thomas Vale & Son who still trade under that name though now a PLC. A walk towards Hartlebury along the track of the SVR is rewarding. The branch to Stourport power station leaves almost immediately. Carrying coal to the power station was a tonic to S & W trade from 1926 till this branch of the SVR took it over 23 years later. The embankment from here to the Stour is impressive and the viaduct carrying the SVR over the Stour is a delight -especially in evening light. There is a further two miles which would make a good evening walk after a day's boating."

This page researched by David More
This page last updated 25 June 2015

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