RAILDATE 2024.01.05

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The Weekly Poser: Where is this?

From the BR Blue era, two trains meet on the same platform, but there are bufferstops in between. Where is it?

Last week's Where is this?

We end the Year 2023 with this magnificent general scene of ... where?

Answer: Worcester. Congratulations are due to the following for their correct answers: Tony Parsons, Jim Allwood, Peter Binnersley, Colin Penfold, Richard Maund, Dave Goodyear, Dave Winter, Jeremy Harrison, Bryn Pitcher, Neil Kearns, Paul Hopper, Ian Bromley, Andrew Treves, Andy Foster, Simon Wass, Peter Tisdale.

The photo was taken by Michael Mensing on 1st May 1966 [RCTS Collection].

We see a southbound train at Tunnel Junction heading towards Worcester Shrub Hill, hauled by a Class 45/46 Peak. It will pass to the left of the two buildings making up Worcester shed. No steam to be seen, because Worcester shed was diesel only from January 1966. Class 35 Hymeks, like the one shown, took over from Castles as regulars on services to Paddington. The line towards Foregate Steet and Hereford is to the right. Christ & St Mary's Cathedral is just visible behind the gas works (the white structure).

The Worcester & Birmingham Canal is just beyond the gas works. It provided an early outlet for the output of the great manufacturing centre of Birmingham via the remarkable 2.5km-long Wast Hill Tunnel (opened 1797). Worcester's leading industries coalesced around the canal; they were an eclectic mix of glove-making, ceramics (Royal Worcester porcelain), vinegar (Lea & Perrins), and railway signals (McKenzie and Holland). The "Glovers' Needle" is the thin spire of St Andrew's Church in the centre.

Rail service to Birmingham has long been surprisingly poor. The journey often took over an hour, and there were several two-hour gaps in the service. That gave local bus operator Midland Red the opportunity in the 1960s to run buses every 10 minutes or so, including two expresses per hour taking just 50 minutes via the new M5.

Worcester had a decent 3' 6" tramway network comprising six lines radiating from The Cross. It was closed down in 1928 and the routes taken over by Midland Red buses.


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©  Matthew Shaw 2024