Birmingham Snow Hill: 1958-1963:


Between the years 1951 and 1967, I must have been to Birmingham Snow Hill station  well over a hundred times. And yet most of my visits were short. I was usually on my way to or from Paddington, Leamington Spa, Banbury, Shrewsbury or other places. On Wednesday afternoons, my school half days, I would catch a train from Stourbridge Junction, have an hour or two at Snow Hill, then go over to New Street for the rest of the afternoon. In my old 1950's and1960's spotting records, I have only found three occasions where I made notes that covered  around three hours. 
   SATURDAY 9th AUGUST 1958: 12.55pm to 4.15pm 
A summer Saturday afternoon at Snow Hill in 1958. I hope I have date correct. I could be one week out either way. The 1958 book that contained my notes was badly torn, and the dates long gone. But by a process of elimination, I have narrowed it down to three possibilities. The 19th or 26th July, or the 2nd August (in fact now established as 9th August, thanks to "feedback"). 
  12.58/1.05 6377 (2-6-0) called on 8.47am Pokesdown-Birkenhead (7)..8 late
  1.15 arr 6956 Mottram Hall arrived on 8.50am Portsmouth-Birmingham (10)..7 late
  1.22 arr 6948 Holbrooke Hall arrived on Addl Bournemouth-Birmingham (8)
  1.31 arr 6925 Hackness Hall arrived on Addl Portsmouth-Birmingham (9)
  1.49/1.55 7013 Bristol Castle called on 10.50am Paddington-Aberystwyth (12)..34 late
  1.53/1.59 4954 Plaish Hall called on Addl Paddington-Birkenhead (9)
  2.01/2.04 7030 Cranbrook Castle called on 11.10am Paddington-Birkenhead (12)..24 late
  2.10/2.14 Grange (unidentified) called on 9.11am Portsmouth-Wolverhampton (10)..21 
  2.13/2.16 4925 Eynsham Hall called on 9.25am Weymouth-Wolverhampton (9)..10 late
  2.18/2.21 6937 Conyngham Hall called on 9.28am Portsmouth-Wolverhampton (8) ?
  2.23 arr 6975 Capesthorne Hall arrived on Relief Margate-Birmingham (8)
  2.38 arr 7307 (2-6-0) arrived on 8.50am Margate-Birmingham (10)..23 late
  2.43 arr 7902 Eaton Mascot Hall arrived on 9.35am Swansea-Birmingham (9)..34 late
  2.52/2.55 6853 Morehampton Grange called on 9.30am Bourne-Wolver (12)..28 late
  3.04/3.08 5984 Linden Hall called on 8.48am Hastings-Wolverhampton (10)..25 late
  3.11 arr 5918 Walton Hall arrived on Unidentified Relief (11)
  3.16/3.19 6964 Thornbridge Hall called on Relief Bournemouth-Birkenhead (11)
  3.22/3.27 5025 Chirk Castle called on 9.30am Bournemouth-Birkenhead (11)..31 late
  3.31/3.35 5935 Norton Hall called on 9.06am Margate-Wolverhampton (10)..18 late
  3.39/3.43 5031 Totnes Castle called on 9.18am Margate-Birkenhead (13)..15 late
  4.00 dep 6866 Morfa Grange departed on 4.00pm Birmingham-Cardiff (8)..R time
  4.00/4.06 5072 Hurricane called on 1.10pm Paddington-Chester (?)..25 late
  4.10 arr 4948 Northwick Hall arrived on Addl Margate-Birmingham (9)
The afternoon traffic was mainly the holiday trains from the south and west that had set out throughout the morning. The outgoing holiday trains from Birmingham were all well on their way by lunchtime. A lot of relief services were running, particularly from the Southern. But fortunately the Snow Hill station announcer was giving full details of arrivals. Timekeeping was not all that bad for a Summer Saturday. Two trains were 34 minutes late. 

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  1.10/1.15    5088 Llanthony Abbey called on 7.20am Pwllheli-Paddington (9)..4 late
  1.29 arr  5331 (2-6-0) arrived on Relief Barmouth-Birmingham (6)..37 late
  1.32/1.35 73013 called on 9.20am Birkenhead-Bournemouth (10)..77 late
  1.43/1.48 6927 Lilford Hall called on 9.30am Birkenhead-Bournemouth (12)..62 late
  2.11/2.14 6003 King George IV called on 9.25am Aberystwyth-Paddington (13)..33 late
  2.16 arr 7921 Edstone Hall arrived on 9.20am Barmouth-Birmingham (8)..31 late
  2.50/2.53 5063 Earl Baldwin called on Relief Chester-Paddington (8)..4 late
  3.15/3.20 6015 King Richard III called on 11.45am Birkenhead-Paddington (12)..20 late
  3.45 dep 7902 Eaton Mascot Hall departed on 3.45pm Birmingham-Swansea (9)..R time
  4.04/4.08 6990 Witherslack Hall called on 2.35pm Shrewsbury-Paddington (12)..9 late
  4.10/4.15 7013 Bristol Castle called on 9.25am Pwllheli-Paddington (11)..34 late
Clearly something had gone seriously adrift north of Shrewsbury, since the two Birkenhead to Bournemouth services were 77 late and 62 late. The three trains from the Welsh Coast were 37, 31, and 34 late, but this was usual. 

The highlight of the afternoon was the appearance of an 83C (Exeter) Hall, no 4948, which came in on a Margate "extra". 

   SATURDAY 21st JULY 1962: 12.15pm to 4.10pm 
Four years later, in 1962, I had a four hour spell on 21st July. This time I am quite sure of the date. By 1962, the number of Saturdays only holiday trains was already in decline, and there were noticeably fewer trains.

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 12.17 dep 4133 (2-6-2T) dep on local service (4)..R time
 12.19/12.25 7012 Barry Castle called on 8.20am Paddington-Pwllheli (12)..80 late
 12.28 arr 7912 Little Linford Hall arrived on 7.55am Swansea-Birmingham (8)..6 late
 12.42/12.48 6019 King Henry V called on 10.10am Paddington-Pwllheli (13)..6 late
 1.21/1.24 6911 Holker Hall called on 9.10am Portsmouth-Wolverhampton (10)..4 early
 1.39/1.45 6000 King George V called on 10.50am Paddington-Aberystwyth (13)..3 early
 2.03/2.05 4930 Hagley Hall called on 9.20am Bournemouth-Wolverhampton (10)..3 late
 2.09/2.11 5038 Morlais Castle called on 9.30am Bournemouth-Wolverh'ton (10)..1 late
 2.22/2.24 6974 Bryngwyn Hall called on 10.11am Brighton-Wolverhampton (7)..1 late
 2.42/2.45 6016 King Edward V called on 12.10pm Paddington-Birkenhead (13)..3 late
 2.56/2.59 73025 (BR 5MT 4-6-0) called on ? Bournemouth-Birkenhead (8)..4 late
 3.03 arr 5980 Dingley Hall arrived on 9.15am Ramsgate-Birmingham (10)..3 late
 3.10/3.14 6955 Lydcott Hall called on ? Weymouth-Wolverhampton (10)..3 late
 3.44 arr 6817 Gwenddwr Grange arrived on ? Birmingham (12)
 3.52/3.57 6011 King James I called on 1.10pm Paddington-Shrewsbury (12)
 4.03/4.06 5093 Upton Castle called on 9.10am Ramsgate-Wolverhampton (12)
 4.07 arr 5999 Wollaton Hall arrived on unidentified service
Apart from 7012 on the 8.20am Paddington-Pwllheli, 80 minutes late, the down line was running well. By 1962, the use of 2-6-0's on class A trains was rare east of Shrewsbury. 
 12.39/12.50 7019 Fowey Castle called on ? Wolverhampton-Leamington (4)
 12.53/12.56 5033 Broughton Castle called on 9.30am Birkenhead-Bournemouth (8)..11 late
  1.07/1.20 6012 King Edward VI called on 7.20am Pwllheli-Paddington (8/11)..15/20 late
  2.03/2.08 5088 Llanthony Abbey called on ? Aberystwyth-Paddington (14)..8 late
  2.20/3.25 6834  Dummer Grange called on up Mail (15v)
  2.36 pass 92000 passed Light engine
  2.50 arr 7026 Tenby Castle arrived on 12.03pm Chester-Birmingham relief (9)..R time
  3.28/3.31 D1005 Western Venturer called on 11.40am Birkenhead-Paddington (12)..33 L
  3.45 dep 4954 Plaish Hall departed on 3.45pm Birmingham-Fishguard Hbr (8)..R time
  3.58/4.02 6019 King Henry V called on 9.25am Pwllheli-Paddington (11)
  4.01/4.05 5658 (0-6-2T) stopped centre road on transfer freight.
The Western Diesel Hydraulics had appeared by mid 1962, though D1005 Western Venturer was the first one that I had seen at Snow Hill. So the Kings had only two months left. 

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   SATURDAY 27th APRIL 1963: 10.45am to 1.25pm: 
27th April 1963 was one of the most interesting days in the history of Snow Hill station. There was An F.A.Cup semi final at Villa Park between Southampton and Manchester United. Whilst the Manchester supporters who travelled by rail went directly to Witton station, close to the football ground, the trains from Southampton came to Snow Hill. Most of them travelled "main line" via Oxford and Banbury, but three trains travelled via Oxford, then Worcester and Stourbridge Junction, and one, from Bournemouth, came via the Somerset & Dorset, Bath Green Park, Cheltenham and Stratford. With 12 coach trains, LMS 8F 2-8-0's gave a hand up Old Hill bank. So 10 trains arrived facing west, and 3 facing east. And of those 13 trains, 12 were hauled by Bullied pacifics, which Eastleigh shed had turned out in pristine condition. 34094, the only unrebuilt loco, was from Bournemouth shed and was rather grubby. Bournemouth shed cleaners were unlikely to be supporters of Southampton F.C. after all. The same arrangements were in place for the return trains in the evening, three trains returned via Worcester, and presumably one via the S & D.

Now although I was an Aston Villa supporter, there we several other clubs that I had a liking for, and Southampton was one of them (the others were Ipswich and Norwich). So what I was hoping for to complete a memorable day was an emphatic win by Southampton. In fact the final result was Manchester United 1 Southampton 0.

I nearly missed most of the arrivals. In 1963 my place of employment was in St Pauls Square, very close to Snow Hill station. But I was required to work on Saturday mornings, until 12.30pm. Only a serious "stomach upset" saved the day. And that almost misfired, for my employer initially insisted on arranging transport home for me.   

 10.45 arr 34098 Templecombe arrived on Footex no 1 (12)
 11.03 arr 34028 Eddystone arrived on 7.30am Footex no 3 (due 11.00) (12)
 11.11 arr 34052 Lord Dowding arrived on 7.35am Footex no 4 (due 11.08) (12)
 11.21/11.24 D1005 Western Venturer called on 9.10am Paddington-Birkenhead (10)
 12.01 arr 34094 Mortehoe arrived on 8.00am Footex no 6 (due 11.30) (12)
 12.10 arr 34040 Crewkerne arrived on 7.55am Footex no 11 (due 11.53) (12)
 12.22 arr 34042 Dorchester arrived on 8.35am Footex no 8 (due 12.08) (12)
 12.39 arr 34088 213 Squadron arrived on 8.49am Footex no 9 (due 12.22) (12)
 12.51 arr 34050 Royal Observer Corps arrived on 8.50am Footex no 12 (due 12.40) (12)
 1.11 arr 34045 Ottery St Mary arrived on 9.10am Footex no 10 (due 1.00) (12)
 1.19 arr 7919 Runter Hall arrived on 9.30am Footex no 15 (due 1.08) (12)
 1.25/1.29 D1008 Western Harrier called on 11.10am Paddington-Aberystwyth (14)
The arriving specials continued to Wolverhampton Oxley, or Stourbridge Junction, or, for the eastbound arrivals, to Tyseley. The locos were turned and serviced at 84B, 84F, or 84E sheds. Those that had been serviced at Stourbridge required the same 8F pilots on their return to Snow Hill.

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 10.55/11.00 D1015 Western Champion called on Birkenhead-Paddington (12)..R time
 11.02/11.03 D1001 Western Pathfinder called on Schoolboys International excursion (11)
 11.10/11.26 6678 (0-6-2T) held centre road on Transfer Freight (7+b)
 11.12/11.17 7014 Caerhays Castle called on 10.50am Wolverhampton-Ramsgate (8)
 11.41 pass 6644 (0-6-2T) passed Light engine
 11.45 arr 34009 Lyme Regis+48478 pilot arrived on Footex no 2 (due 11.36) (12)
 11.55/12.00 D1014 Western Leviathan called on Birkenhead-Paddington (14)..R time
 12.03/12.48 4172 (2-6-2T) held centre road on Freight (14+b)
 12.18 arr 34039 Boscastle+48417 pilot arrived on Footex no 5 (12)
 12.28/12.32 5089 Westminster Abbey called on Manchester-Bournemouth (12)
 12.39 pass 6842 Nunhold Grange passed on Freight (33+b)
 12.43 arr 34046 Braunton+48430 pilot arrived on Footex no 7 (12)
In the evening, I drove to Old Hill to see the three empty stock working from Stourbridge, with their 8F pilots, coming up the bank. But I also saw 34009, 34039, and 34046, heading down the bank en route for Worcester, Oxford, then back to Southampton.