Smethwick West Railway Station, Oldbury Road, Smethwick
- Reference Number: PHS/3102
- PreviousNumbers: 15400
- PreviousNumbers: IP 959
- Date: 25 Sep 1960
- Level: Item
- Extent: 1 item
- History Note: Smethwick West station opened in 1867 as 'Smethwick Junction' under the Great Western Railway on the line between Stourbridge Junction and Smethwick Junction itself where the line split between a branch linking with the London North Western Railway's New Street to Wolverhampton High Level line and the continuation of Great Western Railway rails to mainline between Snow Hill and Wolverhampton Low Level. The station was to close in 1995 with the opening of the prestige Smethwick Galton Bridge station but an administrative blunder meant that the correct legal procedure for station closures was not followed thus the station had to remain open for a further year. However, in terms of service the station closed effectively in 1995 as for the last year only one train each way ran per week to satisfy the 'not closed' criteria.
- History Note: In 1948, the existing private rail companies in Britain, known as the 'Big Four': the Great Western Railway (GWR), the London North Eastern Railway (LNER), the London Midland Scottish Railway (LMS) and the Southern Railway, were nationalised under the Transport Act of 1947. The company working through the Public Sector became British Railways. The majority of the existing locomotives and rolling stock belonging to the former private companies were repainted and renumbered, with the remainder being sold or scrapped. The emblem chosen was the 'Lion and the Wheel' which proved unpopular, and was replaced in 1956 with 'the Lion and the Crown' motif. In 1965 the company changed its logo to the 'Double Arrow' motif and shortened its name from British Railways to British Rail. In 1992, under the Conservative government of John Major, control of the railways was placed back into the hands of the private sector. Under the 1993 Railways Act, British Rail was split up and sold off. By November 1997, British Rail had been divested of all its operating railway functions.
- History Note: The Great Western Railway (G.W.R.) was created by an Act of Parliament on the 31 August 1835, to provide a double track line from London to Bristol. Work had already begun three years early, to secure finance for the line. In 1833 the Great Western appointed Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859) as its Chief Engineer, who would oversee the construction of the line. Brunel opted to use the 7 feet 1/4 inch (214cm) broad gauge, instead of the standard gauge of 4 feet 8 1/2 inches (143.5cm). Construction began in 1836 in two places Bristol to Bath and London to Reading. By 1841 the whole line was completed at a total cost of 6,500,000. After Brunel's death the 594 miles of broad gauge track, began to be replaced by standard gauge. By 1885, The Great Western Railway had expanded to become a rail network of over 2500 miles of line, reaching every corner of western England and Wales. On 23 May 1892, the last of the broad gauge was replaced with standard gauge track. The 20th century saw even more changes for the G.W.R. By the end of World War One, Britain was rail network was operated by over 300 individual companies, and in 1921 the government ordered the rail companies to regroup into just four regional companies, the Great Western Railway, the London Midland and Scottish Railway (L.M.S.), the London and North Eastern Railway (L.N.E.R.) and the Southern Railway. These were to become known as the "Big Four". On 1 January 1948, the rail network was nationalised, as a direct result of the Transport Act 1947, and passed from private ownership, to government control, under the new name British Railways.
- Description: A black and white photograph of an ex-Great Western Railway Class 51XX 2-6-2T Prairie Tank engine no. 4105, passing through Smethwick West Railway Station with an up-freight train.
- Terms:Railway stations
- Terms:Steam Locomotives
- Copyright: In copyright for 70 years from death of photographer. Copyright holder: M. Mensing and heirs
- Access Status: Open
- Contact: Sandwell Archives, Sandwell Community History and Archives Service
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