2 hrs. 44 mins.
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1st Take’s quest to revisit the Branch Lines of England now takes a particularly interesting turn, as we explore the varied railway landscape of Worcestershire with eminent author Colin Maggs. These routes range from parts of the Severn Valley Railway – now one of the country’s longest and best preserved lines – to what were once main lines, including the one which ran between Droitwich Spa and Lye. At the other end of the scale are those which have always been branches, such as that from Stourbridge Junction to Stourbridge Town, allegedly the shortest in Europe. You will also enjoy a special report on the recent extension of the delightful Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway to the Worcestershire town of Broadway, as we explore the former Honeybourne Line. The basic pattern of railways in Worcestershire was relatively simple. The Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway, known from its initials as the ‘Old Worse & Worse’ ran east to west across the southern half of Worcestershire and then turned north to bisect the county. In 1860 it became part of the West Midland Railway, and three years later it was absorbed by the Great Western Railway. The Midland Railway had a main line which ran north to south through the county, roughly parallel with that of the Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway, and also a branch from Barnt Green through Redditch, Alcester and Evesham to Ashchurch, which could be used as an alternative route. This part of the county’s rail network was the first to see electrification, and recently benefited from a £1bn investment. The Worcester area – with its ‘Vinegar Branch’ and Butts and Riverside branch – is rich in history. Other lines featured include the Great Malvern-Ripple branch, the Halesowen branch, and the Bromyard Junction-Suckley branch, which entered Herefordshire. Remote, rural delights are also uncovered on the Bewdley-Newnham Bridge branch, which skirted the Shropshire border. Join us as we take a trip back in time to discover how, why and when these branches were built, and what survives today, on this special two-disc edition. Our evocative tour of Worcestershire is enhanced with interviews, rare archive photographs, stunning location film and maps. You can also enjoy brief excerpts of colour archive footage from the Barnt Green-Redditch line, the Great Malvern-Ripple line and the Bromyard Junction-Suckley line. Enjoy the journey!