St Martins Square

A central Birmingham terminus

Built by the Birmingham & Gloucester Railway in 1840 and taken over by the Midland Railway five years later, St Martins Square declined in importance when the Midland Railway transferred its principal services to Birmingham New Street but the station continued to be used for suburban and cross-country services that could not conveniently be handled at New Street.

As well as local services from Birmingham to Derby via Tamworth, Leicester via Nuneaton and Cheltenham via Evesham, St Martins Square was the terminus for Midland & South Western Joint Railway (MSWJR) cross-country services to Southampton Terminus. In summer, these included a daily Boat Train express connecting with overnight cross-channel ferry services. Summer Saturdays were particularly busy as the station handled excursions and holiday relief services to South Coast seaside resorts.

The station also handled a considerable amount of freight traffic, including agricultural produce from Gloucestershire and Worcestershire, imports and exports via Bristol and Southampton Docks and associated transfer freights to and from the Midland's Washwood Heath marshalling yard to the north of Birmingham. In addition, a spur from the Birmingham canal network terminated in a dock basin adjacent to the railway.

In 1958 the Midland line from Birmingham to Bristol was transferred to the Western Region. Although St Martins Square itself and the lines northward from it continued to be part of the London Midland region, services to Evesham, Cheltenham and Gloucester were increasingly taken over by Great Western locomotives and rolling stock. Southern locomotives and stock continued to appear on MSWJR through services.

The Club's model railway depicts the station in about 1960, well before the Beeching era rationalisations that would lead to its closure and complete obliteration by subsequent redevelopments.

Today one might think it had never existed.

Gallery - click to enlarge