Snow Hill Lines

This is about the lines in the West Midlands, the name also sometimes refers to the lines through Snow Hill Tunnel in London, now used by Thameslink.
Diagrammatic map of the Snow Hill Lines (not to scale)

The Snow Hill Lines is the collective name for the railway lines running through Birmingham Snow Hill, and Birmingham Moor Street stations in Birmingham, United Kingdom.[1][2] They form an important part of the suburban rail network of Birmingham, Warwickshire and Worcestershire. All other lines to/through Birmingham use Birmingham New Street station. The Snow Hill lines carry around 20% of the daily rail services into Birmingham, the remainder use New Street.[3]

Historically, the lines running through Snow Hill station were built by the Great Western Railway, and so they are largely separate from the lines running into New Street station, which were built by the London and North Western Railway and Midland Railway.

The original Snow Hill station was closed in 1972. The Snow Hill lines in their present form came into being between 1987-1995, when Snow Hill station, and the line through to Smethwick was reopened, in order to create a new cross-city rail service via Snow Hill and Moor Street stations. The former line to Wolverhampton was reopened as the Midland Metro tram line in 1999.


The three Snow Hill lines are:

Birmingham to Worcester via Kidderminster Line

This is a commuter line to Worcester Shrub Hill and Worcester Foregate Street via Stourbridge Junction and Kidderminster. It was reopened to Snow Hill in 1995 as part of the "Jewellery Line" project.

Chiltern Main Line

Main article: Chiltern Main Line

This is a regional mainline with services to London Marylebone. In the West Midlands it is one of the Snow Hill Lines, as it also carries a frequent commuter service between Snow Hill and Solihull, Dorridge and Leamington Spa.

North Warwickshire Line

This is a commuter branch line, which branches off from the Chiltern Main Line at Tyseley and runs south to Stratford-upon-Avon. The line was formerly a through main line running south to Cheltenham, but has been a dead end branch since the 1970s. Frequent commuter services run as far as Whitlocks End, with a less frequent service running to Stratford. A spur line from Hatton allows some services to run via Solihull.

Rolling stock and operators

London Midland Class 172 calls at Yardley Wood

Unlike the lines to/through New Street station, the lines are not electrified, and are operated by diesel multiple units. London Midland who operate the local services on the routes use Class 172 DMUs. These replaced the older Class 150 in 2011.[1] Chiltern Railways use Class 165 and Class 168 diesel multiple units, and Class 68 locomotives with Mark 3 coaches. However, electrification is a future aspiration of Network Rail and Chiltern Railways.[4]


London Midland

The local services on the Snow Hill Lines are closely integrated. As of 2014, London Midland run six trains per hour between Stourbridge Junction, Birmingham Snow Hill, and Birmingham Moor Street, three of these then run to Dorridge and three to Whitlocks End. One Dorridge, and one Whitlocks End service per hour continue to Stratford-upon-Avon, and some peak hour trains continue from Dorridge to Leamington Spa. Four trains per hour continue beyond Stourbridge Junction to Kidderminster, and two of these continue to Worcester Foregate Street.

Chiltern Railways

Chiltern Railways run two trains per hour from either Snow Hill or Moor Street to London Marylebone calling at Solihull and Leamington Spa. Chiltern Railways also run a two-hourly local service from Moor Street to Leamington. In peak hours some Chiltern services to or from London continue to Kidderminster.

Midland Metro

Main article: Midland Metro

The Midland Metro runs into Snow Hill, but it is not considered one of the Snow Hill Lines as it is a light rail/tram line. However it runs mostly along the trackbed of the former Birmingham Snow Hill to Wolverhampton Low Level Line.

See also


  1. 1 2 "A new era for the Snow Hill lines". London Midland. Archived from the original on March 26, 2014. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
  3. "Birmingham New Street — History". Network Rail. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
  4. Draft Electrifications RUS Response - Chiltern RailwaysNetwork Rail
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