© Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2011
"I've got vouchers for tickets from Moor
Street to Marylebone - do you fancy a
"Sounds great - let's do it!"
"We only get an hour and half in London...."
The tickets were a special offer from a daily newspaper (I won't
embarrass my friend by naming it...) - just £7.50, valid on the
11.15am from Moor Street, Birmingham, and returning on the
2.50pm from Marylebone. Barely time to get out of the train -
but, after what promised to be a very busy few days, it was "just
the ticket" (sorry!) for a relaxing trip.
Our train from Shropshire, the 9.24 from Shrewsbury (which had
set out that morning from Aberystwyth) was packed, and we
began to wonder about our train (and the resulting relaxation!)
from Birmingham - "It'll have filled up at Snow Hill, and we can't
get on there".
We made our way through the new Bull Ring - an unfamiliar
route to those who knew the older Brum - and entered the
recently-refurbished Moor Street. The work performed by
Chiltern Railways and The Birmingham Alliance has restored the
former eyesore site (it closed as a terminus in 1987 - see
Farewell to old Moor Street) to a sight for sore eyes! Even the
new through platforms have a definite GWR style (and colour
scheme). Chiltern Railways' intention, apparently, is to use Moor
Street as a terminus for the Marylebone service - which, in the
meantime, departs from Snow Hill, hence our apprehension.
We needn't have worried - there was plenty of
room in the rear carriage of 4-car 168 002, and
we had a very comfortable and pleasant run
down the old main line (double track once again,
all the way) - as far as Northolt Junction, where
the route veers off to join the former GCR line to
the London terminus. Despite several station
stops at the Birmingham end, we arrived in
London on time in a reasonable 2 hours and 17
After a few photos, my colleagues headed off in search of liquid
refreshment. I decided to take a stroll into Regent's Park (I
would be going out that evening...) - and caught a shower of
rain. Nevertheless, it was a welcome leg stretch before the
return journey - a slightly quicker schedule taking just over two
hours. Those 168s can certainly pick up their feet - I did a quick
check at one point on the return journey - 18 seconds for a half-
mile - just 100mph.
"Remember when we saw that red kite when we were down this
way on the first French trip?" Yes, very well - and today, not too
far from Chinnor, there was a red kite beside the line as we
...and on the return journey, we must have seen a dozen! It's not
just railways that get revived!
Farewell to old Moor Street The 1987 closure