Railways in Worcestershire

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Frankley Reservoir


Grid Reference: SP 805005


Old map of Frankley  Sewage Works

Frankley Reservoir is at the end of pipelines that run for over 73 miles from a network of reservoirs in the Elan and Claerwen valleys in Wales. The project to construct the reservoirs and pipelines was authorised by the Birmingham Corporation Water Act of 1892.

To facilitate construction of the Frankley Waterworks the Rubery and Frankley Railway was laid down to the nearby station at Rubery. The works was opened on 21st July 1904. The reservoir was built by Abram Kellett of Ealing and the Industrial Railway Society records that two new narrow gauge (2'9”) steam locomotives were used here:

LORD ROBERTS (Kerr Stuart 741 of 1900)

SIR HECTOR (Kerr Stuart 757 of 1901)

Nowadays Frankley Reservoir lies wholly within the West Midlands but as the old Ordnance Survey (6 inches to one mile) map above clearly shows the boundary between Birmingham and Worcestershire used to run right through the middle of the works. The map is believed to date from about 1938 and the Corporation's railway is clearly marked on it although the map only includes about 80% of the works. This 2' gauge railway served the filter beds and was used for the haulage of materials. Locomotives were introduced in 1919 and were used until about 1970.

On February 7th 1971 Eric Hackett of Smethwick made a visit here and noted that "All that remains of the railway system here is a pile of rails and about ten dumper trucks at the back of the works (Ref: Industrial Railway Socitry Archvies, letter 71/159.

On 1st April 1974 ownership of the works passed to the Severn Trent Water Authority, later Severn Trent Plc.

Six locomotives, built by Motor Rail, are known to have been used here. Full details of these locomotives can be found in the Industrial Railway Society's West Midlands Handbook (out of print).

This view of Frankley Reservoir was taken from the well-known lay-bye at Frankley Beeches.  Photograph taken by Andrew Smith on January 6th 2003.
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