Worcester Shrub Hill
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Worcester Shrub Hill looking north, 24th February, 2012
Worcester Shrub was the first, and largest of the Worcester stations, opening in 1852 with the first section of the Oxford, Worcester & Wolverhampton Railway from Abbotswood Junction to Shrub Hill. The station originally boasted major facilities including a large goods yard and locomotive and carriage sheds. The station itself originally had four lines running through it and was enclosed by a canopy. It is not known exactly when the canopy was removed; it was in place at the turn of the 20th Century, but doesn't appear to be shown on the OS map of 1923, and was certainly gone by the outbreak of the Second World War.
By 1923 the station complex consisted of the passenger station (in the position it is now), a goods shed east of the station belonging to the GWR, a second goods shed to the south of the station operated jointly by the GWR and LMS, a locomotive and carriage repair works north of the station and two engine sheds situated in the triangle of the lines between Shrub Hill Station, Foregate Street Station and Rainbow Hill Tunnel. The original carriage works was destroyed by fire on the 11th November 1864, along with 16 carriages. By the 1960's, the industrial importance of Worcester meant that there was quite a diversity of engines stabled at Shrub Hill, especially freight engines.
Of particular interest is the Lowesmoor Tramway or "Vinegar branch" which ran from the triangle, past Shrub Hill station, over the canal and into the vinegar works of Hill, Evans & Co. The route of the line into the city and the gradient meant that special precautions had to be taken by trains working this line. The last train ran on the 5th June 1964.
Today, the station is a shadow of its former self. Most of the goods sidings have been removed, although a few immediately behind the station remain, if for the most time, empty. There are now only three lines through the station, with the centre line being used mainly to turn trains around. Motive power stabled at Worcester has been drastically reduced. The "Vinegar Branch" has been all but erased by the redevelopment of the Shrub Hill area.
Whether or not the opening of the new Worcestershire Parkway Station to the southeast of the city will affect the future of this station remains to be seen.