Over the years, I have been to Tamworth station many times, although not as many times as I have been to Derby or Nottingham stations. My first memory of Tamworth station was travelling through it on the way from Birmingham New Street to Burton on Trent in 1990, and asking my mother what the signs warning passengers about turbulence from passing trains meant.
Regular blog readers will be aware of my struggles with navigating Tamworth station; I often end up on the wrong platform, although I am getting better at finding my way around. I know now that I get off the train from Burton at platform 4, it’s platform 3 to get home, platform 2 to head east, platform 1 for trains heading west and to exit the station. Simple.
Tamworth railway station originally opened on the higher level in August 1839 by the Birmingham and Derby Junction Railway, who also opened Burton on Trent and Willington stations on the same line, among other stations which no longer exist. In 1847, the original London and North Western Railway built the Trent Valley line running at a right angle to the existing line, passing underneath it. A new joint station building was constructed, designed by John William Livock, and opened in 1847. A chord linking the two lines was built in 1847, but closed in 1969.
Tamworth’s location as the junction of two major railway lines made it an important exchange point for the Royal Mail, with thousands of letters and parcels being transferred between the two lines every day. In 1870, a major accident occurred when an Irish Mail train was incorrectly diverted into a siding, from where it ran through the buffers and into the River Anker. Three people were killed in the accident.
The original station buildings were demolished in 1961 as part of British Rail’s plan to destroy beautiful looking stations and replace them with soulless concrete messes (see also Burton on Trent, Derby Midland, Stafford and many more). The new buildings opened in 1962 and have been renovated many times since then. The electrification of the Low Level lines meant that the High Level lines and platforms needed to be raised by two feet.
Since privatisation of the railways in the 1990s, London Northwestern Railway runs the place now. There are many facilities, including waiting rooms on the high level platforms, lifts between the upper and lower levels and a fully staffed ticket office. There is also a multi-level car park near the station entrance.
My first visit to Tamworth station was in July 2010, when I made the short trip from Burton on Trent to the Lamb Ground, home of Tamworth FC, who were playing my team, Aberdeen, in a pre-season friendly. The game finished 1-1. I don’t recall if my trains there and back on that day were on time, but I can honestly say that since then, I have never caught a train from Tamworth that hasn’t been delayed by at least a couple of minutes.
Despite the lackadaisical approach to timekeeping at the station, Tamworth is a fine place and well worth a visit. I was there in February 2020, just before the pandemic, and again in May 2022 to visit Tameside Local Nature Reserve.
That’s it for this look at Tamworth station., Thanks very much for reading.