Inspirational Victorian engineers commemorated at Bromsgrove Station ceremony

On Friday 11th November Bromsgrove Society, ICE and the IMechE commemorated two talented engineers whose work contributed to the building of the railway and the improvement of the engines which used it; Captain William Scarth Moorsom

Bromsgrove Plaque group photo.
Bromsgrove Plaque group photo.

Rail passengers who make the journey on the Birmingham to Worcester line are probably too absorbed in their phones or newspapers to notice that they are travelling on the steepest mainline railway incline in Great Britain. They probably don't realise the complexity of the mechanics of the train in which they travel; or stop to consider the work of the pioneering engineers of the Victorian era whose hard work and perseverance brought the first railways to fruition.

When his regiment returned to England Capt Moorsom resigned his commission and began working for famous Scottish civil engineer, Robert Stephenson.

ICE Member Moorsom's surveying work on the challenging terrain of the Lickey Incline between Barnt Green and Bromsgrove stations (a gradient of 1 in 37.7 for a continuous distance of two miles) was instrumental in building the line at an affordable cost.

After the line to Birmingham was completed in 1840 he worked all over England, laying out hundreds of miles of track. He diversified, and his later projects included taking an active part in gold mining attempts in the West Country and designing a bridge over the Rhine at Cologne.

Moorsom's great great granddaughter Elaine Drake who has carried out much research in to her fascinating ancestor said: "I am very pleased there is to be a plaque to commemorate my great great grandfather, and I am grateful to all those people who have made it possible."

"His life was one of constant energy and activity both of mind and body; he was admired for his integrity and honour and, in my eyes was a truly great man."

The two plaques were officially unveiled by Dominik McCormick, the youngest Technician Member of ICE, and IMechE Past President, John Wood.

Capt. Scarth Moorsom plaque
Capt. Scarth Moorsom plaque

The plaques will be permanently displayed at the new £24m Bromsgrove station which was opened by the town's MP and Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid in September 2016.

Molly McKenzie, Director ICE East Midlands and West Midlands said: "As we think about celebrating the 200th anniversary of the ICE in 2018, placing plaques in public spaces is a way of reminding people of the amazing achievements of the engineers whose hard work and determination paved the way for our current civilization. We hope that plaques such as this will inspire a new generation to take up engineering as a career, so that they can deliver the infrastructure projects of the future delivering clean water, energy, and transport which are essential for daily life."

New Bromsgrove station:

Rail users are now benefitting from a range of improved facilities. These include a staffed ticket office, passenger waiting room, toilets and 350 onsite car parking spaces. An external concourse links passengers to the car parking areas along with new bus stops, a taxi rank, pedestrian footpaths and a cycle store.

In addition, the new station facilities and better integration with local bus services make it easier for passengers to use the train to travel between Bromsgrove and Birmingham and Worcester. It will also reduce congestion and carbon emissions and make it easier to access the town. In turn, this will make the local area more attractive for businesses and encourage job creation in the Bromsgrove area.

The station is fully accessible to all users and has the capacity to handle 800,000 passengers per year. In addition, the longer platforms will allow additional rail services to stop at Bromsgrove in the future. Further railway construction works are scheduled during 2016 as Network Rail electrification works continue. Once complete, there will be four trains per hour between Bromsgrove and Birmingham.

The West Midlands Combined Authority jointly funded the new station in partnership with Worcestershire County Council to improve access to the wider West Midlands transport network.