Residents call for JRR Tolkien inspired artwork in Camp Hill rail line consultation

A Lord of the Rings-themed railway station is among ideas to be put forward for the new Camp Hill Rail line.

Details of the consultation over proposed new stations at Moseley, Kings Heath and Hazelwell in south Birmingham were issued on the day Tolkien, the new film about the early life of Lord of the Rings writer, arrived in cinemas.

More than 600 people responded to the public consultation. Many respondents requested that famous local landmarks or people – such as Mayor of Birmingham Joseph Chamberlain or Lord of the Rings author JRR Tolkien – be celebrated in public artwork or artistic features.

JRR Tolkien grew up in south Birmingham and drew inspiration for his Middle Earth stories from local features such as Sarehole Mill and Moseley Bog. Perrott’s Folly and the chimney of Edgbaston Pumping Station were the inspiration for the Two Towers. The area is a tourism hot spot for Lord of the Rings fans.

Results of the consultation have also revealed nine in ten residents, commuters and businesses in south Birmingham back plans to reopen the Camp Hill rail line.

The stations closed in 1941, since when the line has been used only by freight and non-stop through-services.

The plans to restore the line are being developed by West Midlands Rail Executive (WMRE) and Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) and are backed by industry partners including Network Rail and West Midlands Railway.

Consultation on the Camp Hill line stations took place in November and December last year and attracted 616 responses.

The results revealed:

  • 86% want planting or community gardens at the stations
  • 62% would like to see artwork or features inspired by local figures or landmarks
  • 44% called for a community space
  • Other suggestions included a coffee shop, community stalls, cycle storage and lifts to platforms

Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street said: “We were delighted at the enthusiastic support for our plans for the Camp Hill Line and thank everyone who took the time to respond.

“We also welcome the many excellent and creative suggestions for the new stations, from community gardens to public artwork inspired by JRR Tolkien and the Chamberlain family,  and will certainly give them careful consideration as the designs evolve.”

The new Camp Hill line stations will provide regular train services into Birmingham New Street, with quick journey times.

One issue of concern was that no car parks are proposed at the Moseley, Kings Heath or Hazelwell stations.

Some residents fear a knock-on effect as commuters could park on surrounding streets. WMRE will be working closely with Birmingham City Council to ensure highway safety and parking management is addressed.

Malcolm Holmes, executive director, West Midlands Rail Executive and director of rail, Transport for West Midlands, said: “We are delivering these stations for communities to connect people and places, so nothing is more important than ensuring that their look and feel works for the community.

“The reopening of the Camp Hill line for passengers is just one of our major investment projects which are delivering a revolution in rail for the West Midlands.”

Planning applications for the Camp Hill line stations are due to be submitted to Birmingham City Council during the summer.