Opened in 1879, it has operated continually since, save for a short break for the First World War. The short and steeply-inclined branch originally carried both passenger traffic from nearby Stourbridge Junction to the terminus at Stourbridge Town and freight to Stourbridge Basin.
Although the branch line was originally double-tracked, after 1935 the two tracks were worked as two parallel single lines, with the non-passenger track used for freight workings beyond the station over a bridge across Foster Street (a bridge rebuilt in 1957 then subsequently demolished in 1967) towards the Stourbridge Basin. The station and branch were listed for closure under the Beeching Axe, but were later delisted in 1965.
The 1879 Stourbridge Town station survived mostly intact until February 1979 when it was demolished and the branch cut back by 70 yards, leaving room for a bus station.
The line was controlled by traditional semaphore signals until at least 1990, later than the adjacent main line. However, the line is currently not subject to signalling.
The line has been used several times as the test route for new types of small rail transport. The Great Western Railway used both autotrains and one of the early railcars on this route, and in December 2005 the route began being used to test the Parry People Mover, a highly energy-efficient railcar, to provide the Sunday service. The experiment has been sufficiently successful to the extent that the Sunday service in June 2006 was included in both the Network Rail printed timetables and Internet site. Provision was included in the West Midlands refranchising documents published in June 2006 for People Mover to be considered as an option, and the winning bidder (London Midland) have indicated (June 2007) that they intend to proceed with this.
Although the line has been threatened with closure several times in the past, People Mover have suggested that should their railcar prove a success, their service could be further extended into Stourbridge town centre as a light rail system.
The train operates four times per hour over the line, with a journey time of between two to three minutes.