Midland Railway Line Through Brownhills

The Midland Railway line, known as the Walsall Wood extension, opened in 1882, from Aldridge (with links to Birmingham and Wolverhampton),  to Norton Canes. Initially to carry freight, mainly coal, from the numerous coal mines in the Norton and Cannock Chase Coalfields. Then in1884 a passenger service was introduced, and stations built at Walsall Wood and Brownhills West. Although the line carried on into Norton Canes, the passenger trains terminated at Brownhills West station. There where  3 trains each way on weekdays, and only one service on Saturdays. The last passenger train from Brownhills West to Aldridge, departed on 29th March 1930, with the coal traffic finally ending in 1962.

The line left Aldridge, and ran roughly parallel with Brickyard road, and would have crossed the area, which is now the large landfill site in Coppice Road, adjacent to Focus.

Focus bridge 1

Bridge in Coppice Road by Focus, just before the landfill site

Focus bridge 2

Old trackbed towards Aldridge taken from bridge by Focus

Focus bridge 3

Another shot of the bridge by Focus side view facing Aldridge

 

The other end of the landfill site adjoins Vigo Road, where the railway passed under a bridge .

P8240001

Vigo Road and the remains of the railway bridge.

 

P8240002

Vigo bridge taken from the old trackbed

 

Last train to Aldridge 1962

Last coal train towards Aldridge going under Vigo bridge in 1962.

 

The railway then passed between the houses in Beech Tree Road, and Walsall Wood Cemetry.This area is now a footpath, and allotments.

P8240003

Facing towards Aldridge on the trackbed, the Cemetry is on the left hand side, behind the trees, and the allotments are on the right hand side, behind the steel fence.

 

The line then passed under Brookland Road, and turning left, crossed under the Lichfield Road in Walsall Wood.

 

P8240004

 Remains of the bridge under the Lichfield Road, Walsall Wood. This was partly filled in, so as to leave a walkway under this  extremely busy trunk road which is the A461, from Walsall to Lichfield.

 

After passing under the bridge the line entered Walsall Wood Railway Station

Walsall Wood station

Walsall Wood Station after the passenger service was withdrawn

 

Walsall Wood Station in Flood

Walsall Wood Station was always prone to flooding after heavy rainfall

 

DMU in Walsall Wood Station

In 1957, which was 26 years after the last passenger service, this DMU special train, from Birmingham New St, stopped briefly at Walsall Wood, on its way to Brownhills West station.

 

P8280046 

This childrens playground, has been built on the site of the old Walsall Wood Railway Station, which is now part of the Oak Park recreation area. The line then followed the line of trees towards Coppice Road.

 

P8240006  

Coppice Road Walsall Wood, the trees represent the place where the Railway line passed under the bridge.

 

Immediately after the bridge, there was a branch line to the right, going into Walsall Wood Colliery. At this point the main line turned North North West, and gradually climbing, passed over the Wyrley and Essington canal.It then reverted back to a Northerly direction, still on an embankment, running parallel with the canal. Upon reaching the outskirts of Clayhanger, the line passed over the Walsall Wood Colliery, to Norton Junction, branch line.

Looking down the line from Colliery to Norton Junction. The trees on the right are the embankment carrying the Walsall Wood to Chasewater line

The point where the Midland line crossed the Walsall Wood to Norton Junction branch. The trees on the right hide the Embankment.

P8280044

     The line of trees hide the embankment, which carried the line past Clayhanger village towards Clayhanger Road and Bridge Street

Clayhanger Rd bridge.

The Railway bridge crossing Clayhanger Road/Bridge Street, like Walsall Wood Station, Clayhager was notorious for flooding.

Where the brigde was in Clayhanger Walsall Wood to Chasewater line

Recent photo of where the bridge was in Clayhanger, the area between the trees was the old trackbed with the embankment tapered down, to road level.

After leaving Clayhanger, the Railway again crossed the Wyrley and Essington canal, as the latter had turned due west.

Bridge remains over footpath and canal Walsall Wood to Chasewater line

Remains of the bridge over the canal, the archway is over the footpath and the canal is to the right of the picture.

Bridge remains over canal 2

Another photo of the bridge, showing the other side of the canal.

 

Bridge wall over Walsall Lichfield line

This picture was taken from the trackbed of the Walsall to Lichfield line, and in the centre of the picture, just above the green car, you can just see the remains of the blue brick wall which formed part of the Midland Railway  bridge which crossed at right angles to the Walsall line.

After a short distance the Pelsall road was crossed by bridge still at embankment level.

Were the Midland Railway crossed Pelsall Rd . Bridge taken down

Point where the Midland Railway crossed the Pelsall Road, the embankment is still there behind the trees.

Cutting through Birch Coppice, and skirting Potters Clay and Coal Company’s open cast workings, the line crossed over another bridge in Coppice Road by Coombe house, or as the locals knew it, Dr Bradfords.

Bridge over Coppice side Midland Railway

Remains of the bridge over Coppice Road by Coombe House.

Coombe House remains 1

The brickwork in the centre of the picture is all that remains of Coombe house, now extensively overgrown.

Just a few hundred yards further, yet another bridge took the line over the A452 Chester Road.

05269 RLS Special No.2 Brownhills Crossing Chester Road

Special train crossing the Chester Road entering Brownhills West station

Midland Railway crossed Chester Rd

Todays picture of where the bridge crossed the Chester Road

Immediately past this bridge was Brownhills West Railway Station.Brownhills West 2

 

Brownhills West 3

Last train bhills west

This was the last passenger train to leave Brownhills West station, this was on the 29th March 1930 at 4.20 pm. The engine was type 0-6-0 No 3277

05270 RLS Special No.3 Brownhills in remains of MR Station

Special train standing in the remains of Brownhills West Station.

Although Brownhills West was the terminus for passenger trains, freight and coal traffic carried on under the A5, and bearing left, skirted Chasewater lake, or Norton Pool as it was called at that time, to connect up with the many  coal mines  in the Norton and Cannock Chase Coalfields.

Midland Crosses A5

Point at which the railway went under the A5.

After crossing the A5 the line ran parallel with Hednesford Rd. Now reduced to a narrow footpath amongst the trees, the old track bed reaches a disused bridge. This bridge was used for road traffic, to gain access to Chasewater, prior to the motorway being constructed. 

Wilkin bridge 2

Wilkin railway bridge

The old track bed ends just past this point, severed by the motorway, which passes at right angles.

Bnrr at Chasewater

This photo shows how the toll road has cut through the old railway. The trees on the left of the picture, show the position of the disused railway, and on the other side right of the M6 toll road, lies Chasewater Railway. The   buildings one can see to the right of the motorway sign, are  of  the railways home station, and headquarters. The large brick built unit, houses vintage rolling stock,  locomotives,   a comprehensive workshop, and a well stocked museum. All details and information of the railway’s activities can be found on the excellent  chasewaterstuffsblog which can be accessed via my blogroll situated on the right of this page.

______________________

 

The Midland Railway line from Aldridge to Brownhills was closed to all traffic in 1962

 

 

 

 

16 Responses to “Midland Railway Line Through Brownhills”

  1. Rex Tomlinson Says:

    Hi Godfrey,

    A really great bit of nostalgia well researched and written. Thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

    Well done

    Rex

  2. BB Says:

    Hi,
    do you know what year the railway bridge that crosses the Chester Road North, Brownhills…. just up from The Hussey Arms was demolished. I have searched on the internet but not found the year the bridge was demolished.
    Thank You

  3. oakparkpacersrc Says:

    I cannot find the exact date the bridge was removed, but from memory, the next bridge to it which was in Coppice Road was removed in 1962. My reasoning for this, is that according to old photographs, the special train from Aldridge to Brownhills West ran in 1962. Therefore it could not have been removed before then. I was living in Coppice Side when the bridge was taken down, but moved to Pelsall road late in 1962. Logically I would assume that both bridges would have been removed about the same time, but have no recollection of the removal of the Chester Road bridge. Kind regards oakparkrunner

  4. steve perry Says:

    i was born in 1962 and i vaigly remember being on the train from b’hills to willenhall in the mid to late 60’s,when was that line closed,because as a teenager i remember being on a football special passing through b’hills after coming back from nottingham v wolves.

    • oakparkpacersrc Says:

      Hello Steve, The line you would have travelled on would have been the Walsall to Lichfield line. Originally the LNWR and later became the LMS railway. The line closed for regular passenger service in January 1965. However the line still carried Freight trains until March 1984 when the section from Anglesey to Ryecroft was closed. The section from Anglesey to Lichfield remained open to serve Charringtons Oil depot until 2002. Special trains such as Football trains (ie not regular comuter trains) would still have used the line until 1984. I hope this answered your query. Kind regards oakparkrunner

  5. Station to station « BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog Says:

    […] anything to add to this, I’d be only too pleased to hear it. [Oakparkrunner] has created a lovely walkthrough of this line over on his blog. As an aside, does anyone else remember the Vigo Road bridge being called ‘The Rabbit […]

  6. flodda Says:

    superb pics of the lines life and entirety in brownhills fascinating can remeber growing up and spending my youth playing on clayhanger bridge on the railway lines.

    • oakparkpacersrc Says:

      Thank you for your kind comments, pleased you enjoyed reading the blog. kind regards oakparkrunner

  7. CAZ Says:

    thanks for a very intersting read.l have a vague memory of going to Paignton on holiday, aged about 4 [1960]and l think we went by train from Brownhills,the platform near the Miner statue. is this line linked to the line in this article?
    l can also remember playing on the old railway line that ran adjacent to Coppice road,Walsall Wood and l remember seeing old coal trucks on the line and the station where the swings/slide are now.
    l think the tunnel that ran under Coppice Road was filled in and the road lowered about 18 years ago?

  8. oakparkpacersrc Says:

    Thanks for your kind comments. The station by the miner was on the Walsall to lichfield line and was not linked to the Midland line which went through Walsall Wood. In fact the Walsall to Lichfield line went underneath the Midland line, about half a mile down the Pelsall Road. There is an article on this line on my blog. I believe you are correct about the tunnel in Coppice road. Kind regards. oakparkrunner

  9. peter jarai Says:

    hi
    i wood like to see the midland railway line reopen for the high speed line 2 this wood go to st pancras london and not euston london.
    it makes sense to use the disused midland railway line for highspeed line 2.
    i wood like to ask you if this is a good idea.
    Lets reopen all routes to st pancras london from all parts of the uk via the midland railway line
    your fathfully peter jarai

    • oakparkpacersrc Says:

      Thank you for reading my blog and for your comments. My interest in the Midland Railway, is only a local one which stems from being a volunteer on the Chasewater Heritage Railway. Called The Colliery Line, this branch of the Midland Railway fed all the collieries in the Cannock Chase & Norton Canes coalfields, with a direct link to Birmingham via Brownhills & Aldridge. As well as the Midland Railway Line, coal was also distributed via links to the LNER marshalling yards at Anglesey Sidings, and Norton Junction, as well as a connection to the canal network at Anglesey Wharf. Kind regards oakparkrunner

  10. keith harvey Says:

    Well done Godfrey , nice to know you have put your spare time to such good use , people should be reminded of our rich industrial past , jogging round the area over the years must have helped !

  11. oakparkrunner Says:

    Thanks for comments Keith unlike your “Marines” Industrial past should “live forever” Kind regards Godfrey

  12. Geoffrey Boulton. Says:

    I was born and brought up in Leighswood Road, Aldridge, alongside the railway bridge. In the ’40s and 50’s there were regularly three trains a day all pulled by 060 tender engines. About 1950 one of these running light fell off the track near Brickyard Row. During the war the LMS would come and cut the grass on the embankment for the railway horses usually at Lawley Street Goods depot, Birmingham.
    The Aldridge Station Master’s house was on the other side of the bridge. He had a private line of steps up the embankment so that he could walk to work. The house was a standard Midland Railway Station Masters house. It later served as an office for a firm of car tyre sales until it was demolished for them to extend their warehouse.
    Going even further back – my father lived in Norton Canes as a boy. From 1919 to 1921 he went to Queen Mary’s Grammar School in Walsall. Each morning he would walk from Norton to Brownhills West station along the railway line.If he was lucky the engine for the morning train to Aldridge had been shunting at Norton and he could get a lift on the footplate. He would change on to the Birmingham – Walsall train and then walk a further half mile from Walsall Station to the school. He was a keen footballer (QM played soccer in those days !) and if he stayed at school for football practice there would be no connections on the Midland line so he would have to catch a LNWR train to Brownhills station and walk home from there. No school buses in those days !
    Geoff. Boulton.

  13. pete dicks Says:

    Thanks for all of the info. I’vd live in B’hills for over 30 years and am still learning more. Pete

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