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.
Bridge in Coppice Road by Focus, just before the landfill site
Old trackbed towards Aldridge taken from bridge by Focus
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 .
Vigo Road and the remains of the railway bridge.
Vigo bridge taken from the old trackbed
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.
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.
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Walsall Wood Station after the passenger service was withdrawn
Walsall Wood Station was always prone to flooding after heavy rainfall
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.
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.
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.
The point where the Midland line crossed the Walsall Wood to Norton Junction branch. The trees on the right hide the Embankment.
The line of trees hide the embankment, which carried the line past Clayhanger village towards Clayhanger Road and Bridge Street
The Railway bridge crossing Clayhanger Road/Bridge Street, like Walsall Wood Station, Clayhager was notorious for flooding.
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.
Remains of the bridge over the canal, the archway is over the footpath and the canal is to the right of the picture.
Another photo of the bridge, showing the other side of the canal.
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.
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.
Remains of the bridge over Coppice Road by Coombe House.
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.
Special train crossing the Chester Road entering Brownhills West station
Todays picture of where the bridge crossed the Chester Road
Immediately past this bridge was Brownhills West Railway Station.
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
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.
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.
The old track bed ends just past this point, severed by the motorway, which passes at right angles.
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