Thursday, December 24, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
Another rare view of a train hard at work on the Walsall Wood branch during the 1950s.
The 16-ton mineral wagons are pictured close to Leighswood Road (Aldridge), the scene of a derailment in late August 1960 when engine number 44333 went down the embankment (see post of March 21st 2009).
Friday, November 27, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
A rare shot of Streetly Station from around 100 years ago. The photographer was standing on the upside platform looking towards Walsall.
On the downside platform can be seen part of Streetly Signalbox (extreme left), which was the first box to close along this route, prior to the 1950s. The box stood on an island platform, a loop running off the down main passing behind the signalbox.
A fine set of Midland Railway gas lamps and semaphore signals can also be seen. The main station buildings, a typical design for this line, are on the upside at right, and existed until the mid-1990s.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
The main item of interest in this aerial view of Shelfield circa 1930 is that the dark shape of the single track Leighswood branch can be made out (just about !) on the extreme right of the picture.
In the bottom right hand corner the railway passes under Four Crosses Road (no trace of this bridge exists today), and continues upwards under the Lichfield Road (where one bridge wall currently remains). The line then heads dead straight towards Stubbers Green Road (near top right) which it passed by means of an overbridge. No trace remains of this bridge today, a mini-roundabout occupying the site. The railway line then curves to the right and just off-photo it split into two, the left hand track running to various Aldridge brickworks and the other line continuing across to Stubbers Green Colliery (which closed very early in the 20th century) and eventually to it's terminus at Aldridge No.2 Colliery at Leighswood (known as the "bare bones pit").
Lichfield Road crosses the photo diagonally from top left to bottom right, and viewers familiar with the area will recognise the Four Crosses pub. The Spring Cottage pub at the crossroads isn't really visible in this view.
Photo by Aerofilms (1930).
Saturday, October 3, 2009
John Edkins took this cool shot of WCRC Crompton Class 33 33207 working the "Merry-le-Bone" railtour past Wylde Green on 5th September.
This class of loco was built at BRCW Smethwick, Birmingham but are now fairly rare visitors to the Midlands.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
56311 is seen passing Ryecroft Junction on Wednesday 16th September with a convoy of electric locomotives en route Long Marston - Crewe, the first time such a convoy has passed this way, the usual route being via Bescot.
Of special interest is the last loco in the line-up, 86401 "Northampton Town" (originally AEI 1966-built loco E3199), which has been restored in Network South East colours...
Saturday, September 5, 2009
The ever popular 37670 was surprise traction for one of last weekends Bescot DS - Hamstead and return ballast trips in partnership with 37401. Here the pair pass Walsall PSB on their way back to Bescot on Sunday 30 August.
Friday, August 14, 2009
A cutting from the Walsall Chronicle of Thursday June 11th. I think the embankment referred to runs parallel to Stubbers Green Road but is concealed from this road, being situated behind the duck pool and trees. Apart from this embankment the only other relics of the Leighswood Branch seem to be the bridge wall at Lichfield Road and abutments of Barnfield Bridge over the canal.
Also enclosed is a view of Leighswood Colliery (Aldridge No.2) at the end of the branch, from a 105-year old postcard...
A fairly hazy shot of 66571 with a freightliner service, interesting only because some of the outsize containers dwarf the large Class 66 engine at the front.
The train is 4L68 from Birch Coppice to Felixstowe Port, which runs in the path of the discontinued Fastline Freight Class 56-hauled 4O90...
Sunday, August 2, 2009
A rare glimpse of the interior of Aldridge Junction Signalbox showing the block instruments and part of the 40-lever frame. This was the original Midland Railway box built in 1879 for the opening of the line between Water Orton and Walsall. Fancy a cuppa ?
The box stood just off the end of the downside platform at the junction for Walsall Wood (today's up-to-down line crossover), and was closed in May 1969 being demolished in August of that year. The box was last worked by a late-turn lady signaller who went on to work the signalbox known as "Bodley's" at Walsall. Mr A Hine was the signal inspector who signed off the train register. Thanks to Pete for the photo, copyright unknown.
A brief summary of the other Midland Railway boxes along the Sutton Park route -
Ryecroft Junction (located near the Butts Road bridge, this signalbox controlled the famous four-way junction just east of Walsall, and also the entrance road to the Steam Shed. The original box was replaced in the 1950s, and the replacement went in the late 1960s when Walsall PSB took control of signalling in the area).
Lichfield Road Junction (located at the upside near Lichfield Road bridge, Walsall, and closed circa 1965. Alan Downes writes that during it's later years the box was switched out after 1800 in the evening, with the route being set towards Ryecroft Jcn and Aldridge... the box controlled the MR line that went off to North Walsall and Wolverhampton, coaching stock being turned in the triangle here as and when required).
Streetly (located on the down island platform, this box had certainly closed prior to 1957 as a temporary block post had to be installed to cope with the huge amount of extra trains generated by the Scouts Jamboree at Sutton Park in July of that year). (For a photo of Streetly station and signalbox see my post of 6th July 2008, under the "signal box" label).
Sutton Park (as at Aldridge the box was located at the end of the down platform, in this case near the junction for the parcels depot. A crossover junction between up and down lines still exists here, being groundframe-operated. Box closed at the end of 1969).
Penns Goods Frame (located on the upside opposite Penns Goods depot near Ashurst Road bridge, Walmley. Seemingly this box closed in the 1950s, i've been unable to locate a photo of it).
Park Lane Junction (located on the upside near Park Lane bridge about a mile east of Penns Goods Frame, the box was an LNWR design, the original Midland Railway signalbox being replaced around 1920, reason unknown. The boc controlled the junction for Water Orton and Castle Bromwich. Closed in September 1969).