The Railways of Telford – the Wellington to Severn Junction Railway (W&SJR) – Part 2 – Horsehay to Lightmoor Junction
The featured image shows large Prairie Class 2-6-2T No. 4178 on the final passenger service along the W&SJR on 21st June 1962 heading North across Holly Road into Doseley Halt. This picture was shared by Marcus Keane on the Telford Memories Facebook Group on 29th April 2014.
Introduction – An introduction to the W&SJR was provided in the first article about the line:
Lightmoor Press have produced an excellent book about the line from Wellington through Much Wenlock to Craven Arms, “The Wellington, Much Wenlock and Craven Arms Railway.” The author is Adrian Knowles. 
Before continuing our journey along the line, we note that it was built between 1857 and 1861 and in the section we are looking at, passed through the following stations: Horsehay and Dawley, Doseley Halt, and Lightmoor Platform (Lightmoor Station or Halt).
For completeness, the images below show the developing standard-gauge rail network around the River Severn. By 1957 the W&SJR linked Ketley Junction to Lightmoor. It was a little longer before the line made a connection with the Severn Valley Railway and eventually the route through to Craven Arms opened.
It is worth noting as a significant aside, that there was a very significant network of plateways/tramroads in the immediate area of the line. These were essentially a private system belonging to the Coalbrookdale Company. The network from 1881 onwards is discussed in an earlier article about the East Staffordshire Tramways Owned by the Coalbrookdale Company:
Searching on line, I found the following image which shows two forms of horsepower at work in the Horsehay Works in the early part of the 20th century. It also illustrates three different trams/waggons in use before the site was converted to standard-gauge!
It is also worth noting the 21st century plans of Telford Steam Railway to extend its preservation line to Ironbridge Power Station at Buildwas. Their plans and progress can be followed here. They have called their plans ‘Steaming to Ironbridge‘.
In essence this will be a phased process and one which will have been significantly affected by the Covid19 pandemic. The first phase was to reach Doseley Halt through renewing exiting sub-standard trackwork. The next step will be to receive planning permission for a new bridge to cross the A4169 and to construct the line to Lightmoor. It will require two level crossings as well as the bridge. The bridge deck has already been supplied by Network Rail and is stored at Horsehay Yard.
Telford Steam Railway already leases the signal box at Lightmoor Junction from the rail authorities for future use, when operating the extended railway.
The main goal of ‘Steaming to Ironbridge’ is to create a Park and Ride steam service to serve the Ironbridge Gorge.
The Route– Horsehay & Dawley Railway Station to Buildwas
The line currently has been taken back to a point between the two curves South of Horsehay & Dawley Station. Work on the extension has, as of mid-July 2022, still to start.
Searching online I have located 4 images of Doseley Halt which are copyright protected by Lens of Sutton. Two of which are included in the book about the line by Knowles. [1: p166] … Lens of Sutton’s reference numbers for these images are:
57060 GWR Doseley Halt General view, circa 1960s, showing the single platform and level crossing. 57071 GWR Doseley Halt General view, circa 1960s, showing the single platform and level crossing. 57072 GWR Doseley Halt General view, circa 1960s, showing the single platform and ground frame. 57180 GWR Doseley Halt General view showing the single platform, circa 1960s.
On 11th July 2022, I walked down the line from the end of the preservation section , over Doseley Bridge and down to a point about 200 metres South of what was Doseley Halt and the level-crossing on Holly Road. I was delighted to find one small remnant of the railway at the level-crossing in the tarmac of Holly Road.
For perhaps 150 to 200 metres, the line South threads a narrow space between Holly Road and Gravel Leasowes. It initially at on a low embankment, but very soon, as the lane levels rise, the route is in cutting. Following Gravel Leasowes, I was able to find a footpath connection between the two roads at the point that Gravel Leasowes turned away from the line. That point is at the very top of the first map extract below.
This was the point at which my wander on 11th July 2022 ceased as I recognised the location from an earlier walk on 21st April 2022.
Lightmoor Colliery appears on the Hudson Institute of Mineralogy Mindat.org register as owned by the Coalbrookdale Company and as being active between 1855 and 1885.  It should, incidentally, not be confused with the colliery of the same name in the Forest of Dean!
Lightmoor Iron Works
The information about the Lightmoor Iron Worksis distilled from the Discovering Shropshire’s History website.  Little is known about the the Iron Works, but there were a number of structures (which appear on the 1901 Ordnance Survey extract above) to the east of the location of the furnaces. These were thought to initially be part of the industrial complex of the ironworks, later converted to domestic use. ln 1984 the lronbridge Gorge Museum Archaeology Unit excavated parts of the Lightmoor Ironworks site in advance of its destruction by the Ironbridge By Pass. Trenches were dug to examine the wall footings of that group of buildings to the east of the furnaces. These buildings had been constructed directly onto coarse pit waste, and stood until recently. The area was badly disturbed after their destruction, which obliterated all traces of floor levels. Nothing was found which would have enabled the different usages thought to have applied to be confirmed.
Lightmoor Brick & Tile Works
The information about the Lightmoor Brick & Tile Works below comes from the Discovering Shropshire’s History website.  Lightmoor Brickworks was first mentioned in 1779, when it was owned by John Davies … Its initial base of production was bricks, made by the semi-dry process. This was followed by other basic wares of the early 19th century, including flooring bricks, draining pipes, chimney pots, and lightweight roofing tile During the 1860s the diversity of products began to escalate. The next decade heralded a phase of moulded decorative terracotta… Which continued until the turn of the century, and the works turned back to brick manufactures. From the 1900s to the closure of the Coalbrookdale Co in 1933, Lightmoor Brickworks supplied them with all the firebrick shapes for their solid fuel appliances. In the fifty years from 1933 to the late 1980s Lightmoor continued to survive on brick manufacture.
The site of the Brick and Tile Works is now a housing estate on the South side of the A4169 (Queensway) as shown on one of the satellite images below.
It appears that the signal box shown on the OS Map extracts above was positioned to control both the goods yard and the junction. Once the goods yard was closed, the replacement box could be positioned to have the best visibility along running lines. Ultimately it only controlled the change between the single track Madeley branch and the double track line through Coalbrookdale. When the line through Coalbrookdale was singled in 2006, the signal box became surplus to requirements. It is now leased from the railway authorities by the Telford Steam Railway, evidence of their serious intent to extend their line through this location. 
My pictures above show a significant amount of graffiti on the signal box. This has appeared since refurbishment after vandalism in 2008. When that refurbishment was completed the box was as shown below.
The line is currently mothballed keeping alive hopes that it might one day be reopened.
Wikipedia tells us that the line to Wellington via Ketley was only finally fully closed in 1981, although passenger services halted much earlier. “Lightmoor Junction Signal Box was retained to control the connection between the double-track section towards Ironbridge Power Station and the single-track section towards Madeley Junction. The signal box closed on 23 October 2006, when the line towards Ironbridge Power Station was singled, with new signalling controlled from Madeley Junction Signal Box  (since 2011 transferred to West Midlands Signalling Centre).” 
Knowles tells us that from 1875 the junction was controlled by a timber McKenzie & Holland signal box on the south side of the line, but this was replaced in 1951 with a new box on the north side. This was a modern design, classified by the Signalling Record Society as ‘Type 15’, which was the Western Region’s first attempt at a ‘modern image’ box. Similar in some ways to the ARP wartime signal boxes, this had an overhanging flat roof in an ineffective attempt to keep the sun off the large windows. The design was current between 1949 and 1954, although relatively few were built.” [1: p166]
Immediately West of the Signal Box above, the line crossed a single lane road. Pictures at the location are shown below. Sadly, to date, I have not been able to find out full details of the original bridge. As can be seen from the pictures a modern bridge now sits on the older abutments which used to support a double-track structure.
The road bridge was immediately followed by Lightmoor Station (or Lightmoor Platform (its earlier name)) which is shown below. The station was opened in 1907 and closed in 1962. It was of timber construction with a GWR Pagoda style waiting shelter on each platform. A search online led to a video about the Madeley branch on YouTube which included this image of the station. … 
The next two pictures are separated by 67 years, the first was taken in 1900, the second in 1967. …
Adrian Knowles; The Wellington, Much Wenlock and Craven Arms Railway; Lightmoor Press, Lydney, Gloucestershire, 2022.
Pingback: The Railways of Telford – the Wellington to Severn Junction Railway (W&SJR) – Part 3 – Lightmoor Junction to Buildwas | Roger Farnworth
Absolutely fascinating, no doubt helped by the fact that I spent my childhood in what is now part of Telford. The picture of the GWR Pannier Tank No. 3732 reminded me that as children we always called them ‘match box engines’.
Hi Robert, where were you living as a child?