Category Archives: UK Railways

The Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway – Part 1 – The Abandoned Town Section

The featured image above is of a painting by Eric Bottomley. The artist comments: “Nearing the end of BR operations in 1956, Beyer Peacock 0-6-0T No. 823 (The Countess) crosses Church Street, Welshpool with a cattle train.” A print can be purchased here. [7]

This satellite Image shows the W&LLR as it exists in the 21st century and the BR mainline. [Google Earth]

The Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway (W&LLR) [1] is a 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) narrow gauge heritage railway in Powys, Wales. The line is about 8.5 miles (13.7 km) long and runs eastwards from the village of Llanfair Caereinion via Castle Caereinion to the town of Welshpool. The headquarters of the line are at Llanfair Caereinion. [2]

The heritage line is a very significant part of the former/original light railway. The original line entered the town of Welshpool running through the streets of the town to meet the Cambrian Railway mainline linking Whitchurch to Aberystwyth at the old Welshpool Railway Station. [4] This post focusses on that abandoned length of railway.

Welshpool & Llanfair Railway - Crossing Church St in Welshpool
Church Street, Welshpool as it appeared on an old monochrome postcard. This image is embedded from flickr where it features on the feed of Glen F. [8]

The W&LLR opened in 1903 (4th April 1903) it was worked by the Cambrian. A platform was provided to the north of the original station on the west side of the line at the south-east end of the goods yard. Transhipment facilities were also built in the goods yard so that goods could be exchanged between standard and narrow gauge trains. [4]

Interestingly, that station was originally built by the Oswestry & Newtown Railway, its original station opened on 14th August 1860. [3] The line was initially operated by the London & North Western Railway before being absorbed by the Cambrian Railways, which became part of the Great Western Railway at the grouping on 1st January 1923. [4]

The 1949 revision of the 6″ Ordnance Survey which was published in 1953 shows the site of the Welshpool Railway Station. The W&LLR enters the map extract at the top-left and is shown curving southwards and crossing Smithfield Road to enter the station site. [5]
This ESRI Image from the National Library of Scotland shows that the old mainline is now closely followed by a major road (A483). The old station building still exists but is in use as a shopping venue. A replacement station can be seen on the East side of the A483. A short length of Smithfield Road (B4381) runs to the Northwest of the old Station building and now links in with the modern roundabout. As in the past it curves round to cross the railway, only now being carried over the A483 as well. Severn Road still leads from the town-centre to the old railway station. The old cattle market is now the site of a Tesco Superstore. [23]
Welshpool Railway Station in the 21st century, on its site to the East of the A483 and the old railway station. [24]
Welshpool mainline railway station in the 1920s. The photograph is taken from the road bridge which carried the B4381 9modern numbering system0 over the railway to the South of the station. The W&LLR facilities were to the left on the other side of the station building and separated from it by Smithfield Road, (c) John Alsop. [25]
The front face of the mainline station at Welshpool. This image was shared on the Facebook Page of the W&LLR [34] as a comment on another shared image. [40]
This photograph was taken from the North of the station site in 2011. The station building was still is use but the railway had been realigned to accommodate the new route of the A483. The new station platforms were separated from the station building by the A483 in the early 1990s. the photographer is standing on what were once the W&LLR facilities. (c) M.J. Richardson, 4th March 2011, it is licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 licence. [26]
The old railway station buildings at Welshpool, viewed from the North. The footbridge provides pedestrian access to the replacement station on the East side of the A483. [Google Streetview, September 2021]
This view is from the South and shows the old railway station and the A483 the standard gauge line runs to the right of the fenceline at the right side of the image. The modern station is just beyond the footbridge, also on the right of the image. [Google Streetview, September 2021]
This view is what can be seen from the road-overbridge to the South of the old station in the 21st century. As above, the old station building is on the left of the image, the A483 dominates the centre of the photo and the railway is on the right with the station just beyond the footbridge. [Google Streetview, September 2018]
The curved facilities of the W&LLR can be seen on this extract from an aerial image held by Historic England and made available on the Britain from Above website (WPW061717). The W&LLR is shown separated from Smithfield Road and the standard-gauge by hedging and a white 5-bar gate. Perhaps it is worth noting the large number of horse-boxes on the standard-gauge siding which runs perpendicular to the standard-gauge mainline. It provided access to the town’s cattle market and was known as Smithfield Siding. [6]
This image was taken from a point close to the bottom left of the image immediately above. The road sign somewhat obscures the view of a grassed area which once was the site of the W&LLR yard. [Google Streetview, September 2021]

The next three images are embedded from the Science Museum Picture Library, they all focus on the W&LLR facilities adjacent to the mainline railway station in Welshpool.

Looking across the W&LLR sidings at Welshpool from the West. The cattle market and its siding are at the top-left of the image. The tracks in the foreground curve round to the right. A splendid variety of wagons can bee seen on the nearest track. This image is also embedded from the Science Museum’s Picture Library, © National Railway Museum / Science & Society Picture Library. [12]

This photograph appears to have been taken from Smithfield Road looking Northeast along the W&LLR sidings at Welshpool. The cattle market is in the background. This image is also embedded from the Science Museum’s Picture Library, © National Railway Museum / Science & Society Picture Library. [13]

This image shows a brake van and coal wagons at the transshipment shed in Welshpool. This image is again embedded from the Science Museum’s Picture Library, © National Railway Museum / Science & Society Picture Library. [14]

This photograph shows The Earl in charge of a short train which is probably sitting in the line to the East of Smithfield Road which served the transshipment shed. This picture was taken in 1956 and was shared on the W&LLR Facebook Page on 5th May 2020. [39]
In this view from the Southwest, two sheep wagons sit in the W&LLR yard. Beyond them is the Welshpool cattle market. (Photo by Science & Society Picture Library/SSPL/Getty Images). [22]
Right at the end of steam on the mainline an opportunity was taken to set up this photo which comes from the W&LLR Archive. The Earl was posed with a small former Great Western tank engine. This image appeared on the Feacebook Page of the W&LLR [34] on 7th April 2020. It was entitled ‘Dignity and Impudence’. [36]
An enthusiasts’ special train awaits departure for Llanfair Caereinion shortly before total closure of the line. The old main line station can be seen in the background, so the photograph is taken from Smithfield Road, which can be seen on the right side of the photograph curving to the left and starting to rise to cross the standard gauge lines which ran beyond the station building. Regular passenger trains ceased in the 1930s. © Copyright Flying Stag and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence, (CC BY-SA 2.0). [21]
In exactly the same location, a Stephenson Locomotive Society trip on the W&LLR is ready to set off from the Welshpool Station in June1954. This image was shared on the W&LLR’s Facebook page [34] on 18th October 2018, (c) Godfey Yeomans. [38]

When the train shown in the image above set off for Llanfair Caereinion it crossed Smithfield Road in the foreground and traversed the W&LLR goods yard before heading just North of West towards the town centre. It ran jut to the North of the Lledan Brook which threaded its way through the town. On its journey the train would have crossed the Shropshire Union Canal on a girder bridge which is still in existence in the 21st century. The location is shown centre-left of the map extract immediately below.

The W&LLR left the goods yard immediately alongside the old cattle market and headed West-northwest parallel to Severn Road. Its route was immediately on the North side of the Lledan Brook. It crossed the Shropshire Union Canal on the bridge illustrated in modern images below [5]
Former railway bridge over the Shropshire Union Canal
The bridge originally carried the Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway, © Copyright John M and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence (CC BY-SA 2.0). [20]
The bridge over the Shropshire Union Canal which at one time carried the W&LLR. The picture is taken from the West side of the canal at the South end of the canal wharf. [Google Streetview, June 2018]
The same bridge, this time viewed from Mill Lane Bridge some distance North along the Shropshire Union Canal. [Google Streetview, September 2021]
This picture was taken from immediately alongside the Canal Wharf to the South of Mill Lane Bridge, (c) Julien Mason, January 2016. [Google Streetview]
The W&LLR ran from the canal bridge just off this image to the left, along what is now a footpath beside a large car park. The route is marked by the red line and passes behind the hedge which dominates the right side of this picture. [Google Streetview, June 2021]
The line ran along behind the modern hedge towards the town centre. {Google Streetview, June 2021]
The route continues behind the hedge and along the footpath between the brick wall and the wooden two bar fence. [Google Streetview, June 2021]

Much of Welshpool town centre has been redeveloped and roads have been significantly realigned and a gyratory added for traffic on the A458, Salop Road. The bottom arm of the gyratory can be seen entering the image above from the right and heading away from the camera at the centre of the image. This location appears on the next 6″ OS Map extract below.

The route of the W&LLR crossing Church Street as drawn on the 1949 6″ Ordnance Survey. [5]
The gyratory on the A458 as it appears in the 21st century on Google Earth satellite imagery. The red line shows the route of the old railway as drawn on the 6″ OS Map of 1949 (published 1953). [Google Earth, March 2022]
This view shows the modern gyratory. The blue line shows the route of the W&LLR as shown on the 1949 map extract. But this does not appear to be correct. The route as shown in pictures while it was still active, shows the line running to the right side of the white fronted block near the centre of the image. Which means that the red line is the more likely route of the railway! [Google Streetview, June 2021]

It is worth pausing for a moment. I am not usually one for calling to question OS Mapping, but it appears that in this case the cartographers have followed the route of the brook, rather than the route of the railway when they drew the railway onto the 6″ OS Maps of 1949. Interestingly the line does not appear on earlier versions of the 6″ OS Maps. I have reproduced the 1938 revision below. It seems as though the brook was culverted from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ as marked on the plan.

The railway followed a slightly more northerly line than the brook reaching Church Street halfway between the old alignment of Union Street and the brook.

Lledan Brook can be seen culverted between points ‘A’ and ‘B’ on this 1938 6″ OS Map extract. It is easy to understand why the cartographers may have made a mistake. The actual route of the line was along the ‘path’ through the Vicarage garden which is shown dotted as a track and then as a footpath reaching Church Street between the ‘H’ at the end of ‘Church’ and the ‘S’ of ‘St’. [5]

The red line drawn on the Google Streetview image above is supported by a number of things. The first being the building to the left of the line in the monochrome image immediately below.

RD9336a (1963/07 - 8).  Church Street Level Crossing, Welshpool.
Embedded from flickr, this image shows the route of the railway where it crossed Church Street. Compare this with the modern Google Streetview image below, (c) Ron Fisher. [9]
Looking West across the line of Church Street. [Google Streetview, June 2021]

It seems reasonable to assert that the building shown is the same one in each image. This is further supported by the W&LLR Town Trail which has a display board and mural on the end wall of this building. This is shown below.

A mural and Town Trail Board at the location mentioned above. [Google Streetview, June 2021]

Further support for this can be seen in the next two images. The first of which is taken from a locomotive travelling along the line towards the railway station in Welshpool in the mid-20th century. The second is a Google Streetview image which includes both the mural and in the background the Queens Hotel.

An enthusiasts’ train pauses as it passes through the back streets of Welshpool. The photograph is taken from the cab window of the locomotive on the final approach to the terminus alongside the main line station. This length of track was abandoned when the line was later reinstated as a heritage railway. The building dominating the distant centre area of the picture is the Queens Hotel. © Copyright Flying Stag and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence, (CC BY-SA 2.0). [19]
The Town Trail mural and the Queen’s Hotel. [Google Streetview, June 2021]

Since the gyratory has been built the immediate area has changed considerably. At this location trains crossed Church Street and disappeared into a narrow ginnel.

One of the line’s two steam loco’s awaits clearance to cross Church Street on its way to the transshipment sidings at Welshpool Station. This picture was shared on the W&LLR’s Facebook Page [34] on 14th December 2021. [35]

One of the W&LLR’s two steam locomotives brings a train through the narrow ginnel onto Church Street on its way down to Welshpool Station. The shop front that we noticed above appears again on this photograph from the mid-20th century. [15]

No. 822, The Earl brings its train across Church Street on its way to Welshpool railway station. [43]
This video shows a W&LLR train leaving the ginnel and crossing Church Street. It picks up the various features of the line and its surroundings that we have already mentioned. [27]
The last three or four seconds of this video see an enthusiasts’ train running up towards Church Street through a grassed area. [28]

A counter-argument about the alignment is recorded in Peter Johnson’s book about the W&LLR. He says that the application to the Light Railway Commissioners on 17th April 1897 described the route as follows, the route would “commence near the Welshpool railway station, at the junction of Smithfield and Severn Roads. … It would run along the easterly side of Smithfield Road for 200ft and the proceed in a Westerly direction, crossing the Shropshire Union Canal at the northern end if the aqueduct before following the course of the Lledan brook at the side of the vicarage grounds to Church Street, which it would cross, continuing to follow the brook before crossing Union Street and the Back Road near their junctions with Hall Street, taking in the property known as the ‘Seven Stars’. It would then run at the back of the houses on Back Road and behind the Armoury to Raven Square.” [30, p51]

The passage in bold italics suggests that the proposed railway would follow the edge of the vicarage garden and remain close to the Lledan Brook. This was the route chosen for the much earlier tramroad which connected Standard Quarry with the Shropshire Union Canal to the East of the town centre. The red route shown above runs through what was the vicarage garden and does not remain close to the brook.

The old tramroad route is illustrated by Cartwright & Russell on a plan of routes through the town centre which is shown immediately below. [41: p21]

Of incidental interest is Cartwright & Russell’s assertion that the tramway through the centre of Welshpool was the first railway anywhere to use chaired track. [41: p16] It was one of a series of tramroads owned by the Earl of Powys. There were five such tramroads which were built under the provisions of the Ellesmere and Montgomeryshire Canal Acts of 1793/94. Those Acts granted the building of rail feeders up to three miles in length to connect with the new waterway. Cartwright & Russell tell us that five such lines were laid in the area between Welshpool and Llynclys (south of Oswestry). [41: p14] The shirt tramroad through the centre of Welshpool was constructed in 1817 to carry granite quarried from the Standard Quarry and survived for just over thirty years. [41: p16]

Plan entitled ‘Routes through Welshpool’ as included in Cartwright & Russell’s book. Immediately to the right of ‘ST’ in UNION ST’ the tramroad can be seen to dogleg away from the future tramroad route. That deviation approximates to the line of the Lledan Brook. [41: p21]

The route finally chosen for the railway was varied to run through the vicarage garden but remained within the Limit of Deviation allowed for in the Order for the scheme. The extremely tight turns shown on the 1949 survey and suggested on Cartwright & Russel’s plan of the tramroad route seem impractical for steam-powered transport and photo evidence suggests the line ran closer to Union Street.

Johnson includes a plan drafted by A.J. Collin in 1901 showing the route of the line from Church Street through buildings and along the line of the brook but which shows it avoiding the sharp s-bend in the brook by cutting through existing properties on Church Street to the North of the brook and seemingly necessitating the demolition of frontages on Church Street and some ancillary buildings behind them. [30: p84]

It appears from the photographic evidence that demolition of only one frontage to Church Street was ultimately required, although Cartwright & Russell show three being demolished and a single property being built to fill the void left by the demolition. [41: p33]

Johnson notes [30: p88] that the vicarage boundary wall was realigned to accommodate the railway which suggests that the actual route was not as shown on the 1949 6″ Ordnance Survey.

Johnson also comments that there were “three viaducts over the Lledon brook, the line being carried directly along the course of the brook for some little distance by means of longitudinal rail beams supported by cross girders (rolled joists) which in turn rested on the masonry sides of the stream. There were about forty-five of these joists of varying span, the longest being 17ft 3in. There were two culverts, of 3ft and 4ft diameter.” [30: p99]

To bring this discussion to a conclusion, the line shown in red on the plan below is most probably the line taken by the W&LLR. The block of properties to the West of Church Street clearly should have been shown as two separate blocks with an alley (or ginnel) between.

A repeat of an earlier image this map extract shows the probable line of the old railway in red. [5]
The NLS (National Library of Scotland has 1:500 plans of Welshpool on record and available on line. This extract comes from those plans and was surveyed in 1884, published in 1885. This was sometime before the construction of the W&LLR. It shows the path of the brook through the centre of Welshpool. By this date the Lledan Brook had been culverted either side of Bull Bridge (on Church Street on the right of the extract) to Hopkins Passage/Puzzle Square. It then curved tightly in an s-bend before passing under Bebb’s Passage. When the W&LLR was built, crossed church Street to the North of the brook and then ran along the line of the brook from the back wall of properties on Church Street to Union Bridge which appears in the top left of this extract. This length of the railway is shown on the next but one image below. [29]
A matching extract from the ESRI satellite imaging provided by the NLS. The road realignment (Union Street) brings Westbound traffic very close to the building on Church Street which was immediately on the South side of the line. The last building before the gyratory when travelling North on Church Street is the one on which the mural has been painted. The redline shows the approximate route of the railway and as a result also shows, on the left half of the image, the approximate alignment of the culverted brook (see above). [29]
This plan is included in Cartwright & Russell’s book about the W&LLR. It confirms the alignment to the North of Bull Bridge. The evidence is overwhelming: the line drawn on the 1949 Ordnance Survey is incorrect. [41: p33]
This image carried by the Montgomeryshire Express was included on a Chasewaterstuff wordpress site. [49]
A colourised version of the same image discovered on ‘pinterest’. [50]
Welshpool and Llanfair railway running through Town Centre in August 1964. The photographer comments: “A … view of the then disused section of the line before it was lifted through the town. Note how close the railway came to the adjacent buildings. The track here was laid on longitudinal beams with inside protective steel plates across the stream between Church Street and Brook Street.” © Copyright Richard Bird and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence, (CC BY-SA 2.0). [18]
The Narrows in Welshpool. The length of track visible in the colour image above is being traversed by the inaugural train in the preservation era. The line was very little used as planning approval for the preservation railway to operate on the town-section of the line was not forthcoming. This image is embedded from the PressReader Website. [45]
Just a little further West, the train sits at the same point as the man is standing in the colour image above from 1964 (c) David Dilnot. [47]
The approximate line of the W&LLR is shown by the red line on this image which looks West along the new length of Union Street/Brook Street. [Google Streetview, June 2021]
In the far top-right of this photograph, a W&LLR train can be seen on the length of the railway to the East of Union Street in front of the black & white timbered properties. The locomotive is off the picture to the right. An extract from this image appears below. [42]
A Good brake and loaded open wagons head towards Church Street in the charge of one of the W&LLR’s locos which is sadly of scene to the right. [42]
In preservation one of a number of very occasional trips along the line through the town in 1963 was captured in colour cine-film. This is a still from that film which should the train leaving ‘The Narrows’ heading for Raven Square. The film is made available for free by the British Film Institute, © 2022 British Film Institute [51]
A little further onto Union Street close to H. Ballard & Sons, Motor Engineers premises, © 2022 British Film Institute. [51]
This image shows a stamp from 2014. The image which was used to create the stamp was taken in 1953 and shows No. 822 ‘The Earl’ simmering as it waits for a car to be moved off the tracks through the town. The ‘Narrows’ is just ahead of the loco. [16]

‘The Earl’ on the First Day Cover for stamps produced in 2014.

The first day cover for the series of stamps to which the stamp shown above belongs. The stamps were listed as ‘Classic Locos of Wales’. [31]

This modern image is taken from approximately the same location as the older image above. The red line is the approximate route of the W&LLR. [Google Streetview, June 2021]
Looking North along the line of the Lledan Brook from Union Street. The route continues to be culverted. The photograph is taken from Union Bridge which was crossed by the light railway. [Google Streetview, June 2021]
Turning around, this is the scene that confronts the photographer. The route of the old line is again shown by the redline. Back before the construction of the line the Seven Stars Public House would have stood over the line ahead beyond the buildings fronting the road to the right. [Google Streetview, June 2021]
Locomotive No822, The Earl again, immediately in front of H. Ballard & Son’s premises at almost exactly the same location at the white van on the Google Streetview image above. This image appeared as part of the discussion on the Facebook Page of the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway. It was posted by Anthony Turton on 22nd March 2020. [33].
The 1949 survey again. [5] The Seven Stars Pub. is the building at the top end of Hall Street and it is not accurately drawn as by 1880 the corner had been removed to give a reasonable road alignment on Brook Street as shown on the 1:500 plan below. However, the building was demolished to make was for the railway and should not appear on this 1949 6″ Map. The plan taken from the book by Cartwright & Russell [41: p33] confirms the demolition of the pub and the alignment of the railway.
The Seven Stars Pub was demolished to make was for the W&LLR. The line of the railway is again marked approximately by the red line superimposed on the OS Map. The photograph below was taken from further West along Brook Street and shows the line running through what would have been the Seven Stars Pub. [29]
The view along Brook Street through the site of the Seven Stars Pub towards Union Bridge(c) Geoff Charles, 21st April 1950. The image is included here under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication by the National Library of Wales. [10]

At the same location as in the above image, Locomotive No. 822, ‘The Earl’. is in charge of a cattle train on its way West out of Welshpool. This image is embedded from the Science Museum’s Picture Library, © National Railway Museum / Science & Society Picture Library. [11]

A 1960s colour photograph of The Earl and Countess at the above location. This was shared on The W&LLR Facebook Page on 5th April 2020. [46]
A modern photograph of the location of the three pictures above. The building in the centre of this photograph can be seen easily on the upper of the two images above. The buildings to the right of this picture can be seen on both the monochrome pictures above. As usual the approximate line of the W&LLR is shown in red. [Google Streetview, June 2021]
The Earl brings its train down towards the centre of Welshpool. It hs just passed along the backs of the properties on the North side of Brook Street and is heading down towards Seven Stars and Union Bridge. This image appeared on the W&LLR’s Facebook Page [34] on 22nd March 2020. [37]
The same location in the 21st century, as it appears on Google Streetview [June 2021]. The cottage on the right remains, as does the sloping shed roof which on the monochrome image is just above the brake van.
Turning to the left, the photographer picks up the line of the old railway as it leaves Brook Street to run behind the properties which can be seen to the left of this image. [Google Streetview, June 2021]

The line curved northwards away from Brook Street and then turned back westwards to run along the backs of houses fronting onto the North side of Brook Street. The 1949 6″ OS Map has the alignment correct along this length. The photograph below looks back East along the old railway.

Taken in 1964, this picture shows the length of the railway running along the back of houses fronting Brook Street which is off to the right of the picture. The photographer comments: “The track of the narrow gauge railway followed the course of a horse tramway through the town, the latter once serving the Stondart Quarry. When the later steam railway was constructed it attained the lower terminus by the same sinuous route, eventually reaching a wharf on the Shropshire Union canal. Its course included a traverse of public roadways, at which point trains were escorted across the highway by an official with warning flags. The situation was akin to a similar course, taken by the long lost Weston, Clevedon and Portishead line which once ran through Somerset, and which also crossed a busy town square. By 1964, the Welshpool and Llanfair’s line was disused in the town section, with an eventual terminus at Raven Square (where it still terminates today). The image shows the line before it was lifted, running between housing and which course is now a public roadway. My late father provides the scale.” © Copyright Richard Bird and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence, (CC BY-SA 2.0). [17]
Looking back from Bronybuckley along the route of the old line in the 21st century. [Google Streetview, June 2021]
The route of the railway on the 1949 6″ Ordnance Survey. The road to the North of ‘Brook Street’ is Bronybuckley. [5]
The view West-northwest from Bronybuckley along the line of the old railway. [Google Streetview, June 2021]
Looking back East along the line of the old railway from Woodside, the road which runs North-South on the West side of the Armory. The building to the right of this image is the rea of the Armory. It has been extended across the line of the W&LLR. [Google Streetview, June 2021]
The line of the WLLR ran behind the Armory and on towards Raven Square. [5]
The route of the W&LLR looking West from Woodside as it appears in the 21st century. Google Streetview]
Brook Street in the 21st century, looking East, with the line of the W&LLR shown. From Woodside the railway followed an almost straight route diagonally back towards Brook Street and from this point ran along the Northside verge of the road to Raven Square which is shown at the centre of the next map extract. [Google Streetview, June 2021]
Raven Square and the line of the W&LLR as shown on the 1949 6″ Ordnance Survey. [5]
The remaining length of the W7LLR through the town of Welshpool is shown on this ESRI Satellite image as provided by the NLS. [32]
Another still from towards the end of the BFI film of 1963 showing the location of the halt at Raven Square. The shot is taken looking Northeast from the centre of the roundabout which had by this time been provided to allow better traffic flow to the West of Welshpool Town Centre. Since this photograph was taken, Brook Street (B4381) on the right of the image has been widened across the route of the old railway. © 2022 British Film Institute. [51]

Cartwright & Russell describe the route that we have followed like this: “There now existed a 2ft 6in gauge railway starting from a point in Welshpool’s Road and close to the Cambrian Railways’ goods and passenger station (240ft above sea level). It was 9 miles 5 chains long, station to station; later spurs at Welshpool added another 7 chains of track. At this terminus, there was a gravel ‘platform’ and a waiting room with a booking office complete with awning. A short siding swung away into the Cambrian Railways’ yard to the tranship shed, while the main line of the new narrow gauge construction curved off from Smithfield Road. Entering enclosed property, it passed the run round loop on the left and the three sidings on the right which formed single roads into the goods shed, the engine shed and the longer carriage shed adjoining. The Shropshire Union canal was crossed by a steel plate girder bridge with a single span of 33ft 4in. A siding to the canal suggested earlier but rejected in 1899 had eventually been agreed in July 1902, but was never constructed.” [41: p51]

They continue: “Crossing Church Street (later A483) on the level, the track dived through the newly opened gap between the buildings to reach the Lledan Brook. Above the watercourse, the rails were borne on longitudinal bearers supported by steel cross girders to enable the railway to reach and cross Union Street, where the Seven Stars Public House and adjoining Malthouse had had to be demolished and where trains would make a stop for passengers. Disappearing behind the cottages with two more stretches of viaduct, the route lay behind the Armoury to pass by the Standard granite quarry, where a siding was soon to be connected, and so to Raven Square. On the town side of the intersection, a line-side gravelled area marked the third station.” [41: p52]

The intention behind this article was to follow the route of the now closed town-section of the W&LLR. The remainder of the line is preserved can be followed on modern maps and can be travelled behind one of the original locomotives bought to serve the line.

To finish this article, here is a modern aerial view of Welshpool looking Southeast along the line of Broad Street/Severn Road. The old station buildings are at the top-right of the image. The approximate line of the W&LLR through the town is shown by the thin black line which has been imposed on the image. When seen in this light the line seems to take a relatively straightforward route through the town! [44]

References

  1. The Welsh name is: Rheilffordd y Trallwng a Llanfair Caereinion.
  2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welshpool_and_Llanfair_Light_Railway, accessed on 21st July 2022.
  3. http://www.disused-stations.org.uk/w/welshpool_1st/index.shtml, accessed on 22st July 2022.
  4. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welshpool_railway_station, accessed on 21st July 2022.
  5. https://maps.nls.uk/view/102187064, accessed on 21st July 2022.
  6. https://www.britainfromabove.org.uk/en/image/WPW061717, accessed on 21st July 2022.
  7. https://www.picturethisgallery.co.uk/prints/llanfair-train-welshpool, accessed on 22nd July 2022.
  8. https://www.flickr.com/photos/trainsandstuff/16658979348, accessed on 22nd July 2022.
  9. https://www.flickr.com/photos/train-pix/21568402576, accessed on 22nd July 2022.
  10. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welshpool_and_Llanfair_Light_Railway#/media/File%3AWelshpool_to_Llanfair_Caereinion_railway_line_(12989519473).jpg, accessed on 22nd July 2022.
  11. https://www.ssplprints.com/image/372451/welshpool-and-llanfair-railway-locomotive-no-822-welshpool-uk, accessed on 22nd July 2022.
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  15. http://history.powys.org.uk/school1/welshpool/intown.shtml, accessed on 22nd July 2022.
  16. https://www.shropshirestar.com/news/features/2022/02/23/dave-on-track-of-welshpool-railway-mystery-man, accessed on 22nd July 2022.
  17. https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/4397501, accessed on 22nd July 2022.
  18. https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/4397508, accessed on 22nd July 2022.
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  20. https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/1342944, accessed on 22nd July 2022.
  21. https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/3025286, accessed on 22nd July 2022.
  22. https://www.gettyimages.co.uk/detail/news-photo/welshpool-and-llanfair-railway-welshpool-wales-two-sheep-news-photo/102725455?adppopup=true#:~:text=%3Ca%20id%3D%27N2m9h5UeRdx,8%27%20async%3E%3C/script%3E, accessed on 24th July 2022.
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  24. https://www.shropshirestar.com/news/2015/03/28/new-car-park-planned-for-welshpool-train-station, accessed on 25th July 2022.
  25. https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/846747167417641611, accessed on 25th July 2022.
  26. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_old_station_at_Welshpool_(geograph_2299927).jpg, accessed on 25th July 2022.
  27. https://youtu.be/ahPjCldSGvE, accessed on 25th July 2022.
  28. https://youtu.be/rXbv2crjjuU, accessed on 25th July 2022.
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  30. Peter Johnson; The Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway – the story of a Welsh rural byway; Pen & Sword, Barnsley, South Yorkshire, 2020.
  31. https://www.buckinghamcovers.com/products/view/2924-classic-locos-of-wales-wampllr-no822-the-earl.php, accessed on 26th July 2022.
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  33. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1232007437149890&set=p.1232007437149890&type=3, accessed on 26th June 2022.
  34. https://www.facebook.com/WelshpoolSteamRailway, accessed on 26th June 2022.
  35. https://www.facebook.com/WelshpoolSteamRailway/photos/a.110370089171833/1850128878529270, accessed on 26th July 2022.
  36. https://www.facebook.com/WelshpoolSteamRailway/photos/a.110370089171833/1353599861515510, accessed on 26th July 2022.
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  38. https://www.facebook.com/WelshpoolSteamRailway/photos/a.110370089171833/955870671288433, accessed on 26th July 2022.
  39. https://www.facebook.com/WelshpoolSteamRailway/photos/a.110370089171833/1376414509234045, accessed on 26th July 2022.
  40. https://scontent-lcy1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.6435-9/96082599_2891028177653904_4880530853530173440_n.jpg?_nc_cat=108&ccb=1-7&_nc_sid=dbeb18&_nc_ohc=4FaLiok7sX8AX-gk2RI&_nc_ht=scontent-lcy1-1.xx&oh=00_AT9HwRiVzL2VjreFLtTvE6HOUmo-SJVvGKDC7sAARoFzaQ&oe=630758CF, accessed on 26th July 2022.
  41. R. Cartwright & R.T. Russell; Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway; David & Charles, Newton Abbot, Devon,1972.
  42. https://historypoints.org/index.php?page=welshpool-town-hall, accessed on 27th July 2022.
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  44. https://cpat.org.uk/ycom/wpool/wplhis.htm, accessed on 27th July 2022.
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The Railways of Telford – the Wellington to Severn Junction Railway (W&SJR) – Part 3 – Lightmoor Junction to Buildwas

The featured image, from 1957, was shared by Metsa Vaim EdOrg on the Telford Memories Facebook Group on 8th November 2020 with the following comments: “Coalbrookdale in 1957 with the 12.48pm Ketley – Much Wenlock ‘mixed’ train. … I watched this train at Lawley station or from our garden a few times when I was a child.”

Introduction – An introduction to the W&SJR was provided in the first article about the line which covered the length from Wellington to Horsehay & Dawley Station:

https://wordpress.com/post/rogerfarnworth.com/34425

The length of the line from Horsehay & Dawley station to Lightmoor Junction Station was covered in a second post:

https://rogerfarnworth.com/2022/07/12/the-railways-of-telford-the-wellington-to-severn-junction-railway-wsjr-part-2-horsehay-to-lightmoor-junction

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. [1]

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: Lightmoor Platform (Junction), Green Bank Halt and Coalbrookdale, before arriving at Buildwas.

For completeness, the images below, which were included in the first two posts about the line, 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.

Ketley Junction to Lightmoor was open by 1857. [2]
The Severn Valley line was open by the time covered by this map. [2]
The complete route of the Wellington, Much Wenlock & Craven Arms Railway was in use by 1867. [2]
The railways in the area around what was the Wellington & Severn Junction Railway (W&SJR) as shown on the OpeRailwayMap. OpenRailwayMap (previously called “Bahnkarte”) is a detailed online map of the world’s railway infrastructure, built on OpenStreetMap data. It has been available since mid-2013 at OpenRailwayMap.org [17]

For the sake of completeness, it is worth noting (as was the case in part 2 of this short series), 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 Tramroads owned by the Coalbrookdale Company:

https://wordpress.com/post/rogerfarnworth.com/32514

It is also worth noting again the 21st century plans of Telford Steam Railway to extend its preservation line to the site of what was 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 – Lightmoor Junction Station to Buildwas

Lightmoor Platform as it is referred to in some sources, Lightmoor Station in others is shown on the first OS Map extract below:

This 25″ OS Map extract was included in the second article about the W&SJR. It is from the 25″ 1925 edition which was published in 1927. The double track provision from the junction towards the West is clear. The station (above the word ‘Branch’) and the first signal Box on the south side of the line opposite the goods yard can easily be picked out. The later replacement signal box was sited just to the east of the road-bridge at the east end of the station and was on the North side of the line [18]

Two images shared on the last post about the W&SJR are worth sharing again here as they show the Lightmoor Brick and Tileworks site in the early 20th century.

This picture shows part of Lightmoor Brick and Tile Works in around 1910. As we have noted the Works sat on the North side of the W&SJR very close to Lightmoor Station. There is a works tramroad evident in the image. The picture was shared on the Telford Memories Facebook Group by Paul Mower on 2nd April 2018. [19]
This image also shows the Brick and Tile Works and gives a much better indication of the preponderance of tramroad rails around the site. It was shared by Thomas Cooper on 17th March 2017 on the Telford Memories Facebook Group. [20]
This very grainy image is an extract from a picture first carried in the Shropshire Star and showing Woodside Estate in Madeley. The photo was taken in 1971 when much of the housing in Woodside was new. The two railway routes which meet at Lightmoor Junction can be made out entering the image from the right. The image from which this extract has been taken was shared on the Telford Memories Facebook Group on 10th February 2017 by Lin Keska. [14]
This image was shared towards the end of the previous article about this line which brought us to Lightmoor down the W&SJR. It shows the works in the condition pictured in the colour image above. The image is dated in 1967and was shared on the Telford Memories Facebook Group by Metsa Vaim EdOrg on 28th February 2020. [21]
Between the Lightmoor Brick and Tile Works and the Cherry Tree Hill Brick & Tile Works there was a network of tramways/tramroads which served the two establishments and the Shutfield Brick & Tile Works a little further to the North. These were all part of the Coalbrookdale Company and the tramroads were their private network. The Tramroad ‘mainline’ to Coalbrookdale Works passed under the standard-gauge line in between Cherry Tree Hill Works and the Lightmoor Brick & Tile Works. This extract from the 6″ OS Map of 1901/2 shows the tramroad passing under the railway to the West of the Lightmoor Works. [15]
The tramroad ‘mainline’ alignment has been superimposed on this ESRI World Image extract provided by the National Library of Scotland (NLS). The Railway is marked by the red line, the tramroad by the ochre line. [22]
A Stanier 8F 2-8-0 48035 climbs out of Coalbrookdale towards Lightmoor with empty coal wagons from Ironbridge Power Station in 1967. This image was shared by Metsa Vaim EdOrg on the Telford Memories Facebook Group on 28th Febriary 2020. [35]
A steam railmotor recorded on the line in 1906.The photo was shared by Metsa Vaim EdOrg on the Telford Memories Facebook Group on 3rd July 2019. [26]
This extract from the 1901/2 6″ OS Map shows the railway and tramway following each other relatively closely and running South of the Cherry Tree Works. Immediately to the South of the Works the two sets of rails are separated by ‘New Pool’ which shows up more clearly on the 1881/2 Map extract below. [15]
The 1881/82 6″ OS Map has the water features coloured blue which makes it much easier to see the extent of ‘New Pool’. When the railway was built the pool had to be drained to allow the construction of a significant retaining wall. [23]
The same area as it appears on the 25″ OS Map of 1925 (Published in 1927) Cherry Tree Hill Brickworks has now been closed and its buildings removed. The New Pool appears to be of a smaller size. Note the two footpaths shown crossing the line on this an other images. The first is East of New Pool, the second, West of New Pool. [24]
This satellite image shows the footpath to the East of New Pool. [Google Earth, 4th April 2021]
The footpath crossing the line at the location above. The phot was taken on Sunday 12th July 2015 © Copyright Gareth James and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence. (CC BY-SA 2.0) [38]
This photo shows the view along the line looking East towards Lightmoor from the public footpath crossing above on Sunday 12th July 2015 © Copyright Gareth James and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence. (CC BY-SA 2.0) [36]
This photo shows the view along the line looking West towards Coalbrookdale from the public footpath crossing above on Sunday 12th July 2015 © Copyright Gareth James and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence. (CC BY-SA 2.0) [37]
The footpath at the West end of New Pool crosses the railway on a footbridge. New Pool appears to have been restored to its earlier extent. [Google Earth, 4th April 2021]
The footbridge from the South next to New Pool. [My picture, 18th July 2022]
New Pool. [My photograph, 18th July 2022]
The view East towards Lightmoor from the footbridge above on Sunday 12th July 2015 © Copyright Gareth James and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence. (CC BY-SA 2.0) [39]
The view West from the footbridge towards Coalbrookdale on Sunday 12th July 2015 © Copyright Gareth James and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence. (CC BY-SA 2.0) [40]
The same location in 2022. [My photograph, 18th July 2022]
The railway under construction. The retaining wall is that shown on the colour image below. The houses above the retaining wall, can be seen on the 6″ OS Map above. Knowles draws attention to the contractor’s wagons which sit on temporary rails on top of the earthworks. He also points out the tall building next to the chimney stack which housed a beam engine known as the ‘Old Wind’. The Works which appear to the right-hand side of the photograph might be Cherry Tree Hill Brick & Tile Works, although they appear too distant on the photograph. Could they be Lightmoor Brick & Tile Works?

Although it cannot be seen in the image, the Coalbrookdale Company’s tramroad must run nearer to the camera than the picket fence in the foreground or possibly even behind the photographer. That Tramroad passed under the line of the new railway to the East of Cherry Tree Hill Works and then rose up to meet a tramroad branch which linked Cherry Tree Hill Works to the Lightmoor Brick & Tile Works and the Lightmoor Ironworks further up the valley to the right. This image is included by kind permission ©Copyright Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust (Ref. No. 1984.4138).
An extract from the 25″ OS Map from the turn of the 20th century showing the immediate area of the monochrome photograph above. The ‘Old Wind’ is top-left on the map extract. The photograph is a little confusing, there seems to be significant foreshortening in the photograph which appears to bring the engine house much closer to the properties in view. This may suggest either that the photograph is taken from the lane close to the houses at the bottom-left of this map extract, or that the buildings behind the houses in the photograph are actually those immediately to the North of Cherry Tree Hill marked ‘Well’ on the OS Map. There was an inclined plane, constructed at the end of the 18th century which linked the Coalbrookdale arm of the Shropshire Canal with the Coalbrookdale Ironworks. The ‘Old Wind’ was the engine house for the incline which was operated from the engine house. The route of the incline seems to have been at the left-hand edge of this map extract. [16][1: p160]
The descent to Coalbrookdale in March 2010. There is considerably less vegetation in this picture than the earlier one taken by Gareth James. This means that the parapet of the bridge as the line crosses Cherry Tree Hill can just be made out, ©Copyright Row17 and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence (CC BY-SA 2.0)[10]
Cherry Tree Hill Bridge viewed from Cherry Tree Hill looking West toward Coalbrookdale on 12th July 2015, © Copyright Gareth James and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence. (CC BY-SA 2.0) [41]
Cherry Tree Hill Railway Bridge viewed form the East. [My photograph, 18th July 2022]
Cherry Tree Hill Railway Bridge viewed form the Southwest. [My photograph, 18th July 2022]
18th February 1967…………Green Bank Halt, This view was shared by Carole Anne Huselbee on the Telford Memories Facebook Group on 14th September 2014. It looks southwest approximately one half mile west of Lightmoor Junction. The bridge girders just after the halt carry the railway line over Jigger’s Bank. [29]
This extract from the 1901/2 OS Map shows the Coalbrookdale Viaduct snaking through the village and Works. Towards the top of the extract both Cherry Tree Hill Bridge and Jigger’s Bank Bridge can be seen. Not marked on the extract but between the two bridges was the short-lived Green Bank Halt which is shown above. [15]
Jigger’s Bank Road Bridge viewed from the South, Coalbrookdale, embedded from http://www.geoffspages.co.uk, ©Copyright G.A. Cryer [13]
The same bridge in December 2020, more easily seen as vegetation does not crowd the picture as much ion the winter, © Copyright Shropshire Star, 18th December 2020. [42]
Jigger’s Bank Bridge from the South. [My photograph, 18th July 2022]
Jigger’s Bank Bridge from the North. [My photograph, 18th July 2022]
Coalbrookdale and its Viaduct in 1992. This image was shared by Metsa Vaim EdOrg on the Telford Memories Facebook Group on 29th March 2019. [28]
The Coalbrookdale Viaduct. This image was carried by the Shropshire Star on 22nd April 2019. [3]
Coalbrookdale Railway Viaduct crossing Upper Furnace Pool in 2015 © Copyright Gareth James and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence (CC BY-SA 2.0) [8]
Another image held by the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust Archive. Upper Furnace Pool is off scene to the left. The van is travelling East along Darby Road. Interestingly, the road following the side of the viaduct is also Darby Road, as is the road running away behind the camera. Knowles informs us that the locomotive is Ivatt 2-6-2T No. 41201 with a late afternoon Much Wenlock to Wellington service on 9th June 1962. Knowles points out that the GWR installed the strengthening ties and plates in 1902, less than 40 years after it was built, © Copyright Michael Mensing. The image is Archive No. 2004.1881 in the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust Archive and used by their kind permission. The image also appears in Knowles’ book [1]
Coalbrookdale Museums and Railway Viaduct looking to the South © Copyright http://www.dronersngers.co.uk. [7]
Coalbrookdale Railway Viaduct at rail level looking North © Copyright Row17 and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence (CC BY-SA 2.0) [9]
Coalbrookdale Viaduct from the Southeast on Coach Road. [My photograph, 18th July 2022]
Coalbrookdale Viaduct from the Southwest. It is interesting to note the change, in both these two pictures, of the level of the capping stones above the second arch from the camera. [My photograph, 18th July 2022]
This railcar has just crossed Coalbrookdale Viaduct travelling South in 1962. This picture was shared by Metsa Vaim EdOrg on the Telford Memories Facebook Group on 5th September 2020. [25]
This 19th century view of the viaduct was shared by Marcus Keane on the Telford Memories Facebook Group on 18th February 2014. He comments: “Railway viaduct crossing the Coalbrookdale Works. An early photograph from the 1870s.” [30]
This photo was taken in 1962 and shows a two coach passenger train travelling South alongside the Coalbrookdale Works. It was shared by Metsa Vaim EdOrg on the Telford Memories Facebook Group on 3rd July 2019. [26]
An aerial view (EPW034486) looking South over Coalbrookdale Works in 1930, ©Copyright Historic England. [12]
This extract is from the 6″ OS Survey of 1901/2. Station Road runs on the Western side of the W&SJR, between Captain’s Coppice and the old railway. [15]

The next series of photographs are all taken in or around the site of Coalbrookdale Railway Station. In sequence, the camera location generally runs from Northeast to Southwest.

Coalbrookdale Railway Station in 1983 from along the tracks, © Copyright Ben Brooksbank and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence … (CC BY-SA 2.0)[6]
Coalbrookdale Railway Station in 1919. Colourised postcard photograph, held by Wikipedia under a Creative Commons licence. [4]
The Station building can be seen in this panorama which was photographed on 18th July 2022 from a position on Station Road. [My photograph]
This picture was taken through the trees a little further South West down Station Road. [My photograph, 18th July 2022]
Metsa Vaim EdOrg shared this image from 1957 on the Telford Memories Facebook Group on 8th November 2020 with the following comments: “Coalbrookdale in 1957 with the 12.48pm Ketley – Much Wenlock ‘mixed’ train. … I watched this train at Lawley station or from our garden a few times when I was a child.” [27]

A sequence of three photographs from similar locations follows: …………..

The first image above is from 1910, the second from 1967. In the second image the station looks a little more unkempt. Passenger services no longer visit the station by 1967. These two photographs were shared by Metsa Vaim EdOrg on the Telford memories Facebook Group on 7th July 2020. [34]
A merry-go-round train of hoppers bound for Ironbridge power station in the mid- to late-20th century. Coalbrookdale Station Building looks forlorn and in poor repair. Shared on the Telford Memories Facebook Group on 11th April 2018 by Lin Keska [32]
The Coalbrookdale Railway Station site in September 2011. At that time, the remaining single track freight line was to the right of the wooden shed, © Copyright Nigel Thompson and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence … (CC BY-SA 2.0) [5]
A platform-side view of the former Coalbrookdale station building, albeit rather overgrown with scrub. The line is now disused since Ironbridge power station was decommissioned, and the coal trains no longer make the journey down into The Gorge, © Copyright Richard Law and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence. (CC BY-SA 2.0) [11]
Looking Southwest towards Buildwas, this picture was shared on the Telford Memories Facebook Group by Metsa Vaim EdOrg on 13th October 2020. It shows Stanier British Rail Class 8F No.48720 heading a train of empties from Ironbridge power station to Kemberton colliery in 1967. [31]
a 19th century view from the road above Coalbrookdale Station. The viaduct on the Severn Valley Railway is visible beyond Dale End and the River Severn. This picture was shared by Graham Hickman on the Memories of Coalbrookdale Iron Foundry Facebook Group on 24th November 2017. [33]
Small Woods Association national office and the Green Wood Centre are both based on the old station site. These sign boards are at the entrance to the station site off Station Road. [My photograph, 18th July 2022]

The Small Woods Association is based on the site of the old Coalbrookdale Railway Station. The Association are the UK organisation for woodland owners, workers, supporters, and social foresters. They “stand for living, sustainable woodlands alive with wildlife, people and work. Managed and used well, small woodlands are vital to thriving local economies, wildlife, and the health and wellbeing of local communities, as well as hugely valuable in the fight against climate change.” [43]

Alongside the Association offices on the station site is the Green Wood Centre. It promotes “sustainable living through a wood-based economy by running courses and events in sustainable woodland management, coppicing, crafts and related activities. … Activities at the Centre include woodland volunteering projects, fun family sessions and woody events for the whole community.” [44]

There is also an independently run café on the site, the Green Wood Café. The café is associated with Coffee With Soul and Gorge Grub. It is part of J Grant Catering Ltd; a family-run business in Shropshire. [45]

The old station site at Coalbrookdale which has been significantly repurposed by the Small Woods Association. [My photograph, 18th July 2022]
A wider view of the station site showing the various buildings on the site in the 21st century. The old station building is visible on the right side of this image. [My photograph, 18th July 2022]
Southwest of the railway station, the line turns to the West, crossing Station Road by means of a four-ring brick arch bridge. Almost immediately, it crosses, at level, a lane which led to an old Gravel Pit. These locations are pictured below. This is another extract from the 1901/2 OS Map. [15]
This satellite image shows the immediate vicinity of Station Road, Buildwas Road and Strethill Road. IT shows the railway line crossing both Station Road and Strethill Road as shown in the photos below. [Google Maps]
Station Road Bridge from the Northeast on Station Road. [My photograph, 18th June 2022]
Station Road Bridge from the South on Station Road. [My photograph, 18th June 2022]
The level-crossing on Strethill Road, just to the North of Buildwas Road. [Google Streetview, 2011]

Apart from the location of the level-crossing on Strethill Road the railway remains on a relatively high embankment after leaving Coalbrookdale Railway Station. It turns first to the West as shown on the map extract above and then back towards the Sothwest as it heads for the River Severn.

Another OS Map extract from the 1901/2 6″ survey shows the railway crossing the River Severn on the Albert Edward Bridge. Immediately to the Northeast of the Albert Edward Bridge, the line crosses the Buildwas Road on a skew-span girder bridge as pictured below. Immediately to the Southwest of the Severn the line turned relatively sharply to the right crossing an accommodation bridge before joining the GWR Severn Valley Railway at Buildwas Junction. [15]
The skew span girder bridge which carries the railway over the Buildwas Road, looking West towards Buidlwas. [My photograph, 18th July 2022]
The same bridge viewed, this time, from the West, looking back towards Coalbrookdale and Ironbridge. [My photograph, 18th July 2022]
The Albert Edward Bridge, viewed from the Northwest. It was opened on 1st November 1864 and named after the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII), its design is almost identical to Victoria Bridge which carries the Severn Valley Railway over the Severn between Upper Arley and Bewdley in Worcestershire.

It was designed by John Fowler, its 200 feet (61 m) span cast-iron arch has four ribs, each of nine parts bolted together. The patterns for the radiused beam castings for the bridge were prepared by Thomas Parker at the Coalbrookdale Iron Company. Originally it was built to carry the Wenlock, Craven Arms and Lightmoor Extension Railway of the Wellington and Severn Junction Railway across the river.

Until the closure of Ironbridge power station it carried coal traffic as part of the line between Lightmoor Junction and Ironbridge Power Station. The bridge’s timber and wrought iron deck was replaced by a structural steel deck in 1933. It may be one of the last large cast iron railway bridges to have been built. Due to its age and the condition of the ironwork, traffic over the bridge is restricted to a 5 miles per hour (8.0 km/h) speed limit to minimise stress. Although it carries two tracks only the one on the downstream side was still in use to supply the Ironbridge Power Station site. The line was mothballed in 2016 after the closure of the power station.

The bridge is a Grade II Listed Building, one half by Shropshire Council, the other by Telford and Wrekin District Council as the boundary is mid-span. Telford Steam Railway have aspirations to run trains over the bridge using the presently unused track as part of their southern extension to Buildwas. [46] This photograph has been released into the public domain by its author, D4nnyt. [47]
A colorised postcard view from 1912 of the Albert Edward Bridge. The postcard recognises that by this time the Prince of Wales had become King. This image was shared on the Telford Memories Facebook Group by Gwyn Thunderwing Hartley on 10th June 2014. [55]
Another extract from the 1901/2 6″ OS Map. For a short distance the double-track line from Coalbrookdale ran parallel to the Severn Valley line. The junction was immediately to the East of an under-bridge which allowed rail access to a Pumping Station on the riverbank. [15]
Buildwas Junction Station was on the South side of the River Severn and the Village of Buildwas was on the North side of the river. The Station was a relatively busy junction The Severn Valley line was met by the line from Wellington and the line via Much Wenlock to Craven Arms. A short goods line left the station to serve a pumping station on the South bank of the Severn. This extract is from the 1901/2 6″ OS Map. [15]
The 25″ Map provides greater clarity. [48]
The site is unrecogniseable in 21st century. The power stations on the site have both been consigned to history at different times. This ESRI satellite image as supplied by the National Library of Scotland (NLS) does show remnants of the railway still in place. [49]
Buildwas Junction Railway Station in 1962. This view looks West towards Bridgenorth on the Severn Valley line. The junction for services to Wellington via Coalbrookdale was a few hundred meters beyond the station in this view. The line to Much Wenlock is indicated by the platform name board which can be seen just to the left of the water tower on the right of the image. This picture was shared on the Telford Memories Facebook Group on 11th May 2017 by Paul Wheeler. He comments: “The station was closed on 9/9/63 on closure of the Severn Valley line. Passenger services from Craven Arms had ceased on 31/12/51, from Much Wenlock and from Wellington on 23/7/62, but the line to Buildwas remained open from Longville for freight until 4/12/63 and from Ketley on the Wellington line until 6/7/64. However, coal traffic for Ironbridge Power Station (B Station built on site of Buildwas railway station) … continued from Madeley Junction, on the main line between Shifnal and Telford Central” until 2016. The Power Station in this photograph was Ironbridge A. This image is reproduced under a Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved] © Copyright Ben Brooksbank and licensed for reuse (CC BY-SA 2.0). [50]
A service for Much Wenlock sits at the station platform in 1957 in the capable hands of 0-6-0PT No 7744 . The line to Much Welock went through the combined station at a higher level than the Severn Valley line. Buildwas Junction Station was overshadowed by the Ironbridge ‘A’ power station.
Note the ‘fire-devil’ next to the water column to the left of the picture, in front of the water tower. The Fire Devil is the container with a long chimney which is beneath the water tower. It is used in freezing conditions to prevent the water column from freezing. This picture was shared on the Telford Memories Facebook Group by Metsa Vaim EdOrg on 17th October 2020. [51]
A similar view from 1954, this time with a service for Wellington at the branch platform. This was shared by Metsa Vaim EdOrg on the Telford Memories Facebook Group on 2nd March 2020. [52]
This image of Buidwas Railway Station comes from 1961. This time the image shows the Severn Valley lines. The photographer has chosen to focus tightly on the railway station which avoids including the power station in the image. This picture was shared on the Telford Memories Facebook Group by Marcus Keane on 20th May 2019. [53]
This image from 1959 was shared by Metsa Vaim EdOrg on the Telford Memories Facebook Group on 24th February 2020. It shows an ex-GWR railcar in the East-bound platform on the Severn Valley line and a service for Wellington arriving from Much Wenlock on the branch. The relative levels of the platforms can easily be seen in this image. [54]
This image from 1932 was shared by Metsa Vaim EdOrg on the Telford Memories Facebook Group on 24th February 2020. [56]
This aerial image is embedded from Hiostoric England’s Britain from Above site. It sows the construction of Ironbridge. It was taken in 1930. Buildwas Station can be seen on the left of the image which has been taken facing West. [57]

Our journey along the Wellington & Severn Junction Railway finishes here at Buildwas Junction Station.

References

  1. Adrian Knowles; The Wellington, Much Wenlock and Craven Arms Railway; Lightmoor Press, Lydney, Gloucestershire, 2022.
  2. https://hyperleap.com/topic/Wellington_and_Severn_Junction_Railway, accessed on 26th June 2022.
  3. https://www.shropshirestar.com/news/nostalgia/telford-nostalgia/2019/04/22/trains-to-ride-again-on-ironbridge-line, accessed on 28th June 2022.
  4. https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Coalbrookdale_Station.JPG, accessed on 28th June 2022.
  5. https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/4354447, accessed on 28th June 2022.
  6. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coalbrookdale_railway_station#/media/File%3ACoalbrookdale_station_geograph-3086185-by-Ben-Brooksbank.jpg, accessed on 28th June 2022.
  7. https://www.shropshire-guide.co.uk/places/coalbrookdale-museum-of-iron, accessed on 28th June 2022.
  8. https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/4570568, 28th June 2022.
  9. https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/1758588, accessed on 28th June 2022.
  10. https://m.geograph.org.uk/photo/1758603, accessed on 28th June 2022.
  11. https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/5686348, accessed on 28th June 2022.
  12. https://britainfromabove.org.uk/en/image/EPW034486, accessed on 29th June 2022.
  13. http://www.geoffspages.co.uk./raildiary/ironbridge.htm, accessed on 29th June 2022.
  14. https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=1392645214113245&set=gm.1531667340184597, accessed on 14th July 2022.
  15. https://maps.nls.uk/view/101594479, accessed on 30th June 2022.
  16. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=16.560351011060174&lat=52.64292&lon=-2.48610&layers=168&b=1, accessed on 1st July 2022.
  17. https://www.openrailwaymap.org, accessed on 7th July 2022.
  18. https://maps.nls.uk/view/121150832, accessed on 12th July 2022.
  19. https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=1001865753312225&set=pcb.2086719181346074, accessed on 13th July 2022.
  20. https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=271605153296996&set=gm.1584784474872883, accessed on 13th July 2022.
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  22. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=17&lat=52.64213&lon=-2.47906&layers=6&b=1, accessed on 14th July 2022.
  23. https://maps.nls.uk/view/101594482, accessed on 13th July 2022.
  24. https://maps.nls.uk/view/121150832, accessed on 15th July 2022.
  25. https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=379950376331970&set=gm.4580649128619721, accessed on 15th July 2022.
  26. https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=186475769012766&set=pcb.3025171540834162, accessed on 15th July 2022.
  27. https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=426914011635606&set=gm.4890971834254114, accessed on 15th July 2022.
  28. https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=164899301170413&set=pcb.2785824028102249, accessed on 15th July 2022.
  29. https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=350258421818867&set=gm.846139445404060, accessed on 16th July 2022.
  30. https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=3955054490340&set=gm.731803100171029, accessed on 16th July 2022.
  31. https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=407288646931476&set=gm.4780570431960922, accessed on 16th July 2022.
  32. https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=1861017023942726&set=pcb.2099311816753477, accessed on 17th July 2022.
  33. https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=1019404258230974&set=gm.1932652786763912, accessed on 17th July 2022.
  34. https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=337295787264096&set=pcb.4285870451430925, accessed on 17th July 2022.
  35. https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=253946312265711&set=gm.3778970538787588, accessed on 17th July 2022.
  36. https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/4570606, accessed on 17th July 2022.
  37. https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/4570608, accessed on 17th July 2022.
  38. https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/4570602, accessed on 17th July 2022.
  39. https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/4570589, accessed on 18th July 2022.
  40. https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/4570586, accessed on 18th July 2022.
  41. https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/4570593, accessed on 18th July 2022.
  42. https://www.shropshirestar.com/news/local-hubs/telford/2020/12/18/councillors-hear-of-concerns-over-bridge-strikes/, accessed on 18th July 2022.
  43. https://www.smallwoods.org.uk, accessed on 18th July 2022.
  44. https://www.smallwoods.org.uk/en/the-green-wood-centre/about, accessed on 18th July 2022.
  45. https://www.thegreenwoodcoffeelodge.com/#location, accessed on 18th July 2022.
  46. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Edward_Bridge, accessed on 18th July 2022.
  47. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Albert_Edward_Bridge.JPG, accessed on 18th July 2022.
  48. https://maps.nls.uk/view/121150853, accessed on 18th July 2022.
  49. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=17&lat=52.63304&lon=-2.51557&layers=168&b=1, accessed on 18th July 2022.
  50. https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=1844651349192200&set=gm.1655719937779336, accessed on 18th July 2022.
  51. https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=409683050025369&set=gm.4793839370634028, accessed on 18th July 2022.
  52. https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=255663442093998&set=gm.3788208897863752, accessed on 18th July 2022.
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  57. https://www.britainfromabove.org.uk/en/image/EPW034013, accessed on 18th July 2022.

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:

https://wordpress.com/post/rogerfarnworth.com/34425

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. [1]

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.

Ketley Junction to Lightmoor was open by 1857. [2]
The Severn Valley line was open by the time covered by this map. [2]
The complete route of the Wellington, Much Wenlock & Craven Arms Railway was in use by 1867. [2]
The railways in the area around what was the Wellington & Severn Junction Railway (W&SJR) as shown on the OpeRailwayMap. OpenRailwayMap (previously called “Bahnkarte”) is a detailed online map of the world’s railway infrastructure, built on OpenStreetMap data. It has been available since mid-2013 at OpenRailwayMap.org [17]

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:

https://wordpress.com/post/rogerfarnworth.com/32514

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!

Tramways/plateways at Horsehay Works in the early part of the 20th century. Shared on the Telford Memories Facebook Group by Lin Keska on 23rd February 2017, courtesy of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust Archives. [20]

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

A very early photograph taken at Horsehay & Dawley Station. The landscape is apparently treeless and the various huts alongside the higher level goods yard and the steps linking the station with the yard can easily be seen. The image was shared by Marcus Keane on the Telford Memories Facebook Group on 20th January 2014. [23]
Horsehay & Dawley Station on the W&SJR looking South towards Doseley in the middle of the 20th century. The station appears to have been well kept. All the buildings were demolished after the closure of the line and Telford Steam Railway has built a replacement platform building. The access footpath visible above the roof of the signal box is still in use. This photograph was shared on the Telford Memories Facebook Group on 5th November 2018 by Metsa Vaim EdOrg. [21]
Looking South towards Doseley from the platform at Horsehay & Dawley Railway Station under the road bridge which carries Station Road/Bridge Road. This image is a 21st century photograph embedded from the Trip Advisor website, the photographer is not recorded on that website. [18]
Looking North through Station Road Bridge. Peckett No. 1722 ‘Rocket’ sits alongside the station platform in 2014, (c) Copyright WaltTFB, authorised for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence (CC BY 3.0). [27]
An extract from the 1881/82 6″ OS Mapping. [19]
An extract from the 6″ 1901/02 OS Map. Horsehay & Dawley Railway Station still sits on the North side of Station Road/Bridge Road. As we have already noted in the last post about this line, there was a significant transshipment shed which is now known as the ‘Old Loco Shed’. This is the building shown on the map just to the left of the ‘h’. Goods from what was once a very significant network of tramways were transferred to standard-gauge wagons for distribution to the wider world. More information about the Coalbrookdale Company’s network of tramways can be found here. These two map extracts illustrate the changes going on at the end of the 19th century as Horsehay Works moved from being primarily served by plateways to having an internal network of standard-gauge lines. [14]
The area immediately around Horsehay and Dawley Railway Station is it appears on satellite images in 2021. [Google Earth, 4th April 2021]
The line to Doseley Halt and Lightmoor as it leaves Horsehay & Dawley Station. looking Southeast from Station Road Bridge. The line in this direction is already constructed for much of the way to Doseley Halt, as it was required for works trains to remove spoil from the northern extension to Lawley Common which we saw in the first article about the W&SJR. However, in the direction to Doseley Halt, the track it is not yet up to the standard required to run passenger services. Going beyond the halt to Lightmoor, requires legal powers to cross a public road, and of course the money to finance the extension, © Copyright P.L. Chadwick and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence (CC BY_SA 2.0). [24]
The line Southeast of Horsehay and Dawley Station as it appears on Google Earth. A larger scale image of the track at this location appears in an image further below. [Google Earth, 4th April 2021]
After curving round to the Southeast the line swings back closer to a South-southeast direction. [Google Earth, 4th April 2021]
Shared by Rob Turner on the Telford Memories Facebook Group on 14th January 2019. In July 2022, Rob Turner says, ‘This 9photograph) was taken just past the curve onto long straight towards Doseley during an authorized track walk while I was a volunteer at the TSR. The track you see here has now been lifted with hopes to start relaying it to a passenger carrying standard soon.’ (c) Rob Turner. [22]

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.

Looking Northwest from the footpath which crosses the old railway. Horsehay & Dawley Station is around the curve ahead. [My photograph, 11th July 2022]
A larger scale view of the current extent of the preservation line’s rails. [Google Earth, 4th April 2021]
The track-formation Southeast of the public footpath shown above. [My photograph, 11th July 2022]
The curve continues. [My photograph, 11th July 2022.
This photo is taken at roughly the same location as the January 2019 image above. [My photograph, 11th July 2022]
The 1901/2 6″ OS Map again. The long straight crossed Doseley Railway Bridge. [14]
The length to Doseley Bridge as seen on the Google Earth satellite imagery. [Google Earth, 4th April 2021]
Metal parapet rails at Doseley Bridge, seen from the North. [My photograph, 11th July 2022]
This view of the parapet railings is taken from the South, [My photograph, 11th July 2022]
Doseley Bridge taken from the South East on 31st March 2016 by Ian S. Reuse is permitted under a Creative Commons Licence (CC BY-SA 2.0). [26]
Doseley Railway Bridge from the North East. [My photograph, 6th July 2022]
Doseley Railway Bridge taken from the South West in 2016. The photographer comments: “Leaving St Lukes Road in Doseley, the minor road heads for Dawley under a bridge that currently marks the southern end of the Telford Steam Railway Trust’s line and operations. It was built around 1858, and originally served a track from Ketley down to Lightmoor as part of the Wellington & Severn Junction Railway. Grade II listed.” © Copyright Richard Law and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence (CC BY-SA 2.0). [28]
The same view on 6th July 2022. [My photograph]
The line continues in a South-southeast direction after crossing Doseley Bridge. [Google Earth, 4th April 2021]
Another extract from the 1901/2 6″ OS Map. The join between two OS 6″ Map sheets is at almost the same location as Doseley Halt. At the Halt, level-crossing gates protected the line from traffic on a three-way road-junction. Note the lane which crosses the line at an oblique angle towards the top of this extract. The lane is still in use as a footpath. [14][15]
Looking North-northwest at the point where the lane shown on the map extract above crossed the ole railway. The railway route is illustrated by the red line, the footpath, by the ochre line. [My photograph, 11th July 2022]
The location mentioned above, shown this time on the next satellite image from 21st century following the line to the South. [Google Earth]
This 25″ OS Map of 1902 shows the location of the level crossing. A Signal Box (S.B.) is clearly marked on th West side of the line. The crossing-keepers cottage is the building to the East of the line and immediately adjacent to the level-crossing. Doseley Halt was placed here in the mid-1930s. [25]
The same area on the satellite imagery provided by the NLS in the 21st Century. The blue line approximates to the centre-line of the Canal, the red line to the old railway route. The different roads are visible among the trees. [25]
Doseley Halt viewed from Holly Road verge next to the crossing gates. The signal box is off-picture to the left and the crossing-keeper’s cottage is off-picture to the right. This is an old postcard view embedded from the Dawley History website. [29]
The ‘signal box’ at Doseley Halt was actually a ground frame for the level-crossing. This view is also taken looking North-northwest. [29]
At one time Doseley Halt boasted its own waiting shelter. This view looks South-southeast and shows all the major features of the site. The loco entering crossing onto the site appears to be a 2MT British Railways locomotive. [29]
Doseley Halt and Holly Road Level Crossing with the gates closed protecting the line. This picture was shared by Paul Wheeler on the Telford Memories Facebook Group 20th June 2018. [12]
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. [13]
GWR Pannier Tank No. 3732 standing at Doseley Halt on a Southbound service. The Halt was originally opened to address competition from Midland Red buses. This picture was shared on the Telford Memories Facebook Group by Metsa Vaim EdOrg on 27th February 2020. [14]

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.

A length of the old rails remains within the carriageway of Holly Road. The view ahead is impeded by vegetation and the route of the line cannot be followed immediately. [My photograph, 11th July 2022]
Looking back to the North, the line curves very gently through the station site. [My photograph, 11th July 2022]

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.

Another extract from the 6″ OS Map of 1901/2 which is centred on the level-crossing at Lightmoor Road. [15]
The next length of the line from the level-crossing at Holly Road as it appears on modern satellite imagery. Holly Road is to the East of the Line, Gravel Leasowes to the West. The short footpath mentioned in the text can be seen in the bottom right of this image. [Google Earth, 4th April 2021]
The approximate line of the old railway is shown again by the red-line on this satellite image. [Google Earth, 4th April 2021]
Large Prairie No. 4178 again, this time on the climb towards Doseley Halt from Lightmoor. The gradient along this length was approximately 1 in 40. The image was shared by Metsa Vaim EdOrg on the Telford Memories Facebook Group on 8th October 2019. [40]
Looking back to the North at the point where embankment turns to cutting. [My photograph, 21st April 2022]
The Lightmoor Road Level-crossing appears on this next satellite image. There was at one time a tramroad on the East side of Lightmoor Road which linked The Lightmoor Ironworks with Dawley Parva Colliery and the old canal which were both to the North of the W&SJR. That tramway appears on the extract from the 6″ OS Map of 1881/82 below. [Google Earth, 4th April 2021]
Looking North once agin not long before the location of the Lightmoor Road Level-crossing is encountered. [My photograph, 21st April 2022]
Looking North across Lightmoor Road at the location of the level-crossing. [My photograph, 21st April 2022]
Looking ahead down the line to the Southeast at Lightmoor Road Level-crossing. [Google Streetview, May 2019]
An extract from the 6″ OS Map of 1881/82 shows Lightmoor Road running from the centre-top of the image to the Bottom-left. A tramroad runs on the East side of the road and crosses under the railway. It has a branch to Lightmoor Colliery and continues to serve Lightmoor Ironworks which were still operational in 1881. Interestingly, a short standard-gauage branch is shown leaving the W&SJR just to the Southeast of the point that it crossed Lightmoor Road. That short branch served Lightmoor Ironworks which are just off the bottom edge of the extract. The branch had been lifted by the time of the 1901/2 survey. [30]

Lightmoor Colliery

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. [33] 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 Works is distilled from the Discovering Shropshire’s History website. [34] 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.

After the level-crossing at Lightmoor Road, the line began to swing round to the South. [Google Earth, 4th April 2021]
There was a significant network of tramroads in the immediate vicinity of Lightmoor Junction. This 6″ Map extract from 1901/02 shows the situation at the turn of the 20th century. There was a goods transshipment facility at the Junction which connected the Coalbrookdale Co. Tramroads to the wider world! The large factory comples to the North of the Junction is the Lightmoor Brick and Tile Works. [15]

Lightmoor Brick & Tile Works

The information about the Lightmoor Brick & Tile Works below comes from the Discovering Shropshire’s History website. [35] 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.

This earlier 6″ Map extract from 1881/2 is probably a little clearer than the 1901/2 extract above. [30]
This extract from the 6″ Map series on 1925 which was published in 1928 clearly shows the location of the Railway Station. [31]
Greater clarity is provided by the 25″ Map Series from Ordnance Survey. This extract is from the 25″ 1925 edition which was published in 1927. The double track provision from the junction towards the West is clear. The station (above the word ‘Branch’) and Signal Box on the south side of the line opposite the goods yard can easily be picked out. [32]
This satellite image shows the relative locations of the W&SJR, the old Coalbrookdale Co. Tramroad and the Lightmoor Ironworks as well as the modern A4169. Telford Steam Rail;way will, if their planned extension is to be built, need to cross this road on a bridge. [Google Earth, 4th April 2021]
The old railway now turned relatively sharply to the Southwest and was joined by what was once the Shrewsbury & Birmingham Railway Madeley Branch. That line remained open throughout the 20th century as was used to supply coal to Ironbridge Power Station. It closed, eventually, in around 2015 with the closure of the power station. [Google Earth, 4th April 2021]
This picture shows part of Lightmoor Brick and Tile Works in around 1910. As we have noted the Works sat on the North side of the W&SJR very close to Lightmoor Station. There is a works tramroad evident in the image. The picture was shared on the Telford Memories Facebook Group by Paul Mower on 2nd April 2018. [41]
This image also shows the Brick and Tile Works and gives a much better indication of the preponderance of tramroad rails around the site. It was shared by Thomas Cooper on 17th March 2017 on the Telford Memories Facebook Group. [42]
Looking East along Queensway (A4169). The red line shows the route f the old railway which, South of the road follows a gated track. [Google Streetview, June 2022]
The location of Lightmoor Junction. The line entering from the left is the old Madeley branch of the Shrewsbury & Birmingham Railway which continued in use as a goods line until 2015 or thereabouts. The Junction is shown on OS Map extracts and satellite images above. [My photograph, 12th July 2022]
The junction at Lightmoor brought together the Madeley Branch, on which we see a coal train serving Ironbridge Power Station, and the W&SJR. The lvel difference which can be seen on this photograph is marked and can be explained by the 1:40 gradient falling from Doseley Halt to Lightmoor Junction. [4]
The modern signal box which replaced that shown on the OS Map extracts above. The photo looks Northwest. [My photo, 12th July 2022]
The signal box again, this time looking Northeast. [My photo, 12th July 2022]

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. [37]

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.

Lightmoor Junction signal box on 17th May 2009. the photographer wrote in 2009: “Lightmoor Junction The left fork here has been taken up. Further north, along its line, is the Horsehay Steam Trust. The right fork leads to Madeley Junction, a real junction this time, on the Wolverhampton to Shrewsbury line. Only goods trains; long lines of coal trucks heading to & from the Ironbridge Gorge Power Station; pass along this line now.” (c) Mike White, authorised for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence CC BY-SA 2.0 [3]

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 [36] (since 2011 transferred to West Midlands Signalling Centre).” [38]

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 location of the under-bridge taken at track level looking East towards what was Lightmoor Junction. Its location is marked by the deviation in the track alignment. [My photograph, 12th July 2022]
The view West across the road-under-bridge and through the old Station towards Coalbrookdale. [My photograph, 12th July 2022]
The view from the South through the railway bridge which spans Brick Kiln Bank. [My photograph, 12th July 2022]
The view from the North through the railway bridge spanning Brick Kiln Bank. [My photograph, 12th July 2022]

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. … [5]

This photograph from the 1920s shows Lightmoor Station, also known as Lightmoor Platform or Lightmoor Halt. [4] A very similar photograph can be seen on PicClick as well. [8]
This image is embedded from the Transport Treasury Website. It shows a view from a train looking East through Lightmoor Halt on 23rd May 1960. The modern signal box can be seen in the middle distance. The photographer was James Harrold [7]
Another view, this time facing East, was shared by Metsa Vaim EdOrg on the Telford Memories Facebook Group on 3rd November 2018. It was part of a short pamphlet found in an Oxfam Shop. [9]

The next two pictures are separated by 67 years, the first was taken in 1900, the second in 1967. …

This and the next picture were taken from approximately the same location on the South side of the line and focus on the site of Lightmoor Station. This image is from 1900. [39]
This image is dated 1967. Both were shared on the Telford Memories Facebook Group by Metsa Vaim EdOrg on 28th February 2020. [39]
The immediate site of the Station as shown on the 25 ” OS Map of the mid-1920s. Pedestrian access to the station was via ramps and steps from Brick Kiln Bank. I was unable to find these on my short visit on 12th July 2022. [16]
The location of Lightmoor Station shown on the modern satellite images provided by the National Library of Scotland. [6]
The view looking West through the site of the Station towards Coalbrookdale which will make up the third part of this story! [My photograph, 12th July 2022]

References

  1. Adrian Knowles; The Wellington, Much Wenlock and Craven Arms Railway; Lightmoor Press, Lydney, Gloucestershire, 2022.
  2. https://hyperleap.com/topic/Wellington_and_Severn_Junction_Railway, accessed on 26th June 2022.
  3. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/75/Lightmoor_Junction_-geograph.org.uk-_1306889.jpg, accessed on 13th July 2022.
  4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8Ln_xKS1rs, accessed on 13th July 2022.
  5. M.E. Quick; Railway passenger stations in England, Scotland and Wales – a chronology; The Railway and Canal Historical Society, Richmond, 2022, p 264.
  6. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=17&lat=52.64265&lon=-2.47528&layers=168&b=1, accessed on 13th July 2022.
  7. https://thetransportlibrary.co.uk/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=166517&search=Welshpool+Light+Railway&page=3, accessed on 13th July 2022.
  8. https://picclick.co.uk/Lightmoor-Railway-Station-Photo-Coalbrookdale-to-Horsehay-and-251656443717.html, accessed on 13th July 2022.
  9. https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=118347129158964&set=pcb.2472367969447858, accessed on 13th July 2022.
  10. https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=DZk5DAAAQBAJ&pg=PT186&lpg=PT186&dq=Lightmoor+Platform&source=bl&ots=Kf07E0ImOy&sig=ACfU3U1kF9SCtBCtIdHL41HUHUyTvPQG1w&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi0vfSThfb4AhUSTMAKHSlnD48Q6AF6BAgcEAM#v=onepage&q=Lightmoor%20Platform&f=false, accessed on 13th July 2022.
  11. David Clarke; The Railways of Telford; Crowood Press, Marlborough, Wiltshire.
  12. https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=2082077232116276&set=gm.2202364713114853, accessed on 13th July 2022.
  13. https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=4209532492131&set=gm.768508263167179, accessed on 13th July 2022.
  14. https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=253268022333540&set=gm.3775370475814261, accessed on 13th July 2022.
  15. https://maps.nls.uk/view/101594479, accessed on 30th June 2022.
  16. https://maps.nls.uk/view/121150832, accessed on 13th July 2022.
  17. https://www.openrailwaymap.org, accessed on 7th July 2022.
  18. https://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/13/d0/4d/11/20180722-121709-largejpg.jpg, accessed on 8th July 2022.
  19. https://maps.nls.uk/view/101594458, accessed on 8th July 2022.
  20. https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=1404924826218617&set=pcb.1546650862019578, accessed on 8th July 2022.
  21. https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=119428015717542&set=pcb.2476630165688305, accessed on 8th July 2022.
  22. https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=10219269211828042&set=gm.2617110968306890, accessed on 8th July 2022.
  23. https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=3854962388100&set=gm.715668985117774, accessed on 8th July 2022.
  24. https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2055534, accessed on 8th July 2022.
  25. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=18&lat=52.65277&lon=-2.47592&layers=168&b=1, accessed on 9th July 2022.
  26. https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Railway_bridge_over_Doseley_Road.jpg, accessed on 9th July 2022.
  27. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telford_Steam_Railway#/media/File%3APeckett_no_1722.JPG, accessed on 9th July 2022.
  28. https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/4921288, accessed on 10th July 2022.
  29. http://dawleyhistory.com/Postcards/Doseley.html, accessed on 11th July 2022.
  30. https://maps.nls.uk/view/101594482, accessed on 12th July 2022.
  31. https://maps.nls.uk/view/101594476, accessed on 12th July 2022.
  32. https://maps.nls.uk/view/121150832, accessed on 12th July 2022.
  33. http://search.shropshirehistory.org.uk/collections/getrecord/CCS_MSA23530, accessed on 19th April 2022.
  34. https://zh.mindat.org/loc-379098.html, accessed on 19th April 2022.
  35. http://search.shropshirehistory.org.uk/collections/getrecord/CCS_MSA3858, accessed on 19th April 2022.
  36. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/shropshire/4806558.stm, accessed on 12th July 2022.
  37. Allen Jackson, A Contemporary Perspective on GWR Signalling: Semaphore Swansong; Marlborough, Wiltshire: The Crowood Press, 2015.
  38. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lightmoor_Junction, accessed on 12th July 2022.
  39. https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=253945282265814&set=pcb.3778964578788184, accessed on 13th July 2022.
  40. https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=205899673737042&set=pcb.3296383353712978, accessed on 13th July 2022.
  41. https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=1001865753312225&set=pcb.2086719181346074, accessed on 13th July 2022.
  42. https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=271605153296996&set=gm.1584784474872883, accessed on 13th July 2022.

The Railways of Telford – the Wellington to Severn Junction Railway (W&SJR) – Part 1 – Wellington to Horsehay

The featured image shows a 1950 service to Much Wenlock and Craven Arms entering Horsehay and Dawley Railway Station. Details of the photograph are given towards the end of this article.

“The Wellington and Severn Junction Railway … was built between 1857 [and] 1861 and formed part of the Wellington to Craven Arms Railway. For much of its working life, it was operated by the Great Western Railway and subsequently the Western Region of British Railways.” [1]

Wikipedia tells us that “Its route included the following stations: – Wellington, Ketley, Horsehay and Dawley, Doseley Halt, Lightmoor Platform and Coalbrookdale.” [1] That list on Wikipedia is not exhaustive: Ketley Town Halt was opened by the GWR in March 1936 a little to the South of the Sinclair Iron Foundry; [17] New Dale Halt opened in 1934 to serve Newdale; [18] Lawley Bank Station was set in a relatively rural area; [19] Green Bank Halt (close to Jigger’s Bank, between the bridge over Jigger’s Bank and that over Cherry Tree Hill) opened in 1934 and closed in 1962. [16]

The necessary Act of Parliament, the Wellington and Severn Junction Railway Act, was promulgated in 1853. [3]

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.

Ketley Junction to Lightmoor was open by 1857. [4]
The Severn Valley line was open by the time covered by this map. [4]
The complete route of the Wellington, Much Wenlock & Craven Arms Railway was in use by 1867. [4]
The railways in the area around what was the Wellington & Severn Junction Railway (W&SJR) as shown on the OpeRailwayMap. OpenRailwayMap (previously called “Bahnkarte”) is a detailed online map of the world’s railway infrastructure, built on OpenStreetMap data. It has been available since mid-2013 at OpenRailwayMap.org [40]

Adrian Knowles [2] tells us that it was always intended that there would be a standard-gauge railway serving “the western side of the coalfield – particularly the ironworks at Ketley and Horsehay – and indeed the main Coalbrookdale Company works following the cutback of the original Shrewsbury & Birmingham (S&B) scheme to Lightmoor in 1851.” [2: p19]

In 1851/52, Dickson & Co. built a short line from Waterloo sidings on the Shrewsbury & Birmingham Railway close to Wellington to the Ironworks at Ketley. The Coalbrookdale Co. became major backers of an initiative to extend that short line down into the Severn Gorge.

Knowles tells us that “the route was surveyed during 1852 by John Barber of Wellington and initial plans were drawn up by John Mackenzie.” [2: p19]

In an effort to keep the LNWR out of the area around Coalbrookdale the S&B board granted running rights over their line between Wellington and Ketley and part-funded the parliamentary process required to allow the line to progress.

The Act received Royal Assent on 20th August 1853, the same day as the Severn Valley Railway Act. [2: p20] It “dictated that the S&B, LNWR and SUR should allow free passage to all traffic to and from the W&SJR and that the W&SJR should reciprocate in accommodating traffic from those companies.” [2: p20]

Knowles tells us that the estimated cost of the new railway was £60,000. The share uptake was slow but enough was raised to make headway on purchase of land. Nothing was spent on construction until all the land had been acquired. By mid-1855 funds were still inadequate to allow a start on construction along the full length of the line. The board decided to start work on the heaviest engineering works, which began on 25th August 1855. [2: p20] A start was made on the length of the line between Ketley Junction and Horsehay which included Horsehay Tunnel.

By 1st May 1857 the line between Ketley Junction, including Heath Hill Tunnel, was ready to open for goods and mineral traffic. [2: p22-23] It is interesting that because the branch “was being used largely to serve Horsehay Works, and the GWR was withholding any revenue payments pending a formalised working agreement which would set the amount, the Coalbrookdale Company sympathised with W&SJR shareholders who were receiving no returns on their money. The Coalbrookdale Company therefore agreed to pay a five per cent annual dividend while negotiations with the GWR over operating the line continued. The first such payment was made to shareholders on 1st July 1958.” [2: p24]

Steady progress was being made on the remainder of the line to Lightmoor. “During the winter of 1857-8, £5,732 was spent on the work, all subscribed by the Coalbrookdale Company which by this time had a 75% stake in the W&SJR.” [2: p24]

Knowles goes on to mention arrangements made at Lightmoor to cope temporarily with the unfinished connection to the GWR (Shrewsbury & Birmingham) Madeley Branch. “All trains passing from the W&SJR to the GWR and vice versa had to reverse at Lightmoor.” [2: p 24]

Passenger services between Wellington, Lightmoor and Shifnal eventually started operating on 2nd May 1859.

Soon after the opening of the W&SJR proposals were developed by the Wenlock Railway to pass through Coalbrookdale and Brosley and led to a significant enhancement in the value of the W&SJR as it would become part of a through route. [2: p25]

“Almost as soon as the Wenlock Railway Bill received Royal Assent in July 1861 the GWR, now eager not only to have control of the railways to Coalbrookdale, but also to ensure that a line was actually built, offered to assume responsibility for construction of the Lightmoor-Coalbrookdale section. With the blessing of the Wenlock Railway the GWR gained powers for this by including the line in their next ‘omnibus’ Bill later in 1861.” [2: p26]

It seems reasonable to include the line through Coalbrookdale in our review of the W&SJR. It was about 1.5 miles in length and gave the GWR direct access to Coalbrookdale. It included the cutting of a ledge from the steep hillside and a 26-arch brick viaduct which carried the line through the Coalbrookdale Company’s works and over Upper Furnace Pool. Knowles says that the biggest obstacle was “‘New Pool’ at the head of Coalbrookdale. There was no alternative but to drain the pool temporarily and build a massive retaining wall to hold back the water, after which the new track-bed was laid on the strip of reclaimed land.” [2: p65]

The line from Lightmoor Junction onwards was double-track and generally fell at 1:50 towards the River Severn.

The Route

Wellington Railway Station was the junction station for the Coalbrookdale line (W&SjR). The bay platform on the South side of the station site was shared with the Coalport branch passenger services – the 6″ OS Survey of 1881/82, published in 1888. [5]
Approximately the same area as it appears on the 25″ OS Map of 1901, published in 1902. The station is on a relatively confined site and little has changed in the twenty years between 1881 and 1901. [6]
The same area in the 21st century as shown on the ESRI World Mapping provided by the National Library of Scotland. The station layout is much rationalised. The Goods yard is a casualty of progress and development! A single bay platform line remains. [7]
The immediate station area as it appears on Google Maps in 2022. The bay platform can more easily be seen on this image. Platform 3, the bay platform, is now out of regular use following the withdrawal of the Wellington to Walsall local service and its subsequent replacement with through Shrewsbury to Birmingham New Street local services. Traces of another defunct platform face (the outer side of the old up island platform) can be seen from the car park behind platform 1. [Google Maps][13]
Wellington Railway Station in June 2022, (c) Kylxa, authorised for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence (CC BY-SA 4.0) [13]
The bay platforms at Wellington Railway Station in July 1950. Small Prairie No. 4406 is about to work the 4.30pm to Much Wenlock running down the W&SJR. The loco to its right is LNWR 0-6-2 No. 58904 with the 3.53 to Coalport (east) using the LNWR Coalport Branch. [14]
Wellington Railway Station in July 2018, looking West from the overbridge. [Google Streetview, July 2018]
Looking East from the same overbridge in July 2018. The arched-bridge ahead is King Street Bridge. [Google Streetview, July 2018]
The view West, back towards Wellington Railway Station from King Street Bridge. [Google Streetview, May 2021]
The view East from King Street Bridge. The bridge in the distance is Junction Bridge and it marks the Western extent of Wellington Junction. In the 2st century that bridge carries Mill Lane. [Google Streetview, May 2021]
The length of the line between King Street Bridge and Wellington Junction on the 6″ 1881/82 OS Map. [5]
Wellington Junction in 1881/82 on the 6″ OS Map. [5]
Wellington Junction in 1901 on the 25″ OS Map [8]
The same area in the 21st century [Google Maps]
The view East from Mill Lane Bridge in 2011. The railway junction has been rationalised with only a single line following the old LNWR Shropshire Union Railway Line. The old Shrewsbury and Birmingham Line (GWR) remains as a double-track mainline. [Google Streetview, March 2011]
The line passed to the South of Haybridge Iron Works, 1881/82 on the 6″ OS Map. [5]
Ketley Junction followed after the mainline crossed Ketley Brook, 1881/82 on the 6″ OS Map. [5]
Trains for the W&SJR left the mainline and followed the single line round to the South before entering Ketley Station, 1881/82 on the 6″ OS Map. [5]
As we are now on the W&SJR route, the line of the railway is shown approximately on this modern satellite image. Ketley Station was just to the South of what was once the A5 but is now the B5061, Holyhead Road. The line can be seen on the OS Map above passing under an accommodation bridge on the curve round towards Ketley Station. That bridge remains in the 21st century carrying an extension to Copper Beech Road. [Google Maps, 2022]
The refurbished accommodation bridge seen from Copper Beech Road. [Google Streetview, June 2015]
The view Northwest from the accommodation bridge. A red line shows the route of the railway. [Google Streetview, May 2011]
The view Southeast from the accommodation bridge. The route of the line is much more easily picked out than on the photograph above! However, by 2022 the grass route close to the accomodation bridge had become overgrown. A narrow footpath leads down the embankment on the East side of the bridge to track level. [Google Streetview, May 2011]
The track-bed of the W&SJR about 100 metres South of the accommodation bridge above. [My photograph, 2nd July 2022]
A short distance further south a stepped path from Copper Beech Road leads down to the old track bed which is maintained as a Greenway. [My photograph, 2nd July 2022]
Just a little further to the South, this image shows the old railway line in cutting alongside a footpath which leads off Copper Beech Road to the old level-crossing at what was once A5. [Google Streetview, June 2015]
The route of the railway approaching the old A5. [My photograph, 2nd July 2022]
The view North from Station Road, Ketley looking back along the route of the railway which was in cutting to a point relatively close to the road. [Google Streetview, September 2021]
The Ketley Station site in 1901 as shown on the 25″ OS Map. [11]
Postcard view of Ketley Railway Station from the West. The Methodist Chapel is visible in the distance on the left. Shared on the Telford Memories Facebook Group by Marcus Keane. [21]
Ketley Station viewed from the Northwest in May 1957. Shared on the Telford Memories Facebook Group by Metsa Vaim EdOrg. [22]
Ketley Station from the Southwest. Shared on the Telford Memories Facebook Group by Peter Wheeler. [23]
A view from the South along the platform at Ketley Station with crossing gates closed to allow traffic through on the A5 on 18th February 1967. Shared on the Telford Memories Facebook Group by Carol Anne Huselbee. [24]
The view South through Ketley Railway Station site from Station Road in September 2021. The redline gives the approximate alignment of the railway. [Google Streetview]
The remains of Ketley station platform and trackbed, looking due south toward Horsehay in May 2008. The photographer comments that the trackbed is now a public footpath and the picture is taken from the former site of a level crossing across what in railway days was the A5 trunk road, © Copyright Peter Whatley and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence (CC BY-SA 2.0). [12]
Looking back North from the location of Ketley Station towards what was once the level crossing. [My photograph, 2nd July 2022]
The 6″ OS Map 1881/82 survey as published in 1888, shows Ketley Station and the line continuing to the South. [5]
Approximately the same area on the modern satellite images provided by the National Library of Scotland. There is no need to highlight the route with a red line as the route is tree-lined and runs down the centre of the image. [27]
The 25″ OS Map as revised in 1937 shows private sidings to the Iron Foundry and Ketley Town Halt which can be seen to the South of Sinclair Gardens. [25]
Ketley Town Halt in 1936. Shared on the Telford Memories Facebook Group by Metsa Vaim EdOrg. [26]
Looking South through the location of Ketley Town Halt. [My photograph, 2nd July 2022]
Looking North through the location of Ketley Town Halt. [My photograph, 2nd July 2022]
The 6″ OS Map shows the line continuing to the South. Ketley Town Halt was at the point where the signal post is shown on this extract. The modern M54 is shown on the satellite image below, it crosses the line travelling East-West at approximately the ‘GT’ of ‘ WELLINGTON’. [5]
The route of the old line continues to be delineated by woodland as it approaches and crosses the M54. [28]
The footpath following the W&SJR diverts away from the line South of the location of the Halt. This view looks South down the alignment of the W&SJR towards the modern M54. [My photograph, 2nd July 2022]

The M54 forms a significant barrier if one intends to follow the line. Walking North to South, the route requires one to head Northeast from the old railway along Sinclair Gardens passed Littlefords Garden Centre to Waterloo Road and then turn South to pass under the M54. Just beyond the motorway a footpath leaves Waterloo Road heading West to meet the route of the old railway again.

South of the motorway, there is no need again to highlight the line of the old railway as once again trees line the route. [Google Earth]
The line of the W&SJR regained. [My photograph, 9th June 2022]
Pannier Tank no. 3732 in charge of a short pick-up goods service between Ketley and Lawley Bank in 1953. This photograph was shared by Metsa Vaim EdOrg on the Telford Memories Facebook Group in March 2020. [37]
Further South, close to the location of New Dale Halt. [My photograph, 9th June 2022]
The W&SJR continues South passed Newdale. A small settlement that has now disappeared. The road shown crossing the line at that point is also the line of an old tramway. Just to the West of the line is an old two arch tramway bridge crossing Ketley Dingle. (Details of the bridge can be found here.) [5]
New Dale Halt in the 1930s. Shared by Metsa Vaim EdOrg on the Telford Memories Facebook Group. The halt served the hamlet of Newdale and was located a little to the North of the point where the old tramway route crossed the W&SJR. [26]
New Dale Halt is shown on the 25″ OS Map as revised in 1937. [25]
Just beyond the location of the Halt, the way-marker post marks the location of the path down to the tramway bridge and therefore the point where the W&SJR crossed the older tramway. [My photograph, 9th June 2022]
Newdale Tramway Bridge in the middle of the 20th century, shared on the Telford Memories Facebook Group by Metsa Vaim EdOrg. [29]
South of Newdale, this is the next length of the line on the 6″ OS Map of 1881/82. We are now on the next map sheet (No. 101594458). [9]
Looking back to the North along the W&SJR towards Newdale. [My photograph, 9th June 2022]
Looking forward to the South along the line of the W&SJR. Its approximate line is highlighted by the red line. [My photograph, 9th June 2022]
Looking ahead, once again with the approximate line of the W&SJR highlighted. [My photograph, 9th June 2022]
Looking back to the North over open ground with the route of the old line highlighted. [My photograph, 9th June 2022]
Facing South once again, a footpath follows the old line. [My photograph, 9th June 2022]
And again, looking South. [My photograph, 9th June 2022]
Much of the landscape has changed dramatically over the years. Much of the development in the area has occurred since the millennium. We are approaching the location of what was once Lawley Bank Railway Station. [My photograph, 9th June 2022]

South of New Dale Halt, the next station was ‘Lawley Bank’. Major development has taken place in recent years. New housing and a shopping area have replaced open fields. The site of the station is covered by new development.

The satellite image from the National Library of Scotland of the northern approach to of what was Lawley Bank Station. The approximate line of the W&SJR is shown by the red line. [31]
Modern housing dominates the route of the old line.[My photograph, 13th June 2022]
Lawley Village Day Nursery straddles the line of the old railway. [My photograph, 13th June 2022]
Looking back to the North along the line of the old railway from the car park of Morrison’s Supermarket. [My photograph, 13th June 2022]
Morrison’s Supermarket also straddles the line of the old railway. [My photograph, 13th June 2022]
The South side of Morrison’s Supermarket, the old line ran to the left hand side of this picture. [My photograph, 13th June 2022]

At the time that the 1881/82 maps were drawn, this was a relatively rural area. The 6″ 1881/82 survey is immediately below. It shows very little detail close to the railway station. The later 1901 6″ survey follows below and appears to show the remnants of a tramway running on the West side of the W&SJR. This would need further investigation, particularly since it does not appear on the 1881/82 survey.

The satellite image which follows the two 6″ maps shows the position of the station overlaid on the modern satellite image of the location provided by the National Library of Scotland.

Lawley Bank Station on the 6″ OS Map of 1881/82. Again, the surroundings either side of the line were, at that time, essentially rural. [9]
The 25″ OS Map from 1901 showing the location directly around Lawley Bank Station. An interesting feature is the shepherd’s crook to the West of the line which is very suggestive of a tramway. It may not be a tramway, but it certainly will warrant further investigation. It is worth noting that it does not appear on the 1881/82 6″ Survey and that it is not marked on this extract as a tramway. [30]
The area around the site of Lawley Bank Station has been radically altered by new development. [30]
Looking North through the crossing gates at Lawley Bank Station on 18th February 1967. The rural nature of the surrounding landscape is evident. This image was shared on the Telford Memories Facebook Group by Carole Anne Huselbee in September 2014. [36]
Lawley Bank Station in 1962 taken from a train standing at the platform. This image was shared by Stuart Geoffrey Davis on the Memories of Shropshire Facebook Group in September 2018, (c) Stuart Geoffrey Davis. [33]
Lawley Bank Station again, taken from a Southwesterly direction, a wider angle taken from track level, shared by Metsa Vaim EdOrg on the Telford Memories Facebook Group on 22nd February 2021. [34]
The location of Lawley Bank Station in 1987. This view looks North across Station Road. It was shared by Metsa Vaim EdOrg on the Telford Memories Facebook Group in November 2020. Metsa comments: “The railway route has more or less vanished in 1987. Probably the last time I walked the line with my mum’s dog. The stream is now a trickle, that once flowed faster and deeper from Horsehay Common. Gone are the Hares, Curlews, Green Plover, Grey Partridge, Skylarks and Snipe from the fields either side of the track. Gone are the fruit trees, especially a large pear tree that was hidden behind some Silver Birches, a field away from our house. Gone are the dragonflies that patrolled through the Horsehair Ferns either side of the track-bed.” [35]
The approximate line of the railway South of Lawley Bank Station is shown on this NLS satellite image. The rectangular white building straddling the old line in both these last two images is Lawley Village Primary Academy. [32]
Standing in front of Morrison’s Supermarket on the North side of West Centre Way looking South along what was the route of the old railway. [My photograph, 13th June 2022]
Lawley Village Primary Academy sits over the line of the old railway. This photograph looks along the side of the building parallel to the line of the railway, North, towards the location of the erstwhile Lawley Bank Station. [My photograph, 13th June 2022]
Turning through close to 180°, this photograph looks along the side of the school again but this time to the South. At this point, the old railway route runs at the back of the school building. [My photograph, 13th June 2022]
Looking South across the level crossing at Lawley Bank Station with a service for Wellington at the station platform. This image was shared by Lin Keska on the Telford Memories Facebook Group on 12th February 2017. [42]
Looking North from the area of the School car park. Morrison’s Supermarket can be seen in the distance. The School is the white and grey building on the left of the image. The approximate line of the old railway is marked by the red line imposed on the photograph. [My photograph, 13th June 2022]
Looking South from the fence-line at the edge of the School carpark. The red line approximates to the line of the old railway. [My photograph, 13th June 2022]
Looking back to the North from adjacent to the housing in the [picture immediately above. Lawley Village Primary Academy is in the centre of the image and the approximate line of the railway is, again, shown as a red line. [My photograph, 13th June 2022]
This satellite image provided by the NLS (National Library of Scotland) had been edited to show the line of the railway as a red line. At the bottom edge of the image on the East side of the redline the current extent of the preservation line ‘Telford Steam Railway can be seen. [38]
Looking South from the location of the photograph above, the old line entered a cutting. The tree growth is in that cutting. [My photograph, 13th June 2022]
The surrounding land is rising and the cutting is deeper as the line heads South, the red line at the left of this image shows its route. A contractors compound is just evident on the right skyline in this picture. [My photograph, 13th June 2022]
This image shows a view from the estate road looking East towards what was the route of the railway. The red line to the right side of this image provides an indication of the railway alignment, which was East of the fenced compound. [My photograph, 13th June 2022]
Around 100 metres to the South the new Lawley Station on the Telford Steam Railway’s preservation line. A typical GWR ‘pagoda’ platform shelter has been erected on the relatively new platform. [My photograph, 13th June 2022]
This Google Earth Satellite image shows the old railway alignment just a few metres to the West of the alignment of the preservation line and its Lawley Station. Railway rolling-stock can be seen stored on one of the two tracks at the station. [Google Earth]
Heath Hill Tunnel is the next location to note. This is the 1881/82 6″ OS Map. It passes under the line of Dawley Road. [9]
An photograph of Lawley Station while it was being built. The pagoda platform building has still to be constructed. This image was shared on the Telford Memories Facebook Group by Marcus Keane. There appears to be significant foreshortening which has the effect of bringing buildings to the North much closer to the station. This suggests that the picture was probably taken from close to the northern portal of Heath Hill Tunnel. More about Telford Steam Railway can be found on their website. [39]
Google Earth shows a DMU either setting off from or arriving at Lawley Station. [Google Earth]
Class 108 DMU North of Heath Hill Tunnel on Telford Steam Railway. [46]
The northern portal of Heath Hill Tunnel as it appears in a video on YouTube. [44]
Looking North from the northern portal of Heath Hill Tunnel on 5th September 2010. The new line and Lawley Station are not yet open, © Copyright L.S. Wilson and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence (CC BY-SA 2.0). [43]
South of Heath Hill Tunnel, the modern preservation line of Telford Steam Railway follows the route of the W&SJR. As it leaves the tunnel it is in relatively deep cutting. [Google Earth]
A relatively grainy photograph of the Southern portal of Heath Hill tunnel after clearance work was completed by Telford Steam Railway, taken on 5th September 2010, © Copyright L.S. Wilson and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence (CC BY-SA 2.0).. [41]
The cutting between Heath Hill Tunnel and Horsehay & Dawley Station. Shared on the Telford Memories Facebook Group by Metsa Vaim EdOrg.  [20]
The 6″ OS Map from 1881/82 shows the tightly curved approach to Horsehay & Dawley Station from the North. [9]
The 1881/82 OS Map gives some sense of the industrial lines associated with the Horsehay Works. More details can be found in an article about the Coalbrookdale Tramroads. Both the old goods shed and the Coalbrookdale Company’s transshipment shed appear on this map extract. Both are on the North side of Station Road. The transshipment shed is the more westerly of the two. It is known locally as the ‘Old Loco Shed’. [9]
Shared on the Telford Memories Facebook Group by Metsa Vaim EdOrg, who comments: “The station yard, Horsehay in 1971. Now the site of Horsehay Steam Trust, this was the site we played, or trespassed on in the sixties. Above the loco is the roof of the Cub/Scout Hut on Fence Road, and further to the right was the derelict rolling stock and the large two storey building that we played football in. On the first floor avoiding the holes in the floor. Horsehay Works is also to the right. The picture shows a ‘Horsehay Special’ load on its way to Scotland via Lightmoor and Madeley Junctions.” [54]
The Old Loco Shed. [My photograph, 20th April 2022]
Dawley Hamlets Parish Council erected this blue plaque on ‘The Old Loco Shed’. It reads ‘Built in 1863, as an exchange point for good for the Coalbrookdale Company plateways, narrow gauge system to the standard gauge line of the Great Western Railway, that ran from Wellington to Craven Arms. The loco shed has been the base for the Telford Steam Railway, a voluntary group, operating a section of the GWR line since 1976 with services to the public beginning in 1984. [My photograph, 20th April 2022]
The Old Loco Shed. The base of the Telford (Horsehay) Steam Trust. The picture was taken in 1978. Shared by Metsa Vaim EdOrg on the Telford Memories Facebook Group on 10th May 2021. Metsa writes:
“The Horsehay locomotive shed has the Adamson-Butterley engineering works in the background.
The number of times I walked my mother’s dog down these tracks – probably trespassing at some time. The other shed is to the left out of shot – I think. In the late sixties and seventies this line to Lawley Bank was alive to the birdsong of warblers, linnets, yellowhammers and the like. [47]
Horsehay & Dawley Good Shed, now demolished. The lines to the left head for the ‘Old Loco Shed’ which was the transshipemtn shed for the Coalbrookdale Company, and towards the main Horsehay Works. This image was shared by Lin Keska and Tom Cooper on the Telford memories Facebook Group on 13th February 2017. [48]
The Horsehay and Dawley Station looking South towards the road over-bridge early in the 20th century. This image was shared by Lin Keska and Tom Cooper on the Telford memories Facebook Group on 13th February 2017. {53]
Horsehay & Dawley Railway Station in the early 20th century, shared on the Telford Memories Facebook Group by Metsa Vaim EdOrg on 12th December 2020. [49]
Horsehay and Dawley railway Station in 1950. The photograph was taken from the over-bridge looking to the Northwest. Shared by Metsa Vaim EdOrg on the Telford Memories Facebook Group on 7th July 2022. [50]
Horsehay and Dawley station on 5th May 1957. Shared by Metsa Vaim EdOrg on the Telford memories Facebook Group on 25th July 2021. Metsa writes: “When the trains were no more, the perfect walk with the dog. From Lawley Bank, under the tunnel, past the smouldering coal seams under the heather, past numerous singing warblers, past the back of Kevin Rollins’s house to the Horsehay station. Through the goods yard, around the pool, up unto Horsehay Common, across to New Works wood. Down to the Forge pools, along the path to the Newdale packhorse bridge. Along the track back to Lawley station and back alongside the stream that emanated on Horsehay Common. Good job the Steam Trust now operates otherwise they probably would have concreted over/filled in the Heath Hill Tunnel by now. I will always treasure those walks with my mothers collie in the late 60’s and early seventies.” [51]
Horsehay & Dawley station. The signal in the middle distance marks the junction of the spur into Spring Village station and the yard, which is to the left. Refurbishment is incomplete. The station sign board still has to be fixed to its supporting uprights. The station building still have to be built. [45]
Horsehay & Dawley Railway Station with the now very popular Polar Express which the preservation company puts on in the Winter each year, and has done so since 2016, embedded from an article on the Shropshire Star’s website. The station is in its finished form with the new platform building. [55]
The view from the station access path, looking to the South and the road bridge at Horsehay and Dawley Station. [My photograph, 20th April 2022]
A view of the road bridge from behind the station building at Horsehay and Dawley Station. [My photograph, 20th April 2022]
The view North from the road bridge with the station building in the foreground and the Telford Steam Railway Yard (the old Goods yard) in the background. [My photograph, 20th April 2022]
These two pictures are a ‘then & now’ study. They are both taken looking West across the road bridge across the W&SJR at Horsehay. The first picture shows the old works which were Adamson Alliance Works before becoming home to AB Cranes. The second is after the demolition of the main factory buildings. These two pictures were shared on the Telford Memories Facebook Group by Andy Rose on 21st December 2021. [52]

References

  1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wellington_and_Severn_Junction_Railway, a ceased on 26th June 2022.
  2. Adrian Knowles; The Wellington, Much Wenlock and Craven Arms Railway; Lightmoor Press, Lydney, Gloucestershire, 2022.
  3. https://vlex.co.uk/vid/wellington-and-severn-junction-808032237, accessed on 26th June 2022.
  4. https://hyperleap.com/topic/Wellington_and_Severn_Junction_Railway, accessed on 26th June 2022.
  5. https://maps.nls.uk/view/101594296, accessed on 29th June 2022.
  6. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=17&lat=52.70121&lon=-2.51629&layers=168&b=1, accessed on 30th June 2022.
  7. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=17&lat=52.70121&lon=-2.51629&layers=6&b=1, accessed on 30th June 2022.
  8. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=17&lat=52.70036&lon=-2.50296&layers=168&b=1, accessed on 30th June 2022.
  9. https://maps.nls.uk/view/101594458, accessed on 30th June 2022.
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  11. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=18&lat=52.69612&lon=-2.48378&layers=168&b=1, accessed on 30th June 2022.
  12. https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/804810, accessed on 30th June 2022.
  13. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wellington_railway_station_(Shropshire), accessed on 30th June 2022.
  14. https://www.shropshirestar.com/news/features/2020/06/01/new-queens-stay-in-deepest-south-shropshire, accessed on 30th June 2022.
  15. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=16.560351011060174&lat=52.64292&lon=-2.48610&layers=168&b=1, accessed on 1st July 2022.
  16. https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Green_Bank_Halt_railway_station, accessed on 1st July 2022.
  17. https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Ketley_Town_Halt_railway_station, accessed on 1st July 2022.
  18. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Dale_Halt_railway_station, accessed on 1st July 2022.
  19. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawley_Bank_railway_station, accessed on 1st July 2022.
  20. https://www.facebook.com/groups/674238619260811/permalink/5358295114188448, accessed on 1st July 2022.
  21. https://m.facebook.com/groups/674238619260811/permalink/2905700199447964, accessed on 1st July 2022.
  22. https://m.facebook.com/groups/674238619260811/permalink/6120237234660895, accessed on 2nd July 2022.
  23. https://m.facebook.com/groups/674238619260811/permalink/1658359617515368, accessed on 2nd July 2022.
  24. https://m.facebook.com/groups/674238619260811/permalink/846348998716438, accessed on 2nd July 2022.
  25. https://maps.nls.uk/view/121150310, accessed on 2nd July 2022.
  26. https://m.facebook.com/groups/674238619260811/permalink/3024958504188799, accessed on 2nd July 2022.
  27. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=16.478660506218784&lat=52.69402&lon=-2.48370&layers=6&b=1, accessed on 2nd July 2022.
  28. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=17&lat=52.69048&lon=-2.48447&layers=168&b=1, accessed on 2nd July 2022.
  29. https://m.facebook.com/groups/674238619260811/permalink/3023720624312587, accessed on 3rd July 2022.
  30. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=17&lat=52.67576&lon=-2.48151&layers=168&b=1, accessed on 5th July 2022.
  31. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=17&lat=52.67816&lon=-2.48176&layers=168&b=1, accessed on 5th July 2022.
  32. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=17&lat=52.67474&lon=-2.48158&layers=168&b=1, accessed on 5th July 2022.
  33. https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=2208000166151460&set=pcb.1648058645323490, accessed on 6th July 2022.
  34. https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=492524151741258&set=pcb.5358300260854600, accessed on 6th July 2022.
  35. https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=431533454506995&set=gm.4918250424859588, accessed on 3rd July 2022.
  36. https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=350926448418731&set=gm.846919291992742, accessed on 6th July 2022.
  37. https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=255763268750682&set=gm.3788716084479700, accessed on 3rd July 2022.
  38. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=17&lat=52.67249&lon=-2.48130&layers=168&b=1, accessed on 7th July 2022.
  39. https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=10201031066934406&set=gm.1060353237316012&cft[0]=AZV_yliKbIqlO8QzxgHLhCOGNDzl2q0JXz5sxj3DqnQvD0DDaeoXaxNVv24KosDWAQnnbtiDfyZQc7ou1TSNLtuS1FE-av5agWpNMlHyZuJmcYpbHRH7WTRyA0vgoRPmmhQdfbqbQrowrwZIZcePiFpL&tn=EH-R, accessed on 7th July 2022.
  40. https://www.openrailwaymap.org, accessed on 7th July 2022.
  41. https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2055888, accessed on 7th July 2022.
  42. https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=1394210450623388&set=pcb.1533300770021254, accessed on 7th July 2022.
  43. https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2055924, accessed on 7th July 2022.
  44. https://youtu.be/TFCnvUg91hc, accessed on 7th July 2022.
  45. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/85/Horsehay_%26_Dawley_station_on_the_Telford_Steam_Railway.jpg, accessed on 7th July 2022.
  46. https://www.facebook.com/455639901281038/posts/pfbid0zgjgUvUWoXJz5CUVxNaLCT9JU3uaadGceZ6CYWGLwJ3kjQKMthg3XmH9MsyUYKMwl/?app=fbl, accessed on 7th July 2022.
  47. https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=536113694048970&set=gm.5750220041662618, accessed on 7th July 2022.
  48. https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=1394447547266345&set=pcb.1533901016627896, accessed on 7th July 2022.
  49. https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=451145022545838&set=pcb.5046193635398599, accessed on 7th July 2022.
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  52. https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=3069342153301946&set=gm.6951096261574984, accessed on 7th July 2022.
  53. https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=1394447307266369&set=pcb.1533901016627896, accessed on 7th July 2022.
  54. https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=253270635666612&set=gm.3775392372478738, accessed on 7th July 2022.
  55. https://www.shropshirestar.com/news/local-hubs/telford/2021/12/16/telford-steam-railways-polar-express-experience-brings-christmas-magic-to-telford, accessed on 7th July 2022.

Brain’s Tramway (Forest of Dean)

The featured image above shows the locomotive ‘Free Miner’ which was Works No. 61, at the Lilleshall Company Works, it was delivered to Trafalgar Colliery in February 1865 for use on the Tramway. The picture comes from Bob Yate’s book about the Lilleshall Company locomotives and railways, (c) Alan C. Baker Collection. [5: p55]

A little while ago, I wrote an article about the Trafalgar Colliery in the Forest of Dean and as part of that article started to cover Brain’s Tramway. That article can be found at:

https://rogerfarnworth.com/2019/09/24/trafalgar-colliery-and-railway

In that article, I noted that Brain’s Tramway was built soon after the opening of the colliery to connect to the Great Western Railway’s Forest of Dean Branch at Bilson [1] The single line of 2ft 7.5in gauge utilised edge rails laid on wooden sleepers and ran east from the colliery, turning south-east at Laymoor, and terminated 1.5 miles away at interchange sidings at Bilson. It would appear that the authorisation for its construction was a Crown licence for ‘a road or tramway 15 feet broad’ dated May 1862. The date the line was opened for traffic is unknown as, although the first of three locomotives used on the tramway was built in 1869, it is possible that it may have been horse worked before this date. [2]

I noted that the colliery appeared to have owned three locomotives: ‘Trafalgar’ and ‘The Brothers’ were 0-4-2 side-tank locos. The third locomotive was ‘Free Miner’, an 0-4-0 side-tank. The locomotive ‘Trafalgar’ continued in use until 1906, working on the northern extension of the tramway, built in 1869, to the Golden Valley Iron Mine at Drybrook. [2] we will return to these three locomotives later in this article.

6″ OS Map from 1901 showing both Mr Brain’s Tramway and the standard-gauge sidings of the Colliery and their connection to the Severn & Wye Railway close to Drybrook Road Station. [3]
The extent of Mr Brain’s Tramway when first built to the Bilson Exchange Sidings. The point of conflict with the Severn and Wye near Laymoor (as mentioned below) can easily be picked out on the map extract. [3]
The two pictures above were taken along the line of Brain’s tramway in August 2017. [14]

Tramway locomotives hauled trains of 20-25 trams of coal on each trip along Brain’s Tramway to Bilson, until 1872 when the Severn & Wye built their branch to Bilson. This crossed the tramway on the level near Laymoor and resulted in the need for the two companies to negotiate an acceptable coexistence. This became more urgent once the Servern and Wye extended beyond Drybrook Road an when, in 1878, passenger trains began running over the crossing.

Although a connection had been made to the Severn and Wye Railway in 1872 [1] at a point between Serridge Junction and Drybrook Road station, a large element of Trafalgar’s output still travelled along the tramway to Bilson. [2]

In my article about the colliery, I noted that in 1872, agreement was reached between the Severn and Wye and Trafalgar Colliery for sidings to be put in to serve the colliery screens. Soon after the Mineral Loop of the Severn and Wye was completed, a loop off the main line was installed and sidings were laid. However, the Severn and Wye was dismayed to note at a later date that Trafalgar Colliery was still making heavy use of the tramway.

The Lightmoor Press website comments that:

Finally, in December 1889, an agreement was entered into between the Severn & Wye and the Trafalgar Colliery Company who, it was said, ‘are desirous of obtaining railway communication to Bilson Junction in lieu of their existing trolley road.’ It was agreed that on or before 31st March 1890 the colliery company would construct new sidings and the railway company would lay in a new junction at Drybrook Road. Although the new junction was a quarter of a mile closer to Drybrook Road than the old sidings, the mileage charge was to remain the same.  The accommodation, on approximately the same level as Drybrook Road station, was to be constructed so that traffic to and from the Great Western would be placed on a different siding to that which was to pass over the Severn & Wye system. For taking traffic to Bilson Junction for transfer to the Great Western the colliery was to be charged 7d per loaded wagon, although empties were to pass free. The transfer traffic also had to be conveyed ‘at reasonable times and in fair quantities so as to fit in with the ordinary workings of the Railway Company trains’. The new sidings were brought into use on 1st October 1890.” [2]

The Lightmoor Press article notes that this “agreement finally resulted in the abandonment of the length of the tramway from Laymoor to Bilson Junction. Two of the colliery’s narrow gauge locomotives were put up for sale, neither sold.” [2]

A couple of things:

1. More about the locomotives in use on Brain’s Tramway

Further research has resulted in a bit more information about the locomotives that worked on the Tramway. ….

These locomotives were built by the Lilleshall Iron Co. The first, ‘Free Miner’ was built in 1865. I came across the locomotive in a book by Bob Yate, “The Railways and Locomotives of the Lilleshall Company.” [5] I have recently (2022) moved to Telford and I have been reading a number of publications about the industry, canals, tramways and railways of the area. The Lilleshall Company was the major player in the industrial scene in the Telford (East Shropshire) area throughout the 19th century and much of the 20th century. It had its own system of canals, tramways and railways. Ultimately it had a large roster of industrial locomotives. In the mid-19th century, the Lilleshall Iron Co. built locomotive for others. Bob Yates features ‘Free Miner’ in his list of locomotives built by the Lilleshall Company.

Free Miner‘ was Order No. 61 at the Lilleshall Works. It was built in 1865 to a 2ft 7.5 in gauge. It was an 0-4-0T locomotive which the Industrial Railway Society Handbook records as having 8″ x 14″ outside cylinders.  It was delivered new in February 1865 to Cornelius Brain, Colliery, Cinderford, Gloucestershire. It was possibly scrapped in 1906.  [5: p52]

The date of delivery calls into question the comments above about the date of opening of the line as we now know that a single locomotive was available early in 1865, rather than in 1869. Given that approval for the construction of the Tramway was only given in 1862, it may well be that it was only operated under horsepower for a very short period.

‘Free Miner’ was Works No. 61, at the Lilleshall Company Works, it was delivered to Trafalgar Colliery in February 1965, (c) Alan C. Baker Collection. [5: p55]

Bob Yate also provides information about the other two locomotives ‘Trafalgar’ and ‘The Brothers’. ‘Trafalgar‘ was supplied to the colliery in 1869. Bob Yates provides the following information: Gauge 2ft 7.5in; Works No. 140; 0-4-2T with 8″ x14″ outside cylinders. It was delivered new in April 1869. Yate comments that an early photograph of this locomotive reveals that it was supplied without a cab, and that the trailing wheels were only about 6″ diameter less than the driving wheels. The safety valves were mounted on a ‘haystack’ firebox. Scrapped c 1906.  [5: p56] Both Yate [5: p56] and Lightmoor [2] say the the locomotive was of an 0-4-2T wheel arrangement. What seems not to have been noted is the very short wheel-base of the locomotive as can be seen in the image below. Also evident is the minimal difference in size between the driving wheels and the trailing wheels that Yate refers to.

‘Trafalgar’ which was delivered to the colliery in April 1869. [4]

The Brothers‘ was delivered new by the Lilleshall Company in August 1870. It was Order No. 159 on the Lilleshall Company books. Yate records this as a sister locomotive to ‘Trafalgar’ with the same details/dimensions. He notes, however that the Register of Drawings in the archives of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust has the cylinder bore being 8.5in diameter. [5]

2. The Northern Extension

A brief mention, on the Lightmoor Press website, of ‘Trafalgar’ being used on the tramway’s northern extension, [2] encouraged a look at that section of the tramway.

When I was writing about the Trafalgar Colliery, [6] I did not have access to the 1878/79 Ordnance Survey of the Forest which was published in 1883. That shows the transshipment sidings at Bilson junction, the Laymoor crossing and the erstwhile Bilson Road Station. It also shows the northern extension of the tramway diverging from the line to the transshipment sidings just to the North of Bilson Road Station.

The tramway branch was built in 1869/70. It “ran north to the Golden Valley Iron Mine near Drybrook. … The earthwork remains of embankments, cuttings and the interchange embankment are visible on aerial photographs.” [8]

“The tramway earthworks divide in two at its eastern end, the northern branch heading towards Drybrook, the southern heading towards Bilson Interchange.” [8]

“The Brain family used clay from Trafalgar colliery at brickworks at Steam Mills.”[12][13] The tramway “ran northwards by way of Steam Mills and Nailbridge to iron-ore workings near Drybrook. In 1890 the Severn & Wye provided Trafalgar with a line to Bilson but the narrow-gauge railway continued to carry coal to Steam Mills and Nailbridge.” [13][14]

The 6″ OS Mapping published in 1883 showing the Bilson end of Brain’s Tramway and, at the very bottom of the extract, the tramway serving the Crumpmeadow Colliery. [6]
The Northern Extension of Brain’s Tramway can be seen crossing the Forest of Dean Branch of the GWR/Severn & Wye & Severn Bridge Railway and then turning to head North passing to the East of Winning and New Bowson Collieries. [7]
Approximately the same area as in the map extract above. a thin red line marks the alignment of the tramway on the modern satellite image. The location of the surviving embankment is highlighted. [11]
Looking Southwest along the line of the embankment which used to support the Northern extension of Brain’s Tramway. [My photograph, 15th September 2010]
The tramway continues northwards alongside Old Engine Brook [7]
Approximately the same area as in the map extract above. The route of the tramway is marked by a thin red line. Brain’s Steam Mills are highlighted by the mauve oval. [10]
Brain’s Steam-mills on an enlarged extract from the 6″ 1878/79 OS Maps. The tramway connections to the industrial premises can easily be picked out. [7]
This is an extract from a later edition of the 6″ OS Maps (from 1901, published in 1903). On the last map extract a complicated tramway junction appears at the top-centre. That junction had been rationalised by 1901. It is much easier to see on this plan that Brain’s Tramway continued North alongside The GWR branch-line which does not itself appear clearly on the following mapping from 1881/82. [9]
Back with the 1881/82 mapping, Brain’s Tramway can be seen in a short tunnel before passing under the road at the top of the plan. [7]
The approximate alignment of Brain’s Tramway is again marked by a thin red line on this satellite image. [9]
These two 6″ 1878/79 OS Survey plans should be taken together. They show the final length of the Tramway as it served Drybrook Iron Mine. [7]
This satellite image covers the majority of the ground covered by the last two 6″ OS Maps above. [15]
This last satellite image shows Brain’s Drybrook Iron Mine in relation to the modern opencast mine just North of its site. [16]

References

  1. https://www.forestofdeanhistory.org.uk/resources/sites-in-the-forest/trafalgar-colliery, accessed on 30th August 2019.
  2. http://lightmoor.co.uk/forestcoal/CoalTrafalgar.html, accessed on 30th August 2019.
  3. https://maps.nls.uk/os/25inch-england-and-wales, accessed on 20th September 2019.
  4. http://www.industrialgwent.co.uk/wuk12c-fodne/index.htm, accessed on 24th September 2019.
  5. Bob Yate; The Railways and Locomotives of the Lilleshall Company; Irwell Press, Clophill, Bedfordshire, 2008.
  6. https://maps.nls.uk/view/101453397, accessed on 15th June 2022.
  7. https://maps.nls.uk/view/101453373, accessed on 15th June 2022.
  8. https://www.heritagegateway.org.uk/Gateway/Results_Single.aspx?uid=1386093&resourceID=19191, accessed on 25th June 2022.
  9. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=15.821121422997756&lat=51.84498&lon=-2.51483&layers=6&b=1, accessed on 25th June 2022.
  10. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=15.821121422997756&lat=51.83884&lon=-2.51419&layers=6&b=1, accessed on 25th June 2022.
  11. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=15.821121422997756&lat=51.83247&lon=-2.51658&layers=6&b=1, accessed on 25th June 2022.
  12. The Public Records Office (P.R.O., F 3/402) consulted by British History Online, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/glos/vol5/pp326-354#h3-0008, accessed on 25th June 2022.
  13. https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/glos/vol5/pp326-354#h3-0008, accessed on 25th June 2022.
  14. Paar, G.W.R. in Dean, p145-8; Gloucester Records Office (D 262/T 1) consulted by British History Online, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/glos/vol5/pp326-354#h3-0008, accessed on 25th June 2022.
  15. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=16&lat=51.85177&lon=-2.51872&layers=6&b=1, accessed on 26th June 2022.
  16. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=16&lat=51.85771&lon=-2.52308&layers=6&b=1, accessed on 26th June 2022.

Ancient Tramroads near Telford – Part 6 – Malinslee Part 2 – Jerry Rails …

The featured image shows a typical Tramroad, it is not from the Telford area but from the Little Eaton Plateway in Derbyshire. The rails and waggons will be very much like those in use on the tramroads in and around Malinslee.

Just South of our home in Malinslee are the Hinkshay and Strichley areas. I have already posted about a walk from our home down the line of the erstwhile tramway which served Little Eyton Colliery which was not more than a couple of hundred yards from St. Leonard’s Church, Malinslee. That tramway crossed the Hinkshay Road close to the location of what was the White Hart Inn. There was a significant network of tramways in that immediate area.

Those linking directly to the tramway from Little Eyton Colliery to the Coalport Branch of the Shropshire Canal and later to the Coalport Branch of the LNWR were covered in that previous post:

https://rogerfarnworth.com/2022/06/15/ancient-tramroads-near-telford-part-4-malinslee-part-1 [1]

The rails in this vicinity were know locally as Jerry Rails, probably because the White Hart was known locally as the ‘Jerry’. In the 1861 census the White Hart was called the ‘Tom and Jerry’

The White Hart Inn at Hinkshay was previously known as the ‘Tom and Jerry’. The highly informative Dawley History website tells us that “this photograph was taken of the White Hart from off the “Jerry Mount” at Hinkshay. The road that ran between, and which crossed the Hinkshay Road, was called the “Jerry Rails” and the pub was knick-named the “Jerry”. Also, a furnace near Stirchley Pools was called the “Jerry Furnace”. … It can clearly be seen in the 1861 census, that the pub was originally called the “Tom and Jerry” and so we can safely assume that the name stems from this, and that the other places, and road, were named after the pub and not the other way round. … ‘Tom and Jerry” was a name formerly used for roistering young men about town. … ‘Tom and Jerry’ is also the name of a hot mixed drink containing rum, brandy, egg, nutmeg and sometimes milk. … The pub is mentioned in the 1896 Licensing returns, when John Breeze was landlord, and is listed in the 1841 census, where Thomas Summers was landlord. In Bagshaw’s 1851 directory we find Thomas Summers listed as a Maltsters, Farmer and Victualler at Hinkshay. The 1861 census clearly names the pub as Tom & Jerry, but in 1871 it is called the White Hart. In Kelly’s 1913 and 1926 directories, Walter Harper was the landlord.” [2] Incidentally, the long brick building is a row of cottages built for the workers at the nearby Ironworks. Futher similar housing can be seen to the left of the image, behind the goalposts. [2]
This image shows the ‘White Hart’ in its earlier guise. It would have appeared like this when known as the ‘Tom and Jerry’ [18]

This article follows a tramway route which ran from the Dawley and Stirchley Railway Station on the LNWR Coalport Branch around the Hinkshay Pools across the back of the White Hart Inn (behind the row of cottages in the above picture) and then into the Stirchley Ironworks site.

Dawley and Stirchley Railway Station

Dawley and Stirchley railway station was opened in 1861 and closed to passengers in 1952. [3] When it was opened, it was given the name ‘Stirchley’. The station was renamed Dawley & Stirchley in 1923, although closed to passengers as early as 1952 the line was not closed to freight until 1964. Although the goods service which originally served Coalport was restricted to only travelling to Dawley and Stirchley Station in 1960.[4][5]

The London and North Western Railway Society comments on the standard-gauge Coalport Branch as follows: “The first half of the route was originally part of the Shropshire Canal which the LNWR bought in 1857 and filled in, the line opening four years later. The passenger service, referred to locally as the Dawley Dodger, consisted of four trains on weekdays, the journey taking 30 minutes. It was withdrawn in 1952 but a string of private sidings between Wellington and Stirchley helped to keep that section open a further twelve years.” [5]

Through Telford Town Park and on through Dawley and Stirchley Station, the old railway line is now part of The Silkin Way. [6][7]

Dawley and Stirchley Railway Station was in close proximity to the old hamlet of Stirchley. This map extract is taken from the 1881/82 6″ Ordnance Survey mapping which was published in 1888. Note the location of the Goods Shed on the East side of the Station site and the presence of a tramway line North of the Station platform on the West side of the line. Note also the presence, on the down (East) side of the line, of a platform and waiting shelter. [8]
This extract from a later survey (25″ OS Map of 1901/02) shows the station and goods yard in greater detail. [9]
These two images show the station location at an enlarged scale. The station provided a passing loop but, by the turn of the century, only one platform face. The downside platform has been removed. (This is confirmed by Bob Yate in his book about the Shropshire Union Railway. [15: p179] It might have been possible to load waiting goods wagons from the tramway track at a higher level on the upside of the line without impeding traffic on the other line. North of the station the old tramway route turned away to the left. The point providing access to the tramway line is shown at the top of the higher of these two map extracts. [9]
Dawley and Stirchley Railway Station looking South towards Stirchley Lane Bridge from the track-bed of the Coalport Branch. [10]
Roughly the same view taken from alongside the remaining platform at Dawley and Stirchley Station but using a telephoto lens. [My photograph, 15th June 2022]
Dawley and Stirchley Railway Station from Stirchley Lane Bridge. [Google Streetview]
Dawley and Stirchley Station Information board. [My photograph, 15th June 2022]
The station site from a little further North, just after the footpath and station were refurbished, © Copyright Richard Law, 2014 and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence (CC BY-SA 2.0). [11]
Dawley and Stirchley Station looking North in 1932 from Stirchley Lane Bridge. The red line shows the approximate location of the tramway tracks just North of the station. It is likely that the old tramway route was replaced by a standard-gauge line at some stage in the second half of the 19th century, after the LNWR’s Coalport Branch was opened. [12]
In this extract from the 25″ OS Map surveyed right at the start of the 20th century, the tramroad/tramway alignment can be seen bearing away to the left from the bottom of the extract. There is, however, a connection to the Coalport Branch evident at the top of the extract which suggests that by the turn of the 20th century the connection and by inference the tramway was now definitely an edge-railway of standard-gauge. [13]

The Tramway

In the first half of the 19th century, before the LNWR branch line was built the tramway had a wharf on the Western bank of the Coalport Branch of the Shropshire Canal which was sited a little to the Northwest of the location of the point at the bottom of the map extract above. When the Coalport Branch of the LNWR was built the tramway was extended a little to run alongside the standard-gauge railway.

This map of the Stirchley area in 1838 was developed to show the relative arrangement of different land-holdings in the Stirchley area. Its value to us is that it clearly shows (at the left of the image) the wharf where tramway/waggonway loads could be transshipped onto canal barges or tub-boats. This location approximates to the railway point on the map extract directly above this map, (c) British History Online. [14]

From, what was, the canal wharf, the tramway turned away West of the Canal to skirt the western flanks of the Hinkshay (Stirchley) ponds.

The 6″ 1881/82 Ordnance Survey, published in 1888, shows the tramway running Northwest alongside the Pools and then turning through North to Northeast adjacent to the Jerry Furnaces. [8]
The same area on the 25″ 1902/02 Ordnance Survey. The Ironworks to the Northwest of the Pools has now been demolished and the tramway sidings associated with it have been removed. [16]
The same area in the 21st century on the ESRI World Topo images provided by the National Library of Scotland. Re-wilding has taken place a very little of the topography can be made out. Two of the Pools are easy to pick out. The Coalport Branch of the Shropshire canal ran along the East side of the larger, more Eastern Pool and the railway alignment was a little further to the East. [16]
Looking North along the Silkin Way. The tramway turned away to the left having run parallel to the old railway at a higher level for a short distance. The land to left of the line can be seen in this image to be a little higher than the old Coalport Branch formation. [My photograph, 15th June 2022]
The difference in level is more obvious in this image. [My photograph, 15th June 2022]
The footpath which follows the old tramway route leaves the Silkin Way towards the right of this picture just to the left of the modern waste-bin. [My photograph, 15th June 2022]
Almost immediately the tramway crossed the disused Canal. This picture looks North along the Canal. It seems as though some minimal provision was made for drainage as the water does not seem to be stangnant. [My photograph, 15th June 2022]

David Clarke, in his survey of the railways of the Telford area says that the GWR’s Stirchley Branch was “a freight only line of 1.5 miles (2.4km) and was formally known as the Old Park branch. The branch had no signal box and was operated by one engine in steam, with the train crew holding a token to give them possession of the line. The line … served Randlay Brickworks and the large complex that was Old Park Ironworks as well as Grange Colliery. The branch was initially worked by the Haybridge Iron Company. On the Ordnance Survey plan for 1902 it is described as a mineral line, and by then Grange Colliery was closed and disused. From 1908, the Great Western Railway took over the maintenance and workings of the branch.” [58: p37] “The branch closed on 2nd February 1959, prompted by bricks no longer being sent out by rail from Randlay Brickworks. The sidings specifically for the Stirchley branch had been removed by November 1962.” [58: p38]

Looking South towards Dawly and Stirchley Station along what was the line of the Canal. [My photograph, 15th June 2022]
Looking across the line of the Canal towards the Silkin Way. [My photograph, 15th June 2022]
Looking Northwest along the line of the old tramway with Hinkshay Pools on the right. [My photograph, 15th June 2022]

Immediately to the Northwest of the Pools was and Ironworks, shown on the map extracts above. It was already disused in the 1880s and does not feature on the 1901/02 OS map of the area. A relatively complex trackwork layout was still present in the 1880s, by 1901/02 just a single line curves round to the North east and runs along the Northern side of the Pools.

The next map below shows the continuation of the tramway as it crosses the tramway route covered in my earlier post [1] and then heads towards Stirchley Ironworks.

This next map extract from the 6″ 1881/82 Survey shows the Tramway we are following running across the North side of Hinkshay Pools and crossing the tramway covered in my earlier post. [1] The White Hart Inn, which in a previous guise resulted in these tramways becoming know as Jerry Rails, is at the top left of the map extract. The ‘row’ of properties at top-centre of the extract were know as ‘New Row’. The complex in the top right of the extract is Stirchley Ironworks. [8]
Approximately the same area as it appears on the 25″ Survey of 1901/02. [17]
The main features of earlier times are marked on the modern satellite image of the same area. Stirchley Ironworks are not marked but as the older maps show, the building were both above and below the more northerly tramway route. [17]
Looking back to the West from the location of the tramway junction, the approximate alignment of the old tramway is marked by a red line. The erstwhile Ironworks were directly ahead of the camera. [My photograph, 15th June 2022]
Turning through 180°, this image shows the tramway route heading towards Stirchley Ironworks. [My picture, 15th June 2022]
An extract from the plans drawn up by Savage & Smith which shows the route of the tramway from the Jerry Furnace to the Stirchley Ironworks. [60: p164]

Before we look in detail at the Stirchley Ironworks site and the area immediately around it – some background information will probably be helpful. …

Telford Town Park’s website provides a preliminary introduction to the area as part of its walking trails:

  • Stirchley Forge and Rolling Mills – The Hinkshay Works, Stirchley Forge and Rolling Mills are all Archaeological remains of buildings that can be found in the park today. They were all sold off to the Haybridge Iron Co. In 1873. The works were rebuilt in 1876 and a nail factory was established on the site in 1874/5 until 1885. The forge and rolling mill continued in use until it closure in approximately 1900.
  • Stirchley Chimney and Furnaces: The Iron Works were established in 1790 by Thomas Botfield, originally with two blast furnaces, a forge and a mill. The Chimney was constructed of Randlay brick and is approximately 209 feet high and is still standing. This is a permanent reminder of the industry that used to occupy the Town Park. There is a small opening on the western side of the Chimney and it was connected to the furnaces by a tunnel. The ironworks were blown out in 1885, however the forge and rolling mill continued in use until its closure in 1900.” [19]
  • Shropshire Canal: The Silkin Way, running north to south through the centre of the park, was formerly the Shropshire Canal and the Wellington and Coalport railway. In 1788/9 the Coalport branch of the Shropshire Canal was built along the western edge of Stirchley, through the centre of the Park. It was designed to link the key industrial centres of the area with the River Severn.” [19]

Stirchley was an agricultural community until the beginning of the 19th century when coal and ironstone mining, iron founding, and brick making were started close to the Coalport Branch of the Shropshire Canal. for much of what follows, I have replied on the comprehensive notes provided by British History Online which in turn took the notes from ‘A History of the County of Shropshire: Volume 11, Telford. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1985.’ [20]

Industry came to Stirchley as a result of a partnership between I. H. Browne, owner of most of the parish, and the Botfield family, the Dawley ironmasters who had established collieries and ironworks on Browne’s Old Park estate in Dawley in the late 18th century.” [20]

Between 1811 and around 1843, “they established collieries, ironworks, and a brickworks on their Stirchley royalties. … In 1856, … the land, mineral rights, and plant were leased to the Old Park Iron Co., [21] which continued the industrial operations in Stirchley until it was wound up in 1871. [22] By 1900 mining and ironworking had ceased. A chemical works, occupying one of the former ironworks, flourished until 1932 and brick making and the crushing of furnace slag for road metal continued until the 1960s.” [20]

British History Online tells us that by 1822, Coal was being mined at four collieries, [23] “and by 1840 [24] there were five collieries in the parish [of Stirchley]: Randlay pits, sunk in 1820; [25] Cuxey’s Wood pits, sunk 1834-5; [26] Forge pits, sunk 1825-6; [27] Grange colliery, probably opened by 1833; [28] and the original shaft at Stirchley pits. The extent of seams that could be worked was restricted by the Limestone fault, east of which the coal lay deeper. … After the Old Park Iron Co. was wound up in 1871 the mines were leased to the Wellington Iron & Coal Co. Ltd. in 1874 [29] but by 1879 had reverted to the landowners, the Cheney family. [30]  By 1881 all the pits except Grange colliery had been closed. [31] Despite the lease of mineral rights to Alfred Seymour Jones of Wrexham in 1893, Grange colliery was closed in 1894.” [32][20]

British History Online notes that Ironworkingwas started in the parish c. 1826 by the Botfield brothers. Blast furnaces were built at the south end of Randlay reservoir (or Randay pool) [33] and a forge and rolling mill were opened probably c. 1828, west of the Shropshire Canal on land purchased from Lord Darlington in 1826. [34] The blast furnaces were leased with the mining royalties to the Old Park Iron Co. after Botfield’s lease expired in 1856. [35] After the company was wound up in 1871 the furnaces were leased in 1874 to the Wellington Iron & Coal Co., which failed in 1877. [36] The furnaces passed back to the owner of the site, Edward Cheney, who kept them in blast for a few years, but they were shut down by 1885. [37] The forge and rolling mills, which were Botfield’s freehold property, were sold by Beriah Botfield’s trustees in 1873 to the Haybridge Iron Co., [38] which rebuilt the works in 1876 and established a nail factory on the site in 1874 or 1875. [39] The nail factory was sold to John Maddock in 1876; he moved his operations to Oakengates two years later but nails continued to be made at Stirchley for a few years under different proprietors. [40][41][42] The factory had closed by 1885 [43] but the adjacent forge and rolling mills continued to be operated by the Haybridge Co., the rolling mill closing finally c. 1900.” [44][20]

Brick working and Clay working ran in parallel with the mining of Coal and Iron ore as those mineral deposits were found primarily in boulder clay and marls. “The Botfields were manufacturing bricks in Stirchley in 1808-9, [45] … Randlay brickworks … which continued to manufacture bricks until 1964 or later, had been established by the Botfields by 1838. [46] … Clay was obtained on site from an extensive pit, which was enlarged after the purchase of more land in 1905 and used until 1969. [47] In 1964 the brickworks employed 91 [48] (fn. 79) and the three kilns produced c. 300,000 bricks a week.” [49][20]

In 1886, Thomas Groom leased the site of the former furnaces and “transferred his Wrekin Chemical Works to Stirchley … The chemical works extracted wood naphtha and tar from timber supplied by the Grooms’ yard at Wellington and converted the residue into charcoal. Acetate of lime and sulphur were also manufactured.  Groom’s successor, George Wilkinson, bought the site in 1904 and the works closed in 1932.” [50][51][52][20]

The arisings from the former furnaces were deposited in slag heaps and were “exploited as a source of aggregate for road building and concrete manufacture from the 1890s. The mounds south-west of the Wrekin Chemical Works were leased in 1893, and purchased in 1907, by H. C. Johnson, a Wrexham quarry owner, who had built a slag crusher on the site by 1901. [53] The industry expanded during the 1920s when most of the slag mounds in the parish were acquired by Tarslag (1923) Ltd. and the Bilston Slag Co. (1924) Ltd.” [54]

The British History Online notes continue: “By 1925 there were four slag-crushing plants in the parish, [55] the largest being Tarslag’s works, employing up to c. 130 men, which both crushed the slag and coated it with tar and bitumen. Tarmac Ltd., which succeeded the Bilston company, also manufactured ‘Vinculum’ concrete walling blocks at Stirchley from c. 1925 to c. 1935, and Tarslag operated a short-lived concrete plant there as well. Impurities and the variable quality of the slag led to the closure of the works. [56] By the Second World War most of the slag mounds had been exhausted and Tarslag’s crushing and coating plant closed in 1941. Tarmac continued to remove slag from Stirchley for processing elsewhere until c. 1964.” [57]

That is more than enough general industrial history for our present purposes. It illustrates the diversity of activity in the immediate area between Hinkshay Pools and Randlay Pool which is just a little further to the Northeast. The plan below illustrates, schematically, the industry in the immediate area.

Significant sites in the immediate area of the Hinkshay/Stirchley and Randlay/Blue Pools have been superimposed on this enlarged extract from Google Maps. Detail has been omitted for clarity. [Google Maps]

The history of the tramways and railways is relatively complicated. Tramways, predated the standard-gauge railway but in this area, rather then just becoming feeders to the railway network, a number were converted into standard-gauge Mineral Railways which could remain in private hands or, as in the case of the tramway/railway route to the West of the Coalport Branch and running to the West of Randlay Pool, they were taken over by the larger rail companies and in some cases, therefore became a part of British Rail!

The Coalport Branch was an LNWR branch line and then became a part of the LMS. The Mineral Railway was taken over by the GWR and worked in direct competition with the LNWR line.

David Clarke, in his survey of the railways of the Telford area says that the GWR’s Stirchley Branch was “a freight only line of 1.5 miles (2.4km) and was formally known as the Old Park branch. The branch had no signal box and was operated by one engine in steam, with the train crew holding a token to give them possession of the line. The line … served Randlay Brickworks and the large complex that was Old Park Ironworks as well as Grange Colliery. The branch was initially worked by the Haybridge Iron Company. On the Ordnance Survey plan for 1902 it is described as a mineral line, and by then Grange Colliery was closed and disused. From 1908, the Great Western Railway took over the maintenance and workings of the branch.” [58: p37] “The branch closed on 2nd February 1959, prompted by bricks no longer being sent out by rail from Randlay Brickworks. The sidings specifically for the Stirchley branch had been removed by November 1962.” [58: p38]

Stirchley Ironworks

Stirchley Ironworks, 1881/82 on 6″ OS Mapping. Tramways remained in place at this date. The route we have been following enters from the bottom left of this image. to the North of the tramway, New Row is visible. In between the tramway and New Row a solid line runs parallel to the general direction of the tramway but a few 10s of metres to the North. It is marked with a red-dashed line on this map extract [8]
The wall referred to above is shown in these two pictures which were taken facing Northwest around the turn of the millennium, © Richard Foxcroft 2002. [59]
Three arches are visible in the second picture. The first picture is of the most westerly of the arch openings and is a tunnel which runs back some metres under what was New Row and beyond, © Richard Foxcroft 2002. [59]

The Exploring Telford website contains a lot of speculation about what this tunnel was originally used for. [59] The undergrowth has had plenty time to establish itself by the time the next two pictures were taken in 2022.

Looking North towards the tunnels/arches in June 2022. The information board is missing in this image. [My photograph, 21st June 2022]
Pushing trough the undergrowth it was possible to find the tunnel, now properly protected for safety reasons. In the past (2007) it was explored by ‘cat_bones’ who posted pictures of the interior on the 28DL Urban Exploration website. [60]

Returnign to the tramway that we are following, it branches in two as it enters the immediate site of Stirchley Ironworks. This can clearly be picked out on the 1881/82 6″ OS Map extract above. There is a stub branch running East from the junction which approaches a cast iron bridge which would have spanned both the old Canal and the later railway. On the 1881/82 map, the tramway stops short of the bridge.

The truncated tramway branch on the South side of Stirchley Ironworks led towards a Cast Iron Bridge supported on brick piers. The bridge remains in place in the 21st century. It is not immediately obvious where the tramway might once have gone on the East side of the bridge. [8]
The Stirchley Ironworks Bridge, this image shows the bridge in the 21st century from approximately the end of the tramway as surveyed in 1881. [My photograph, 21st June 2022]
The Stirchley Ironworks Bridge, this image shows the bridge in the 21st century from the North on the Silkin Way. The Ironworks buildings sat off the right of this image, nearside of the bridge. [My photograph, 21st June 2022]
The Stirchley Ironworks Bridge, this image shows the bridge in the 21st century from the South on the Silkin Way. The Ironworks Buildings sat beyond the bridge on the left. [My photograph, 21st June 2022]

The Northern arm of the tramway passed between the two main buildings on the site before crossing the Canal/railway on another bridge (which has not survived into the 21st century) as shown below. …

Enlarged extract from the 6″ survey of 1881/82. [8]
The modern footpath in this image drifts round to the right through what would have been an Ironworks building. the tramway bore right between the furnaces and another ironworks building. [My photograph, 21st June 2022]
The approximate line of the tramway heading East. The whole site of the Stirchley Ironworks has been re-wilded, the buildings long-gone. Only foundations to the wall facing the Silkin Way can be seen. [My photograph, 21st June 2022]
Foundations of part of the Stirchley Ironworks. The building elevation stood immediately alongside the Coalport Branch of the Shropshire Canal and hence directly next to the later railway. [My photograph, 21st June 2022]

Using the maps and satellite images provided by the National Library of Scotlad it is possible to identify the location of the old bridge over the Canal/Railway but all that can be seen from the Silkin Way is thick undergrowth. I was unable to find any remnants of the old structure.

On the East side of the Canal/Railway the tramway line drifted round to the Northeast before entering what was the site of Old Park Ironworks. By 1881/2 there was a significant network of rails on the Old Park Ironworks Site. …

The Old Park Ironworks site in 1881/82 as shown on the 6″ Ordnance Survey published in 1888. [8]

At this time, the site of the Old Park Ironworks was still active as an Ironworks. But by the time of the next survey, after the turn of the century, it had closed. At the time of that next survey the site was a chemical works. The network of tramways had been significantly rationalised as can be seen below.

6″ OS Map surveyed in 1901/02. The tramway lines around the Old Park Works have been severely rationalised. The Works is now Wrekin Chemical Works. The line that served Grange Colliery has been removed. Some very limited tramway lines remain on the slag heaps South of the Works. [61]
6″ OS Map surveyed in 1925. Further rationalisation has occurred. The lines have been extended where necessary to serve the various slag works which are now present on the site. All are served by the GWR’s Stirchley Branch which replaced the tramways to the North of the site. [62]

In Part 3 of our look at the tramways around Malinslee, we will look at the tramways North of Stirchley. There is still a lot to look at both to the West and towards Oakengates.

References

  1. https://rogerfarnworth.com/2022/06/15/ancient-tramroads-near-telford-part-4-malinslee-part-1
  2. http://dawleyhistory.com/Pubs/White_Hart_Hinkshay/White_Hart.html, accessed on 18th June 2022.
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dawley_and_Stirchley_railway_station, accessed on 18th June 2022.
  4. http://www.dawleyheritage.co.uk/cd-content/themes/dawley_heritage/gui/Dawley-Leaflet.pdf, accessed on 18th June 2022.
  5. http://www.lnwrs.org.uk/BygoneLines/Coalport.php, accessed on 18th June 2022.
  6. https://www.telford.gov.uk/info/20465/walking/5220/silkin_way_walking_route, accessed on 18th June 2022.
  7. https://www.telford.gov.uk/downloads/file/3060/silkin_way_-_walking_and_cycling_route, accessed on 18th June 2022.
  8. https://maps.nls.uk/view/101594470, accessed on 15th June 2022.
  9. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=18&lat=52.65765&lon=-2.45133&layers=168&b=1, accessed on 18th June 2022.
  10. http://www.dawleyhistory.com/Postcards/Dawley%20and%20Stirchley%20Station/Dawley%20and%20Stirchley%20Station%20.html, accessed on 18th June 2022.
  11. https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/3933743, accessed on 18th June 2022.
  12. http://www.dawleyhistory.com/Postcards/Dawley%20and%20Stirchley%20Station/Dawley%20and%20Stirchley%20Station%20.html, accessed on 18th June 2022.
  13. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=18&lat=52.65952&lon=-2.45156&layers=168&b=1, accessed on 18th June 2022.
  14. https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/salop/vol11/pp185-189, accessed on 18th June 2022.
  15. Bob Yate; The Shropshire Union Railway: Stafford to Shrewsbury including the Coalport Branch; Oakwood Press, Usk, 2003.
  16. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=18&lat=52.66038&lon=-2.45267&layers=168&b=1, accessed on 19th June 2022.
  17. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=18&lat=52.66225&lon=-2.45188&layers=168&b=1, accessed on 19th June 2022.
  18. http://www.dawleyheritage.co.uk/hinkshayvillage/755/the-jerry-public-house, accessed on 19th June 2022.
  19. https://www.telfordtownpark.co.uk/info/34/walking_trails, accessed on 21st June 2022.
  20. https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/salop/vol11/pp189-192, A History of the County of Shropshire: Volume 11, Telford. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1985; accessed on 21st June 2022.
  21. Shropshire records office (S.R.O.) 14/3/8; https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/salop/vol11/pp189-192, accessed on 21st June 2022.
  22. S.R.O. 1265/280; https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/salop/vol11/pp189-192, accessed on 21st June 2022.
  23. The Botfields’ mines were assessed for the par. rate at £134 6s. 8d., at £33 6s. 8d. for each pit: S.R.O. 1345/60; https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/salop/vol11/pp189-192, accessed on 21st June 2022.
  24. S.R.O. 1816/26; https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/salop/vol11/pp189-192, accessed on 21st June 2022.
  25. At O.S. Nat. Grid SJ 705 081: inf. from Dr. Brown; https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/salop/vol11/pp189-192, accessed on 21st June 2022.
  26. At SJ 701 077: W. Howard Williams, ‘Dawley New Town Hist. Survey: Industries’ (TS. 1964), addns. and corr. (1965), p. 6 (copy in S.P.L., accession 5202); https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/salop/vol11/pp189-192, accessed on 21st June 2022.
  27. At SJ 696 071: S.R.O. 1011, box 425, R. Garbitt to E. Bloxam, 20 Dec. 1861; https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/salop/vol11/pp189-192, accessed on 21st June 2022.
  28. At SJ 701 071: O.S. Map 1″, sheet 61 NE. (1833 edn.); https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/salop/vol11/pp189-192, accessed on 21st June 2022.
  29.  S.R.O. 1265/285; https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/salop/vol11/pp189-192, accessed on 21st June 2022.
  30. P.O. Dir. Salop. (1879), 417; Kelly’s Dir. Salop. (1885), 963; https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/salop/vol11/pp189-192, accessed on 21st June 2022.
  31. O.S. Map 6″, Salop. XLIII. NE. (1889 edn.); https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/salop/vol11/pp189-192, accessed on 21st June 2022.
  32.  S.R.O. 1265/269; 1345/62; https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/salop/vol11/pp189-192, accessed on 21st June 2022.
  33. At O.S. Nat. Grid SJ 700 074: Trinder, Ind. Rev. Salop. 241; O.S. Map 1″, sheet 61 NE. (1833 edn.). Called ‘Old Park Iron Works’ on O.S. Map 6″, Salop. XLIII. NE. (1889 edn.); https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/salop/vol11/pp189-192, accessed on 21st June 2022.
  34. At SJ 696 072: S.R.O. 1265/261; O.S. Map 1″, sheet 61 NE. (1833 edn.); S.R.O. 1011, box 425, W. Botfield to E. Browne, 14 Aug. 1827. Chain making at Old Park (above, Dawley, Econ. Hist.) is wrongly located in V.C.H. Salop. i. 479 at Stirchley furnaces; https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/salop/vol11/pp189-192, accessed on 21st June 2022.
  35. S.R.O. 14/3/8; 1265/279; https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/salop/vol11/pp189-192, accessed on 21st June 2022
  36. S.R.O. 1265/285, 287; https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/salop/vol11/pp189-192, accessed on 21st June 2022
  37. P.O. Dir. Salop. (1879), 417; cf. Kelly’s Dir. Salop. (1885), 963; https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/salop/vol11/pp189-192, accessed on 21st June 2022.
  38. S.R.O. 1265/261;https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/salop/vol11/pp189-192, accessed on 21st June 2022.
  39. Ibid. /263; Salopian and W. Midland Monthly Illustr. Jnl. Apr. 1875; Nov. 1876 (copies in S.P.L.); https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/salop/vol11/pp189-192, accessed on 21st June 2022.
  40. S.R.O. 1265/264; https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/salop/vol11/pp189-192, accessed on 21st June 2022.
  41. S.R.O. 1404/1; https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/salop/vol11/pp189-192, accessed on 21st June 2022.
  42. P.O. Dir. Salop. (1879), 417; https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/salop/vol11/pp189-192, accessed on 21st June 2022.
  43. S.R.O. 1345/62; https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/salop/vol11/pp189-192, accessed on 21st June 2022.
  44. S.R.O. 1404/1; Williams, ‘Dawley Hist. Survey: Inds.’ addns. and corr. (1965), p. 5; https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/salop/vol11/pp189-192, accessed on 21st June 2022.
  45. Manchester University Library, Botfield papers, cash acct. bk. 1804-10 (https://archiveshub.jisc.ac.uk/search/archives/0d54e8ed-1fe5-3d1e-85fb-7a61bf1efb7e); https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/salop/vol11/pp189-192, accessed on 21st June 2022.
  46. At O.S. Nat. Grid SJ 703 080: ibid. /6a; Williams, ‘Dawley Hist. Survey: Inds.’ p. 10; https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/salop/vol11/pp189-192, accessed on 21st June 2022.
  47. Telford Development Corporation, (T.D.C.), Randlay brickworks deeds; and O.S. Map 6″, Salop. XLIII. NE. (1889, 1903, and 1929 edns.); inf. from Dr. Brown; https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/salop/vol11/pp189-192, accessed on 21st June 2022.
  48. J. H. D. Madin & Partners, Dawley New Town Rep. No. 2: Interim Proposals (Sept. 1964), map 14 and cap. 6, sect. 1, app.; https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/salop/vol11/pp189-192, accessed on 21st June 2022.
  49. Dawley Observer, 4 Feb. 1966; https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/salop/vol11/pp189-192, accessed on 21st June 2022.
  50. S.R.O. 1404/1; V.C.H. Salop. i. 479 n.; https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/salop/vol11/pp189-192, accessed on 21st June 2022.
  51. Williams, ‘Dawley Hist. Survey: Inds.’ addns. and corr. (1965), p. 4; cf. S.R.O. 1268/3, sale partic. of 1904; https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/salop/vol11/pp189-192, accessed on 21st June 2022.
  52. Williams, ‘Dawley Hist. Survey: Inds.’ p. 39; https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/salop/vol11/pp189-192, accessed on 21st June 2022.
  53. S.R.O. 1268/3, sale partic. of 1904; O.S. Map 6″, Salop. XLIII. NE. (1903 edn.); T.D.C., Stirchley deeds (Tarmac property); https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/salop/vol11/pp189-192, accessed on 21st June 2022.
  54. T.D.C., Stirchley deeds (Tarmac property); J. B. F. Earle, A Century of Road Materials (1971), 19; https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/salop/vol11/pp189-192, accessed on 21st June 2022.
  55. O.S. Map 6″, Salop. XLIII. NE. (1929 edn.); https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/salop/vol11/pp189-192, accessed on 21st June 2022.
  56. Inf. from Mr. S. J. Insull, Dudley; https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/salop/vol11/pp189-192, accessed on 21st June 2022.
  57. Williams, ‘Dawley Hist. Survey: Inds.’ p. 43; inf. from Mr. Insull, and from Mr. C. C. Wallis, Tarmac Roadstone Holdings Ltd.; https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/salop/vol11/pp189-192, accessed on 21st June 2022.
  58. David Clarke; Railways of Telford; Crowood Press, Marlborough, Wiltshire, 2016.
  59. http://www.telford.org.uk/general/hinkshay.html, accessed on 21st June 2022.https://www.28dayslater.co.uk/threads/28-04-07-hinksay-tunnel-telford.12775, accessed on 22nd June 2022.
  60. R.F. Savage & L.D.W. Smith; The Waggon-ways and Plateways of East Shropshire; Birmingham School of Architecture, 1965. Original document is held by the Archive Office of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust.
  61. https://maps.nls.uk/view/101594467, accessed on 24th June 2022.
  62. https://maps.nls.uk/view/101594464, accessed on 24th June 2022.

Ancient Tramroads near Telford – Part 5 – Newdale Bridge

The featured image above shows Newdale Bridge after some path work improvements were undertaken. [1]

The location of Newdale Bridge on Google Maps.

Newdale Bridge is one extant remnant of the old tramway which probably ran between Ketley and Horsehay. The images below show its location. The bridge is recorded by Historic England as a Grade II listed structure (No. 1025096). It was listed on 8th April 1983. [5]

The Wrekin Local Studies Forum records this bridge in these words: “An extensive network of tramways was built, with horses pulling small waggons laden with coal, firclay and other minerals, connecting various mines to foundry sites. Pioneered by Abraham Darby II, Newdale Tram Bridge, crossing over Ketley Dingle, was built in 1759 around the same time [as] Darby’s revolutionary idea for the first purpose-built workers’ village, New Dale, with a small foundry, various cottages and the impressive long row consisting of 17 back-to-back dwellings.” [6]

Newdale Village has long-gone but the tramway bridge has been retained.

This first image shows the immediate vicinity of the Bridge in the 21st century. The blue line represents the line of the tramway. The redline represents the Wellington to Severn Junction Branch of the GWR which is now a part of the Ironbridge Way public footpath. Newdale Bridge is sited just to the West of the route of the old railway. It is clear that the tramway ran across the line of the old railway, perhaps going under a low bridge, although it did predate the railway and may have been cut by the construction work for the standard-gauge line. [2]
An extract from the 6″ OS Mapping of 1882 which was published in 1887. Newdale Bridge crossed the stream just to the West of the standard-gauge line and to the East of Newdale. Without further research it is difficult to be sure of the tramway alignment away from the immediate vicinity of the Bridge. The mapping suggests that the tramway and the road on the East side of Newdale was cut by the building of the railway. In all probability the tramway used to run North-South alongside what was to be the route of the new railway as shown below. However, by the time of the 1882 survey the tramway rails had been lifted. [3]
21st century housing to the West of Newdale Bridge. [My photograph, 9th June 2022]
Ironbridge Way, the old Wellington to Severn Junction Railway, looking North from close to Newdale Bridge towards the M54. [My photograph, 9th June 2022]
Ironbridge Way, the old Wellington to Severn Junction Railway, looking South from close to Newdale Bridge towards Morrison’s Supermarket which has been built over the line of the old railway. [My photograph, 9th June 2022]
Looking West from the Ironbridge Way over Newdale Bridge. [My photograph, 9th June 2022]
Looking East along the spandrel walls of the two arched Newdale Bridge. [My photographs, 9th June 2022]
Looking West at low level along the spandrel walls of Newdale Bridge. [My photograph, 9th June 2022]
Looking South towards Newdale Bridge from the adjacent footpath. [My photograph, 9th June 2022]
Looking East at low level along the spandrel walls of Newdale Bridge. You will note that all the low level pictures of the bridge are taken from the North side. The southern side is inaccessible because of thick undergrowth. [My photograph, 9th June 2022]

References

  1. https://lawleyoverdale-pc.gov.uk/2016/01/12/new-access-path-and-bridge-at-newdale-dingle, accessed on 17th June 2022.
  2. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=17&lat=52.68305&lon=-2.48177&layers=6&b=1, accessed on 17th June 2022.
  3. https://maps.nls.uk/view/101594296, accessed on 17th June 2022.
  4. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/find/#zoom=16&lat=52.68537&lon=-2.48139&layers=102&b=1&z=0&point=52.68014,-2.47846, accessed on 17th June 2022.
  5. https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1025096, accessed on 17th June 2022.
  6. http://www.wlsf.org.uk/local-history-month/lhm-lawley/lawley6, accessed on 17th June 2022.

Ancient Tramroads near Telford – Part 4 – Malinslee Part 1

Around 100 yards from our home in Telford there was once, many years ago, a colliery that was served by a tramway/waggonway.

Little Eyton Colliery was already disused by the time the survey was undertaken in 1881/1882 for the 6″ OS Maps published in 1888. The tramway had not yet been lifted, so it appears on the map extract below.

The Mindat.org website tells us that the colliery was owned in 1890 by the Haybridge Iron Co. It was in the ownership of the Stirchley Coal & Iron Co. from 1895 to 1896 and was back in the hands of the Haybridge Iron Co. by 1900. [3]

The Dawley History Website tells us that the  Chartermaster in 1869 was Edward Bailey. [4]

There was a mining accident in 1869 at the Little Eyton Pit. … The Wellington Journal on Saturday 17th April 1869 carried this report:

The Late Fatal Accident. – On Saturday last an inquest was held at the Bull’s Head Inn, Lawley-bank, before J. Bidlake, Esq., on the body of Joseph Oliver, aged 37 years, whose death we recorded in last week’s Journal, when the following evidence was adduced:– John Oliver, son of deceased, deposed : My father worked at the Little Eyton Pit. Edward Bailey is chartermaster. It was a coal pit. I have worked at the pit a month. I have been driving. On Thursday morning, about nine o’clock, I was taking a draught of coal to the bottom of the shaft. I saw my father lying at the bottom with the basket on him. There was a lid on the basket, and another lid lying by the side of him. I ran off and told James Poole. I had seen my father about ten minutes before at the bottom. There was no one with him. He did not speak to me when I found him under the basket. I saw that his head was cut on the top, and also behind. He was lying on his back. One end of the basket was sticking up against the shaft, the other end on his stomach. The lids are about 2 ft. long. The lids on being sent down are tied under the tackler. – James Poole said : I work at the Little Eyton Pit. The last witness came and told me that his father was under the basket at the bottom of the shaft. I went there and found him. The deceased was lying at the bottom, with his head in the shaft, and not in the road. There was one lid in the basket not fastened, and one by him. He was about a yard from the side of the shaft. Three or four lids are generally sent down at a time. They are not usually lashed. There was no lasher round the basket when I saw the deceased. The lids are about three quarters of a yard. The pit is 200 yards. The hooker-on generally calls for lids. He had called for some that morning. I told him to do so, and he told me that he had done so. This was about half an hour before I found him. – John Perks said : I am banksman at the Little Eyton Pit. On Thursday morning deceased shouted for some trees and lids. I sent some down. I remember sending the last two lids down. It would be about half-past eight. I shouted “Joe” when I sent them down, but I got no answer. They were put under the tackler between the squares. We lash the trees. I have known of lids falling out before. I did not hear this drop or the skip catch. The Jury returned a verdict of “Accidentally killed.” [4]

Little Eyton Colliery as surveyed in 1881/82 for the 6″ OS Maps of 1888. The tramway leaving the map extract at the bottom right runs from the colliery towards the Wellington to Coalport Branch of the LNWR (later LMS). Before the coming of the railway, the tramway will have had wharves on the Coalport Branch of the Shropshire Canal. The railway company made use of the route of the Canal but as we will see, the horizontal.alignment of the canal was not always suitable for the railway. There is also a length of tramway running from the pit head out onto the slag heap. It leaves the map extract to the North of the other line. [1]

By the time of the next OS survey of Malinslee, just after the turn of the 20th century, all traces of the tramways at the colliery site have disappeared.

Little Eyton Colliery site at the turn of the 20th century.  No tramway infrastructure remains at the site. The colliery slag heap remains and will continue to be a feature of the local landscape into the 21st century. [2]
The same area in the 21st century as it appears on the ESRI World Image, Background map as provided by the National Library of Scotland. The large green sward of land surrounded by mature trees is the old colliery site and slag heap. The land remains significantly higher than the immediate locality and has been ‘rewilded’ to provide s pleasant meadowland and wooded area. [2]

The next few photographs show the Little Eyton Colliery site in the 21st century.

Three photographs of the Little Eyton Colliery and Slag Heap site in the 21st century. [My photographs, 15th June 2022]

Leaving the colliery, the tramway followed the route of what is now Matlock Avenue.

The 6″ OS Map shows the area before anyone conceived of the housing developments of the mid-to-late 20th century which swallowed up Langley Farm. [6]
As the tramway ran Southeast it served Langley Brickworks and Langleyfield Colliery. Both sites had private sidings, those for the Pit were more extensive than those at the brickworks. It was followed, on the journey, by the road linking Little Eyton with the White Hart Inn which was known locally as the ‘Jerry Inn’. [6]
Looking Southeast along Matlock Avenue. The red line shows the approximate route of the old tramway which heads down a ginnel between two different housing developments ahead. [My photograph, 15th June 2022]