Thursday, December 24, 2009

Outlook Foggy...

Video frame capture of 66599 looming out of the icy fog and ground snow earlier this afternoon with the 4E72 coal empties from Rugeley to Barrow Hill.

Merry Christmas !

Friday, December 18, 2009

66304 appears

A smattering of pre-Christmas snow has fallen on the Park as Fastline 66304 makes her way east early this afternoon with 4D30 Ironbridge - Chaddesden coal empties.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


As the railway autumn leaf-fall season has now come to an end I thought i'd post this shot taken a month ago of a jetter/sandite MPV hard at work passing through Streetly.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Testing Pleck

Having passed Pleck Junction and with the sun glinting off the rails, locomotives 31459 + 31602 head for Walsall platform 3 with the Mentor pantograph coach early this afternoon.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Old days

Another rare view of a train hard at work on the Walsall Wood branch during the 1950s.

The 16-ton mineral wagons are pictured close to Leighswood Road (Aldridge), the scene of a derailment in late August 1960 when engine number 44333 went down the embankment (see post of March 21st 2009).

Copyright unknown.


A shot from 20th October showing the new-build 60163 'Tornado' coasting down through the outskirts of Rushall towards Ryecroft Junction.

Switch panel wagons

6D44 Bescot - Toton with tilting points switch-panel wagons in the consist, led by 66114 on 27th November.

Friday, November 27, 2009


60074 'Teenage Spirit' seen in heavy rain at Walsall Cement Depot, and also running light past Streetly on 7th November.


66066 + 66107 steam through the Hardwick Crossing on 4th November with 6D44 Bescot - Toton and a fine rake of old wooden-bodied engineering wagons.

Kicking up the dust on 23rd October was 66069 with 4G53 empty cartics heading down to Bescot.

60074 again

A cement dust-covered 60074 seen at the Hardwick Crossing on 23rd October with the 6M82 empties from Walsall.


60009 caught working the 6M82 cement empties, thundering through Hardwick Crossing on 4th November.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The new Freightliner Class 70

...70001 seen running over the Park line in gloomy weather on a training run today.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday The 13th

66060 passes the site of Aldridge Town Station with the 6E08 steel working on the 13.11.09

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Class 20s restored

Having been refurbished at Eastleigh, DRS Type One's 20304 + 20305 are caught being returned to Crewe by 37609 on the afternoon of 24th September. Hopefully the Class 20s will be seen working flask trains once more.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Streetly Station

A rare shot of Streetly Station from around 100 years ago. The photographer was standing on the upside platform looking towards Walsall.

On the downside platform can be seen part of Streetly Signalbox (extreme left), which was the first box to close along this route, prior to the 1950s. The box stood on an island platform, a loop running off the down main passing behind the signalbox.

A fine set of Midland Railway gas lamps and semaphore signals can also be seen. The main station buildings, a typical design for this line, are on the upside at right, and existed until the mid-1990s.

Copyright unknown.

Friday, October 16, 2009


This chappie passed over Daw End on the afternoon of 1st September so I thought i'd get a shot in, lest it be some sort of experimental loco on a proving test...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

SVR Here We Come!

Making their way to this weekend's Severn Valley Railway diesel gala are 47580 and 37264 working 0Z37 10:04 Tyseley to Kidderminster. Photo taken on 6th October 2009.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Leighswood Aerial

The main item of interest in this aerial view of Shelfield circa 1930 is that the dark shape of the single track Leighswood branch can be made out (just about !) on the extreme right of the picture.

In the bottom right hand corner the railway passes under Four Crosses Road (no trace of this bridge exists today), and continues upwards under the Lichfield Road (where one bridge wall currently remains). The line then heads dead straight towards Stubbers Green Road (near top right) which it passed by means of an overbridge. No trace remains of this bridge today, a mini-roundabout occupying the site. The railway line then curves to the right and just off-photo it split into two, the left hand track running to various Aldridge brickworks and the other line continuing across to Stubbers Green Colliery (which closed very early in the 20th century) and eventually to it's terminus at Aldridge No.2 Colliery at Leighswood (known as the "bare bones pit").

Lichfield Road crosses the photo diagonally from top left to bottom right, and viewers familiar with the area will recognise the Four Crosses pub. The Spring Cottage pub at the crossroads isn't really visible in this view.

Photo by Aerofilms (1930).

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Nick Broome took this fine shot of 97304+97301 working 5Z97, a Network Rail test train running from Derby to Shrewsbury, seen here approaching Ryecroft Jcn on 29th September.

Crompton Charter

John Edkins took this cool shot of WCRC Crompton Class 33 33207 working the "Merry-le-Bone" railtour past Wylde Green on 5th September.

This class of loco was built at BRCW Smethwick, Birmingham but are now fairly rare visitors to the Midlands.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Nene Valley 706

66706 "Nene Valley" is seen thundering across the Park on 7th August with Petrochem tanks for Stoke Marcroft.

Rarely-seen Fastline Type 5 66305 is snapped at Streetly on 7th August with a returning train of empty coal hoppers from Rugeley Power Station.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Electric convoy about town

56311 is seen passing Ryecroft Junction on Wednesday 16th September with a convoy of electric locomotives en route Long Marston - Crewe, the first time such a convoy has passed this way, the usual route being via Bescot.

Of special interest is the last loco in the line-up, 86401 "Northampton Town" (originally AEI 1966-built loco E3199), which has been restored in Network South East colours...

60011 at Sutton Park

A great shot of Mainline-liveried blue 60011 working the Walsall - Tunstead cement empties through the old Sutton park station, 27th August, by the Flying Ferret.

Lighting the way

66612 is seen heading for Bescot with 6G16 from Stud Farm with a rake of 70-tonne loaded stone hoppers on 7th August.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Class 37 Infrastructure return..

The ever popular 37670 was surprise traction for one of last weekends Bescot DS - Hamstead and return ballast trips in partnership with 37401. Here the pair pass Walsall PSB on their way back to Bescot on Sunday 30 August.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Leighswood Bank...

A cutting from the Walsall Chronicle of Thursday June 11th. I think the embankment referred to runs parallel to Stubbers Green Road but is concealed from this road, being situated behind the duck pool and trees. Apart from this embankment the only other relics of the Leighswood Branch seem to be the bridge wall at Lichfield Road and abutments of Barnfield Bridge over the canal.

Also enclosed is a view of Leighswood Colliery (Aldridge No.2) at the end of the branch, from a 105-year old postcard...


A fairly hazy shot of 66571 with a freightliner service, interesting only because some of the outsize containers dwarf the large Class 66 engine at the front.

The train is 4L68 from Birch Coppice to Felixstowe Port, which runs in the path of the discontinued Fastline Freight Class 56-hauled 4O90...

Department 97

Departmental loco's 97301 + 97303 enjoy a trip across the Park in early August.


This Colas Rail tamping device number 73901 (not to be confused with the Electro-Diesel Class 73 loco's) was seen crossing the Sutton Park line on Thursday 13th June 2009. The machine was apparently running from Preston to Walsall (via Nuneaton).

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Inside Aldridge

A rare glimpse of the interior of Aldridge Junction Signalbox showing the block instruments and part of the 40-lever frame. This was the original Midland Railway box built in 1879 for the opening of the line between Water Orton and Walsall. Fancy a cuppa ?

The box stood just off the end of the downside platform at the junction for Walsall Wood (today's up-to-down line crossover), and was closed in May 1969 being demolished in August of that year. The box was last worked by a late-turn lady signaller who went on to work the signalbox known as "Bodley's" at Walsall. Mr A Hine was the signal inspector who signed off the train register. Thanks to Pete for the photo, copyright unknown.

A brief summary of the other Midland Railway boxes along the Sutton Park route -

Ryecroft Junction (located near the Butts Road bridge, this signalbox controlled the famous four-way junction just east of Walsall, and also the entrance road to the Steam Shed. The original box was replaced in the 1950s, and the replacement went in the late 1960s when Walsall PSB took control of signalling in the area).

Lichfield Road Junction (located at the upside near Lichfield Road bridge, Walsall, and closed circa 1965. Alan Downes writes that during it's later years the box was switched out after 1800 in the evening, with the route being set towards Ryecroft Jcn and Aldridge... the box controlled the MR line that went off to North Walsall and Wolverhampton, coaching stock being turned in the triangle here as and when required).

Streetly (located on the down island platform, this box had certainly closed prior to 1957 as a temporary block post had to be installed to cope with the huge amount of extra trains generated by the Scouts Jamboree at Sutton Park in July of that year). (For a photo of Streetly station and signalbox see my post of 6th July 2008, under the "signal box" label).

Sutton Park (as at Aldridge the box was located at the end of the down platform, in this case near the junction for the parcels depot. A crossover junction between up and down lines still exists here, being groundframe-operated. Box closed at the end of 1969).

Penns Goods Frame (located on the upside opposite Penns Goods depot near Ashurst Road bridge, Walmley. Seemingly this box closed in the 1950s, i've been unable to locate a photo of it).

Park Lane Junction (located on the upside near Park Lane bridge about a mile east of Penns Goods Frame, the box was an LNWR design, the original Midland Railway signalbox being replaced around 1920, reason unknown. The boc controlled the junction for Water Orton and Castle Bromwich. Closed in September 1969).