The trains don’t stop here anymore

Whilst having a mooch round the net the other day, I visited the excellent site curated by Dave Cresswell and Rob Taylor, dedicated to the past, present and future of the South Staffordshire railway line that used to run from Walsall, through Ryecroft, Pelsall and Brownhills, onwards to Lichfield. The South Staffordshire Rail Group are a very passionate, enthusiastic band of campaigners and enthusiasts, dedicated to reviving the much-missed line, torn up in the early eighties. This is a cause I fully support, and I have covered their fascinating work here before.

South Staffordshire Rail Group have on their site a wealth of media, from videos to recollections of the line in use, to some fantastic photos; it is those I sample today, in particular, the wonderful images of Norton Junction. Stood near the dangerous accident blackspot High Bridges, on the Pelsall Road, I remember the sidings being all but abandoned, filled with decaying wagons and a vandalised signalbox. To a geeky, technically minded kid, it was heaven, with the added bonus that occasionally you’d get to see a goods train rumble by on the main line. I think most Brownhills kids spent time here at some point. It’s now just a field; the hated road bridge, now rebuilt, just spans the adjacent canal. Some adjacent newbuild housing  has been constructed at the south end of the former yard.

Please do take time to explore the site, and join the group on Facebook. It would be wonderful to see the return of trains to Brownhills. I thank Dave and Rob for their fascinating and important work.

Image taken from South Staffordshire Rail Group’s ‘Norton Junction’ gallery.
Image taken from South Staffordshire Rail Group’s ‘Norton Junction’ gallery.
Image taken from South Staffordshire Rail Group’s ‘Norton Junction’ gallery.
Image taken from South Staffordshire Rail Group’s ‘Norton Junction signalbox’ gallery.
Image taken from South Staffordshire Rail Group’s ‘Norton Junction signalbox’ gallery.
I didn’t realise the sidings were lifted as early as 1983. Note here that the author refers to them as ‘Ryders Hayes Junction’ rather than by their correct name. I was sad when it went, I loved messing around here. From ‘Around Pelsall and Brownhills’ by David F. Vodden.
Image taken from South Staffordshire Rail Group’s ‘Norton Junction’ gallery.
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  • john webb

    i have enjoyed looking at the site but does anyone have knowledge of the cottages adjacent to the bridge in pelsall lane. i was born there in 1948 and i have history suggesting that my family may have been employed in the construction of the railway as far as 1886 i am aware that possibly my grandmother lived in the cottages and the agent on an old rent book was named Huges from heath End. the cottages were demolished in abouti1954 and i am trying to get any photograph of them possible taken during the construction of the railway and the bridge next to it.
    anyone who can help i will provide a contact number

  • barrie hodges

    The photo with the crossing keeper sign shows Ryder Hayes cottage Ryder Hayes lane pelsall where the crossing keeper lived. I was born there I 1949. And lived there for ten years . it was surrounded by nothing but fields ,the nearest neighbour being harry Rowe’s farm ( far end of the present lake) .the cottage site is now occupied by three detached houses

    • cath preece

      I lived there from when I was born in 1960, my mom was the crossing keeper till it closed down

  1. Train of thought | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog  November 27, 2012

    […] Working timetable of June 1962 indicates that empties were still ‘booked’ from Norton Junction and Birchills Power Station to Anglesea Sidings; with loaded trains returning to the same […]

  2. The wind blew up the Watling Street | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog  June 8, 2014

    […] to create a reservoir for the canal system, and several railway lines were built. Brownhills West had its own railway station, there were bell-pits dug in the common across the Watling Street, the common saw extensive deep […]

  3. Streets ahead | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog  July 12, 2014

    […] sure people will find this astounding. I know the South Staffordshire Rail Group, Ian Pell and Dave Moore will be intrigued, […]

  4. A desperate attempt to stave-off bankruptcy | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog  October 5, 2014

    […] My part of the story unfolds in February 1855 when Mr Yardley’s report (ref: – 2304/1150835) is laid before the Board of Directors of the South Staffs Railway. Unfortunately, I believe no record of the report survives, but the recommendation of the Board is clear and minuted. The Company refuses to purchase the Railway Colliery in order to protect both the South Staffs main line and the proposed line of the Norton Branch as authorised by parliament on 2nd June 1854. The recommendation of the report is that the Railway should be raised in preference to purchasing the mines of the Railway Colliery Company and this is what happens. It is also ironic that the area also covers where Norton Junction Up Sidings will start to be developed in the late 1880’s. […]


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