A feast of wire

Simon has been out in all weathers recording changes ongoing on the Chase Line. Image Kindly supplied by Simon Swain.

Local rail buff Simon Swain has been busy of late covering the momentous and important Chase Line Electrification Project, which is seeing the rail line between Walsall and Rugeley Trent Valley electrified for hopefully faster and more reliable local services.

Simon has been carefully and continually documenting the work, and has a remarkable Flickr gallery of images of the ongoing engineering works here which not only feature some fascinating pictures of the local rail scene, but also some very interesting plant for those like me that are interested in unusual and large machinery.

Simon has previously sent some wonderful material to the blog, and this is no exception; previously he’s investigated the remnants of the lost Brownhills Railway Station and of the Grove Colliery. Simon’s work is always thoughtful and interesting, and here he raises related questions about the similarly lost Taylor’s Cafe, a gallery of which can be seen here.

Simon is working to document the history of the Chase Line and also of the lost South Staffordshire Railway that ran through Brownhills and carried passengers up until the Beeching axe fell in 1964. To that end he’s appealing for any material you’d be happy to share.

Simon wrote:

I was hoping people would be able to assist me here. As you know I’m working on covering the electrification of the line between Walsall and Rugeley.

What I’d really be grateful of for this project is to gather any images of the line from it’s closure to passengers in 1965 to circa 2008.

It doesn’t matter whether they’re perfect quality any images will do. I’m happy to be contacted via private message  Thanks in advance

Bob has kindly given permission for me to share the link to my Flickr profile. On here you will find albums dedicated to The Chase line electrification as well as the disused South Staffordshire Railway.

IThanks to Simon for sharing some wonderful images, and for also documenting and working so hard on recording what will form an important part of local history in years to come. If you can help in his quest for information and material, you can contact Simon John on Facebook directly here, by commenting on this post or by emailing me: Brownhillsbob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks!

I’d like also to apologise to Simon for the delay in posting this appeal – things have been a bit mad recently. Sorry old chap!

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3 Responses to A feast of wire

  1. John Bishop says:

    I remember the Brownhills line being open when I attended Brownhills Boys School which is across the Pelsall Rd from the line. That would be mid to late 60s I think

  2. Fawlty says:

    I believe the line closed to passenger traffic in 1965. I used to travel from Pelsall railway station to Derby, via Lichfield and Burton, to go trainspotting in the early 60s. Used to spend some time in the signal box at Leighswood Junction, which was at the back of Victor Street, where the signalman lived. There was always a good coal fire in the Winter. I remember being allowed on the footplate of 70000, when it stopped at the box hauling freight. Couldn’t believe my luck! Happy days.


    There was a footbridge near the signal box, near the branch to Aldridge, which ran through Shelfield and under Four Crosses Road and the Lichfield Road, via Aldridge brickworks. That branch was closed to passenger traffic a long time ago, but I remember the track still being down in 1963/4.

    There was another footbridge at Pelsall Station. I remember finding a 10 shilling note in Station Road when I was walking home after one of my spotting trips! The line was closed to freight around 1984. The track lasted a while after that but was eventually lifted. Sad loss to the community in my opinion.

  3. JOHN MCGEE says:

    I have lived by the line near Bloxwich for over 60 years, I recall tank engines pulling two coaches regular until 1963. Coal and frieght trains where always coming past. Plenty of 8fs, black 5s 7fs, 8f wd, Jubliees,Royal Scots and Britannias on summer excursions and diversions. I’m told that an 60034 A4 came through in 1963.

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