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London & North Western Railway Society
Bygone Lines of the LNWR

Coalport Branch —LNWR WELLINGTON (HADLEY JN) - COALPORT EAST (9? miles)

Opened
17.6.1861
Closed
(Pass) 2.6.1952
(Gds) 6.7.1964 Hadley Jn - Stirchley
5.12.1960. Stirchley - Coalport
Stations
Oakengates r/n 1951 Oakengates Market Street, Malins Lee, Stirchley r/n 1923 Dawley &, Madeley Market, Coalport r/n 1952 Coalport East.
Loco Shed
Coalport two-track shed reduced to one 1924 sub-shed to Shrewsbury 84G (closed 1952)

History
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 It was withdrawn in 1952 but a string of private sidings between Wellington and Stirchley helped to keep that section open a further twelve years.

Narrow Gauge Tramway
For several years in the 1980s the Telford Horsehay Steam Trust utilised 400yds of the trackbed beside Randlay Lake to operate the 2ft-gauge Telford Town tram.

Heritage Museum
Blists Hill Furnaces, between Madeley and Coalport, closed in 1912 but the buildings still stand and an open-air museum has been created on the site. The buildings include a pit with a static steam winching engine, a brickworks, an old mine and a reconstructed iron-works. Other buildings from around the area have been dismantled and rebuilt to recreate a 'Victorian Town'. Railway exhibits include the station crane from Newport (Salop) station.

Route - when open
The branch diverged from the Wellington - Stafford line at Hadley Junction (SJ677123) and headed SE to Oakengates where it passed over the tunnel carrying the GWR Shrewsbury - Wolverhampton line and under the A464. It then ran alongside the GWR line for one mile before turning away south through Dawley to pass under the A442 (now unclassified) and over the Madeley Jn - Buildwas line. The 3½ miles converted from the canal ran between Oakengates and Windmill Incline south of Dawley. It then dropped down into the valley on gradients as steep as 1 in 31 and at Blists Hill Ironworks it curved SE to run alongside the River Severn ending at Coalport East station (SJ701022).

Route - today
A mile east of Hadley Junction the A442 dual carriageway Telford bypass (Queensway) has utilised the alignment for two miles between the A518 and the roundabout just south of where it passes under the M54 close to Telford town centre. The alignment can be picked up at the northern end of Stirchley Avenue with most of the remaining five miles converted to form the southern end of the Silkin Way (a fourteen mile cycleway which threads its way from Bratton to Coalport). It passes alongside Randlay Pool in Telford Town Park and switches to a minor road in order to cross both the A4169 and the line to Ironbridge Power Station. South of Madeley Market station a subway takes the Silkin Way under Legge Way a new road which occupies the trackbed for half a mile with the trail relegated to a pavement on the east side. A tunnel takes it under the entrance to Blists Hill Open-Air Museum then through a shallow cutting. Beyond the cutting it negotiates a long sweeping curve with a skew bridge taking it under the restored, though non-operational, Hay Inclined Plane (SJ694027). At Coalport East a rough road follows the alignment through the site of the goods yard and station.

Stations
Oakengates demolished but goods shed survives in use as a tile suppliers showroom; no trace of Malins Lee or Dawley & Stirchley; Madeley Market platform and station house (1981); Coalport East demolished - area landscaped.

Bridges
Underbridge over Parkway at Madeley Market replaced by humped concrete structure; road overbridge still exists at Coalport East.

Tunnels
Blists Hill 66yds part of Silkin Way but reduced in height.

Canal
the 287yds long double track Hay Incline Plane at Coalport lifted barges 207ft from the river to the canal.

Loco shed
Coalport located north of line east of station (SJ702021) demolished.

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