LNWR DUDLEY - WALSALL (PLECK JN) (5 miles) SEDGLEY JN - DUDLEY PORT JN (¼ mile)
(Pass) 1.5.1850 Dudley - Pleck Jn
2.1.1854 Dudley Port Jn - Sedgley Jn.
(Pass) 6.7.1964. (Gds) 21.3.1993 Dudley - Pleck Jn
6.7.1964 Dudley Port Jn - Sedgley Jn.
Dudley; Dudley Port (Low Level), Great Bridge North; Wednesbury 2nd (opened 1863) r/n 1960 Wednesbury Town; Wednesbury 1st (closed 1863)
Dudley LNWR two-track shed (closed c1870); Dudley OW&WR one track shed (opened 1865 closed 1941); Great Bridge one-track shed later a servicing area (closed 1965) Walsall Pleck MR three-track shed (opened 1880 closed 1925).
The South Staffordshire Railway (SSR) opened this line between Dudley and Walsall in 1850 with a spur to the Birmingham - Wolverhampton line following in 1854. The service was twelve trains on weekdays and eight on Sundays, the journey taking 25 mins. When passenger trains were withdrawn in 1964 little had changed except that only 17 mins were needed and there was no Sunday service. The line remained open for freight until 1993.
Reopening for passengers
In January 2004 West Midlands PTE Centro was calling for companies to tender for Midland Metro’s proposed seven-mile &138m extension to Brierley Hill. The new line will use the Round Oak - Walsall line between Great Bridge and Dudley. Following a public enquiry a Transport & Works Order was granted in January 2005. The inspector noted that the SRA had concluded that there was no demand that would justify a 'heavy rail' passenger service on the Walsall - Stourbridge axis. In April 2009 it was reported that Centro had decided to shelve its plans for at least five years in order to concentrate on reaching the centre of Birmingham and Wolverhampton.
Reopening for freight
A Transport & Works Order was granted with provision for a single line to be used by freight trains. However, the draft West Midlands Route Utilisation Strategy published for consultation by the SRA in February 2005 indicated that the line would not be reopened for freight but would be protected. In April 2007 it was one of the 'Super 16' freight schemes being pushed by EWS (now DB Schenker) to win back traffic to rail.
Route - when open
Dudley station (SO950907) was joint O&WWR (GWR) and SSR (LNWR) with each company occupying an island platform. The LNWR line immediately passed under Tipton Road and headed NE soon passing over (the later) A4123Birmingham New Road bridging the Birmingham Canal and Sedgley Road (A457) at Sedgley Junction where the spur to Dudley Port High Level station diverged left. After passing under the Stour Valley line and through the Low Level station this line continued NE in a cutting to Horseley Junction where a connection to the GWR main line diverged east. Great Bridge North station was just west of Birmingham Canal Navigations which it bridged three times before the Princes End branch trailed in on the left. It then passed under the GWR main line to reach Wednesbury Town station the junction for the Darlaston Loop. A further long cutting took it under town centre roads in Wednesbury, finally bridging the LNW Stechford - Bushbury line at Bescot to reach Pleck Junction (SP004972) where lines from Darlaston Junction and Bescot joined on either side.
Route - today
The route remained in use until 1993 and the track is still in situ although overgrown in many places. At Wednesbury Town two tracks and a crossover remain; to the north the track disappears into the undergrowth. To the south it is fenced off immediately south of Potter's Lane level crossing but is less overgrown. Details of other obstructions required.
The entire length of the spur to Dudley Port Junction is now Coburn Court private housing estate.
Dudley demolished site unused, Dudley Port (Low Level) demolished, Great Bridge any trace? Wednesbury Town northbound platform survives.
All bridges in place including A4037 Tipton Road skew overbridge; bridge carrying main ex LNW Birmingham - Wolverhampton line; bridge over Walsall Canal; in 1995 a new 676-foot viaduct was built to carry Black Country Spine Road (A41) over the line at Great Bridge; at Bescot bridge over Aston - Wolverhampton line and bridge carrying M6 in place.
Dudley LNWR (SO950906) east of line south of station demolished; Dudley OW&WR (SO949909) west side of line north of station, dismantled after closure and utilised as a grain store surviving until at least 1964.
Great Bridge (SO976927)
East of line south of Great Bridge station demolished c1920 became servicing area - site built over; Pleck LNWR (SP005974) east of line south of Walsall station after closure used to store rolling stock surviving until mid-1970s - demolished.
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