The South Staffordshire Line

Past / Present / Future
southstaffsrail@hotmail.co.uk

The South Staffordshire Railway Through Hammerwich

Between 1849 and 1940 the railway line played a huge role in the day to day lives of Hammerwich people. The small siding just off the main line at the end of the station was the life and blood of local farmers and tradesmen. Goods and materials could finally travel by rail to all the large towns and villages, and to the very popular Walsall markets.

When 1965 came along, there was no need for the station, or to transport local produce. Passenger services stopped and the downfall of the line started. Beeching said, railway lines that were'nt making enough money will be closed and lifted. Between 1965 and 1983, 17 years of freight only traffic on the line from Ryecroft to Newtown was closed and lifted.

The station continued to be used by passengers until January 1965 when the Wolverhampton - Burton service was withdrawn and the line's stations (except Lichfield City) closed to passengers.  The service had actually been due to close in November 1964 (yes before Christmas!!) but the replacement bus service was not ready and so the closure was deferred until the January.  This was a scenario which was often repeated in those dark Beeching days.

But as there was an oil terminal at Anglesey Sidings (Newtown), which used the line to transport oil from the north east, the railway was kept open. After a few years British Rail changed the track layout to have a single one track system. A lot of money was spent re-alining some sections of track and the installation of brand new, up to date signaling equipment. Fosseway crossing was updated with the single track cross over and points.

 The line through Hammerwich survived closure, with around 3 trains a week using the line from the Lichfield end to Anglesey sidings. (Feature of the line was in a copy of RAIL Magazine Issue 300 by Ben Williams)

In 2001, the last train went down the line, when Charringtons closed. After that, the depot was then used by a transport company, and there was talk at one stage that they may of wanted to reopen the line to transport goods.

In 2011, the depot is owned by Quattro Rail Division Ltd. Quattro is responsible for Network rail contracts, with the maintenance of the rail network. Although no trains will be using the Hammerwich line, Road-Rail machines will be on the line using the track for training and to test equipment.

Hammerwich Oil Trains

 Video Clip of a train traveling through Hammerwich in 1982

 

 

 

A view looking down the line towards Fosseway & Lichfield

Taken in 1961 from the top of the pedestrian footbridge. Looking in the direction of Lichfield. You can make out that new ballasts have been laid along the track of the station.

Hammerwich Signal Box & Goods Siding Siding                                                                          

A packed platform at Hammerwich, with school children waiting to catch a train

This plan shows the layout of the track and station buildings. You can see the small siding which would of been used for freight trains loading the local farmers produce to go to market in Walsall.