The South Staffordshire Line

Past / Present / Future


 Photo taken by ©Nick Allsop

Fossway Signal Box is a LNW type 3 signal box, which was built in 1875. the signal box was then re-framed in 1890 with a better design.

After an uneventful existence, closure came 98 years later, on 16th December 1973 when the crossing was automated with AHB's supervised by Lichfield City No1. The box remained however, as the crossing attendant's accommodation for times when the barriers were on 'local control'.


Only a few type 3 boxes survived into the B.R days

 CABIN/ BOX                     
 Betley Road
 E 1875 1904 Moved/ restored
 Brookhay Crossing
 C 1874 ----------- Demolished
 Elmesthorpe E 1875 ----------- 
 Essington Wood
 D 1875 1892 Restored
 C 1875 1890 Disused/ still in situ
Gowerton No.1
 C 1874 ----------- Demolished
Great Barr
 C 1875 ----------- 
 Macclesfield Tunnel End
 F 1875 ----------- 
 Monks Siding
 E 1875 ----------- In Operation
Narborough No.2
 E 1875 ---------- Still in situ
Sandy No.2
 E 1875 --------- 
Stafford No.5
 R 1876 --------- 
Valcan Bank
 D 1875 1882 


Network Rail's signal box database

These spreadheets attempt to catalogue all the existing former mainline signal boxes in the country, whether operational or redundant, preserved or on the national network.



Eleven years later, on the 19th March 1984, the through route closed, but the double line remained from Lichfield to Angelsea Sidings at Brownhills for deliveries of heating oil to Charringtons depot. strangely the double line was worked as a one-train single line with train staff, trains going as before, on the up and returning on the down, merely because of the automatic crossing.

 <Above>Type 3 shown with its brick chimney and is the size C. The staircase has been onitted from the end view in order to show the locking room door. Source-L.N.W.R Signalling. Richard F

This situation remained, until the cross-city line was electrified and with the closure of Lichfield City box on 10th October 1992, control of the signalling passed to Aston and - the opportunity was taken to single the branch line and renew the half barriers here.

The South Staffordshire Line runs across Fossway Lane, which is a busy rat run for Burntwood and Lichfield commuters. The crossing originaly was a double track cross over, until the early 1990s when BR changed it to a single track to aid the Charrigtons oil depot further up the track. Since the closer of the Lichfield - Brownhills line in 2003 the level crossing and signal box has been left aloan for mother nature to take over.

On inspection of the crossing on May 12th 2010 there were signs that Network Rail have been lightly maintaining the area by replacing some of the wooden cattle slats. The ivy growing up one side of the signal box is a concern, as it will over time destroy the wooden structure. South Staffs Rail is in talks with Network Rail for us to cut the bottom of the ivy plant to stop it growing further around the structure.


 The Single track going across Fossway Lane / The exstent of the ivy growing up th side

                   Photo above showing Fossway signal box and modern day level crossing warning lights


A short clip on board a freight train going over Fossway Crossing around 1982


Fossway Crossing in the 1990's


Photo Taken Ben Williams, 15th January 1994

Long after the South Staffordshire line closed to passenger services and long distance freight, the Charringtons Oil Depot in Newtown (Angelsea Sidings) keep't part of the line active. It was just after the Cross City Line was opened when the line from Lichfield City to Newtown was changed to a active single track. This might of been due to the maintenance of the line and that only 3 trains a week used the track during the busier winter pierod.

Fossway Level Crossing was then closed to traffic for a short period as the level crossing was changed from a double track to a single line crossing.

A lot of people thought the South Staffs Line was no longer active, as the trains came down the line at very early times in the winter. I myself stopped at the crossing only once, back in 1998. I was amazed to see a class 37 slowly rolling across the road pulling around 30 oil tankers heading towards Newtown. 

It was back in 2003 when the last train rolled across Fossway crossing. It was when Charringtons closed down and there was longer need for the freight route. Railtrack (now Network Rail) closed the crossing, and chained the barriers in a upright position.

                                             Photo Taken by Ben williams, 8th July 1993


Inside Fossway Signal Box June 2009