The South Staffordshire Line

Past / Present / Future


John McClean, a consulting engineer working for Dudley Waterworks Company had the idea of founding the South Staffordshire Water Works Company. Following discussions in the board room of the South Staffordshire Railway Company of which he was leasee, he persuaded five directors of the railway company to join him in the venture; Richard C. Chawner, Richard Dyott, Charles Forster, Richard Greene and Richard Jesson. An  Act of Parliament was obtained, and as a result E.B. Dimmack, S.H. Blackwell, James Solly, Thomas Walker and Sampson Lloyd were invited to become Directors of the South Staffordshire Waterworks Company on 17th December 1852.


Sited next to the railway, the engine house, styled like the original buildings was principally constructed with blue bricks, ornamented with various coloured bricks and was the work of Messrs. Branson and Gwyther of Birmingham. The original buildings were designed by Edward Adams of London who had been responsible for designing several railway buildings, hence the railway look to the Sandfields Pumping Station. It was substantially built, and had to be equal to the strain that would be imposed upon it, by the vibration of the pumping equipment when the engines were running.

Source:content from the fantastic Sandfield Pumping Station website by David Moore

How the Railway worked with the Pumping Station

Sandfields used a steam engine which needed coal to work. The photo above (dated January 1924) shows the start of the coal siding. The wooden cabin on the edge of the raiway line is most likely the Ground Frame for the siding in which the point levers and any electrical works would be kept dry.

Below is a copy of the Special Instructions for the siding as indicated in the 1931 Sectional Appendix.

 Sectional Appendix January 1931, Supplement No.1, January 1st 1933

 Page 229 (pg 14) – Amend – Sidings connected with Running Lines which are worked under Special Arrangements: -

South Staffordshire Waterworks – Lichfield City – Connected with Up line; electrically controlled from No.1 box, where key is kept. After use key must be left at Anglesea Sidings box.

Guards of trains calling at the siding for traffic purposes must, before the engine is uncoupled, in addition to applying the hand brake in van, apply the brakes on a sufficient number of wagons next to the brake van to prevent the possibility of the trains running back. Interestingly, due to the siding only being worked in the Up direction the key was returned to Lichfield via Anglesea Siding box.

The Water Works was served by the Up Trip working 9T71 which was the local tripper serving all the goods yards on the line in the Up direction until around December 1965 ( around the same time that Alrewas closed).  It was scheduled for 12.00 - 13.00 arrival.

Source: Ian pell


Creation of South Staffs Waterworks private Siding

 PSD (Private Siding Diagram) No. 773, dated January 1910

source & copyright:Ian Pell