Station Name: ALDRIDGE

[Source: Terry Callaghan]


Date opened: 1.7.1879
Location: West side of Walsall Road
Company on opening: Midland Railway
Date closed to passengers: 18.1.1965
Date closed completely: 18.1.1965
Company on closing: British Railways (London Midland Region)
Present state: Demolished.
County: Staffordshire
OS Grid Ref: SK055004
Date of visit: 3.5.2013

Notes: Aldridge was opened by the Midland Railway (MR) on 1 July 1879. The station was situated on the double-track Castle Bromwich / Water Orton and Walsall line which was authorised on 6 August 1872 as the Wolverhampton, Walsall & Midland Junction Railway (WW&MJR). The MR was a backer of the scheme, seeing it as a means of gaining access to Wolverhampton from its Birmingham and Derby main line. At Walsall the line had a direct connection with the Walsall and Wolverhampton Railway which came into MR ownership in 1876. The line opened to all traffic on 1 July 1879. One of the difficulties in building the line was encountered at Sutton Park, an attractive area of open space much loved by local people. The WW&MJR had purchased a strip of land through the park despite vociferous protest. With the promise of cheaper coal for the local area the protests had died down.



The station was located to the south of Aldridge on the west side of Walsall Road which passed over the line on a bridge. The main facilities were on the north side of the line on the up (Birmingham-bound) platform. The building was a single-storey, twin pavilion structure of red brick, and gables with prominent parapets faced each elevation; small windows were set into the gables at ‘first floor’ level to light the interior. A platform awning was clasped between the protruding gables.

A brick-built pent-roof waiting shelter was located on the down (Walsall-bound) platform.

Access to the down platform was via the road over bridge which was linked to each platform by a set of steps.

At the time of opening Aldridge was served by trains between Birmingham New Street and Wolverhampton High Level via Walsall.

In April 1882 a line opened from Aldridge to Brownhills, the junction being located just to the west of the station. A signal box was opened at the west end of the down platform to control the junction. Goods facilities, including a goods shed, were also developed to the west of the station on the north side of the Brownhills branch. On 1 July 1884 a passenger service was introduced onto the Brownhills branch. It ran as a shuttle between Aldridge and Brownhills, and by 1887 there were three Monday-to-Friday services in each direction with an extra service each way on Saturdays.

The December 1895 timetable showed fifteen trains in each direction Monday-to-Friday on the main line. On Saturdays there were two extra up services in each direction and there were three trains each way on Sundays. On the Brownhills branch there were three trains in each direction Monday-to-Friday and five on Saturdays. There was no service to Brownhills on Sundays.

Up Trains December 1895 Destination Down Trains December 1895 Destination
6.45am Birmingham New Street 7.38am Wolverhampton High Level
7.21am Birmingham New Street 8.32am Wolverhampton High Level
8.07am Terminating train from Brownhills 8.36am Brownhills
8.18am Birmingham New Street 9.47am Walsall
9.03am Birmingham New Street 10.41am Wolverhampton High Level
10.46am Birmingham New Street 1.48pm Wolverhampton High Level
12.41pm Birmingham New Street 2.00pm Brownhills
1.38pm Terminating train from Brownhills 2.33pm Wolverhampton High Level
1.48pm Birmingham New Street 4.46pm Wolverhampton High Level
4.08pm (Wednesdays Excepted) Birmingham New Street 4.57pm (Saturdays Only) Brownhills
4.18pm (Wednesdays Only ) Birmingham New Street 5.46pm Wolverhampton High Level
4.38pm (Saturdays Only) Terminating train from Brownhills 7.00pm Walsall
5.42pm Birmingham New Street 7.27pm Brownhills
6.55pm Terminating train from Brownhills 7.49pm Wolverhampton High Level
7.21pm Birmingham New Street 9.28pm Wolverhampton High Level
8.34pm Birmingham New Street 10.15pm (Saturdays Only) Brownhills
9.12pm (Saturdays Only) Terminating train from Brownhills 11.41pm Walsall
9.34pm (Saturdays Excepted ) Birmingham New Street    
10.08pm (Saturdays Only) Birmingham New Street    

From 1909 most of the main line trains that served Aldridge were diverted at the northern end of their route between Walsall and Wolverhampton to run over LNWR metals via Darlaston. This was to avoid reversal at Walsall and was made possible because of connecting spurs between existing lines that had been put in by the LNWR in 1881.

The July 1922 timetable showed Aldridge as having eleven up and eleven down trains on the main line Monday-to-Saturday. On Sundays there were four trains in each direction.

On 1 January 1923 Aldridge became part of the London Midland & Scottish Railway (LMS).

The Brownhills service was withdrawn on 31 March 1930. With only three trains in each direction the withdrawal of the service had little impact on Aldridge.

On 5 January 1931 the LMS ceased to operate the few passenger services that ran over the former W&WR and all trains used the LNWR route between Walsall and Wolverhampton. The September 1938 timetable showed fifteen up and Fifteen down trains Monday-to-Friday as shown in the table below. There were four additional services in each way on Saturdays and two trains in each direction on Sundays. By 1938 many of the services on the line ran only between Walsall and Sutton Park.

Up Trains September 1938 Destination Down Trains September 1938 Destination
6.14am Sutton Park 6.40am Walsall
7.15am Birmingham New Street 7.57am Walsall
8.17am Birmingham New Street 8.47am Walsall
9.09am Birmingham New Street 11.20am Walsall
10.17am Birmingham New Street 1.03pm (Saturdays Only) Walsall
12.40pm (Saturdays Only) Sutton Park 1.16pm (Saturdays Only) Walsall
12.52pm (Saturdays Excepted) Sutton Park 1.27pm (Saturdays Excepted) Walsall
1.07pm (Saturdays Only) Sutton Park 1.35pm (Saturdays Only) Walsall
1.30pm Birmingham New Street 1.49pm Walsall
2.07pm Sutton Park 2.42pm Walsall
2.45pm Birmingham New Street 4.43pm Walsall
4.27pm Sutton Park 5.34pm Walsall
5.50pm Birmingham New Street 6.12pm Walsall
6.25pm Sutton Park 6.52pm Walsall
6.47pm Birmingham New Street 7.13pm Walsall
7.31pm (Saturdays Only) Sutton Park 8.02pm Walsall
8.12pm Birmingham New Street 8.49pm (Saturdays Only) Walsall
9.22pm (Saturdays Only) Sutton Park 9.45pm Walsall
10.05pm Birmingham New Street 10.18pm (Saturdays Only) Walsall
10.46pm (Tuesdays and Saturdays Only) Terminating train from Walsall 11.47pm Walsall

On 1 January 1948 Aldridge became part of British Railways London Midland Region and by 1949 Aldridge had only five trains in each direction Monday-to-Friday with an additional down service on Saturdays. The Sunday service had ceased. The summer 1957 timetable showed no improvement. In the late 1950s BR fitted totem name signs in the station. In the early 1960s DMUs were introduced to the line, but by the summer of 1961 the service had reduced to only four trains in each direction Mondays-to-Fridays with an extra up and two extra down service on Saturdays.

The 1963 Reshaping of British Railways (‘Beeching’) report recommended the withdrawal of the passenger service between Birmingham New Street and Walsall via Penns. The formal proposal of closure was published on 15 October 1963. As it was down to only a handful of trains per day there was little protest, and on 10 September 1964 Ernest Marples, the Minister of Transport, announced his decision that the stations on the line should close. The passenger service was withdrawn on Monday 18 January 1965, the last trains having run two days earlier.

The line through Aldridge was a busy freight artery providing a useful route that avoided Birmingham and because of this it has remained open. The station was demolished after closure.

Tickets from Michael Stewart, timetable from Chris Totty and route map by Alan Young.

Sources:

To see other stations on the Castle Bromwich and Wolverhampton line click on the station name: Castle Bromwich, Penns, Sutton Coldfield Town, Sutton Park, Streetly, North Walsall, Bentley, Short Heath, Willenhall Stafford Street,
Wednesfield and Heath Town


See also Brownhill branch stations: Walsall Wood and Brownhills


Looking east from the west end of the Aldridge station up platform in the early years of the 20th century. A loco with two wagons is seen passing the MR signal box heading towards Walsall while a train runs off the Brownhills branch heading in the Castle Bromwich direction.


Aldridge station shown on a 1902 map.


A view looking west along the Aldridge station down platform in 1913. A freight train appears to be running wrong line. It was probably about to go into the station goods yard via the Brownhills branch.
Copyright photo from the John Alsop collection


An aerial view of Aldridge station in the 1930s.

The 'South Staffs Rail Tour' stands at Aldridge on 26 May 1951. The tour started out from Birmingham New Street and covered the whole of the former MR route between Wolverhampton and Castle Bromwich. The tour arrived at Aldridge at 4.22pm.
Photo by H P Priestley

Looking east at Aldridge station from the west end of the down platform on 13 June 1955 at the typical MR design station buildings. At the far end of the up platform a water tank can be seen.
P
hoto by D J Norton

A view looking west along the down platform on 13 June 1955. The simple shelter provided for passengers travelling in the Walsall direction is seen to the left. The collection of ageing wooden sided coal wagons in the bay platform are worthy of note. Work appears to be underway on the Brownhills branch junction which is adjacent to the signal box.
P
hoto by D J Norton


Looking east from the Walsall Road overbridge as two Super D's Nos 49430 and 49461 hauling the Stephenson Locomotive Society 'Farewell to LNWR Locomotives Rail Tour' call at Aldridge station just after midday on 12 December 1964. The tour started out from and finished at Bescot.
Photo by W A Camwell


Aldridge station looking east along the up platform after closure in the summer of 1965.
Photo from the John Mann collection


The site of Aldridge station looking west in March 1995.
P
hoto by Nick Catford

Looking east at the remains of the Aldridge station up platform in May 2013. The housing in the distance is built upon the station goods yard and shed.
P
hoto by Terry Callaghan
Click on thumbnail to enlarge

Click here to see more photographs of Aldridge

 

 

 

[Source: Terry Callaghan]




Last updated: Friday, 12-May-2017 18:38:58 BST
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