Mineral Railways of Cannock Chase

Until 1856 coal was taken from the Nos. 1 & 2 pits to the canal wharf by horse-drawn trucks.  In that year the Cannock Chase Colliery Company bought the first of a number of 0-4-2ST locos built by the Beyer Peacock company.  (This loco, named McLean, lasted for 100 years before being broken up for scrap in 1956.)  In 1858 the line was extended to join the South Staffordshire Railway at Anglesey Sidings.Cannock Chase Colliery Railways Map version 3The current Chasewater Railway is coloured green – but is a bit long – only runs as far as No.2,  sorry!   The only line still in operation is in the top left of the map. from Walsall to Rugeley, although there is still a single track in situ from Anglesey Sidings to Lichfield.

In 1864 McLean formed the Cannock Chase & Wolverhampton Railway to run from No.3 colliery to the Norton Branch and then, via Essington and Wednesfield, to Wolverhampton.  The line reached the Norton Branch but no further.  As can be seen on the map, Chasewater Railway now runs on part of this line.  In 1866, new track was laid through Chase Terrace to Cooper’s Lodge at Rawnsley where it joined the Cannock Chase Railway.

     In 1880 the Midland Railway gained permission to build their long-awaited foothold into the Cannock Chase coalfield.  The Walsall Wood Extension Railway would enable them to link their line from Aldridge with the Cannock Chase & Wolverhampton Railway near Chasewater.

The line opened in 1882 to bring coal out of the pits, but two years later, was also opened to passenger traffic as far as the Brownhills Midland Railway Station, between the Chester Road and the A5.  The passenger service was not a great success and was closed in 1930.

The Midland Railway continued as a mineral only line until September 1960 when, following the demise of the coalfield, it was closed.

The Brownhills West Station and the first half-mile or so of the track of the Chasewater Railway is on the former Midland Railway line.

4 responses to “Mineral Railways of Cannock Chase

  1. Hi.
    I have visited the chasewater railway museum and seen several photographs of the Hammerwich (LNWR) line and station. I am interested in acquiring copies of anything to do with Hammerwich for our archive belonging to Hammerwich Environment Group. Can you please help? A photo of the rail tickets with Hammerwich on would be of great interest. Of course, acknowledgement will be made, if ever necessary, to your archive.
    Thank you

    • Hi Robert,
      I haven’t had much time so far to look for Hammerwich related items but should have more time over the weekend.
      You may have noticed that we have had a problem with our dog and that’s certainly slowing me down (I’ve never been that quick anyway!!).
      I have got a photo of the station taken, I think, from the bridge, and a photo of a ticket from Pelsall to Hammerwich ( 3rd class, 5 1/2d).
      John. (chasewaterstuff)

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