Saturday, 29 June 2013

Summer 2013–A pleasant stroll

 
Officially we are in the Summer Season but the weather lately has not been very good. But today it was one of those rare days where it is warm and dry. Therefore I decided have a walk again along the southern end of our South Staffs railway line between Rycroft Cemetery and almost Brownhills. From Brownhills Newtown Bridge (Anglesey sidings) is still mothballed and the responsibly of Network Rail but this area is just a public footpath these days.

It was a bit muddy due to the monsoon type rain we have had lately but I managed to avoid many of the slippery patches. Nature as it does when it has the chance is starting to overwhelm the well-trodden path of the many dog walkers and horse riders that regularly use the track bed.



It’s still hard to believe that it’s about 30 years since freight trains regularly came this way towards Brownhills and on to Lichfield and of course half a century since passenger trains ran. I was just thinking as I walked along the railway line about the Lichfield Bower which takes place each May and how as a child I used to go to it on the train. This May Bank Holiday if you wanted to go to it you had no choice but to use the car. There were no buses from Walsall to Lichfield and no easy way to get there from Brownhills.

Anyway I digress, as I progressed along I passed a view dog walkers, a horse rider and a young couple strolling hand in hand. Out of those I should think only the elderly couple I passed would have any inkling of what it was like with steam trains then the diesel locomotives going along here.



The only easily identified relic along this line is the old signalling post which I took a picture and tweeted and got a nice response back from @gpreston58 which said “Ah, an old signal post, remember having to climb the ladder, refill the lamp after trimming the wick. BR days. I’m sure there are many other older railway folks remember doing the same. Below is a collage of some of the pictures I took.

 


From my observation most people walked their dogs along the track and then down onto the canal where it passes underneath the line.


The  view across the canal navigation.
  
As I said earlier almost to Brownhills as you cannot go much further as the area is blocked with trees and swamp like footings.


I had to turn right here which leads onto the Watermead Housing estate which runs along-side the railway line. I was tempted to take some pictures as there were many houses with excellent foliage and flowers growing around them but didn’t want to upset someone's privacy. As you are going towards the exit of Watermead you aware of the canal on the right hand side passing by. I couldn’t resist going over and taking a few pictures of the very old railway bridge on the other side of the canal .





  


I finished the walk off then by popping into the Hussey Arms near Brownhills Common (pictured below) for Cheese & Potato Pie (in pie pastry) and a pint.

  

Details about the South Staffs Railway can be seen at where you will find fascinating facts and more pictures past and present.  

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Dave Cresswell – Summer 2013