Walsall railway station

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Coordinates: 52°35′02″N 1°59′06″W / 52.5840°N 1.9851°W / 52.5840; -1.9851

Walsall National Rail
Walsall railway station.p5.jpg
Platforms one, two and three at Walsall.
Location
PlaceWalsall
Local authorityWalsall
Grid referenceSP010984
Operations
Station codeWSL
Managed byWest Midlands Trains
Number of platforms3
DfT categoryD
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2013/14Increase 1.282 million
2014/15Increase 1.303 million
2015/16Increase 1.404 million
2016/17Increase 1.468 million
2017/18Decrease 1.426 million
Passenger Transport Executive
PTETransport for West Midlands
Zone4
History
Original companySouth Staffordshire Railway
Pre-groupingLondon and North Western Railway
Post-groupingLondon, Midland and Scottish Railway
9 April 1849 (1849-04-09)Opened
National RailUK railway stations
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Walsall from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
170433 at Edinburgh Waverley.JPG UK railways portal

Walsall railway station is the principal railway station of Walsall, West Midlands, England and situated in the heart of the town. It is operated by West Midlands Trains, with services provided by West Midlands Railway. The main entrance is situated inside the Saddlers Shopping Centre.

Overview[edit]

Services from the station go to Birmingham New Street 10 34 miles (17.3 km) south on the Walsall Line, (operated on behalf of Network West Midlands), and north to Cannock and Rugeley.

The station has three platforms:

  • Platform 1: operating northbound services to Rugeley;
  • Platform 2: operating southbound, semi-fast services from Rugeley to Birmingham New Street;
  • Platform 3: (a terminus platform) operating local services to Birmingham New Street.

Platforms 2 and 3 have been recently refurbished, with a new waiting room added and enigmatic "poetry" on the walls of the stairs to the platforms. The mainline platforms are not electrified, but platform 3 (and the through line next to it) are electrified to 25 kV AC Overhead power. This electrification ends for both tracks at the northern end of the platforms.

An S&B self-service ticket machine was placed on Platform 1 but was no longer in place in April 2011; however, a similar machine remains in the station booking hall which is at street level above platform 3. The station has a staffed ticket office.

Services[edit]

Unlike other stations in the West Midlands, Walsall is not very well served in terms of a mainline connection as it formerly had services to Wolverhampton, Wellington (Shropshire) and Stafford but all these were withdrawn in 2008 due to low numbers and resulting in Walsall losing its connection to Shropshire and Staffordshire. Only a direct service from Wolverhampton to Walsall calls now at 6.00am Saturday morning but one way only. Walsall retains close connections to Rugeley Trent Valley for the West Coast Main Line and there are three services a day to Stafford but only on the peak services to Liverpool Lime Street.

Monday to Saturday daytimes four trains per hour run south from Walsall to Birmingham New Street (two fast and two stopping) with most of the all stations services continuing past Birmingham to form the Birmingham to Wolverhampton stopping service.[1] The fast trains call only at Tame Bridge Parkway (with one also calling at Bescot Stadium) and are routed via the direct line through Soho and Winson Green, whilst the stopping trains run via Aston.

From Walsall to Rugeley Trent Valley the service is hourly, though at peak times and on Saturdays it increases to half-hourly. On Sundays and weekday evenings there are two trains per hour to Birmingham (one fast and one stopping) and one train per hour to Rugeley Trent Valley.

Three daily services operate from Walsall to Liverpool Lime Street (for operational reasons, as extensions of regular Birmingham - Liverpool trains).

History[edit]

The Grand Junction Railway provided the town with its first rail service, albeit indirectly from 1837. Their Birmingham to Warrington line passed to the south and was provided with a station at Bescot Bridge (near the present Bescot Stadium), from where travellers could catch a connecting stagecoach. The Grand Junction company laid a branch line from Bescot to a temporary depot in the town at Bridgeman Place a decade later, but it wasn't until 9 April 1849 that a permanent station was opened on the present site.[2] This was completed by the South Staffordshire Railway as part of their route from Wichnor Junction (south of Burton-upon-Trent) to Dudley, which opened the same day. Further route development followed - the SSR added a branch northwards to Cannock in 1858 (which was extended to Rugeley the following autumn), whilst the Wolverhampton and Walsall Railway line linked the town to Wolverhampton via North Walsall in 1872. The network was completed by the Midland Railway, whose line from Castle Bromwich via Aldridge opened in 1879.[3] The Midland had by this time also purchased the W&WR from the rival London and North Western Railway, though the LNWR still ran occasional services over it until the 1923 Grouping.[4] The station was rebuilt in 1883, due to increasing traffic levels, with five platforms and separate booking offices for each of the two companies using it.[2] A fire damaged the main booking hall in 1916, but it wasn't until after the World War I had ended in 1918 that a full rebuild of the concourse could be effected. The new booking hall was completed & opened in 1923.

Under LMS auspices, the Midland line to Wolverhampton via Wednesfield and Willenhall Stafford Street closed to passengers in 1931[4] (it being less direct than the older Grand Junction line via Darlaston).

In the late 1980s and into the 1990s, vast improvements were made to the quality of services from Walsall. In April 1989 passenger services were reintroduced by British Rail on the previously freight only line to Hednesford 24 years after they were withdrawn.[2] The number of trains to Birmingham was gradually increased from one to four trains per hour and the Hednesford service was extended to Rugeley in 1997 (and subsequently through to Stafford) but the service to Stafford was cut back in 2008 to Rugeley Trent Valley under an agreement with London Midland and WCML operators. Only the daily Liverpool Lime Street services now connect Walsall directly with Stafford.

Passenger services to Wolverhampton were reintroduced in 1998 which also ran on occasions to Wellington, but this service was short lived and the regular hourly service was withdrawn again in 2008 due to low passenger numbers. However, one train per day ran straight to Wolverhampton from Walsall, in the evening (leaving Walsall at 19.36) until the May 2013 timetable change as a parliamentary train to avoid the need for formal closure proceedings. This now runs in the opposite direction on Saturdays only (06.38 ex-Wolverhampton).[5] Centro still has ambitions to reinstate a regular (half-hourly) weekday service on the route and reopen the station at Willenhall, but funding problems have precluded any action being taken on the proposals until the West Midlands area rail franchise comes up for renewal in 2015 (now pushed back to 2017).[6] Electrification plans are also in place for the Chase Line in the next Network Rail control period (between 2014 and 2019), which could result in through services from Rugeley to more destinations in the West Midlands including Liverpool Lime Street, Coventry and Birmingham International (potential through trains to London Euston have also been mooted).[7] The scheme is due to be completed in time for the December 2017 timetable change.[8]

Beeching Axe and closures[edit]

Walsall was one of the biggest towns affected by the Beeching Axe which resulted in passenger services were withdrawn on the lines to Sutton Coldfield, Lichfield, Dudley and Wolverhampton via Willenhall. The service to Rugeley Trent Valley was also closed to passengers leaving towns like Bloxwich, Cannock, Hednesford and Rugeley without a railway connection. The service to Birmingham was also reduced and almost withdrawn until it was saved and later improved.

The section to Lichfield remained open to freight traffic until 1984 when the line from Ryecroft Junction to Newtown, Brownhills closed to all traffic and the line was lifted and the stations (except Hammerwich) were demolished. The section from Newtown, Brownhills continued to serve Charringtons Oil Terminal until the closure of the terminal in 2001. The line was mothballed and put out of use. The section to Stourbridge remained open to serve as a diversion for freight and served the now-demolished Dudley Freightliner Terminal until 1993 which saw a decline in traffic. The line from Bescot to Harts Hill was mothballed.

Future[edit]

Walsall is due to have introduction of new services to London introduced meaning it would be connected to further destinations like Birmingham Airport, Coventry and Northampton for the first time ever. Alongside this is the reintroduction of services to Wolverhampton via Willenhall with new stations at Darlaston (James Bridge) and Willenhall operated by West Midland Railway giving commuters a much faster service to Wolverhampton as opposed to the current service via Birmingham New Street.

In September 2017, Transport for West Midlands released a growth strategy which identifies the line from Walsall to Lichfield and Sutton Park Line as a potential rail corridors for passenger services but this scheme extends to 2026 meaning the line to Lichfield is preserved for future use from development and the Sutton Park Line is in use for freight and diverted services. On the former railway line to Lichfield, the potential stations on the line that could reopen are Pelsall and Brownhills as the main stations. Although if the line became a tram-train route. It is possible there could be more than one stop.

There is also calls to reopen a single platform at Aldridge for trains to Birmingham New Street via Walsall but to Sutton Coldfield and Water Orton. There is currently problems with the junction at Water Orton and also the Cross City Line near the Sutton Park Line.

It has been confirmed in February 2019, by West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, that the Walsall to Wolverhampton train line will be reopened; resulting in the development of a Willenhall and Darlaston train station which have been closed since 1965. The Walsall to Wolverhampton line ceased to exist since 1998.[9]

https://www.tfwm.org.uk/media/2525/annex-1-corridors.pdf https://www.tfwm.org.uk/media/2526/annex-2-dashboards.pdf

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ GB National Rail Timetable 2015-16 Edition, Table 70R (Network Rail)
  2. ^ a b c "History of Walsall's train station" Walsall Council; Retrieved 6 April 2016
  3. ^ "Disused Stations - Sutton Park" Disused Stations; Retrieved 6 April 2016
  4. ^ a b "Disused Stations - North Walsall Retrieved 6 April 2016
  5. ^ GB eNRT December 2015 Edition, Table 70 (Network Rail)
  6. ^ Plans to Reopen Rail Line Are Put On Hold www.express&star.com news article; Retrieved 30 August 2013
  7. ^ "Walsall to Rugeley electrification – The Chase Line" Stanton, Peter; The Rail Engineer article; Retrieved 6 April 2016
  8. ^ "Chase Line Electrification on target for completion" Cannock District Council press release; Retrieved 6 April 2016
  9. ^ "First look at plans for two new Black Country railway stations | West Midlands Railway". www.westmidlandsrailway.co.uk. Retrieved 28 April 2019.

External links[edit]

Preceding station   National Rail National Rail   Following station
West Midlands Railway
Chase Line
Terminus
West Midlands Railway
Chase Line
Terminus
TerminusWest Midlands Railway
Wolverhampton-Walsall
West Midlands Railway
Wolverhampton to Walsall
Terminus
Disused railways
Line and station closed
London and North Western Railway
Line and station closed
Terminus
Line and station closed
Midland RailwayTerminus
Line and station closed
Midland RailwayTerminus