A passenger misadventure lay at the heart of the Midland Railway's opening of
Walsall Wood station (along with the equally as ill-fated Brownhills further up the line). The lure of
heavy revenue from mineral traffic from the Cannock coal fields led the Midland Railway to build a branch from
Aldridge station up through Walsall Wood and into the heart of the Cannock coal fields in 1876. Such was the
demand for their services from the collieries of the area, the Midland double-tracked the line and on a crest of
optimism considered that the introduction of a passenger service over the line would be equally as successful: it wasn't!
As with Brownhills 'Watling Street' station - the only other passenger station on the branch - Walsall
Wood was closed in 1930 and in 1960 the track north of the station site was lifted as the collieries began
to disappear with the rest of the line to Aldridge being lifted at the time of Aldridge's demise in 1965.
Sadly, but not surprisingly, some 75 years post-closure nothing remains at the site to indicate a
station once stood here. Above we see the station in 1967 with the main booking office in use as a store room
for G.F. Southgate plant equipment hire (photo: David Bathurst).
Above-left we are at the platform site looking away towards Brownhills and the coal fields
of Cannock. Above-right we are still on the station trackbed looking at where the line would have passed under
Lichfield Road on its way to Aldridge or, as the case may have been, to branch-off to the right a half mile or so ahead to link
up with the LNWR's Leighswood line and onto their Lichfield-Walsall branch. The small pedestrian tunnel
marks the spot of the trackbed today.
Above we have walked through the pedestrian tunnel under Lichfield Road and are watching the trackbed
(now somewhat raised from its original level) heading off towards Aldridge. Ahead would have been a road bridge
over to the lefthand side but now the trackbed has been taken over by newly constructed houses and
parkland. A disappointing site to visit and certainly I wouldn't recommend it but as I stated earlier,
I wasn't expecting much to remain.