Tuesday, 27 September 2011

The Stour Valley Line

In the early 1960s, I was a regular visitor to a number of signal boxes in the West Midlands and there's a series of posts about my experiences. At the time, I lived in Wolverhampton but most of the signal boxes I visited were in the Tipton and Dudley Port area. I was working for a local company as an Electronics Engineer, so most of my visits were on a Saturday. Going through the Notebook I've recently found for Sedgeley Jn., I'm surprised at what a regular visitor I was. It seems that most Saturdays saw me leaving home early to visit one of my friends in a Signal Box.

My home was about 30 minutes walk from Wolverhampton High Level Station and I must have set off somewhere between 6.0 a.m. and 6.30 a.m. Occasionally, I'd get a trolleybus to town (yes, Wolverhampton had trolleybuses until 1967) but they were a bit thin on the ground at that time of day so I'd usually walk.

On arrival at the station, I'd get a return ticket to either Tipton or Dudley Port (according to where I was headed and what trains were running).

The Sedgeley Jn. Notebook includes brief details of some of these journeys, so I thought we'd take a look. Original notes are in italics with recent comments in square brackets.

Visit to Sedgeley Jn. Mon 24th December 1962

From Wolverhampton platform 2 with two ‘Type 4’ in multiple – D268 and D229. [Clearly, a London service].

Visit to Sedgeley Jn. Sat 12th January 1963

I travel on 1B03 departing Wolverhampton at about 7.15 a.m. The 6.55 a.m. Up Local is still stuck in the Down Bay, boxed in by a 2-car DMU. 1M16 arrives just before we leave.

Visit to Sedgeley Jn. Sat 26th January 1963

I travelled on an Up DMU which arrived Dudleyport at 8.59, departed 9.0 a.m. I later discovered that the Guard arrived back on foot at 9.08 to report the DMU failed in the section. With a Wrong Line Order, the Parcels Engine went onto the DMU at 9.23, dragged it back and cleared the main line at 9.36. It was arranged that the passengers off the stranded DMU would be taken forward by 1B08. There was one passenger for Oldbury so a Special Stop Order was issued to 1B08 so that the Oldbury passenger could be set down. The failed DMU was left at Dudleyport until an engine could be found to drag it back to the Depot. [The Wrong Line Order would be issued by the Dudley Port Signalman to the driver of the Parcels Engine, allowing him to return to Dudley Port, dragging the failed DMU. An impressive example of an operational problem swiftly dealt with].

Visit to Sedgeley Jn. Sat 9th February 1963

To Dudleyport from Wolverhampton behind 46228, "sounding like an engine!". [Presumably a London service and a welcome change from diesel haulage]. Noted that 61018 is ‘Gnu’ [?]

Evening Visit to Sedgeley Jn. February 1963

50460 is Dudley end of local. 6.30 p.m. Wolverhampton – Burton is a 2-6-0 tender first with a British Rail 1st/2nd Composite and an ER Brake/2nd Composite! [Rather cryptic, I'm afraid].