Abandoned Dudley Railway Station 25/09/12
Firstly I would like to say that the reference to the Dudley railway station is that the railway station stood behind the gates on the photograph below. Unfortunately due to the fact that demolition has occurred I could not document this in photographs. My sincere apologies for this.
Dudley Railway Station was a passenger railway station located at Dudley,England, built where the Oxford-Worcester-Wolverhampton Line and the South Staffordshire Line diverged to Wolverhampton and Walsall and Lichfield respectively.
It’s 7am on a hot February morning, and I’m making the journey from Dudley bus station in Dudley. Walking through an opening in some iron railings I head up the footpath down towards the abandoned railway, treading past old shopping trolleys, fly tipped rubbish where the old access point was for railway engineers and staff. I go through an overgrown area and enter the old track which as I enter smells of damp and what could only be described as floor polish, like all decaying places there’s always some unusual smells. The wind was only a breeze and a bare minimum, there’s was however the constant sound of rustling bushes.
The railway was heavily in many parts overgrown with line side vegetation and bought with it the risks associated. This was indeed the point at which I realised that if any security , safety and or emergency issues occurred there was only one way out the way I came. I continually had my whit about me.
As I stepped further into the location I soon realised there was so much more than what initially seemed to explore. It turned out to be a whole days exploration. I would sure recommend this location to any experienced urban explorer.
When the light begins to fade, I get the sense it’s time to go. It’s a common feeling among urban explorers – maybe you’ve been in a location for a long time, or it’s getting cold, or you’re tired. The idea of leaving takes root and, as a visitor to the railway, it seemed wise not to outstay my welcome. This location was closed fully in 1993 and only certain parts, remain. The tracks are going to being reclaimed soon and the railway grounds will probably become another part of the metro according to rumours and certain media organisations. On reflection, it’s ironic that explorers spent so getting onto the railway, and it’s a shame that soon no-one else will be able to see it. The old Dudley railway is not the sort of place you’re able to forget due to the history behind it. It's a shame they are not turning it into a nature walkway for all to enjoy for many years to come.
The station was built as a collaboration between the Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway (which was soon to fall into the hands of the Great Western Railway, and the London and North Western Railway (which had taken control of the South Staffordshire Railway – the company that had constructed the line from Lichfield, via Walsall, to Dudley). The latter eventually became part of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway. The station was completed in 1860.
A racecourse had been situated just north of the station until the mid 1840s when it was closed to make way for the railway, but its name was revived during the 1980s when Racecourse Colliery, a model colliery, was opened on the site as part of the Black Country Living Museum.
The line had reasonable passenger usage until about the early 1880s, when it began to slump at several stations, leading to the line becoming a largely freight only operation in 1887. It would remain open for goods traffic, which was considerable at this time, as the district had become highly industrialised in the then heyday of the Black Country's industrial past.
As the local industry declined and road transport became more common, the station entered a post-World War 2 decline, although not as heavily as most others on the line.
The station was popular with local people who appreciated its convenient locations and frequent trains, with high numbers of passengers still using the services as recently as the 1950s. The OW&WR line from Stourbridge Junction to Wolverhampton Low Level closed to passengers in 1962, but Dudley remained as a terminus for trains from Walsall on the South Staffordshire Line, Old Hill on the Bumble Hole Line and Birmingham Snow Hill until the Beeching Axe had its effect in 1964 despite of the station's high passenger turnover at the time.
The South Staffordshire Line's uses were complicated, since some trains terminated at Dudley from Lichfield and Walsall, and some continued through to Stourbridge Junction. Similarly, the same applied with the journey in reverse.
Use since closure
The buildings of Dudley Station remained open for parcels until early 1967, when they were knocked down and replaced by Dudley Freightliner Terminal. It was one of the first of its kind in Britain.
The Freightliner Terminal closed in 1989, and the line passing through Dudley closed to all traffic in 1993. Most of the track remains in place, although a few lengths of track around the site of Dudley Station have been removed and the site of the Freightliner Terminal is now little more than an overgrown field.
A Â£1,100,000/15 year long regeneration project will see the station become part of the local tram network with the line reopening between Walsall, Dudley Port railway station, Dudley railway station and the Merry Hill Shopping Centre for trams on one track and for freight on the other. The freighters would continue on past Brettell Lane railway station and on to the mainline at Stourbridge junction.
The Midland Metro is expected to open on the adjoining track in 2012 or 2013, with trams leaving the traditional line near the former terminal site and passing through Dudley town centre before rejoining the line at the north mouth of the Dudley Railway Tunnel. One track on the line is also expected to re-open to goods trains, and part of the terminal site will be occupied by an expansion to Dudley Zoo. The closed section of railway through Dudley is expected to re-open during the 2010s, as a combined Midland Metro tramway and a heavy rail line for goods trains.
So anyone wishing to visit this black country historical location must do so as a matter of urgency as who knows how long this prime outdoor urbanex location will be available for?
The Station in 1956:
The entrance to the tunnel:
I hope you enjoyed this report as much as I did creating it