THE RAILWAY REINSTATEMENT ASSOCIATION
THE SOUTH STAFFORDSHIRE RAILWAY
DUDLEY PORT LOWER
Opened on the former South Staffordshire line that had opened in 1850, which provided a rail connection from Dudley Port to Dudley railway station. 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. It closed in June 1964 as passenger services were phased out alone the line due to the Beeching Axe and the blue brick station building was demolished three years later, although the railway remained open to goods trains until 1993.
Phase Two of the Midland Metro will see 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 closed section of the South Staffordshire Line through Dudley is expected to re-open during the 2010s, as a combined Midland Metro tramway and a heavy rail line for goods trains. The Lower Level station would re-open as a Midland Metro tram stop, sharing its track with goods trains.
In October 2015, it was announced that due to high transport funding for the West Midlands, the Stourbridge to Walsall line could re-open as a Network Rail operated line served by West Midlands franchise services and the delivery date was 2018-2020. This means that Dudley Port Low Level would re-open on the line. The preceding station will be Dudley Town railway station and the succeeding will be either Great Barr railway station or Wednesbury Town railway station.
Looking down into the former station site summer 2015 from Park Lane East Bridge. Just beyond the parrapet can be decerned the fencing of the overspill car park for the station on the West Coast Mainline built on the former station forecourt
Easter 2015 looking up into the current station, today little more than a bus shelter on a platform between the lines accessed by tunnel and steps. No disability access what-so-ever, taken from canal tow path on the bridge over the former South Staffordshire Railway alignment
Looking down into the former station site summer 2015 from the overspill car park access footbridge Bridge. Just behind the tree to the left can again be decerned the overspill car park for the current station
Taken from the same point l ooking north along the canal through the bridge over the former South Staffordshire Railway alignment. To the right can be seen part of the huge butress holding the West Coast Mainline embankment back
Completed in 1860 as a result of collaboration between the Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway (which was soon to become part 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 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 and there are some references to services continuing further afield. Similarly, the same applied with the journey in reverse.
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 and larger than that in Birmingham. It finally closed in 1989, and the line passing through Dudley closed to all traffic in 1993. Some of the track remains in place, although as on the whole line much has been stolen for its scrap value. The Freightliner Terminal has recently become an overspill car park for Dudley zoo with a small area earmarked for the proposed Light Rail Innovation Centre of Warwick Manufaturing Group.