Dudley, 1928 by Joe Hancock

Dudley station consisted of two island platforns, one G.W.R. and one L.M.S. Each had its own Station master and the usual porterage staff controlled by a foreman. Access was obtained by a large footbridge spanning all the tracks, upon which was built the booking offices for each railway.

Public transport at this period was by trams, which were slow and had very limited accommodation, consequently the railway was very busy, the G.W. providing roughly an hourly service in both directions on the Stourbridge run, certain trains also conveying a through coach to London via Worcester. Locos on this service were usually 3600 class 2-4-2 tanks - also through trains to Birmingham via Great Bridge, these being a 3 or 4 car auto train set with the engine in the middle, the regular locos on this job being pannier tanks number 1061/1234/1256 and 1561, Wolverhampton Stafford Road providing the engines and men. This service was augmented at peak periods (morning, midday and evening) by Birmingham division 4 coach trains hauled by 3600 class 2-4-2 tank locos.

A further early morning service passing through Dudley was the 8.07 am. ex Wolverhampton to Birmingham via Windmill End & Old Hill, usually a Birmingham division 4 coach set engined by a Tyseley 4-4-0, no. 4107 "Alexander Hubbard" being a regular performer. There was also a regular Dudley - Old Hill service provided by a single auto car, engined either by a 517 type 0-4-2 tank no. 1159, or by 2101 class 0-6-0 pannier tank no. 2120, these two locos being provided by Stourbridge.

On the L.M.S. side a regular service was provided to Walsall and to Dudley Port, the latter making connections with the main line services to Wolverhampton, Birmingham and London. These were 2 coach push and pull units, engined by ex Midland 0-4-4 tank numbers 1234 and 1260. These services were augmented in mornings and evenings by through trains to Birmingham taking the old Midland Railway route through Walsall-Aldridge and Sutton Coldfield. These trains were 4 coach eight wheeled, flat elliptical roofed Midland railway stock, usually hauled by ex Midland Kirtley 2-4-0 tender engines, numbers 1 / 18 or 19, provided by Birmingham Bourneville shed. These engines were in beautiful condition, being painted in Midland Red, with the L.M.S. coat of arms on the cabside and large numerals on the tender, a real exhibition turn-out.

On the freight side, things were very busy, traffic being mainly coal, coke, iron, steel, fireclay and firebricks, Dudley being an interchange point between the G.W.R. and the L.M.S. Trip work on the G.W. side was mainly carried out by the older pattern open backed pannier tanks of the 655 / 1501 and 1854 classes, mainline work was by 4300, 2800 and Aberdare class locomotives. Quite a number of the latter had just been allocated to Stourbridge and equipped with ex R.O.D. 4,000 gallon tenders. On the L.M.S. side the freight work was mainly exchange traffic to and from the G.W.R. This brought a variety of locos from the Walsall area, the last of the Webb 4 cylinder compound 0-8-0 tender engines being employed on this work, together with ex L.N.W.R. 0-8-0s of classes D, G and G1 also the Cauliflower 0-6-0 tender engines. On occasions L.N.W.R. Experiment class 4-6-0 tender engines were used, these being named engines providing a change of interest, ''Ethe1read'', "Lord of the Isles" and "Buckland" being seen regularly.

L.M.S. compound 4-4-0 No. 1114 is seen here at Bushbury shed in 1929. Members of the class were stationed at Bushbury from the late 1920s to work the London expresses, these included numbers 1113 and Vulcan built compounds 1161-69, the latter batch being sent to Bushbury from new. They were not popular with the men, who found difficulty adjusting to the completely different driving technique required. Even when worked efficiently they were considered to be no match for their ex-L.N.W.R. predecessors wherever trains exceeded six coaches in length. The compounds were displaced from the London expresses by the new Stanier Jubilee class 4-6-0s in the mid 1930s. No. 1114 was withdrawn in May 1958. Photograph Joe Hancock.

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