Priestfield Station 1854 - 1972

Priestfield Station in about 1960. The former O.W. W.R. mainline branches off in the foreground, the G.W.R. line to Birmingham behind. In early days this junction marked the end of the Great Western broad gauge system proper, the approach to Wolverhampton being over O.W.W. metals. This view shows the centre island platform only. The small building in the foreground was once the Clearing House office, but served in later years as a waiting room. Courtesy of B.R./O.P.C.

When the Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway opened its line from Tipton to Wolverhampton on July 1st, 1854, the stations listed en-route were Daisey Bank (renamed Daisy Bank in 1866), Bilston and Priestfield. The Great Western Railway opened its route from Birmingham to Wolverhampton through Priestfield in November of the same year, but with no mention of a station at Priestfield occuring in its timetables.

In 1855 the newspapers carried a list of G.W.R. Northern Division timetable amendments, which referred to the fact that the Priestfield Station opened on the 2nd July. Mac Dermott’s history of the G.W.R. mentions the fact that a temporary wooden platform was erected prior to the junction of the two railways at Priestfield, this being used to collect tickets for the station at Low Level, as this was for many years an open station.

It seems likely from this, that the tickets were collected at the newly opened Great Western side of the station. This is born out by the number of down trains that stopped at Priestfield by the 1860s, with 22 G.W.R. down trains stopping there compared with only 13 of the 22 up trains. Similarly on the West Midlands section (ex-O.W.W.) 8 out of 11 down trains stopped, but only 4 out of 10 up trains.

The station had four platform faces, the G.W.R. down platform adjoining the up O.W.W. platform and the junction fork. The two centre platforms created a large triangle, on which a hut was installed for the Railway Clearing House Checker. It was his job to record the traffic passing over each route and apportion the costs between the two companies. He also noted the wagon ownership and usage.

Access to all of the platforms could be obtained from the main roads, but the station was later provided with a footbridge, probably during the early 1880s, when many smaller Great Western stations received similar structures and gas lighting. The buildings however, remained wooden until the close of the station.

During the 1930s the G.W.R. were running over 20 trains each way that stopped at Priestfield, but services were drastically reduced during the 1950s when intermediate services were cut on the Wolverhampton to Stourbridge route. This change left Priestfield with only 5 trains each way during the rush hour period, compared to 14 previously. The passenger service was withdrawn completely with effect from July 30th, 1962 and the line closed to freight in 1968. The express service from Wolverhampton to Birmingham Snow Hill ceased in March 1967, leaving only a local service, which continued to include Priestfield. Two years later the station was reduced to an unstaffed halt, with a service of about 5 trains each way, finally closing on March 6th, 1972.

For sometime after closure the gas lights could be seen burning in the station waiting room at night, probably lit by children, until someone ripped all the piping out and made off with it, leaving the gas to escape into the air. The last vestages of railway track were removed in March 1984, the track running from Wednesbury to the steel terminal in what was once the O.W.W. goods station at Walsall Street being lifted and cut up. The platform remained, covered in weeds and bushes, the buildings themselves having been destroyed in the 1970s.


G.W.R. Priestfield Station by Michael Hale, Blackcountryman vol. II, 1978.
Railways of the West Midlands 1808 – 1954 S.L.S.
Wolverhampton Chronicle as stated.
History of the G.W.R. vol. I.
MacDerMott Persona1 recollections.

A view from the end of the island platform, early 1984. The occasion being the removal of the last section of the former G.W.R. mainline. Photograph by J. Bates.

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T. Bates