Station Name: PENNS

[Source: Terry Callaghan]

Date opened: 1.7.1879
Location: North-west side of Penns Lane
Company on opening: Midland Railway
Date closed to passengers: 18.1.1965
Date closed completely: 1.2.1965
Company on closing: British Railways (London Midland Region)
Present state: Demolished.
County: Staffordshire
OS Grid Ref: SP135933
Date of visit: 3.5.2012

Notes: Penns station was opened by the Midland Railway (MR) on 1 July 1879. It was on the double-track Castle Bromwich / Water Orton and Walsall line which was authorised on 6 August 1872 as the Wolverhampton, Walsall & Midland Junction Railway (WW&MJR). The MR was a backer of the scheme, seeing it as a means of gaining access to Wolverhampton from its Birmingham and Derby main line. At Walsall the line had a direct connection with the Walsall and Wolverhampton (W&W) Railway which came into MR ownership in 1876. The line opened to all traffic on 1 July 1879.

Penns was located in a cutting a short distance west of Walmley and north-east of Penns Hall. The main facilities were located on the up platform (Castle Bromwich direction) and were reached by a driveway from Penns Lane, which passed over the line on a bridge. The building was a single-storey red-brick structure, and cross-gables with prominent parapets faced each elevation; small windows were set into the gables at ‘first floor’ level to light the interior.

On the down platform (Walsall direction) there was a single-storey building containing waiting facilities with a pitched roof and a tall chimney stack. To reach the down platform passengers used a barrow crossing at the southern end of the station.

Penns had goods facilities but they were not adjacent to the station. Situated a short distance to the south-east of the station on the down side of the line there was a large goods shed constructed from brick. There were also two sidings and cattle pens.

At the time of opening the Penns was served by trains between Birmingham New Street and Wolverhampton High Level via Walsall.

The December 1895 timetable showed twelve up and eleven down trains Monday-to-Saturday. There were three trains each way on Sundays.

In January 1909 the MR altered the route of most of its trains so that they ran between Walsall and Wolverhampton along an LNWR route that had been created in 1881; this was to avoid a reversal at Walsall. The April 1910 timetable showed Penns as having thirteen up and thirteen down trains on Monday-to-Friday, as shown in the table below. There was an extra up and down train on Saturdays and four in each direction on Sundays.

Up Trains April 1910 Destination Down Trains April 1910 Destination
6.53am Birmingham New Street 8.01am Wolverhampton High Level
7.37am Birmingham New Street 8.35am Wolverhampton High Level
8.12am Terminating train from Walsall 9.26am Wolverhampton High Level
8.32am Birmingham New Street 10.58am Wolverhampton High Level
9.14am Birmingham New Street 11.50am (Saturdays Only) Wolverhampton High Level
10.52am Birmingham New Street 1.26pm Wolverhampton High Level
1.04pm Birmingham New Street 2.21pm Wolverhampton High Level
1.47pm (Saturdays Only) Birmingham New Street 4.24pm Wolverhampton High Level
2.32pm Birmingham New Street 5.51pm Wolverhampton High Level
4.35pm Birmingham New Street 6.51pm Walsall
6.00pm Birmingham New Street 7.51pm Wolverhampton High Level
7.50pm Birmingham New Street 9.23pm Wolverhampton High Level
9.01pm Birmingham New Street 10.13pm Walsall
10.51pm Birmingham New Street 11.31pm Walsall

By 1922 the service had reduced to ten up and ten down on Monday-to-Saturday with no trains on Sundays.

On 1 January 1923 both the MR and the LNWR became part of the London Midland & Scottish Railway (LMS). The summer 1932 timetable showed the same level of service but by this time the trains serving Penns ran mostly between Birmingham New Street and Walsall only, passenger services over the former W&W line having ceased on 5 January 1931.

By the September 1936 timetable the service had ten up and ten down trains Monday-to-Friday. On Saturdays there was one extra down train and there were two each way on Sundays.

On 1 January 1948 Penns became part of British Railways (London Midland Region). The summer 1949 timetable showed only five trains each way Monday-to-Friday with one extra down train on Saturdays. The service did not improve in the 1950s with the summer 1957 timetable showing only five trains in each direction Monday-to-Saturday. In the late 1950s BR fitted totem name signs in the station.

By 1962 there were only four trains in each direction Monday-to Friday running between Birmingham New Street and Walsall operated in the main by DMUs. On Saturdays there were two extra down trains and one extra up. There was no Sunday service.

The 1963 Reshaping of British Railways (‘Beeching’) report recommended the withdrawal of the passenger service between Birmingham New Street and Walsall via Penns. The formal proposal of closure was published on 15 October 1963. As it was down to only a handful of trains per day there was little protest, and on 10 September 1964 Ernest Marples, the Minister of Transport, announced his decision that the line should close. The passenger service was withdrawn on Monday 18 January 1965, the last trains having run two days earlier.

The goods facilities at Penns closed on 1 February 1965.

The line through Penns had always been a major freight artery and it remained so in July 2013.

Tickets from Michael Stewart, timetable from Chris Totty and route map by Alan Young


To see other stations on the Castle Bromwich and Wolverhampton line click on the station name: Castle Bromwich, Sutton Coldfield Town, Sutton Park, Streetly, Aldridge, North Walsall, Short Heath, Bentley, Willenhall Stafford Street,
Wednesfield and Heath Town

See also Brownhill branch stations: Walsall Wood and Brownhills

Penns station looking north-west in 1910.
Copyright p
hoto from the John Alsop collection

Penns station shown on a 1:2,500 scale map from the 1890s.

The goods facilities at Penns shown on a 1:2,500 scale map from the early 1900s.

Looking north-west along the down platform at Penns station in May 1955.
Photo from the John Mann collection

The Penns station up platform seen from a passing train in May 1956.
Photo by R M Casserley

Looking north-west as a Walsall to Birmingham New Street DMU passes the Penns goods shed on 2 October 1959. ‘Walsall’ is wrongly displayed on the route indicator.
Photo by Michael Mensing

The up platform station building at Penns seen in 1963.
Copyright photo from the John Alsop collection

Looking north-west at the site of the Penns goods shed on 19 September 2012 from the same viewpoint as the October 1959 picture above.
hoto by Terry Callaghan

The site of Penns station looking north-west on 19 September 2012.
hoto by Terry Callaghan




[Source: Terry Callaghan]

Last updated: Monday, 22-May-2017 11:45:15 CEST
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