Mineral Railways of Cannock Chase
Until 1856 coal was taken from the Nos. 1 & 2 pits to the canal wharf by horse-drawn trucks. In that year the Cannock Chase Colliery Company bought the first of a number of 0-4-2ST locos built by the Beyer Peacock company. (This loco, named McLean, lasted for 100 years before being broken up for scrap in 1956.) In 1858 the line was extended to join the South Staffordshire Railway at Anglesey Sidings.
The current Chasewater Railway is coloured green – but is a bit long – only runs as far as No.2, sorry! The only line still in operation is in the top left of the map. from Walsall to Rugeley, although there is still a single track in situ from Anglesey Sidings to Lichfield.
In 1864 McLean formed the Cannock Chase & Wolverhampton Railway to run from No.3 colliery to the Norton Branch and then, via Essington and Wednesfield, to Wolverhampton. The line reached the Norton Branch but no further. As can be seen on the map, Chasewater Railway now runs on part of this line. In 1866, new track was laid through Chase Terrace to Cooper’s Lodge at Rawnsley where it joined the Cannock Chase Railway.
In 1880 the Midland Railway gained permission to build their long-awaited foothold into the Cannock Chase coalfield. The Walsall Wood Extension Railway would enable them to link their line from Aldridge with the Cannock Chase & Wolverhampton Railway near Chasewater.
The line opened in 1882 to bring coal out of the pits, but two years later, was also opened to passenger traffic as far as the Brownhills Midland Railway Station, between the Chester Road and the A5. The passenger service was not a great success and was closed in 1930.
The Midland Railway continued as a mineral only line until September 1960 when, following the demise of the coalfield, it was closed.
The Brownhills West Station and the first half-mile or so of the track of the Chasewater Railway is on the former Midland Railway line