Lilleshall Company Mineral Railway Line
Research Contributor – Gwyn Hartley
(Some of this information is from the book The Shropshire Union Railway (Stafford to Shrewsbury including the Coalport branch) by Bob Yate.)
The Lilleshall Company had a wide variety of their Companies spread across the surrounding countryside. Most of these were linked through their production and involved the movement of large & heavy quantities of differing materials, so it became apparent for the need of an Industrial Rail line, after the local Canals became less efficient, and finally closed down.
The internal Mineral Line was started around 1851 covering 26 miles of track over the following years. It used 200 mainline and 250 internal wagons. The Company also bought some industrial locomotives from Barcley and Pecket. Through the years 22 Locomotives were used on the line, of which six of these were built by the Lilleshall Company itself, and they built a further 34 for their customers.
The Mineral Lines ran to the following Lilleshall Companies. The Snedshill Furnaces, & Brick & Tile Works. The Priorslee Furnaces. The Asphalt Works at Hollinswood. The New Yard Engineering Works. The Donnington Wood Brickworks. And these Collieries; Woodhouse, Lawn, Stafford, Dark Lane, the Grange, Granville, Old Lodge, Waxhill Barracks, Muxton Bridge & the Freehold Colliery. The Lilleshall Company Railways closed in 1959, after deciding to use Road Transport in the future. There was a ‘Final Run Day’ to which Lilleshall Employees and locals could have a ride in the Loco Trucks down the Company’s Lines between Priorslee Furnaces, and the New Yard Works in St Georges. Only the Track on the Hollinswood side of the Greyhound Bank crossing remained open. The section of the Line that ran to the Granville passed into the hands of the NCB (National Coal Board) Company and was still running until the 1970’s. In Priorslee Village itself, a section of rail that would have gone to Lawn Colliery was embedded into the new road surface as a ‘feature’ by the builders, and some of the route of the line can be seen as a footpath between the houses.
This Mineral rail track also had a line off its route that took in Maddocks one of the few, large, non Lilleshall Companies in the area.
‘In the year, 1912, Joseph Smith was cycling down this Hill and was killed when he collided with one of the Trucks being pulled by a Lilleshall Co. Loco Train on the Mineral Line crossing the road’.
The Lilleshall Company Railways closed in 1959, This Newspaper cutting tells of the ‘Final Run Day’ to which Lilleshall Employees and locals could have a ride in the Loco Trucks down the Company’s Lines for one last time
A Lilleshall Co. Loco at the Mineral Line Crossing on Station Hill, Oakengates. Where the Loco is & beyond is now where the houses of Willows Road stand. Pic taken by Alan Dodd
A diagram of the Mineral rail line, showing many of the Industrial places it covered