Wednesbury 1989

An enormous amount changed in the Black Country between 1976 and 1989. The 1980s had seen the de-industrialisation of the area, and amongst the more obvious effects of this were the closure of the steelworks at Bilston (1979), Patent Shaft in Wednesbury (1980) and Round Oak (1982).

There were many changes on the railway as a result, inevitable given the nature of the traffic that the railway carried. The Princes End branch had closed, it lasted only a couple of years once Bilston had gone. Also closed were the remnants of the GWR route through Priestfield, which lasted until 1983, together with the short stub to Swan Village. Further south the Freightliner terminal at Dudley had closed in 1986, although on the plus side Round Oak steel terminal had emerged from the ashes of the steelworks. One consequence of these changes was that Wednesbury was no longer a railway junction, as only the South Staffs route between Bescot/Walsall and Stourbridge remained. There were still sidings at Wednesbury though, serving both the steel terminal and the engineer's tip.

On the signalling front Wednesbury was still the fringe box to Walsall PSB, with track-circuit block (TCB) in use to the north. In the southbound direction the line was still worked absolute block to Eagle Crossing. The level crossings over Potters Lane and Eagle Lane were also still in place. What had changed was that the boxes were now only open for two shifts, Monday to Friday, with the line closed at night. Opening hours were 05:30 until roughly 21:00, the actual closure time varying from day-to-day depending on traffic demands. Shift change was usually at 12:50.

Locomotive variety had inevitably diminished. In 1976 the occasional Western could still be seen on the china-clay, but the last hydraulics went in 1977. Also gone were the Class 40s and the Peaks, but the most visible casualty were the Class 24s and 25s which had once dominated the local trip workings. Class 31s had replaced Derby Type 2s on the London Midland Region, and as a consequence these were no longer the occasional interlopers that they had been in the 1970s. The same was true of Class 37s, which along with the ubiquitous 47s were now the staple power on trains through Wednesbury. Class 20s still appeared, as of course did Class 08 shunters, but there were fewer of both to be seen.

Another change was the lack of any surprises amongst the visiting locos. In 1976 the appearance of something like a Cricklewood Class 25 or a Haymarket 47 in the West Midlands was a noteworthy event, especially so in the latter case. By 1989 there was none of this. I scoured the register for July and August looking for anything that might count as a rare or unusual engine - but I couldn't find a single thing. The closest I came was a Class 58 on Trip 52, in lieu of the usual Class 47/4. This was unusual not because the 58 was rare in the locality, but because it was owned by a different part of the freight business from the one which operated this particular train. Sectorisation of the loco fleet had much to do with this lack of variety, as of course did the reduction in the overall loco fleet and the much reduced number of classes in use.

Needless to say there were many fewer trains in 1989 than there had been in 1976. In 1976 there were roughly four movements an hour on average during the daytime, although night shifts were quieter. By 1989 this figure had halved to two an hour, and in the immediate pre-closure era it would halve again to a little over one an hour. In compensation it was much easier for enthusiasts to get information about the train workings in 1989. The reduction in the number of trains combined with a greater interest in the wagons conveyed meant that most of the regular workings could easily be identified by sight - despite the fact that the locomotives no longer displayed headcodes.

In fact the timetable was now sufficiently predictable that it's a straightforward job to summarise the regular workings below. Ad-hoc specials still ran, but there were just a trickle of these compared with the situation in 1976. So here's a summary of the regular timetabled workings through Wednesbury in the summer of 1989...

Steel trains

There were three block steel trains, and all three were regular daily runners. In the morning there was 6M40 Cardiff - Wednesbury and the 6V43 return working which ran to Margam for some reason. In the afternoon there was a similar 6M12 Cardiff - Wednesbury, which returned to Cardiff as 6V69. These trains called at Brierley Hill for traffic purposes as required, and mostly conveyed steel wire from ASW at Cardiff. The loaded trains could be heavy enough to require a banker from Brierley Hill to Dudley. Both trains were absolute rock-solid Class 37 turns and I don't recall ever seeing anything other than a 37 on them, although Class 56s would start to appear in the early 1990s. Locos came from the Cardiff metals pools, and were usually 37/7s. 37/9s also appeared quite frequently, but 37/0s were rather less common.

The other regular working was the 6M51 Scunthorpe - Brierley Hill and 6E29 return working. This train conveyed rod and billet, and was a morning visitor. It would call at Wednesbury for traffic if required, and sometimes took a banking engine for the climb from Great Bridge to Dudley. In summer 1989 it was mainly getting Class 37s from Thornaby's metals pool, but Class 20s from Immingham also appeared occasionally.

Speedlink trains

Most long-distance Speedlink trains ran in the evening and night, and because the line through Wednesbury closed at 21:00 this rather limited the number of Speedlinks which could be routed via the South Staffs line. Nonetheless a few were booked this way, and all bar one ran in the early evening. These trains included 6M72 St Blazey - Cliffe Vale and 6V70 return. As is well known the main load on these trains was china-clay for the Potteries, although they called at Bescot and could convey other traffic if required.

There were three other workings. One was 6V80 Bescot - East Usk, a long-standing Speedlink service which for many years had run to Severn Tunnel Jct until that yard closed in 1987. In the mid-80s this train could get almost anything, Peaks and 47s were probably most common, but I remember a spell when it was regularly in the hands of Class 20s. I've also seen a Class 40 work it at least once, but by 1989 this was all history of course.

The remaining two workings were both northbound trains. The load conveyed by 6M29 Taunton - Bescot included products from the cider factory, and in 1990 it would be extended to run to Warrington Arpley.

In 1988 6M17 had been a Tavistock Jct (Plymouth) - Bescot train, and there was also a 6E82 Gloucester - Whitemoor. However by the summer of 1989 these trains had been amended such that 6M17 was a Gloucester - Bescot and 6L82 was a Bescot - Whitemoor. A year later further rationalisation of the Speedlink network saw 6M17 abolished completely, with any remaining traffic probably being conveyed by 6M29. 6L82 still ran in summer 1990 though.

Back in the summer of 1989 6M17 wasn't booked to arrive at Bescot until 21:09, and was therefore likely to be the last train of the day through Wednesbury. On a few days it's a no-show in the register, which probably means it was running late and diverted from Stourbridge to reach Bescot via Cradley Heath and Galton Jct.

All these Speedlink trains were usually worked by Railfreight Distribution (RfD) Class 47s based at Tinsley, although RfD Class 37s could occasionally substitute.

Engineers trains

There was only one long-distance engineer's working booked through Wednesbury in 1989. This was the 9M01 Gloucester - Bescot and 9V01 return working. In early 1989 this train was still getting Class 50s from the Western Region Engineer's pool, but by the summer Class 37s from Cardiff's departmental pool had taken over. The timetable still showed this as a vacuum-braked train, one of the few remaining in the West Midlands.

9M01/9V01 was booked to run on Tuesdays only, but its appearances in the summer of 1989 were a bit erratic. On Tue 4th July it ran as 7M01/8V01; on Tue 11th July it was a no-show; on Tue 18th July there were no trains at all (industrial action); on Tue 25th July there's a 7V01 in the register, but no M01 (ran via Galton Jct perhaps?). On Tue 1st August it ran as 8M01/9V01 hauled by 37230; on Tue 8th August it ran as 8M01/8V01 hauled by 37146; and on Tue 15th August it was a no-show again.

Trip workings

The basic pattern was that each of the remaining terminals had its own trip working, and was visited once in the morning and once in the afternoon. It wasn't uncommon for the morning return working and the afternoon outward working to convey no wagons, with the other legs conveying the bulk of the traffic. The tables below give a better indication of how often this happened

Trip 19 covered Wednesbury and Bloxwich, and in the summer of 1989 it was worked by a Class 08. In 1988 this trip had been worked by a single Class 20, often with the same loco sticking for several weeks. I believe that the change to an 08 was some sort of cost-saving measure, although it didn't last long. In particular Class 08s could struggle with the heavy Cargowaggons then used for Bloxwich traffic, and I believe the maximum load was four.

Trip 42 covered Brierley Hill and Pensnett and was worked by an RfD Class 47. By 1989 Pensnett traffic was on the wane, only the bottled water traffic remained I believe.

Trip 52 covered Round Oak. The main consist of this trip was imported steel on Freightliner flats from Lawley St, although there was a significant amount of steel moved in conventional wagons too. The loco was usually a Crewe-based Class 47/4, reflecting the fact that this diagram started at Saltley. The October 1989 and January 1990 revisions saw the morning and afternoon Round Oak trips incorporated into the Bescot-based T50 diagram. In compensation T52 gained some work in the Birmingham area - it still made morning and evening visits to Bescot but no longer visited Wednesbury.

There were also a couple of Bescot-based engineer's trips which worked as required, and frequently visited Wednesbury in the course of their duties. They were usually powered by Class 20s from Toton's departmental pool. These trips were the closest you'd get to old style unpredictable target workings. Their visits to Wednesbury would occur more often on Mondays and Fridays, bringing loaded spoil trains early in the week and returning the empty rakes later in the week so that they were available at Bescot for weekend engineering trains.

So that's the basic train pattern, but how did it pan out on a day-to-day basis? The following tables show all the trains through Wednesbury in the week starting Monday 10th July. There are only four tables because no trains ran on Wednesday 12th due to a strike. Despite the industrial action the remaining data gives a reasonable idea of the volume of traffic at Wednesbury in 1989, although Thursday 13th does look to have suffered a little from the knock-on effects of the strike.

We're lucky that just as in 1976 one of the regular signalmen in 1989 recorded the loco numbers. As a result we have the loco details for the morning shift, and we can make some fairly safe extrapolations for the afternoon trips as these would almost always have used the same engines. In the daily tables I've shown loco numbers in white where they're recorded in the register, or where there's no doubt about them. In situations where the loco number is unrecorded, but can be reasonably extrapolated, it's shown in grey. Loco numbers shown in this colour are courtesy of Jeff B, from his own observations of the trains in question.

Trains through Wednesbury on Monday 10th July 1989
Train Wednesbury Loco Comments
6T42 Bescot - Brierley Hill 06.11 47156 T42 was normally the first train of the day, typically appearing just after 06.00. If it ran late T19 or M40 might show up first, but the normal situation prevailed on this day.
0M40 Cardiff - Wednesbury 06.43-07.02 37714 No traffic on the final leg to Wednesbury, but it probably conveyed something as far as Brierley Hill.
8T19 Bescot - Wednesbury 06.36-06.55   For some reason the signalman hasn't made a note of the engine number, but we can reasonably assume it's an 08 as per normal. There was quite a bit of variety in the locos used on this trip and it didn't necessarily get the same engine for extended periods, something that had been the case in 1988 when single Class 20s were used. Locos appearing during July and August 1989 included 08517, 08604, 08616, 08672 and 08746.
6M51 Scunthorpe - Brierley Hill 08.01-08.03 37240 Into the sidings at Wednesbury, probably to detach traffic.
0T55 Bescot - Great Bridge 08.05-08.38 31110 T55 is the Bescot banking engine, and it's clear from the timings that it's turned up at Wednesbury to bank 6M51. It's arrived in plenty of time, and has to wait for half-an-hour before 6M51 sets off, The 31 will follow to Great Bridge, which is where banking will commence.
0L50 Bescot - Wednesbury 08.23-08.59 31417 This is probably for an engineer's train, and certainly not a regular working. In the era of sectorisation the fact that the loco is from the LMR civil engineer's pool offers a pretty good clue.
6M51 Scunthorpe - Brierley Hill 08.33 37240 The Scunthorpe sets off for Brierley Hill, with the banking engine about to follow (see above).
6V43 Wednesbury - Margam 08.54 37714 The comments column in the register says "(33)", which is probably a reference to the number of wagons in the consist. They are likely to have been SPAs or some variant thereof.
8T91 Bescot - ? 09.23 20228+20145 Although this train probably originated at Bescot there's no indication of where it was headed. All we have to go on is the time of its return, which was 13.25. A four hour round trip would have allowed it to get quite a way, but I have no real idea where it went.
6M72 Gloucester - Cliffe Vale 09.33   The china-clay originated at St Blazey, but the Friday night train recessed at Gloucester over the weekend.
7L50 Wednesbury - ? 09.46 31417 There are no clues as to the destination of this train, but it departed north towards Bescot or Walsall. A note in the register indicates that the block bells between Wednesbury and Eagle Crossing were playing up at this point.
6T52 Lawley St - Round Oak 10.04 47451 47610 climbing towards Dudley with 6T52 This picture was taken at 10.51 on Monday 31st October 1988. It shows 6T52 on the climb towards Dudley and gives a glimpse of the sort of wagons which were conveyed in addition to the Freightliner flats. The loco is 47610, carrying what looks like quite an odd livery in retrospect. Inter-City colours without the logo, tiny numbers that were briefly fashionable, and a yellow front that didn't wrap-around the cab-side windows. It was soon to be converted to 47823.
0T55 Brierley Hill - Bescot 10.13 31110 The banker returns to Bescot.
9T19 Wednesbury - Bescot 10.19    
6E29 Brierley Hill - Scunthorpe 10.31-10.33 37240 Into the sidings at Wednesbury, no doubt to attach empties.
6E29 Brierley Hill - Scunthorpe 11.04 37240 Half-an-hour later 6E29 departs for Scunthorpe.
0T42 Brierley Hill - Bescot 11.46 47156  
9T19 Bescot - Wednesbury 12.21-12.24    
6T52 Round Oak - Wednesbury 12.58-13.08 47451 This is actually described in the register at 6T42, but that must be a mistake.
0T52 Wednesbury - Bescot 13.15 47451 A fairly swift departure after dropping traffic at Wednesbury.
8T90 Bescot - Wednesbury 13.18-13.54   This is likely to be a spoil train for the tip.
0T91 ? - Bescot 13.25 20145+20228 T91 returns light engine, almost certainly heading back to Bescot.
0T42 Bescot - Brierley Hill 13.43-13.58 47156 The T42 loco has had to wait for T90 to be allowed into the sidings.
0T90 Wednesbury - Bescot 14.15   The 20s off T90 depart light engine. It would be just over two hours before they re-appeared at Wednesbury, but it's more than likely that they only went to Bescot.
0T52 Bescot - Round Oak 14.46 47451  
7L51 ? - Great Bridge 15.31   The destination of this train is recorded in the register, so isn't in doubt, but where it came from is unknown. Given the reporting number it's more than likely this was the return working of 7L50, and thus probably 31417 again.
0Z98 Great Bridge - Bescot 15.50   Shown in the comments column as 0L51, so there's no doubt about which loco this is.
8T90 Bescot - Wednesbury 16.27   T90 turns up at Wednesbury for the second time on this afternoon. Again the load is almost certainly spoil for the tip.
6M12 Cardiff - Wednesbury 16.47-16.56    
0T90 Wednesbury - Bescot 16.47   This time we can be certain that T90 returned to Bescot given that it was back within 45 minutes.
8T19 Wednesbury - Bescot 17.10    
6T52 Round Oak - Lawley St 17.22 47451  
6T42 Brierley Hill - Bescot 17.42 47156  
8T90 Bescot - Wednesbury 17.25-18.04   A third visit of T90. On each occasion it's brought wagons to Wednesbury, and returned light engine - which isn't a surprise given that this is a Monday.
0T90 Wednesbury - Bescot 18.16    
8T91 Bescot - Wednesbury 17.40-18.20 20228+20145 And now T91 appears at Wednesbury again. With three visits from T90, one from T91, plus the L50 working that means five trains visited the P.W. sidings on this day There were also L51 and T91 passing moves. In 1989 that was probably as busy as it got for engineer's workings.
6V70 Cliffe Vale - St Blazey 18.13-18.25   Minor congestion again, as the china-clay is held waiting for 8T91 to clear the main-line and get into the sidings. T91 is evidently waiting for the T90 loco to depart before it's allowed into the sidings.
6V69 Wednesbury - Cardiff 18.50    
0T91 Wednesbury - Bescot 19.28 20145+20228  
6V80 Bescot - East Usk 20.26    
6M29 Taunton - Bescot 20.43    
Train out of section for 6M29 was sent to Eagle Crossing at 20.44, and 7-5-5 (box closing) was returned at 20.45. Wednesbury closed at 20.55, with no sign of 6M17 Gloucester - Bescot which I imagine was running late and diverted via Galton Jct as a result.

The box was open for 15½ hours and 41 movements were recorded in the register - an average of just under 3 movements per hour. Of these 41 movements 27 were trains and 14 were light engines. This is a slight over-statement of the true amount of traffic because it double-counts passing trains like 6M51 which called at Wednesbury for traffic. Also some of the T19 moves may have been engine and brakevan, with no wagons conveyed (those shown as 9T19 are contenders). Nonetheless the movement count is useful as a comparative measure. Monday 10th is untypical for 1989, as the remainder of the week shows. In reality the true average was about 30-32 movements, or roughly two per hour.

The longest gaps between movements were the periods of just under an hour between 07:02-08:01 and 19:28-20:26.
Trains through Wednesbury on Tuesday 11th July 1989
Train Wednesbury Loco Comments
6T42 Bescot - Brierley Hill 06.04 47249  
6M40 Cardiff - Wednesbury 06.20-06.37 37714  
8T19 Bescot - Wednesbury 06.35-06.49 08616  
6M51 Scunthorpe - Brierley Hill 07.58 37258 The Scunthorpe whizzes straight through - no traffic stop at Wednesbury on this occasion.
6M72 St Blazey - Cliffe Vale 08.08 47188  
6V43 Wednesbury - Margam 08.35 37714  
8T19 Wednesbury - Bescot 09.06 08616  
6E29 Brierley Hill - Scunthorpe 09.20-09.26 37258 Running about 90 minutes ahead of its regular time, no doubt due to not having stopped at Wednesbury on the way south.
0F80 Bescot? - Gloucester? 10.06 37003+37198 An interesting light-engine movement. I don't have a 1989 reference to hand, but in 1990 these two were Railfreight Distribution locos allocated to Tinsley. 0F80 is the usual headcode for light engines to Gloucester.
6E29 Brierley Hill - Scunthorpe 10.25 37258 The Scunthorpe departs north.
4T52 Lawley St - Round Oak 10.48   Running a bit late on its normal timings. The Class 4 indication shows that the load consisted entirely of steel on Freightliner wagons. The flat-rack containers carried the branding of the Seawheel intermodal operator. Seawheel was acquired by the Icelandic logistics group Samskip in 2005, and in autumn 2006 they decided to phase out the Seawheel brand.

For some reason the loco isn't recorded, but it was 47451 on Monday, Thursday and Friday (no trains on Wednesday due to the strike). I think it's likely that it was 47451 on this occasion too.
0T42 Brierley Hill - Bescot 11.08 47249  
9T96 ? - Wednesbury 12.22-12.26 20139+20160 A spoil train I'd assume. Interesting that it's running as a Class 9, which in this era meant it wasn't continuously braked throughout. Or maybe Class 9 suggests just the locos and a brakevan?
8T19 Bescot - Wednesbury 12.36-12.47 08616 T19 isn't going to be allowed into the sidings until T96 has departed (below).
0T96 Wednesbury - Bescot? 12.41 20160+20139 The 20s didn't hang around long after dropping their train. The fact that they left light engine does suggest that 9T96 was a train, rather than just engine and brakevan.
6T52 Round Oak - Wednesbury 12.53-13.02   T52 brings some wagons north...
0T52 Wednesbury - Bescot 13.11   ...and the loco disappears fairly promptly.
6T42 Bescot - Brierley Hill 13.42 47249  
0T96 Bescot? - Wednesbury 15.03 20139+20160 The T96 locos re-appear, this time to collect a train.
6T52 Bescot - Round Oak 15.06    
8T96 Wednesbury - Washwood Heath 15.49 20160+20139 The destination for this train was helpfully recorded by the signalman. By 1989 the only regular movements over the direct line between Pleck Jct and Bescot Curve Jct were 6M51/6E29 and the T52 trips. Beyond that there would have been just the occasional extra like this one.
6M12 Cardiff - Wednesbury 16.20-16.43    
8T19 Wednesbury - Bescot 16.48 08616  
6T52 Round Oak - Wednesbury 17.00-17.03   Into Wednesbury to detach traffic...
4T52 Wednesbury - Lawley St 17.17   ...and away to Lawley St with just the Freightliner empties in tow.
6V70 Cliffe Vale - St Blazey 17.33    
6T42 Brierley Hill - Bescot 17.45 47249  
6V69 Wednesbury - Cardiff 18.25    
6M29 Taunton - Bescot 19.21    
6V80 Bescot - East Usk 20.15    
6M17 Gloucester - Bescot 20.43 47306  
Train out of section for 6M17 was sent to Eagle Crossing at 20:44, and box closing was returned at 20:45. Wednesbury closed at 20:55. Note that by chance these are exactly the same times as the previous evening, although on this occasion 6M17 turned up in time to run via Wednesbury.

The box was open for 15½ hours and there were 31 movements - an average of exactly two per hour. Of these just 5 were light engines, with the other 26 being trains. This is a slightly more typical day than Monday, all the booked trains turned up in some approximation of their normal paths, and there were two engineers trains into and out of the sidings at Wednesbury. The only odd working was the 0F80 light engines.

The longest gaps between trains were the 74 minutes between 11:08 and 12:22, and the 81 minutes between 13.42 and 15.03.
Trains through Wednesbury on Thursday 13th July 1989
Train Wednesbury Loco Comments
8T19 Bescot - Wednesbury 07.21-07.25 08746 The previous day's strike has obviously caused some disruption on the morning of the 13th. Neither 6M40 nor 6M51 ran, and T42 was 90 minutes late on its normal timings. As a result trip 19 was the first train of the day. Also of note is that Wednesbury box opened at 06.00 rather than the normal 05.30, which may indicate when the strike actually ended.
6T42 Bescot - Brierley Hill 07.32 47102  
8T19 Wednesbury - Bescot 08.05 08746 This is an unusually early departure for the morning T19. As a rule it didn't leave Wednesbury until 09:30 at the earliest, and often ran much later. The explanation is that it was going to make a second morning trip to Wednesbury. At this remove we can only speculate why. The obvious explanation would be that there was too much traffic for the Class 08 to handle in one go, but I'm not sure that was the case as it came back to Wednesbury as 9T19 - possibly implying just engine and van.
6M72 Gloucester - Cliffe Vale 08.53 47291 Thursday morning's 6M72 would normally have started at St Blazey on Wednesday evening, but that wouldn't have been possible due to the previous day's industrial action. In all likelihood the Tuesday night train would have recessed somewhere en-route, starting from there on Thursday morning. I'm guessing the recess point was Gloucester, but it's only a guess.
9T19 Bescot - Wednesbury 09.27-09.31 08746 T19 returns for a second time.
6T52 Lawley St - Round Oak 09.37 47451  
0T60 Bescot - ? 10.14 31290 A minor puzzle this. T60 was the Duddeston trip, and wouldn't normally have been seen at Wednesbury. It came back just under 2 hours later, so it wasn't going very far. It hadn't gone to collect a train as it came back light engine, so my initial instinct was that it had done a banking turn in lieu of T55. However it's a bit too late to have banked T52 I think. T52 was back at Wednesbury by 11.20, which suggests it wouldn't have had time to wait for T60. And the times don't really suggest that T60 had gone to assist a northbound train, so this move remains unexplained.
0T42 Brierley Hill - Bescot 10.30 47102  
6Z94 ? - Bescot 10.58 37074 Here's a nice surprise, in the form of a special. There weren't that many Zs running around the Wednesbury area in 1989, so it's probably a safe bet to assume that 6Z98 (below) is the return working of this train. If so it's probably gone no further than Bescot as 6Z98 passed within 85 minutes.

There are no clues to the origin of this working, other than the loco which is a Railfreight Distribution engine. Back in 1976 it might have been possible to draw a conclusion from the allocation of the loco, but in 1989 the sector allocation reveals more. 37074 was a Tinsley loco at this time, but that's of very little significance.

Once again it's not unreasonable to suspect that the strike may have something to do with the appearance of this train.
6T52 Round Oak - Bescot 11.21 47451  
8T19 Wednesbury - Bescot 11.35 08746  
0T60 ? - Duddeston 12.03 31290 The comment in the register actually says "Vauxhall", harking back to the earlier name of the location. The Duddeston trip usually left Bescot in the early afternoon, so it would have picked up some approximation of the normal path for that working.
6Z98 Bescot - ? 12.22 37074 There's nothing at all in the register to link this train with 6Z94 (above), but it looks very much like the return working to me.
0T42 Bescot - Brierley Hill 13.05 47102  
8T19 Bescot - Wednesbury 14.35 08746  
0T52 Bescot - Round Oak 14.42 47451  
8T19 Wednesbury - Great Bridge 15.03 08746 T19 was booked to visit Great Bridge as required, but it didn't go every day by any means. This was the only trip to Great Bridge during the week commencing 10th July, but some weeks it went more often than this. For example here are the Great Bridge workings for the week commencing Monday 24th July...
Date Left Wednesbury Arrived back
Mon 24th 12.30 as 8T19 13.15 as 9T19 (engine and van)
Tue 25th 12.22 as 9T19 (engine and van) 14.23 as 9T19
Wed 26th No trains (strike)
Thu 27th 13.04 as 9T19 (engine and van) 13.58 as 8T19
Fri 28th Didn't visit Great Bridge.
As this table suggests going to Great Bridge as late as 15:00 was a little unusual.

08759 and 37905 at Great Bridge The picture was taken at 09.12 on Friday 14th June 1991. It's something of a grab shot, taken in a brief burst of sunshine, hence the slightly ropey composition. On the left 08759 is shunting steel wagons into the sidings at Great Bridge, it had brought these wagons up from Wednesbury as T22. Meantime 37905 stands at the signal with 6M40 Cardiff - Wednesbury.
9T19 Great Bridge - Wednesbury 15.32-15.34 08746 Definitely just engine and brakevan only, as the signalman noted "E/BV". From this, and the swift return, we can probably deduce that the purpose of this trip was simply to take wagons to Great Bridge.
6T52 Round Oak - Lawley St 17.07   This train is shown as 6T50 in the register, but I think that must be a mistake. Firstly T50 didn't normally reach Wednesbury in the course of its duties (although it would do so from October 1989 when the trip diagrams were revised). More importantly there's no record of a 6T52, despite the fact that the loco went south in the normal path. This, I think, must be it.
6T42 Brierley Hill - Bescot 17.24-17.38 47102 This train appears to have called at Wednesbury to detach wagons, but is shown as one entry in the register. Normally it would have been recorded as two entries, one for the arrival and one for the departure.
8T19 Wednesbury - Bescot 17.27 08746  
6V70 Cliffe Vale - St Blazey 17.32    
8T90 Bescot - Wednesbury 18.15    
8T90 Wednesbury - Bescot 18.57    
6M12 Cardiff - Wednesbury 18.58-19.09   M12 was running untypically late, it normally appeared between 17.00 and 18.00.
6M29 Taunton - Bescot 19.21    
6V69 Wednesbury - Cardiff 19.49    
6V80 Bescot - East Usk 20.47    
6M17 Gloucester - Bescot 21.02    
There's no box-closing entry for Eagle Crossing, so it was presumably still open when Wednesbury closed at 21:10. I guess this was because 6V80 ran a little late, and Eagle Crossing was still waiting for train-out-of-section from Kingswinford Jct when Wednesbury closed.

The box was open for 15 hours and there were 29 movements. Once again an average of roughly two trains an hour, even though 6M40/6V43 and 6M51/6E29 were non-runners, and there were no engineers trips. In the event 6Z94/6Z98, the unexplained T60 and the additional T19 trips compensated for the missing trains. Of the 29 movements 5 were light engines, although once again a couple of the T19 moves were just engine and brakevan.

The longest gaps between trains were the 90 minute interval between 13:05 and 14:35, and the 93 minute interval between 15.34 and 17.07.
Trains through Wednesbury on Friday 14th July 1989
Train Wednesbury Loco Comments
6T42 Bescot - Brierley Hill 06.07 47354  
8T19 Bescot - Wednesbury 06.41-06.45    
6M40 Cardiff - Wednesbury 06.54-07.03 37906 The first appearance of a 37/9 during the week commencing 10th July. With only six locos in the subclass they were never likely to be daily visitors on the Wednesbury trains, but they appeared often enough. We only have loco numbers for 6M40/6V43, and not 6M12/6V69, so this list isn't complete. Nonetheless it gives a fair idea of how often they appeared in the Black Country. Here are the July visits on 6M40...
Date Loco
Mon 3rd 37905
Fri 14th 37906
Mon 17th 37901
Mon 24th 37902
Tue 25th 37902
That's roughly one appearance a week on 6M40, with the possibility of occasional appearances on 6M12 as well. In practise that may be slightly higher than the true average as the early weeks of August saw no 37/9s, not on M40 anyway.

The register shows the note "(30)" after the loco number. Once again I assume that's the number of wagons on the train.
0T90 Bescot - ? 07.52 20228+20145 It's not clear where the 20s were off to, as no destination is shown in the register. They didn't go far though, as they were back in 90 minutes.
0V43 Wednesbury - Margam 08.11 37906 It was unusual for V43 to run as a light engine, but of course it could have collected empties at Brierley Hill.
6M72 St Blazey - Cliffe Vale 08.18 47249  
6M51 Scunthorpe - Brierley Hill 08.31-08.45 37241 Into the sidings at Wednesbury to detach traffic...
6M51 Scunthorpe - Brierley Hill 09.08 37241 ...and away to Brierley Hill.
4T52 Lawley St - Round Oak 09.18 47451  
7T90 ? - Wednesbury 09.26-09.30 20145+20228  
0T42 Brierley Hill - Bescot 10.29 47354  
6E29 Brierley Hill - Scunthorpe 10.51 37241 Didn't stop for traffic on this occasion.
9T90 Wednesbury - Bescot 11.25 20145+20228 I'm assuming this is spoil empties. It can only have gone to Bescot given that the locos returned 40 minutes later.
9T19 Wednesbury - Bescot 11.27   Engine and brakevan only.
0T90 Bescot - Wednesbury 12.05-12.07 20228+20145  
9T90 Wednesbury - Bescot 12.29 20145+20228 This is smart work, departing again within 25 minutes of the locos arriving.
6T52 Round Oak - Bescot 12.38 47451  
9T19 Bescot - Wednesbury 12.39-12.42    
0T42 Bescot - Brierley Hill 13.11 47354  
0T52 Bescot - Round Oak 14.08 47451  
8T19 Wednesbury - Bescot 16.49    
0T90 Bescot - Wednesbury 17.14 20228+20145 A third visit of the day for T90, once again arriving light to collect a train. This is exactly the sort of pattern you'd expect to see on a Friday with weekend engineering work looming.
6T42 Brierley Hill - Bescot 17.23 47354  
6V70 Cliffe Vale - St Blazey 17.30    
8T90 Wednesbury - Bescot 17.34 20145+20228 Another speedy departure, just 20 minutes after the locos arrived. This one was definitely bound for Bescot as it's recorded in the register.
6M12 Cardiff - Wednesbury 18.16    
0E96 Wolverhampton? - Wednesbury 18.25   This is an interesting working. 6E96 was the 20.39 Wolverhampton - Grimsby (Scunthorpe on Fridays), and wouldn't normally have been seen at Wednesbury. It was the return working of 6M71 11.36 Grimsby - Wolverhampton. Evidently on this occasion the return working was going to start at Wednesbury, which was a rare event in 1989.
6T52 Round Oak - Lawley St 18.26 47451  
6E96 Wednesbury - Scunthorpe 18.54   The Scunthorpe is away after just 30 minutes.
6V69 Wednesbury - Cardiff 19.08    
6M17 Gloucester - Bescot 19.29 37009  
6V80 Bescot - East Usk 20.19 37355  
6M29 was a no-show on this day, the second time that one of the evening Speedlinks has failed to appear in the week under review. As on the previous day Wednesbury closed before Great Bridge, with 7-5-5 sent at 20.35. At this time Great Bridge was once again likely to be awaiting train-out-of-section from Kingswinford Jct for 6V80.

The box was open for 15½ hours and there were 32 movements. Once again an average of roughly two trains an hour. This looks like a reasonably typical Friday with most of the booked trains showing up, plus a healthy number of engineers trains. The additional E96 working has compensated for the missing 6M29. Of the 32 movements a slightly higher than normal 8 were light engines, the unbalanced engineers trips contributing to this.

The longest gap between trains was the whopping 2 hours 40 minutes between 14.08 and 16.49. This was also the longest interval during the entire week. The timetable suggested that the quietest time of day should be mid-afternoon, but on this occasion the big interval is largely due to the afternoon T52 going south earlier than normal.

Once again I must thank the Wednesbury signalman of 1989 for their (inadvertent) help in compiling these pages. Their additional notes, especially the loco numbers, have made the exercise worthwhile. Thanks also to Dave H for assistance with the trip notices.

If you can add any information to these notes, or correct any mistakes, then feel free to contact me.