Nostalgia Nuggets?

An 1835 nap (above) shows the early Dudley next to a blob of parkland on top of which (a strip of red) is Dudley Castle. The castle was once a Motte and Bailey establishment (remember from school day history) which was later rebuilt, burnt down, rebuilt and left to become a ruin. 
And here is the castle hill in 1938.

We now have a few railway lines running to the east of the hill..

The Castle mound became the site of the celebrated Dudley Zoo with its skilled advertising slogan of the 1960s.

fbb remembers a huge poster to that effect clearly visible from Dudley’s bus station. The zoo had a chair lift to assist folk up to the craggy summit …

… and once up there you would find a whole range of entertainment including a miniature railway.

Todays chair lift looks a lot more secure …

… and the miniature railway …

… has taken a leap onto modernity. There is also a land train.

But next to the castle and zoo excrescence was once Dudley Town station, not to be confused with Dudley Port station or Sandwell and Dudley station.

Even worse, do not confuse it with the orange line at Dudley Station …

… because, as you all know what fbb didn’t, namely that the orange Dudley is in Boston USA.

So what of Dudley’s Town station.  Well it isn’t there any more, but, as they say in all Romantic Dramas, it’s complicated.

The Great Western arrived ex northwards from Wolverhampton, calling at Tipton. From the north east came thr South Staffordshire Railway, (later the LMS) running from  Walsall via Dudley Port Low Level.

Even Wikipedia struggles to tell us much about Dudley Port.
Originally the canal port 
for the town of Dudley.

Proper noun
Dudley Port
A suburban area in the
Metropolitan Borough of Sandwell,
West Midlands
And here … tada! … is the Port today!

Ane here it is on an aerial Streetview view.

But back to the Town station. 

South of the station the line, once again, split into two.

The slightly more notable route for passengers was a shuttle to Old Hill.

(click to enkarge the timetable) whilst the other route, manly freight only, continues to Kidderminster and was used to get goods trains to Bescot yard without cluttering up central Birmingham.

The station had two Island platforms, the one on the left being for GWR trains and then one, accessed via the over bridge in this north facing picture, was for the LMS. The LMS chimneys are disinc.tive!

It follows that Dudley Town was, in general, served by very local trains carrying few passengers. 
Here is a GWR train …

… and an ex LMS “rail motor”.

It is not at all surprising that these lines have been closed completely for passenger trains.

There was a freight development which, for a time, brought Dudley into an uncharacteristic burst of railway modernity. More tomorrow!
So lets look at buses.

Across Castle Hill from the Zoo/Castle mound is a road called Birmingham Street. It is a very tired and tatty thoroughfare …

… which forms a back entrance to the current bus station in Dudley. It also led to the previous bus station once visited by fbb.

The original bus station was constructed along Birmingham Street on a steep hill overlooking Dudley Castle in about 1950. It was complemented by an additional line of shelters along neighbouring Fisher Street. However, a series on incidents of buses rolling back injuring passengers led to widespread local criticism of its design. This resulted in the West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive rebuilding the bus station on a completely level site along Fisher Street.
Although there is little sign of the original bus station today, but you can gauge the slope up from Birmingham Street.

fbb can find no pictures of the bus station as a whole, but these two buses are on the slope …

… and there is the castle, faint but real, top right.

Construction of the new bus station began during 1985 and it was opened in 1986.
Here it is, the new one.

It is not the most gloriously luxurious bus station but it is level, so there is less chance of being squished by an out-of-control bus.

But back in January 2024 this event was happening at Dudley bus station …

… as was this.

Look, there in the background is our old friend Dudley Castle!

More tomorrow!
 Next Dudley Development blog : Friday 1st March 

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