Today, Thursday 3rd February 2022, I went back on a train for the first time since the middle of November, when I went to Bottesford. I had planned a couple of trips in the intervening time, but they were cancelled due to a shortage of train crew. Regular readers of the blog will know that I am trying to visit all 76 stations in the East Midlands Ranger Area, which I still am, but I have decided to spread myself out a bit further afield.
I have decided to try to visit all the railway stations in Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire which aren’t in the East Midlands Ranger Area.
Today, I ticked two stations off the list; Lichfield Trent Valley and Shenstone. I had to catch six trains to get there and back from Burton on Trent: to Tamworth, then Lichfield Trent Valley and then on to Shenstone. Fortunately, there is a regular service between the three stations, so there was not a lot of waiting around. I arrived at Burton station to see that there had been a new addition to the platform; a smart card machine. This enables people to load their train tickets onto a smart card, and simply tap on and off at stations which have the readers.
I caught the train to Tamworth, from where I made my way down to platform 1 for the train to Lichfield Trent Valley, which soon arrived.
The first Lichfield Trent Valley station was opened by the Trent Valley Railway company in 1847. A rival company, the South Staffordshire Railway built a similarly-named station nearby called Lichfield Trent Valley Junction in 1849. Both these stations were closed and replaced by the present station in July 1871. There are three platforms at Lichfield Trent Valley; two of them are for the low level West Coast Main Line and the upper platform is the terminus of the Cross City Line between Lichfield and Bromsgrove. The upper level line was closed in 1965, but reopened in 1988. A fourth platform exists, but has not been used since 1992.
A train to Shenstone was already standing at the upper platform when I arrived, but I decided to spend an hour in Lichfield having a walk around. I have been to Lichfield before, but never by train. A railway line does run from Burton on Trent to Lichfield, but there is no direct service.
I walked to a newly-created park, Roman Heights Park, in the middle of a new housing estate just for a walk around.
It is a fairly new park, so there isn’t much there apart from newly-planted trees, paths and some benches. I headed back to Lichfield Trent Valley station to catch the third train of the day, to Shenstone.
Shenstone is a large village located just a few miles south of Lichfield, with a population just short of 7,500. Just a minute’s walk from the station is a semi-circular footpath which runs next to two streams; Footherley Brook and Crane Brook. When I left the station, I headed there for a walk. The area is called Lammas Land, but I didn’t see any llamas…
It was a peaceful walk, with just the sound of the flowing stream and the occasional dog-walker, all of whom said a friendly hello to me. Part way around the walk, I saw a narrow footbridge over the stream, and something silver and shiny in the water. At first, I thought it was a piece of litter, but on closer inspection, I saw it was a sculpture with an inscription. Unfortunately, I was unable to read what it said without going in the water, and I didn’t have my wellies with me.
It was getting near to lunch time, and so I headed to the village playing fields, from where I walked to a Tesco Express for refreshments.
Suitably refreshed (I had a ham and cheese sandwich), I walked to Main Street in the middle of the village, which has some charming old buildings, the local shops and a clock installed in 2013 to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.
It wouldn’t be a Martyn’s Blog post without a visit to a church and graveyard, and Shenstone has both of those. Saint John the Baptist church was built in the 1850s to replace a previous church, whose 13th Century tower still stands, although it was surrounded by scaffolding as repairs were being carried out at the time of my visit.
I had a wander around the graveyard, reading some of the inscriptions on the tomb stones, some of which dated back hundreds of years. It was soon time to head back to Burton, though. On the way back to the station, I passed the village’s war memorial.
Shenstone railway station opened in 1884, when the London & North Western Railway extended their line from Birmingham up to Lichfield. It has a magnificent station building, which is staffed and has a ticket office. Trains run from Shenstone to Lichfield and Bromsgrove every half hour, every day.
My train back to Lichfield Trent Valley was slightly late, but it didn’t impact my journey home. The weather got off to a poor start, but the sun came out, which made for a very pleasant couple of hours in Shenstone. Thanks very much for reading, and you can follow the blog on social media by clicking the links here.
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