Search for the Old Roads of
Historian Fred Hughes writes....
Former Loop Line driver/fireman Paul Nutty negotiates the familiar descent to the level of Pittshill Station. But oh my goodness, what a change awaits him.
“Oh dear,” exclaims Paul, “But I just can’t get my bearings here at all!”
Truth is both of us are lost in the labyrinths created by the layout of the new Tunstall Bypass.
New trails have been hewn from the landscape diverting the greenway from the original Loop Line and the effect has been to confuse the once-familiar infrastructure. To accommodate foot travel, no-nonsense steel-lined tunnels have been sunk into the countryside. While we scratch our heads looking for a way to cross, Paul and I are joined by fellow-traveller Graham Cartwright.
“Lost?” enquires the 73 year-old Tunstall resident. “Everybody gets lost here the first few times,” he chuckles. “Come with me, I’ll show you the way across.”
At last we begin to get our bearings as Graham guides us through the cavernous levels below the busy link of the Tunstall Bypass. As we do he points out a pair of locomotive wheels at the side of the path.
“These wheels replaced a couple that were removed from the same spot in 2005,” he says. “An earlier pair was taken from an engine that ran on the Loop Line. They took them away to reconstruct a similar one in a railway museum.”
Paul recalls them well.
Enthrallingly Paul describes overcrowded trains steaming through a Potteries landscape that never seemed to go to sleep. The length of these trains was confined to a maximum of four carriages.
“This took account of the span of platforms and the circuitous line,” he says. “The two stations, Goldenhill and Pittshill, were fairly quiet by industrial standards. But between Pittshill and Tunstall there was another station called Newfield. This was a spur running north from Tunstall sidings passing over a bridge in Furlong Road to the wharfs at Newfield.”
Historian Steve Birks recalls this line.
2 December 2008
click the "contents" button to get back to the main index
next: Tunstall on the Loop Line
previous: Goldenhill on the Loop Line