Tuesday, May 10, 2005


Welcome - An introduction to the North Staffordshire Railway company

The North Staffordshire Railway company has it's roots in an early scheme to build a small plateway from the base of the Cauldon canal up to Cauldon quarries. Both of the two aforementioned things are still in use, with the Cauldon canal joining up with the Trent and Mersey canal at Etruria.

As well as the canals, other schemes were being promoted. The Staffordshire potteries railway promoted a route from Macclesfield to the mainline at Colwich plus a spur to Crewe and The Churnet valley scheme promoted a line from Macclesfield to Derby. After these two companies applied for the necessary powers to build the lines, parliament suggested a pause of a year 'to afford time for consideration and for maturing some more complete scheme for the accommodation of that important district'.

This was advantageous to the SPR who formed the North Staffordshire Railway company.

North Staffordshire Railway company

- incorporated in April, 1845 with a share capital of £2,350,000 in £20 shares (117,500 shares)
- first prospectus: 30th apr 1845 issued from, 1 Old palace yard, Westminster.

After forming the SPR was absorbed so as to avoid 'powerful opposition or ruinous competition if both lines had been passed'. The prospectus promoted the NSR's 3 main lines 'giving the most ample accommodation to the towns of Tunstall, Burslem, Newcastle-under-lyme, Hanley, Stoke, Fenton, Longton and Stone'.

Due to the obvious competition this line would provide for the Trent and Mersey canal, the NSR and the T&M came into agreement that the NSR should pay £30 a share for all the T&M shares, and from the 15th of January 1846, the whole canal including the Cauldon branch, Cauldon quarries, and the plateway, was leased to the NSR.

On the 25th of November 1845 the Derby and Crewe Railway was absorbed giving the NSR the basis on which to submit plans for construction. On the 26th of June 1846, the 3 NSR acts were passed with the £2,900,000 share capital being shared amongst the 3 lines as shown:

- Pottery line act (Macclesfield to Colwich and Norton bridge and Silverdale to Crewe) £1,500,000 of capital

- Harecastle and Sandbach act (from Harecastle to Sandbach) £200,000 of capital

- Churnet valley line act (from North rode to Burton and Uttoxeter to Stoke) £1,200,000 of capital

- 7 years allowed to fulfill each act.

Then, to start the construction work, there was an official 'cutting of the first sod' ceremony. The site chosen was a field in Etruria. There was a roped - off enclosure for directors and the rest for reserved guests. There was a mile long procession headed by John Lewis Ricardo. On his arrival crowds broke through the roped off area and Ricardo was pushed and shoved. During the actual cutting he buckled the silver spade and had difficulty removing the sod. His hat later blew away.

By February 1847, 1,318 men and 60 horses were working between Macclesfield and Colwich and had removed 80,000 cubic yds of earth, driven 843 yds of tunnel heading and erected 12,000yds of fencing.

Then on the 3rd of April 1848 the first goods sevice ran and on the 17th of April 1848 the first passenger train left the temporary Stoke station at Wheildon road, hauled by no.1 'Dragon' heading for Norton bridge. profits for the first 2 months were £1,668 'exceeding expectations'.

From this point on the rest of these 3 lines were opened in stages and other lines opened up to 1911. The new stoke station was opened on the 9th of October 1848.

The NSR was absorbed into the LMS on the 1st of July 1923.

Great to see how Barlaston Station looked have you any of Trentham, Would like to see more old photos of the area.
Thanks Mark Copeland
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