HAVING read the articles by Mr Ian Henery in The Bugle (January 9, 23 and 30 editions), I decided to dig out my copy of the first Guide to the Grand Junction Railway.
Sadly, not a first edition from 1837, but a facsimile copy printed in 1969. There is not much information on Darlaston (population in 1831 - 6,647) and situated some ¾mile westward of the line. The nearest station is James's Bridge, the 4th on from Curzon Street. Journey time for the 10-mile trip was 33 minutes, with departures of the 'mixed trains' at 8.30am and 4.30pm. The fare was 1s 6d for 2nd class, or if you were seriously wealthy, first class would cost you two shillings.
It contains one interesting fact about Darlaston as follows - "At Berry Bank, within the parish, are said to be the ruins of a large castle, which according to tradition, was the see of Wulpher, king of Mercia, who murdered his two sons for embracing Christianity; the Barrow near it, is supposed to be his tomb."
This Guide, described as a 'Railway Companion' is well illustrated and appears to be a model for the Bradshaw guides which appeared some years later.
Today the serious enthusiast/gricer can still travel over most of the GJR through the Midlands, though it requires some close observation of the diversions to timetabled trains.
130 Birches Barn Road,
Penn Fields, Wolverhampton.