Brewery Railways

Burton upon Trent when renown as one of the most significant brewing towns in the country, was famous for having its own internal railway system solely to serve the breweries.

Brewers aside however, the plans were not met with enthusiasm, largely because of the many proposed railway crossing that would disrupt the traffic. In 1859, notices were posted all over the town prompting readers to meet at the Court House in Station Street to sign a petition to the House of Commons “Against such railways crossing the Public Streets”. Slightly surprisingly, one of the signatories was W.H.Worthington (who would eventually go on to become Burton’s first Mayor). This might suggest that the Worthington Brewery could manage without them more than some of its competitors!

As anticipated, the town’s internal railway had become more infamous than famous with vehicle drivers and pedestrians alike by the time it had reached its peak of 32 railway crossings.

The crossing in New Street with Burton General Hospital in the foreground.

A later photo from a little further down from the New Street Crossing above, this time in Duke Street with the ‘new’ wing of the Burton General Hospital behind.

A view of the Station Street crossing in action.

A view of the opposite side of the road reveals one of the more ‘modern’ style of control box.

A later view of the same Station Street crossing. I am not too hot on brewery trains but I CAN say that the car waiting is a 1965 Ford Corsair with its distinctive pointed front.

The present day site of the Station Street crossing still has lots of features that can be picked out from the photos above but even still, it is difficult to image trains running back and forth across the road all day.

The crossing next to the Blue Posts in High Street was some time later immortalised by being featured in an L.S. Lowry painting, ‘The Crossing’.


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