A public footpath on the former South Staffordshire Railway Line that once connected Lichfield with Dudley. However, it joined the Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway's line just north of Dudley Station, where it, in essence, continued to Stourbridge. In Rushall, Walsall, West Midlands.
Just before its termination at Stourbridge, it crossed (and continues to cross) the massive Stambermill Viaduct which is one of the local area's most significant landmarks. It also crossed Parkhead Viaduct just south of Dudley and for several hundred yards passed through Dudley Railway Tunnel.
The line was opened on 1 May 1850. This was soon to become part of the London and North Western Railway as far as Dudley station, which, in 1860, was opened as a joint venture with the OW&WR itself later to become amalgamated into the Great Western Railway. This station was built ten years after the original connection, however, and trains on the South Staffordshire Line ran from Walsall to Stourbridge fairly early on. Dudley provided a useful change point for passengers from Walsall and Stourbridge to Wolverhampton, though this wasn't utilised to quite the effect the OW&WR had hoped, due to the similar connection at Dudley Port by the SSR with the Stour Valley Line - which today forms part of the West Midlands section of the West Coast Main Line.
To the north of Dudley Port, a link to the Birmingham Snow Hill- Wolverhampton Low Level route was added sometime between the inauguration of the line and the opening of Great Bridge South railway station in 1866. All three of the above - Dudley Port, Great Bridge and Wednesbury - were completed in 1850, and the line was then opened accordingly. All other stations on the route - from Lichfield to Walsall - were in operation from 1849.
Passenger travel existed on this route from then through until 1965 with the fall of the Beeching Axe. Only one station closed in the meantime- Rushall being closed in 1909. The OW&WR portion of the line was closed pre-Beeching, in 1962. The line was used as a through route from Walsall right up until the closure of the line on 19 March 1993, mainly being used for freight duties at the Dudley Freightliner Terminal, which closed - despite being far more profitable than Birmingham's terminal - on 26 September 1989.
Traffic on the line, which had been declining since the 1970s largely due to deindustrialisation of the Black Country, continued to slump after the terminal's closure, and decreased the line's viability.
The section of railway north of Walsall had already been closed, with the last train using the route on 19 March 1984 and the track being lifted two years later.
The Brierley Hill to Walsall section of the line officially closed on 19 March 1993, nine years to the day that the Walsall-Lichfield line had closed. However, there were a handful of other movements on the line after its official closure, including a cable-laying train which covered the route on 1 July 1993, on its journey from Birmingham to Stafford. The line from Stourbridge Junction to Round Oak Steel Terminal is all that remains of the South Staffordshire Railway and its line, though virtually all of the track on the closed section towards Walsall is in place.
Several plans have been made to restart the line including connecting it to the Midland Metro tram line but so far no action has been taken.