Railways in Worcestershire

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Foster Rastrick & Co


'The Railway Magazine' (January 1937) states that in 1829 the Foster Rastrick and Company of Stourbridge built the 'Agenoria' for the Shutt (sic) End Colliery Railway at Kingswinford, Staffordshire . The article has a photograph of the 'Agenoria' outside the original York Railway Museum which was the new home for the locomotive which had formerly been at the Science Museum in London. It is said to be almost identical to the 'Stourbridge Lion' which was built in 1828 for export to the U.S.A.

The Industrial Railway Society, in its West Midlands Handbook published in 1992, states that James Foster trading under his name and that of his half brother John Bradley built a railway from Shut End to the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal. The railway was completed in 1829 as a joint venture between Foster and Lord Dudley. The 'Agenoria' was present at the official opening of the line on 2nd June 1829. Shortly after, blast furnaces and ironworks were built Grid Reference: SO 902898) with a locomotive shed at grid reference SO 896895). The railway was sometimes called the 'Shut End Railway' or 'Kingswinford Railway'. The 'Agenoria' remained at Shut end until being moved to the Science Museum in London in 1885.

John Boynton provides more information in his book 'Rails through the Hills' (see bibliography for details) and illustrates the article with a drawing of both locomotives. Boynton states that a representative of the Delaware & Hudson Canal Co came to the UK in 1828 to purchase four steam locomotives. He ordered one from Robert & George Stephenson and was then recommended to talk to John Urpeth Rastrick who was in partnership with James Foster. At that time Foster, Rastrick and Company was building the 'Agenoria' and Allan ordered three locomotives for his railway to be named 'Stourbridge Lion', 'Hudson' and 'Delaware'. Boynton doubts that the last two were ever built. 'Stourbridge Lion' was steamed on 8th August 1829 and thus became the first railway locomotive ever to run in America. However because of the inadequate track it is unlikely that it was ever used again and by 1849 had been cannibalised. The remains were presented to the Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC where it is house in the Hall of Transport.

The web site 'Stourbridge.co.uk' states that the Foster, Rastrick works is at the junction of Bradley Road and Lowndes Road. It is a Grade 2 listed building but is in very poor condition.

A lot more information about the 'Stourbridge Lion' can be found on the Bridge Line Historic Railway web site (bridge-line.org/stourbridge_lion.htmll) and details about a replica built in 1933.

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