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Canley Halt

LMS Route: Rugby to Wolverhampton

Canley Halt was opened for passengers on 30th September 1940, primarily to serve the nearby Standard Motor Company's Works. The crossing had previously been known as Canley Gates from its inception when the London & Birmingham Railway first provided a gate keeper's house in 1838 to man the gates. The crossing was originally created to protect Canley Lane, later renamed Canley Road and was located by rail between Coventry station and Tile Hill station and by road between Hearsall Common and Fletchamstead Highway. The Halt was very much a product of the time looking very austere being built to a utilitarian design and constructed from brick and concrete. Although officially named Canley Halt the prior existence of Canley Gates signal cabin led occasionally to some confusion with both LMS and BR sources referring to Canley Gates (Halt). The station has never handled any general goods traffic because of Coventry station, with its extensive facilities, being little more than a mile away. The existence of several factories nearby had over the years led to numerous proposals for private sidings and one such scheme is shown below. The density of road traffic combined together with the frequency of of passing trains had led to a number of proposals to erect bridges, footbridges, etc none coming to fruition until the start of the 21st century. In the 1930s it was proposed by the LMS to quadruple the line between Coventry and Birmingham (similar to the GWR's initiative to quadruple part of the route between Leamington and Moor Street). Whilst land was purchased for this initiative (and work started at Coventry station too) the start of the Second World War in September 1939 prevented this proposal from becoming a reality. As part of this initiative a substantial passenger station with goods facilities was to be built adjacent to Fletchampstead Highway utilising some 8½ acres of land. The LMS even constructed an access road some 50 feet wide to serve 'Fletchampstead Station' located at the foot of the embankment of the soon to be constructed Coventry By-Pass better known as Fletchamstead Highway. It was further recorded that 3 acres of land were purchased by the Corporation at £150 per acre for a shunting neck, formerly belonging to Lord Leigh.

The Standard Motor Company's works had been built as part of the UK's strategic defence manufacturing capability. The Standard Motor Company was later to become the home of the Standard Vanguard and Triumph Sports Cars. Ultimately the works became part of British Leyland Motor Company which morphed into British Leyland followed by being part of the Jaguar Rover Triumph division and ultimately closure. The car factory, as well as other nearby works, would generate considerable number of pedestrians at closing times which were the bane of the signalman's life as they often took considerable risk of crossing the lines without looking or in front of a train. The steel footbridge was removed for both rail passengers and pedestrians as part of the electrification of the Coventry to Birmingham line. Pedestrians using the level crossing were then forced to wait at the barrier when trains were passing. The railway traffic included both stopping trains serving which also serviced Canley Halt as well as regular the Inter-City trains. These trains necessitated the closure of the crossing to road traffic some 135 times a day, regularly causing extensive queues and diverting traffic to other routes. The closing of the barrier equated to a total barrier down time of 30 minutes in the evening peak hour between 4:00 pm and 5:00 pm. Today the station remains open although extensively rebuilt but it is no longer a crossing as the frequency of rail service resulted in the gates being closed for too longer a period. Road traffic proceeding to the City centre now uses a route via Fletchamstead Highway.

Views of Canley Gates Halt

The original London and Birmingham Railway gate keepers house located next to Canley Gates level crossing
Ref: lnwrchg545
J Hyde
The original London and Birmingham Railway gate keepers house located next to Canley Gates level crossing
Looking towards Tile Hill with the signal box on the down side with the booking office just beyond the level crossing
Ref: lnwrchg546
J Hyde
Looking towards Tile Hill with the signal box on the down side with the booking office just beyond the level crossing
Close up showing the former LNWR Canley Gates signal cabin mounted on a low brick built frame room
Ref: lnwrchg546a
J Hyde
Close up showing the former LNWR Canley Gates signal cabin mounted on a low brick built frame room
Looking towards Coventry with the works and offices of the Standard Motor Company on the left behind the lamppost
Ref: lnwrchg677
Coventry Local Study Centre
Looking towards Coventry with the works and offices of the Standard Motor Company on the left behind the lamppost
View of Canley Halt's 1940 booking office and general waiting room situated on the down platform
Ref: lnwrchg2806
R Preston Hendry
View of Canley Halt's 1940 booking office and general waiting room situated on the down platform

Close up showing the utilitarian booking office opened in 1940 to serve the Standard Motor Company's new factories
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RS Carpenter
Close up of the utilitarian booking office opened in 1940 to serve the Standard Motor Company's works
Looking from the up platform towards Canley Gates signal cabin after the erection of overhead electric wires
Ref: lnwrchg2804
R Preston Hendry
Looking from the up platform towards Canley Gates signal cabin after the erection of overhead electric wires
Ex-LMS 6P 4-6-0 rebuilt Patriot class No 45531 'Sir Frederick Harrison' is seen at the head of a diverted Trent Valley down express
Ref: lnwrchg1298
RS Carpenter
Ex-LMS 6P 4-6-0 No 45531 'Sir Frederick Harrison' is seen at the head of a diverted Trent Valley down express

Locomotives and trains seen at Canley Gates Halt

LMS 5XP 4-6-0 Jubilee class No 5579 'Punjab' passes under the footbridge on an up express prior to the Halt being built
Ref: lnwrchg544
HW Robinson
LMS 5XP 4-6-0 No 5579 'Punjab' passes under the footbridge on an up express prior to the Halt being built
Ex-LMS 5XP 4-6-0 Jubilee class No 45593 'Kolhapur' passes under the footbridge on a down mixed freight
Ref: lnwrchg543
J Hyde
Ex-LMS 5XP 4-6-0 Jubilee class No 45593 'Kolhapur' passes under the footbridge on a down mixed freight
Ex-LMS 4F 0-6-0 No 44439 and ex-LMS 8F 2-8-0 No 48752 are both working on a civil engineer's working
Ref: lnwrchg542
J Hyde
Ex-LMS 4F 0-6-0 No 44439 and ex-LMS 8F 2-8-0 No 48752 are both working on a civil engineer's working
Close up showing ex-LMS 8F 2-8-0 No 48752 working 'wrong' road as part of a Civil Engineers train
Ref: lnwrchg542a
J Hyde
Close up showing ex-LMS 8F 2-8-0 No 48752 working 'wrong' road as part of a Civil Engineers train
Ex-LMS 5XP 4-6-0 Jubilee class No 45734 'Meteor' roars through the station on the down 'Midlander' express service
Ref: lnwrchg1300
RS Carpenter
Ex-LMS 5XP 4-6-0 No 45734 'Meteor' roars through the station on the down 'Midlander' express service

Ex-LMS 8P 4-6-2 No 46245 'City of London' heads a down express service made up of mainly Mark I coaching stock
Ref: lnwrchg2808
J Hyde
Ex-LMS 8P 4-6-2 No 46245 'City of London' heads a down express service made up of mainly Mark I coaching stock
Ex-LMS 8F 2-8-0 No 48518 is viewed from Beachwood Ave as it approaches Canley Halt with a ballast train
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M Mensing
Ex-LMS 8F 2-8-0 No 48518 is viewed from Beachwood Ave as it approaches Canley Halt with a ballast train
Ex-LMS 5XP 4-6-0 Patriot class No 45517 is seen at the head of a diverted Trent Valley up express train
Ref: lnwrchg1297
RS Carpenter
Ex-LMS 5XP 4-6-0 Patriot class No 45517 is seen at the head of a diverted Trent Valley up express train
BR Standard Class 7MT 4-6-2 No 70043 'Lord Kitchener' is running tender first with an engineer's train
Ref: lnwrchg2807
R Preston Hendry
BR Standard Class 7MT 4-6-2 No 70043 'Lord Kitchener' is running tender first with an engineer's train
Ex-LMS 6P 4-6-0 rebuilt Jubilee class No 45735 'Comet' is seen approaching Fletchamstead Highway bridge
Ref: lnwrchg1299
M Mensing
Ex-LMS 6P 4-6-0 rebuilt Jubilee class No 45735 'Comet' is seen approaching Fletchamstead Highway bridge

Ex-LMS 7P 4-6-0 Royal Scot class No 46122 'Royal Ulster Rifleman' hurries a down express under Beachwood Ave bridge
Ref: lnwrchg1542
P Riley
Ex-LMS 7P 4-6-0 No 46122 'Royal Ulster Rifleman' hurries a down express under Beachwood Ave bridge
A New Street to Coventry six-car Diesel Multiple Unit set is seen arriving at Canley Halt's up platform
Ref: lnwrchg2803
R Preston Hendry
A New Street to Coventry six-car Diesel Multiple Unit set is seen arriving at Canley Halt's up platform

Schematic maps of Canley Gates and Halt and proposed private siding

Schematic plan showing the layout of Canley Halt, its the level crossing and the pedestrian footbridge
Ref: lnwrchg2801
R Preston Hendry
Schematic plan showing the layout of Canley Halt, its the level crossing and the pedestrian footbridge
Close up of the schematic plan showing the layout of Canley Halt, its two booking offices and the position and arc of the gates
Ref: lnwrchg2801a
R Preston Hendry
Close up of the plan showing the layout of Canley Halt, its two booking offices and the position and arc of the gates
A schematic signalling diagram of Canley Gates after the initial opening of Coventry Power Box in the early 1960s
Ref: lnwrchg2802
R Preston Hendry
A schematic signalling diagram of Canley Gates after the initial opening of Coventry Power Box in the early 1960s
A schematic plan of a 1935 proposal to introduce private sidings into the Standard Motor Company's factory
Ref: lnwrchg2805
R Preston Hendry
A schematic plan of a 1935 proposal to introduce private sidings into the Standard Motor Company's factory