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LMS Route: Water Orton to Walsall

Streetley Station: mrst1137

Looking towards Aldridge with the up platform on left and the main station building on the right

Looking towards Aldridge with the up platform on left and the main station building on the right. Passengers arriving by road would enter through the building on the right which connected with Thornhill Road. Unlike many other stations operated by the Midland Railway within the area, Streetly was built with only First and Third Class passenger accommodation being available. This was because on the 1st January 1875, after adding third class accommodation to every train in 1872, the Midland Railway abolished second class travel completely, whilst at the same time reducing the price of Third Class travel. Furthermore, they downgraded the quality of the second class carriages by removing the leather backs of the seats, while also improving the quality of the third class accommodation by covering the seats with the same material and padding. In addition, the company introduced carriages, starting with its new Settle to Carlisle route, which were twice as long as contemporary designs, had improved ride comfort because of swivelling bogies and which combined first and third class compartments.

The Midland undertook this pioneering action because of the forces acting on its business. Whereas in 1859 just over thirty-two per cent of all railway passengers in the British Isles were travelling by second class, by 1874 the proportion had fallen dramatically to a fraction over fifteen per cent. Furthermore, over the same period, the proportion of individuals travelling by third class rose from just under fifty per cent to more than three-quarters of all passengers. Indeed in the Midland Railway’s case, the proportion of passengers travelling second class dropped from twenty-three per cent to eleven per cent which substantially lowered the profitability of carrying them. Therefore, by eliminating second class accommodation the Midland Railway reduced the associated costs of carriage construction and marshalling. Furthermore, the improved third class accommodation would entice customers who would normally travel third class from competing railways. Indeed, to try and capture more of the quickly growing third class market was a shrewd business move.