History of the Saltley Loco Sheds Birmingham & Black Country Nostalgia

Shafts of light penetrate the steam and smoke of the roundhouse engine shed, Saltley: by Peter Donnelly circa 1962 - 1965

Saltley Locomotive Sheds.

Saltley Loco Sheds were built on its present site in 1854 by The Midland Railway Co. and consisted of two round houses plus workshops and office accomodation. 

track chat

A third larger roundhouse with 70 foot turntable was added about 1900. Allocated the shed code 21a by the LMS, The depot, at its peak in the 1950s had over a 1000 staff and 200 Locomotives on its allocation. 

railway worker looking like an extra on peaky blinders

Diesel locamotives were gradually introduced in the early 1960s and the depot closed to steam locomotives on the 6th of March 1967. 

the end of the line for steam

Saltley remains today as a signaling and refueling point. The offices and the roundhouses have long been demolished. 

pictures featured in the book "As If It Were Yesterday" now available in the store.


by Dr Carl Chinn MBE
Peter Donnelly was born in Birmingham, educated at Corpus Christi junior school, Stechford and later at the holy rosary, Saltley. While at the Holy Rosary he took and passed a drawing examination for Moseley school of art at which he spent several years tuning his artistic talent.

On leaving the art school he joined Birmingham printers, Sam Currier & Son in brook street, St Pauls square, as an apprentice commercial artist. After completing his apprenticeship he left Sam Currier and worked at various printers and advertising agencies gaining valuable experience before starting with his working associate Bob Burns (typographer). Donnelly Burns Graphic Design studio was in Chapel Street, Lye before moving to larger premises in Cradley heath then Harborne.

Before starting the business Peter entered and won the Sunday Telegraph national photographic competition. He submitted an essay of photographs illustrating the demise of the Birmingham and Black Country canals with fellow photographer Norman fletcher. To Peter and Norman, Midlands photographers and photographic societies seemingly had ignored the once great industrial arena that surrounded their everyday lives.

What an arena! what powerful exiting subjects for the camera; neglected canals, weed and web woven towpaths, old worn out narrow boats – redundant and half submerged in silted murky brown waters; steam trains rattling, hissing and bumping their waggons into line and the rail men who worked the line at that time.

Old foundries, run down factories and scrapyards – the industrial flotsam of a once great manufacturing region. Many six o’clock early morning starts were walked and many miles covered by peter and his camera.

Now over 60 years later, photographs taken during those early excursions are being published - looking back at the time, long before the surge of change and reconstruction 1962 - 1965