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Rosie, The Iron Horse - Big Local East Coseley & Station Adopters illustration

Rosie, The Iron Horse
Organisation: Big Local East Coseley & Station Adopters

Station: Coseley
The Vision: Bring the heritage of the Black Country to the station and provide a local ‘home’ for one of the Iron Horses from the 1987 public arts installation



The abandoned and broken metal horse was rescued by the station volunteers from waste land locally five years ago and was named 'Rosie'. 

The volunteers have since worked hard to restore her former beauty and as part of this CCIF programme, Network Rail and West Midlands Railway arranged to install Rosie at the station to celebrate the local area’s connection both with the metal industry and the iconic installation of 12 horse sculptures that was installed ‘track-side’ for British Rail in 1987 by artist Kevin Atherton.

Kevin’s creation ‘Iron Horses’ was designed to be "the longest sculpture in the world" and a celebration of the proud industrial past of the region. Twelve iron horses made up the complete sculpture, designed to be viewed from a moving train as silhouettes, with six facing towards Wolverhampton and six heading towards Birmingham. 

Each horse weighs a quarter of a ton and is made from half-inch steel plate from Corley Welding at Digbeth.   

When the station volunteers, David Williams, Nat Partridge, Maria Wedgbury and Ron Wedgbury found the horse in pieces, buried under soil to the side of the station, they got together with local residents and decided to save the horse. 

Bayer Street Allotment volunteers spent three years lovingly restoring the horse, which by then was a popular ‘personality’, known to many locals.


Nat Partridge said: "Rosie was in a poor state when we saved her from the scrapyard and we have all worked so hard to bring her back to former glory.  Some members of our group even invested their own money to ensure the right materials were used. East Coseley Big Local also supported Rosie's restoration and we owe massive thanks to Ron Wedgbury and his friend in the metal business, who worked together to restore the metal work and give Rosie a new lease of life”.

Then the rail industry stepped in to help the community and this CCIF project has enabled works to provide Rosie with a permanent home on public view at Coseley Railway Station. The works were substantial with much behind-the-scenes activity once the project was given the go-ahead.  

The embankment behind the station building was marked as a suitable location and this brought further challenges with being outside the station lease area.  Network Rail supported the scheme on their land and access arrangements and structural engineers reports were put together with the content not only covering the actual position of the horse but the complexities of fixing the structure to a steel reenforced concrete base and a retaining wall that had to support the installation and protect against the variables of wind loading of passing trains

The works were all undertaken close to the open platform and live rail road and this again, posed more challenges with risks contained in the installation of a complex structure in a publicly accessible location, the movement of soil from the excavation was also only possible by hand using shovels and wheel barrow.

Coupled with the vagaries of British weather the site works and risks were tackled and managed by WMT and Network Rail working together and tirelessly to enable the ongoing public enjoyment of this wonderful piece of heritage art.

Thanks to the community and the rail industry, Rosie, the Iron Horse can now live out her retirement being admired by locals and passengers as she gazes out from the grassland of Coseley Station.

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