I read somewhere, and wish I remembered where, that this line was built very late - in the early years of the twentieth century. Dave Cromarty points out, however, that
there's a reproduction in Shropshire Railways Revisited of an 1899 handbill quoting excursion fares from Market Drayton via Wellington, and the Hendrys' book Paddington to the Mersey quotes the Wellington & Drayton Railway as completed in 1867.
That seems fairly conclusive.
Only the first mile or so lies within Telford, and that is now the northern end of the Silkin Way footpath which begins at Coalport Station and follows old railway lines for much of its distance. Old railway wheels such as that in the picture mark its route.
Its junction with the Shrewbury - Wellington line was opposite Orleton Park School, the Shrewsbury line approaching from the right of the picture and the Market Drayton line being the footpath to the left. It passed under Admaston Road and Shawburch road at Admaston, although there was no station: presumably the station on the Shrewsbury line was thought sufficient. It crossed the end of Bratton Road near The Gate pub, where the bastions of a bridge and the remains of an embankment can be seen, and its first station was opposite the site of the creamery in Crudgington.
Geoff Fletcher sent me the following additional information:
When I was a lad in the 40's and 50's the stopping places from Wellington to Drayton were as follows:
1 Wellington Station 2 Longden Halt For RAF Bratton Airfield 3 Crudgington Station 4 Rowton Halt For RAF High Ercall airfield 5 Ellerdine Halt 6 Peplow Station For RAF Childs Ercall (Peplow) Airfield 7 Hodnet Station For RAF Shawbury Airfield 8 Wollerton Halt 9 Tern Hill Station For RAF Tern Hill and RNAS Hinstock Airfields 10 Market Drayton Station
I think Longden and Rowton Halts were built during WW2 for RAF personnel. I was born at Peplow and well remember the large cage on the platform crammed full of blue RAF bikes on Saturday nights.
Hodnet and Ternhill Stations were similarly equipped to the erks' transport!
See also Market Drayton Railway Preservation Society