Station Name: BETTISFIELD

[Source: Paul Wright]

Date opened: 4.5.1863
Location: West side of an un-named minor road
Company on opening: Oswestry, Ellesmere and Whitchurch Railway
Date closed to passengers: 18.1.1965
Date closed completely: 18.1.1965
Company on closing: British Railways (London Midland Region)
Present state: Station building and platform still extant and in use as a private dwelling. Goods shed still extant and has been converted into apartments.
County: Flintshire
OS Grid Ref: SJ460358
Date of visit: 19th April 2009

Notes: Bettisfield station was situated on what became the Cambrian Railways main line from Whitchurch to Welshpool. The section of line on which the station was located was originally promoted and built by the Oswestry, Ellesmere and Whitchurch Railway as part of a line between Oswestry and Whitchurch which was first proposed in 1860. Following ferocious arguments between competitors LNWR and GWR, Parliament authorised building the line in August 1861. One of its primary purposes for building the line was to regenerate the town of Ellesmere which had suffered from competition with other neighbouring towns already provided with railway facilities.

The first section of the line officially opened between Whitchurch and Ellesmere on the 4th May 1863. A special train to mark the completion of this section of the line ran a few weeks earlier on the 20th April 1863. The onward section to Oswestry was held over for a year in case of new GWR route developments. Bettisfield Station opened with the first section of line
and for just over a year it was served by passenger and goods services running between Whitchurch and Ellesmere.

On the 25th July 1864 the Oswestry and Newtown and the Oswestry, Ellesmere and Whitchurch Railways amalgamated with the Newtown and Machynlleth, and the Llanidloes and Newtown Railways to form the Cambrian Railways (Joined in 1865 by the Aberystwyth and Welsh Coast Railway). Just two days later on the 27th of July 1864 the section of line from Ellesmere to Oswestry opened for business. By 1866 the Cambrian Railway had a mainline running all the way from Whitchurch to Aberystwyth.

The 18 mile line between Oswestry and Whitchurch was a single track railway and although there was a passing loop Bettisfield it was for use by goods services only. Therefore Bettisfield station was provided with only one platform. It had a two storey brick built building which provided accommodation for the station master and the usual passenger facilities. The station also had its own goods facilities which included two sidings, a brick goods shed, loading bank for livestock and a 1 ton crane. A signalbox for controlling access to the passing loop and goods yard was sited at just west of the station. Bettisfield was served by local trains on the Cambrian main line running between Whitchurch and Oswestry with some services going forward to Welshpool. Many other services passed through the station from areas beyond the Cambrian network.

One of the busiest times for Bettisfield station was during was during WW1 when service men were stationed at Bettisfield Park.

In the1923 grouping the Cambrian Railway was taken over by the Great Western Railway although very little changed in terms of operational practice. In GWR days seven trains operated daily in each direction between Oswestry and Whitchurch. During the Second World War many extra trains used the line as there were were large military depots and camps situated at Ellesmere,
and in the Oswestry area.

An American army camp was established on Bettisfield Park.  Its use was that of a transit camp, in that troops arriving at seaports around the country would arrive here, often in the night; and stay perhaps two days, before being shipped to permanent camps elsewhere and to be trained for the opening of the second front in Europe.  Many were moved by military road convoys but trains were also used and the station was extremely busy 24 hours a day. In June 1944 allied forces landed in Europe and within hours ambulance trains began arriving at, and passing through Bettisfield station, laden with badly wounded American troops.


Bettisfield station in 1904
On the 1st January 1948, Bettisfield Station, and the line which it served, became part of the Nationalised British Railways Western Region. Again little changed at first but by the late 1950s competition from road transport was having an effect and services had been reduced. The 1963 Beeching Report ‘Reshaping Britain’s Railways’ recommended the closure of the Oswestry to Whitchurch line. In the same year it was transferred to the London Midland Region. Bettisfield lost its goods service on 4th May 1964 although a private siding remained in use after this date and the
station closed to passengers on 18th January 1965.

Goods services continued to run between Whitchurch and Ellesmere for a further two months until the 29th March 1965.

Today Bettisfield Station is extant and in use as a private dwelling. Its goods shed also survives as private apartments.

Source: Stanley Jenkins, Steam Days Magazine, December 2008. Tickets from Michael Stewart

To see other stations on the Oswestry - Whitchurch line click on the station name: Whitchurch STILL OPEN, Fenn's Bank, Welshampton, Ellesmere, Frankton, Whittington High Level, Tinkers Green Halt & Oswestry


Bettisfield station looking west in April 1962
P
hoto by Ben Brooksbank


Bettisfield Station in c. early 1960's
Copyright photo from Tony harden collection


Bettisfield station in March 1978 from the same viewpoint as the picture above
P
hoto by Alan Young

Bettisfield Station looking west in July 1993
Photo by Martin Potter

Bettisfield station looking west in April 2009 the platform edge can clearly be seen. a short section of track has been relaid and an engineers vehicle stands on it.
P
hoto by Paul Wright


Looking west at Bettisfield station on 12 November 2012. In the foreground is the station goods shed.
P
hoto by Peter Shaw

June 1956

c. early 1960's

c. early 1960's

July 1993

April 2009

April 2009

November 2012


Click on thumbnail to enlarge

 

 

 

[Source: Paul Wright]



Last updated: Monday, 12-Nov-2012 21:13:19 GMT
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