[Source: Paul Wright]

Date opened: 1.1.1889
Location: Near the junction of Grange Road and Borough Road East
Company on opening: Birkenhead Joint Railway (GWR & LNWR)
Date closed to passengers: 7.5.1945
Date closed completely: 29.5.1961
Company on closing: Birkenhead Joint Railway (GWR & LMS)
Present state: Demolished but sections of booking office remain
County: Cheshire
OS Grid Ref: SJ325887
Date of visit: 29.4.2005 & 10.2.2014

Notes: Birkenhead Town station was situated on the Chester and Birkenhead line of the Birkenhead Joint Railway (BJR). When the station opened on 1 January 1889 the BJR was jointly owned by the Great Western Railway (GWR) and the London & North western Railway (LNWR). The Chester and Birkenhead line had originally been opened by the Chester & Birkenhead Railway (CBR) on 23 September 1840. At the time of opening the Birkenhead terminus was at Grange Lane just to the west of where Birkenhead Town would later be sited. On 23 October 1844 the line was extended to a riverside terminus at Monks Ferry. Such was the growth in traffic Monks Ferry had become inadequate by the 1870s and a new station was opened at Birkenhead Woodside on 31 March 1878.

Birkenhead Woodside was ideally situated for the River Mersey and ferry services to Liverpool but it was not ideal for central Birkenhead. This point had been raised by the public and supported by the local press and it was to serve the town centre that Birkenhead Town station was built.

The station was located on the south side of Grange Road to the west of Tunnel Road. The line from Birkenhead Woodside emerged from a double track tunnel at Grange Road and the Birkenhead Town station booking office was located directly above the tunnel portal fronting onto Tunnel Road.

A sloping footpath and a covered stairway connected the booking office to the down platform (Woodside direction) and a covered stairway to the up (Chester direction). Both platforms were of a length capable of accommodating main line trains. The Chester and Birkenhead line had become part of a through GWR route to London Paddington and express services were run to the capital and to other distant destinations by that company. The LNWR also ran long distance services from Woodside to destinations including London Euston.

Both platforms had waiting facilities in the form of a brick and sandstone building with a slate roof. Canopies were also provided. There was a signal box on the down platform towards the northern end.

To the rear of the up platform was the Monks Ferry line of 1844 which also entered a tunnel towards the north end of the station. The Monks Ferry tunnel was only a single track bore which had been one of the limiting factors that had led to the opening of Woodside.

To the rear of the down platform, at a slightly higher elevation, was an engine shed that dated back to the earliest days of the line. The Chester & Birkenhead Railway opened Grange Lane engine shed on 23 September 1840. The shed had five roads that had originally been shared between the CBR (3 roads) and the Grand Junction Railway (2 roads). It became a GWR/LNWR Joint shed 20 November 1860, and was extended several times during a working life. The shed had closed before Birkenhead Town station opened in 1878, when a new 16 road, joint shed had opened at Mollington Street. The original shed became a wagon works and the building of Birkenhead Town station took some land away from it.

The December 1895 timetable showed that Birkenhead Town was well served by long distance and by local trains.

Although there had been much public agitation for the station it was mostly used for setting down.

By 1922 the station was being served mostly by local trains running between Woodside and Chester, Helsby, Hooton and West Kirby. There were 19 up and 22 down trains Monday-to-Friday with some extra services on Saturdays. No trains called on Sundays.

On 1 January 1923 the LNWR was absorbed into the London Midland & Scottish Railway (LMS) but the GWR continued as a company (although it absorbed many smaller companies).

The LMS timetable for the summer of 1932 showed 30 up and 29 down trains Monday-to-Friday. On Saturdays there was an extra up and down train. No trains called at Birkenhead Town on Sundays.

During the Second World War there was a reduction in services at Birkenhead Town and the station was closed completely on 7 May 1945.

The up platform was demolished in the late 1950s and the down a little later. The street level building survived until the late 1960s when major road works were carried out as part of an improvement scheme at the Birkenhead portal of the Birkenhead - Liverpool tunnel.

The original locomotive depot survived for a period as an industrial premises but had been demolished by the 1980s.

The line continued in use until the closure of Birkenhead Woodside on 5 November 1967 after which the tracks were lifted. The station site was still there in 2014 lost amongst the complicated array of approach roads to the Birkenhead - Liverpool road tunnel. However behind the advertising hoarding remnants of the ticket office with its glazed brick can still be seen.Also visible are the tunnel mouths of the Woodside and the Monks Ferry tunnels although both are partly filled in.

Tickets from Michael Stewart

To see a table showing passenger trains that served Birkenhead Town station in the summer of 1932 click here

To see other stations on the Birkenhead Woodside to Chester line click on the station name: Birkenhead Woodside, Birkenhead Monks Ferry, Tranmere,
Rock Lane, Hooton, Ledsham, Mollington & Upton-by-Chester

Looking north along the up platform at Birkenhead Town station in the 1920s.

Birkenhead Town station shown on a 6-inch scale map from 1898.

Birkenhead Town in the early 1960s when out of use. The up platform had been demolished by this time. The original Birkenhead engine shed was still standing in use as an engineering works.

Birkenhead Town station seen from the air in July 1934. A train can be seen passing through the down platform and heading into the Woodside tunnel. At the rear of the up platform waiting room a van can be seen standing on the single track Monks Ferry branch. The original Birkenhead engine shed can be seen to the left of the station.
Reproduced with the kind permission of Simmons Aerofilms Ltd

Birkenhead Town station seen from street level in the 1960s.

Looking north along the down platform at Birkenhead Town station in the summer of 1967. At this time only local services were passing through the station the long distance trains having finished in March 1967. A Chester to Birkenhead Woodside service can be seen heading into the woodside tunnel. To the right is the single track bore of the much older Monks Ferry tunnel.
Photo by Paul Kirkbride

Looking north at the Woodside and the Monks Ferry tunnel portals at the site of Birkenhead Town station in the 1970s. The Woodside tunnel portal is the the left. above it can be seen the remains of the Birkenhead Town station booking office.

The site of Birkenhead Town station looking north in May 1988. The Woodside tunnel portal can be seen in the distance.
Photo by John Mann

The site of Birkenhead Town station looking north on 10 February 2014.
Photo by Paul Wright

Click here to see more photos




[Source: Paul Wright]

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