Station Name: BLACON

[Source: Paul Wright]

Date opened: 31.3.1890
Location: On the east side of Saughall Road
Company on opening: Manchester Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway
Date closed to passengers: 9.9.1968
Date closed completely: 9.9.1968
Company on closing: British Railways (London Midland Region)
Present state: Demolished. The station site has been landscaped and station style features introduced including nameboards, benches and fencing. An original Blacon nameboard has been fitted to the road overbridge.
County: Cheshire
OS Grid Ref: SJ383681
Date of visit: 17.4.2005 & 21.4.2011

Notes: Blacon station was on the Manchester, Sheffield & Lincolnshire Railways (MSLR) Chester Northgate to Hawarden Bridge line which opened on 31st March 1890 and provided a connection to the Wrexham Mold & Connah’s Quay Railway. The WMCQR line ran from Wrexham to Shotton. The MSLR had to cross the River Dee at what became Hawarden Bridge to make a connection with the WMCQR line. With the opening of the MSLR line a route between Chester and Wrexham had been created which could compete with the 1846 Great Western Railway (GWR) route between the two towns.

An avoiding line was also built to the east of Blacon at Chester so that trains could pass from west to east through the city and onto the Cheshire Lines Committee’s (CLC) Chester and Manchester line without having to reverse at Chester Northgate. However the avoiding line was generally used only by goods and excursion services.

Blacon station was opened with the line. The route was double-track and the station, east of the bridge which carried Saughall Road over the line, had with two platforms. Access was via a driveway which led to a generously proportioned, two-storey brick station building with attractive ‘Stockbroker Tudor’ black-and-white pseudo half-timber decoration and
overhanging gables. The building was located on the westbound platform, south side of the line. The eastbound platform was provided with a simple timber waiting shelter.

The station had a small goods yard on the down side of the line to the east of the station. This comprised two sidings running either side of a cattle dock with a cattle pen at its east end. The north siding then went through a small goods shed while the longer siding to the south ended near the weighbridge. Access to the yard was controlled by a signal box on the up side opposite the yard. There were six railway cottages at the back of the yard alongside Saughall Road.

At the time of opening Blacon was served by four trains in each direction between Chester Northgate Station and Wrexham Central.

On 16th March 1896 the MSLR and WMCQR opened a line from Hawarden Bridge to a junction with the Wirral Railway (WR) at Bidston. Agreement had been reached with the WR that MSLR/WMCQR trains could operate on their system. A passenger service was introduced on 18th May 1896 between Chester Northgate and Bidston. On 1st May 1898 the service was extended to Seacombe & Egremont on the west bank of the River Mersey where a ferry terminal offered a service to Liverpool. The new service provided Blacon passengers with a link to Liverpool.

On 1st August 1897 the MSLR changed its name to the Great Central Railway (GCR). The GCR absorbed the WMCQR on 1st January 1905 giving it complete control of the entire route to Wrexham and to Birkenhead. In 1906 five trains per day ran to Seacombe & Egremont on weekdays. More services ran to Wrexham Central and in the eastbound direction all trains went to Chester Northgate.

On 1st January 1923 Blacon station became part of the London & North Eastern Railway (LNER), but service patterns were unchanged.

Blacon became part of the nationalised British Railways (Eastern Region) on 1st January 1948, but some months later the station, along with the rest of the ex-LNER NE Wales and Wirral system, was transferred to the London Midland Region. Blacon continued to be served by trains to Seacombe & Egremont, to Wrexham Central and to Chester Northgate. On 4th January 1960 the Seacombe service was diverted to run to and from New Brighton.

Because of the development of housing estates at Blacon the station remained busy during the 1960s, and trains still ran to Chester, Wrexham and New Brighton. Diesel Multiple Units were introduced onto the services in the early 1960s, but there were still occasional steam workings until 1966.

The Reshaping of Britain’s Railways (Beeching) Report of 1963 recommended the withdrawal of all services from Blacon. However a year later the station still had fourteen weekday services to Wrexham Central, twelve to Shotton High Level, six to New Brighton and thirty-two to Chester Northgate. The first weekday service from Blacon in the summer of 1964
was the 5.28 to Wrexham Central. The last weekday service was the 11.25pm to Chester Northgate.

The goods yard was closed on 4th January 1965 and despite local protest the services between Chester Northgate and New Brighton and between Chester Northgate and Wrexham were withdrawn on 9th September 1968, and Blacon station closed completely.

Goods services continued to use the line between Hawarden Bridge Junction and Mickle Trafford until 20th April 1984. The station was extant at this time, but the main building was demolished some time before 1986. On 31st August 1986 the line reopened, again only for goods services. It was now single-track, and at Blacon only the former Chester-direction line was retained. The reopening was short-lived, and the line closed again by the early 1990s. The track was mothballed for a while, but it was lifted before the end of the decade. In 2000 a footpath and cycleway was opened along the course of the line. It now forms part of the 8-mile Chester - Connah's Quay railway path part of National Cycle Network Route 5.

The £94,000 'Blacon Greenway and Old Station project' was initiated in 2008 and involved Cheshire West and Chester Council, Sustrans and Blacon Community Trust. Consultation meetings and workshops with residents and school children were held during 2008 and 2009 to develop the plans for landscaping the station site.

The first phase of works was completed in March 2009 and included site clearance and the creation of wood sculptures from felled sycamore trees, and planting of trees, shrubs and bulbs by the local community. Phase Two at the station site started in October 2009.

New footpaths and steps have been created, picket fencing and railings have been erected and, at a later date, a mosaic will be installed using clay tiles made by local school children.

Three reproduction Blacon station signs have been erected where the platforms would have been, and an original BR station sign has been fixed to the road bridge. There are also sets of entrance gates and a signal and interpretation panel to reflect the railway heritage.

Tickets from Michael Stewart, route map drawn by Alan Young, timetable from Chris Totty
Other web sites: See the Penmorfa web site for more on the Wrexham - Bidston line.

Sources:

To see other stations on the Chester Northgate to Wrexham Central Line click
Chester Northgate, Chester Liverpool Road,
Saughall, Sealand, Chester Junction Golf Club Platform, Chester Golf Club Halt, Hope High Level, Rhosddu, Wrexham Exchange, Wrexham Central

See also stations between Chester Junction and Bidston
Birkenhead Junction Golf Club Platform, Sealand Rifle Range Halt, Burton Point, Storeton

See also
Liscard & Poulton & Seacombe

See also related items

Hawarden Loop
Hawarden Bridge

Railways at Bidston


Blacon station looking west in October 1951. Station staff can be seen applying a fresh coat of white paint to the edge of the westbound platform. Neither were wearing any form of high visibility clothing which did not become common until the 1970s.
P
hoto from John Mann collection


1897 OS map

1936 OS map - although there are no obvious changes at the station there has been much residential development to the south of the station.

Looking east at Blacon station from the Saughall road overbridge in May 1961. The small timber waiting shelter on the up platform is dwarfed by the grand mock tudor style of the main station building on the down platform.
Photo by Ben Brooksbank


A class 108 Derby built DMU on a service to Chester Northgate is seen at Blacon on 7 September 1968. The train would have originated from New Brighton or Wrexham Central.
Photo by Keith Holt from the KDH Flickr photostream


Looking east at Blacon station on 4 September 1968. Standing at the down platform is the 13.55 Chester Northgate to New Brighton service.
Photo by Keith Holt from the KDH Flickr photostream

The main station building on the down platform in April 1977. Note that the single-storey section of the building, which included the platform verandah, had been demolished'
P
hoto by Alan Young

Looking east at Blacon station in July 1980. The station had been closed for more than a decade but both of its platforms and the station building could still be seen. The line was also still used for freight services many of which served the Shotton steelworks.
Photo by John Mann collection

An engineers' train heading for Wirral through Blacon station in May 1992. It appears to be running wrong line, but is not as by this time the line was singled, although for much of its length the other line was still in situ but disused. The station's platforms could still be seen at this time but the building had been demolished.
Photo by Dave Sallery from The Wrexham - Bidston Railway on the Penmorfa web site
A section of platform ramp can still be seen in April 2005. This was covered with soil during the later landscaping of the station site.
Photo by Paul Wright

Looking west at the site of Blacon station in April 2011.
Photo by Paul Wright

The site of Blacon station looking east from the Saughall road overbridge in April 2011.
P
hoto by Paul Wright

 

 

 

[Source: Paul Wright]


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