Station Name: ELLESMERE

[Source: Paul Wright]


Date opened: 4.5.1863
Location: At the end of a short approach road off Brownlow Road
Company on opening: Oswestry, Ellesmere and Whitchurch Railway
Date closed to passengers: 18.1.1965
Date closed completely: 29.3.1965
Company on closing: British Railways (London Midland Region)
Present state: Building on westbound platform still standing and in use as office accommodation
County: Shropshire
OS Grid Ref: SJ396351
Date of visit: 25.2.2006
Notes: Ellesmere 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 proposed route came under strong opposition from land owners and the company were finally obliged to divert and cross an area known as Fenn's Moss. This brought exceptional technical problems and the track was bedded on heather, peat, bundles of faggots and a thick bed of sand. There were also two drainage ditches 40 yards apart, on either side of the track.

The first section of the line officially opened from Whitchurch to 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.

Ellesmere Station opened with the first section of line and for just over a year it was a terminus station serving passenger and goods services running to Whitchurch. 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 bringing the total length to 18 miles. By 1866 the Cambrian Railway had a mainline running all the way from Whitchurch to Aberystwyth.


Ellesmere station had two platforms with a substantial building on the westbound side. The platforms were connected by a footbridge at the east end of the station. There was a large goods yard with an extensive network of sidings on both side of the line with a large goods shed on the south side of the line to the east of the station. There was a loading bank for livestock and
and a 2 ton crane. A signalbox for controlling access to the yard was sited to the west of the station. Initially the station was served by trains on the Cambrian main line running to Whitchurch and through Oswestry to Welshpool and beyond. In 1895 the Great Central Railway opened a line from Ellesmere to Wrexham Central which made Ellesmere into an important junction. This new line was operated by the Cambrian who ran a local service from Ellesmere to Wrexham Central.


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. Eight operated on the line to Wrexham Central. During the Second World War many extra trains ran through Ellesmere as
there were large military depots and camps situated locally, and in the Oswestry area. At Overton, on the Wrexham Branch, there was a large military hospital which also generated much traffic. One of the most unusual workings being a trainload of pregnant young women, the wives of US army personnel.

On the 1st January 1948, Ellesmere Station, and the lines that served it, 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. Services had been reduced and on the 8th September 1962 the Wrexham Central service ended and the line was lifted
from Ellesmere to Pickhill. This left Ellesmere once again with only services on the Whitchurch to Welshpool axis. This service continued until the 18th January 1965 when the station closed to passengers. The line west of Ellesmere closed completely on this date. Goods services continued to run from Ellesmere to Whitchurch until the 29th March 1965.Ellesmere Station’s main building still survives today. For many years it was used as office accommodation. In 2009 work began on converting it into residential 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, Bettisfield, Welshampton, Frankton, Whittington High Level, Tinkers Green Halt & Oswestry


Ellesmere Station looking east before 1913
Copyright p
hoto from John Alsop collection




Ellesmere station shown on a 1:2,500 scale map from 1874.


Ellesmere goods yard looking east in c.1950's
Photo from John Mann collection


Ellesmere Station looking east in September 1962

Ellesmere Station looking west in 1962
P
hoto by Bevan Price

Looking east at Ellesmere Station in February 2006
P
hoto by Paul Wright

Ellesmere Station in 2008
P
hoto by Bill Cherrington

c.1950's + ticket

c.1950's + ticket

c.1950's

c.1950's

c.1950's

1962

1962

1962

March 1978

July 1993

July 1993

2006

2008


Click on thumbnail to enlarge

 

 

 

[Source: Paul Wright]



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