Station Name: FRANKTON

[Source: Paul Wright]

Date opened: 27.7.1865
Location: Between two un-named minor roads
Company on opening: Cambrian Railway
Date closed to passengers: 18.1.1965
Date closed completely: 18.1.1965
Company on closing: British Railways (London Midland Region)
Present state: The station building is still extant and in use as a private residence. Many of its railway features have been preserved by the present owner who purchased the property from British Railways in 1967. The trackbed has been filled up to platform level.
County: Shropshire
OS Grid Ref: SJ365346
Date of visit: 19th April 2009
Notes: Frankton 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. 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. Frankton Station opened on this date. By 1866 the Cambrian Railway had a mainline running all the way from Whitchurch to Aberystwyth.

The 18 mile Oswestry to Whitchurch line was single track and as there was no passing loop at Frankton it had only one platform. The station which was situated on the east side of a road overbridge was provided with a fine two storey red brick built building in the Flemish style.

For a station in such a rural unpopulated area Frankton was blessed with a surprising range of facilities including first class waiting rooms and a rest room for individuals who may have been feeling ill. The station was also the only one on the line to be decorated with three Cambrian Railways crests which were carved pieces set in to the brickwork just below the roof
pinnacles. This extravagance can be explained by the fact that one of the Directors of the Cambrian Railway lived a short distance away from the station. The station had a small goods yard with a single siding on the south side of the line to the west of the station with a loading bank for livestock.

The station was served by mostly local trains running between Welshpool, Oswestry and Whitchurch. The station became an important facility for local farmers who brought in supplies and dispatched produce. Trains, both goods and passenger, passed through the station from areas far beyond the Cambrian network, particularly from cities in the North-west of England.

At the1923 grouping the Cambrian Railway was taken over by the Great Western Railway.  Little changed other than the gradual introduction of GWR motive power and rolling stock. In the late GWR period Frankton was served by seven trains in each direction running between Whitchurch and Oswestry. During the Second World War the line became very busy due to location of large camps in the Ellesmere and Oswestry areas.

On the 1st January 1948 Frankton became part of the nationalized British Railways Western region. Again very little was to change with GWR locomotives and rolling stock remaining the norm. By the end of the 1950s competition from road transport had reduced services and those that did run often only carried a handful of passengers. Frankton was reduced to the
status of an unstaffed halt on 1st May 1956. Dr Richard Beeching’s ‘The Re-shaping of British Railways Report’ of 1963 recommended the complete closure of the line. During the same year as the Beeching report was published the line was transferred to the London Midland Region. Frankton lost its goods service on 6th July 1964 and on the 18th January 1965 the station closed and the section of line between Oswestry and Ellesmere was taken out of use. By 1967 the track had been lifted and Frankton Station was sold into private ownership. It spent some time as a bed and breakfast establishment but is now in use purely as a residential dwelling. The current owner has taken much care to preserve many of the railway features.  

Source: Stanley Jenkins, Steam Days Magazine, December 2008. Tickets from Michael Stewart
With thanks to the present owner of Frankton Station for local information.

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


Frankton Station looking north east in c.1905
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection



Frankton Station in March 1978
P
hoto by Alan Young

Frankton station looking north east in July 1993
P
hoto by Martin Potter

Frankton station looking south west in April 2009. The road overbridge is seen in the background.
P
hoto by Paul Wright

 

 

 

[Source: Paul Wright]


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