Station Name: LEDSHAM

[Source: Paul Wright]

Date opened: 23.9.1840
Location: The A550 has been realigned across the north side of the station site. The station was on the north side of Ledsham Road (B5463)
Company on opening: Chester and Birkenhead Railway
Date closed to passengers: 20.7.1959
Date closed completely: 20.7.1959
Company on closing: British Railways (London Midland Region).
Present state: Demolished but glazed brickwork from the covered footbridge can be seen on the railway side of the road overbridge. The very degraded remains of the island platform can be seen between the present line and the now lifted slow lines.
County: Cheshire
OS Grid Ref: SJ356765
Date of visit: 10.5.2009

Notes: Ledsham Station was one of the original stations of the Chester and Birkenhead Railway company's, Birkenhead to Chester line which opened on the 23rd September 1840.

At the time of opening the Birkenhead to Chester railway was a single track line so Ledsham would have been provided with only one platform. The station was in a cutting adjacent to an overbridge that carried the A550 over the line. Trains serving the station would have originally run between Birkenhead and Chester and points to the south of Chester. Initially, a local cottage was used as the station building.

On the 22nd July 1847 the line became part of the Birkenhead, Lancashire and Cheshire Junction Railway and shortly afterwards the new company doubled the track between Birkenhead and Chester. It is likely that at this time Ledsham would have gained an extra platform. In 1859 the owning company changed their name to the Birkenhead Railway but by November 1860 the company was taken over by the GWR and LNWR who operated the line as joint concern

Between 1900 and 1905 the line through the Ledsham station was quadrupled. This required Ledsham Station to be substantially rebuilt. In its final form it was provided with four platform faces two of which formed an island platform. A brick built, mock tudor style, building was situated at street level on the A550 on the east side of the line. It connected with the platforms by means of a covered footbridge which had steps leading down to the platforms.

Train services were mostly local but longer distance services could be accommodated by the stations lengthy platforms. A steady stream of express passenger services, including the GWR’s Birkenhead Woodside to London Paddington service, passed through the station as did a wide variety of goods services running to the Birkenhead Docks.

At the grouping in 1923 the line became a GWR/LMS joint line and in 1948 it became part of British Railways London Midland Region. Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh used Ledsham Station during a royal visit to Ellesmere Port in 1957.

As Ledsham Station was in a fairly remote location it suffered from a decline in passenger numbers during the second half of the 20th century. It closed to passengers on the 20th July 1959. The roadside station building was demolished some years later but the platforms remained in situ until the 1990s when the A550 was straightened out at this location and its new alignment passed straight through the site of Ledsham's platforms on a new road overbridge. As the line had been reduced back to two tracks in 1969 the new road bridge did not need to be as wide as its predecessor. The line through Ledsham Station was electrified as part of an extension of the Merseyrail Wirral Line from Hooton to Chester in 1993.  

Tickets from Michael Stewart

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

Ledsham Station entrance (left) and Station Hotel before June 1907
Copyright photo from John Alsop Collection

1830s tithe map showing Ledsham Station before the railway had been built

1910 6" OS map

Ledsham Station looking south in January 1957
Photo from John Mann collection

Looking north at Ledsham station in 1959 as a mixed goods service heads south on the up slow line.
Photo by I Vaughan

Ledsham Station looking north from a passing train in July 1985
Photo by Alan Young

Looking south at the site of Ledsham station seen from the new A550 alignment in May 2009. The degraded remains of the island platform can be seen to the right of the present day lines. The railway was quadrupled at this point after 1905. The Archway of the bridge over the former slow lines can be seen through the vegetation that now occupies the track bed. Also of interest is the glazed brickwork that was once part of the covered footbridge that linked the platforms to the booking office. The booking office would have been located to the left of the picture at street level.
Photo by Paul Wright

May 2009

Click on thumbnail to enlarge




[Source: Paul Wright]

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