Station Name: MALPAS

[Source: Paul Wright]

Date opened: 1.10.1872
Location: North side of Chester Road (B5069)
Company on opening: London & North Western Railway
Date closed to passengers: 16.9.1957
Date closed completely: 4.11.1963
Company on closing: British Railways (London Midland Region)
Present state: Station building still extant in use as office accommodation. Part of the platform in front of the building and the iron supports for the canopy also survive.
County: Cheshire
OS Grid Ref: SJ497493
Date of visit: 28.5.2006

Notes: Malpas Station was located on the LNWR’s line that ran from a junction on the Crewe to Chester line, approximately two miles to the north of Tattenhall Village, to the market town of Whitchurch. The line was opened by the LNWR on 1st October 1872 and it was 14 miles in length and built to main line standards with double track throughout. It was intended to provide competition to the GWR route between Chester and Shrewsbury and the LNWR hoped that it would attract the majority of the coal traffic from South Wales which was destined for the Mersey Docks in Birkenhead. Some coal traffic did use the line, especially that originating from the Abergavenny - Merthyr line which was also under LNWR control .However most of the coal traffic bound for Birkenhead came from the North Wales coal fields around Wrexham which was GWR or GCR territory, this did not use the Whitchurch - Waverton line

Freight traffic was always more important that passenger traffic. When the line opened, there was a passenger service between Chester and Hereford but this didn't last long and was soon replaced by a purely local service running between Whitchurch and Chester or Rhyl.

Malpas station, which was actually sited at Hampton Heath, opened on the same day as the line. It was provided with two platforms and a substantial two storey sandstone station building with a canopy on the northbound (Chester) platform. The main station building provided booking facilities, waiting rooms and a house for the station master. On the southbound
(Whitchurch) platform there was a simple timber shelter. There were steps down onto the southbound 'up' platform from the road overbridge but a barrow crossing was the only means of access between the platforms. A small standard LNWR signalbox controlled access to the goods yard which was located to the north of the station on the west side of the line. Facilities in the yard consisted of a large brick goods shed (the only shed on the branch) cattle dock and crane with a capacity in the sidings of 32 wagons.

Coal traffic from South Wales formed the bulk of early freight workings, probably passing over the branch at night en route for Birkenhead. Apart from competition from the GWR route from the Wrexham coalfield, there was also stiff competition from coastal shipping from the 1890’s and this traffic declined after the First World War.

During WW1 On the eve of an official visit to Chester in May 1917, the Royal Train carrying George V and Queen Mary stopped for the night at Malpas station. Troops from the Household Division guarded the area throughout the stay.

Passenger train services stayed mostly of a local nature running between Chester and Whitchurch. Connections were possible to Liverpool and the area became popular with many businessmen who commuted by train. In 1922 there were seven daily trains in each direction, by 1950 this was reduced to five daily trains with an additional service on Wednesdays running
through to Shrewsbury. There was never a Sunday service.

The area through which the line passed is quite rural and because of this passenger numbers were never very large and never reached expectations although it did help Tattenhall's popularity as a commuter centre for nearby Chester. The branch declined rapidly after WW2 with more and more commuters abandoning railways in favour of more convenient road transport while an ever increasing amount of goods traffic switched over from cars to lorries.

Passenger services were withdrawn from all the stations on the line on the 16th September 1957, although the line remained open for freight traffic which continued to use the line mainly as a corridor, latterly with oil trains from the Stanlow refinery on the joint Hooton – Helsby line accessing the West Midlands without the need to use the GWR route over Gresford
Bank. The last freight was an oil train from Stanlow to Rowley Regis in January 1963 but local goods traffic continued until 4th November 1963 with both Broxton and Malpas remaining open. The track was lifted in c.1965.

Today the station building at Malpas still stands. It is in use as office accommodation for Miles Mcadam Ltd. and many of the stations railway features have been preserved.

Additional source: London & North Western Railway Society Journal September 2004 and Backtrack magazine March 2007, thanks to Tony Robinson for sending his text from these journals. Further reading: Down the Line by RM Bevan - A nostalgic journey along the old branch railway from Waverton (Chester) to Whitchurch, CC Publishing. Tickets from Michael Stewart

To see other stations on the Waverton - Whitchurch line click on the station name: Whitchurch, Grindley Brook Halt, Broxton, Tattenhall & Waverton

Malpas station looking south.
Copyright p
hoto from John Mann & RM Casserley collections

A busy scene at Malpas station in the summer of 1944. The US army had created a hospital at nearby Penley in preparation for the invasion of Normandy (D-Day) which commenced on 6 June 1944. The main purpose of the hospital was to treat US servicemen but it also treated German POWs. In this view looking north German POWs are being moved from a hospital train to waiting ambulances.

Malpas station looking south in April 1978.
Photo by Alan Young

Malpas station in May 2006. Part of the platform is still extant and the supporting columns for the station canopy can clearly be seen.
hoto by Paul Wright
Click here to see more photos




[Source: Paul Wright]

Last updated: Saturday, 29-Aug-2020 12:10:25 CEST
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