Station Name: MICKLE TRAFFORD EAST

[Source: Paul Wright]

Date opened: 1.5.1875
Location: On the east side of Station Road
Company on opening: Cheshire Lines Committee
Date closed to passengers: 12.2.1951
Date closed completely: 1.7.1963
Company on closing: British Railways (London Midland Region)
Present state: Demolished
County: Cheshire
OS Grid Ref: SJ448696
Date of visit: 22.4.2005

Notes: Mickle Trafford East was located on the Cheshire Lines Committee (CLC) Manchester Central and Chester Northgate line. The CLC was a joint company made up of the Great Northern Railway (GNR), the Manchester, Sheffield & Lincolnshire Railway (MSLR) and the Midland Railway (MR). The line had opened in stages, the section between Mouldsworth and Chester Northgate being the last to open on 2 November 1874 (for goods only). The line passed along the eastern edge of Mickle Trafford and a station was opened to serve the community when passenger services commenced on 1 May 1875.

A road which became Station Lane passed under the line at Mickle Trafford and the station was located on the north side of it. Access to the station was via a path on the up side (Manchester direction) of the line. The station, which at the time of opening was called Mickle Trafford, had two platforms which had a timber face backfilled with cinders. The booking office was on the up platform. It was housed in a simple single storey timber building with a bracket-supported awning. It also housed waiting rooms, toilets and a porters’ room.

A similar but smaller timber building, also with an awning, was provided on the down platform (Chester direction). It was open fronted and acted as a waiting shelter. Passengers reached the down platform by means of a foot crossing at the south end of the station.

Mickle Trafford had goods facilities 50yd south of the passenger station on the up side of the line. They included two sidings, a brick-built goods shed and a 5-ton crane. Access to the goods facilities was from Station Lane and there was a small goods office with weighing machine close to the entrance gate.

A signal box on the up side, south of Station Lane, controlled the main line and the goods sidings; it was a CL1a timber structure equipped with a CLC 16-lever frame.

Running parallel to Mickle Trafford station, to its west, was the Chester and Warrington line of the Birkenhead Joint Railway (BJR) a joint company of the Great Western Railway (GWR) and the London & North Western Railway (LNWR). The line had opened on xx 1850 but no station had been provided at Mickle Trafford. There was no connection between the two lines.

At the time of opening Mickle Trafford was served by trains that ran between Chester and Manchester with some shorter workings to and from Northwich. The CLC had rolling stock but it owned no locomotives. By agreement the locomotives were provided by the MSLR.

On 2 December 1889 the BJR opened a station at Mickle Trafford on the south side of Station Lane.

The December 1895 timetable showed seven up and six down trains Monday-to-Friday. There was an extra train in each direction on Saturdays and three each way on Sundays.

On 1 August 1897 the MSLR renamed itself the Great Central Railway (GCR). The new company name and logo quickly started to appear on the locomotives that hauled the CLC passenger services.

The 1904 Handbook of Stations showed Mickle Trafford as being able to handle general goods, parcels and livestock.

Excursion trains were run from Mickle Trafford. One such service photographed at the station in 1911 was to the seaside resort of New Brighton. It was able to run direct following the opening of lines from Chester to Shotton on 31 March 1890 and between Shotton and Bidston on 16 March 1896.

By July 1922 there were seven trains in each direction on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday as shown in the table below. There was an extra train in each direction on Wednesdays and Saturdays but no trains called at Mickle Trafford on Sundays.

Up Trains - July 1922 Destination Down Trains - July 1922 Destination
6.39am Manchester Central 7.56am Chester Northgate
8.28am Manchester Central 8.48am Chester Northgate
11.11am Manchester Central 11.13am Chester Northgate
12.26pm Manchester Central 1.28pm Chester Northgate
2.22pm (Wednesdays and Saturdays Only) Manchester Central 3.18pm (Wednesdays and Saturdays Only) Chester Northgate
4.17pm Manchester Central 5.16pm Chester Northgate
6.37pm Manchester Central 6.56pm Chester Northgate
8.37pm Manchester Central 8.26pm Chester Northgate

On 1 January 1923 the GCR and the GNR were absorbed into the London & North Eastern Railway (LNER). The MR was absorbed into the London, Midland & Scottish Railway (LMS). The CLC remained independent but with two thirds of the company shares passing to the LNER and one third to the LMS. The LNER provided the locomotives for the CLC services.

On 4 October 1942 a junction was opened between the CLC and the BJR (which had become a joint line of the GWR and the LMS on 1 January 1923). The need for a junction was brought about following the outbreak of the Second World War on 3 September 1939. Bombing of Birkenhead had caused disruption the former BJR main line that linked that town to Chester. The creation of the junction at Mickle Trafford allowed BJR line freight trains to reach Birkenhead via the CLC and London & North Eastern Railway (LNER) route to Bidston. This route had capacity and passed through predominantly rural areas.

On 1 January 1948 Mickle Trafford became part of British Railways [London Midland Region] (BR[LMR]). So too did the former BJR station which gave BR[LMR] two stations with the same name at the same location.

The 23 May 1949 timetable showed only one up and two down trains Monday-to-Saturday with no trains on Sundays.

On 5 June 1950 BR[LMR] renamed the station Mickle Trafford East. Less than a year later, on 12 February 1951 they closed it to passenger services. The passenger facilities were demolished shortly after leaving no trace.

The former BJR station closed on 2 April 1951.

The 1956 Handbook of Stations listed Mickle Trafford East as being able to handle only general goods and, by this time, its crane could lift a maximum of only 1 ton 10cwt.

Mickle Trafford East closed to goods on 1 July 1963.

On 7 August 1969 the 1942 link was closed. On 7 September 1969 it reopened as a single line and at the same time the line between Mickle Trafford and Mouldsworth was singled.

The former CLC signal box at Mickle Trafford closed when the single- line working came into effect and it was replaced by a BR LMR Type 15 all-wood structure equipped with a second-hand 35-lever frame. The new box was situated on the up side (Chester direction) of the former BJR line on the site of that company’s Mickle Trafford station up platform.

On Sunday 5 October 1969 further work was carried out at Mickle Trafford. A connection was put in from the former CLC line to the former BJR line that ran north and south. This connection allowed CLC line trains to run into and out of Chester General. The new connection came into use on Monday 6 October 1969 and Chester Northgate was closed. The CLC line to Chester remained open as part of a freight-only line to Dee Marsh Junction. The line was used mainly by trains that served the Shotton Steelworks.

On 9 October 1992 freight traffic on the line between Mickle Trafford and Dee Marsh Junction ceased. The line was declared out of use on 19 October 1992 but remained in situ until 1995 when track lifting began.

In 2016 passenger trains running between Chester and Manchester were still passing through the site of Mickle Trafford East station.

Route map by Alan Young

Sources:

  • An Illustrated History of The Cheshire Lines Committee, Paul Bolger, Heyday Publishing 1984
  • Bradshaws Rail Times July 1922, Guild Publishing 1986
  • British Railway Companies, C Awdry, Guild Publishing 1990.
  • Cheshire Lines Signal Box Register, M J Addison & J G Dixon, 1996
  • Railway Passenger Stations in Great Britain A Chronology - M Quick - Railway and Canal Historical Society 2009
  • Additional signal box information from Tony Graham

See also: Mickle Trafford

To see the other stations on the Mouldsworth to Chester Northgate line click on the station name: Chester Northgate & Barrow for Tarvin

An excursion train is seen at the Mickle Trafford down platform in 1911. The train was travelling to the seaside resort of New Brighton.
Photo from the John Mann collection



Mickle Trafford CLC station shown on a six-inch scale map from 1874.


The Mickle Trafford CLC passenger station shown on a twenty five-inch scale map from 1897
. Two stations are shown on the map the CLC facility being the one on the right. The other station was located on the Birkenhead Joint Railway.


The CLC goods facilities at Mickle Trafford shown on a twenty five-inch scale map from 1897.


Mickle Trafford station looking south-west along the up platform in 1949.
Copyright photo from Stations UK


The site of Mickle Trafford East station looking north-east in September 1979. The line had been singled on 7 September 1969. On 5 October 1969 a connection was put in from this point to the former BJR line. It is seen here diverging from the course of the original line. The route towards Chester Northgate was still in use at this time as part of a freight only route to Dee Marsh Junction.
Photo by John Mann


Looking north-east at the site of Mickle Trafford East station in April 2005. The route towards Chester Northgate had closed in 1992.
P
hoto by Paul Wright

 

 

 

[Source: Paul Wright]


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