Station Name: MIDDLEWICH

[Source: Paul Wright]

Date opened: 1.7.1868
Location: On the south side of Holmes Chapel Road (A54)
Company on opening: London & North Western Railway
Date closed to passengers: 4.1.1960
Date closed completely: 27.11.1967
Company on closing: British Railways (London Midland Region)
Present state: Station platforms and station master's house extant
County: Cheshire
OS Grid Ref: SJ706665
Date of visit: 18.5.2005 & 10.5.2013

Notes: Middlewich station was located on the Sandbach - Northwich line of the London & North Western Railway (LNWR). authorised in 1863 the line opened to goods services in November 1867. The LNWR built the line primarily to tap into the lucrative salt trade that existed in the mid-Cheshire area but also introduced a passenger service onto it on 1 July 1868. The Sandbach - Northwich line was built as a single track railway but the bridges and structures allowed for a future doubling of the line.

Middlewich station opened with the introduction of passenger services. It was the only station on the line and also a passing point for trains. The station was located on the north side of Holmes Chapel Road (A54) which passed over the line on a bridge. Being a passing point Middlewich station was provided with two platforms. The down platform (Northwich direction) was on the west side of the line and was linked to Holmes Chapel Road by a driveway. It was provided with a single storey timber building in typical LNWR style. The building had a booking office, waiting rooms and toilets.

A water tower for locomotives was provided at the north end of the down platform.

The up platform (Sandbach direction) had an almost identical building that had housed waiting rooms and toilets. The up platform was connected from its southern end to Holmes Chapel Road by a set of steps.

Middlewich station had goods facilities which were located on the west side of the line adjacent to the passenger station. They included a large brick goods shed and 5 sidings.

At the time of opening Middlewich was served by trains that ran between Crewe and Northwich or Acton Bridge. Northwich was a Cheshire Lines Committee (CLC) station on their Manchester - Chester line. Acton Bridge was on the LNWR main line that linked Crewe to the north and Scotland (later to become the West Coast Main Line). The line through Middlewich ran almost parallel to the LNWR main line several miles to its east.

In 1892 an LNWR Type 4 signal box with a 16 lever frame opened at the north end of the up platform.

The December 1895 timetable showed Middlewich as having 9 up and 8 down services Monday-to-Saturday as shown in the table below. There was no Sunday service.

Up trains December 1895 Destination Down trains December 1895 Destination
7.26am Crewe 5.45am Northwich
8.50am Crewe 6.48am Acton Bridge
11.36am Crewe 8.28am Northwich
12.00pm Crewe 11.37am Acton Bridge
1.21pm Crewe 2.42pm Acton Bridge
3.42pm Crewe 4.52pm Northwich
5.40pm Crewe 6.01pm Acton Bridge
6.56pm Crewe 9.33pm Northwich
8.34pm Crewe    

By 1900 the line south of Middlewich station and half a mile to the north of it had been doubled.

In 1904 Middlewich was listed as having a 1 ton crane and being able to handle parcels, livestock, private carriages by rail and horse boxes.

On 2 January 1911 a halt was opened on the Sandbach - Northwich line at Cledford Bridge and on 1 October 1914 another was opened at Billinge Green.

The July 1922 timetable showed 12 up and 11 down trains served Middlewich Monday-to-Saturday. Most of the services ran between Crewe and Northwich or Acton Bridge but there was also a direct service to London Euston at 11.30am and a return working that ran to Manchester London Road via Northwich at 5.59pm.

Middlewich station became part of the London Midland & Scottish Railway (LMS) on 1 January 1923. The LMS summer timetable for 1932 showed 11 up and 10 down trains Monday-to-Friday. There were retimed workings and one less up train on Saturdays. The through train to London and its return working to Manchester London Road still ran. No services ran on Sundays.

The Sandbach - Northwich line halts closed on 2 March 1942.

By the summer of 1947 there were only 3 up and 4 down services from Middlewich station Monday-to-Friday. On Saturdays there were 5 up and 5 down trains as seen in the timetable below.

On 1 January 1948 Middlewich became part of British Railways London Midland Region (BR[LM]). The service did not improve under BR[LM] the summer 1957 timetable showing 4 trains in each direction Monday-to-Friday with an extra train each way on Saturdays.

BR[LM] withdrew the passenger service from Middlewich on 4 April 1960.

The station remained open for goods services until 27 November 1967 maintaining the same facilities as it did in 1904 until the end.

After closure to passenger services Middlewich station was visited by at least two rail tours, the Push and Pull Farewell Rail Tour visiting the on 5 and 12 February 1966.

The up platform building survived until the late 1960s and the down until the early 1980s. The signal box closed on 30 March 1980.

The line through Middlewich continued to be a bust railway for freight trains after complete closure of the station. Due to the fact that it runs parallel to the West Coast Main Line it had always been used for diverted main line trains from that route when engineering works were being carried out. The diversions and freight services were still running in the 21st century.

The Middlewich Rail Link Campaign was formed in 1992 to campaign for the reopening of Middlewich station.

Tickets from Michael Stewart.

To see the campaign to reopen Middlewich station website click here

See also: Cledford Bridge Halt & Billinge Green Halt

Looking north-west at Middlewich station in the early years of the 20th century. The goods yard is filled with a variety of wagons.

Middlewich station shown on a 1875 map.

Middlewich station shown on a 1964 map.

Looking south-east along the down platform at Middlewich station in 1954.
Photo from the John Mann collection

Midldlewich station looking north in 1959. A Northwich to Crewe service is seen arriving at the up platform where a couple of passengers are waiting to board the train.
Photo from the Jim Lake collection

A view looking south-east at Middlewich station in 1963. The LNWR Middlewich signal box is seen in the foreground. Three years after closure the station retained both of its buildings.
Photo by H B Priestley

Middlewich station looking north-east the summer of 1972. Only the down platform building survived by this time and the goods yard had become a parking area for buses.
Photo by Bill Jamieson

The Middlewich station down platform building seen in October 1977.
Photo by John Mann

Middlewich station looking north-west in May 2005.
Photo by Paul Wright

Looking south-east at the site of Middlewich station on 10 May 2013.
Photo by John Wilson

To see more photos of Middlewich click here




[Source: Paul Wright]

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