Station Name: OSWESTRY

[Source: Paul Wright]

Date opened: 1.5.1860
Location: South side of Oswald Road (B5069)
Company on opening: Oswestry and Newtown Railway
Date closed to passengers: 7.11.1966
Date closed completely: 1971
Company on closing: British Railways (London Midland Region)
Present state: Building on west side of station site still standing and recently restored. Both platforms are extant but in poor condition.
County: Shropshire
OS Grid Ref: SJ294298
Date of visit: July 1995, 25.2.2006 & 9.6.2013

Notes: Oswestry station was situated on what became the Cambrian Railways main line from Whitchurch to Welshpool. The first section to open into the town was the line to Newtown which was opened by the Oswestry and Newtown Railway on 1st May 1860. A two road locomotive shed was provided to the north of the station which opened with the line.

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 4 May 1863. A special train to mark the completion of this section of the line ran a few weeks earlier on 20 April 1863. The onward section to Oswestry was held over for a year in case of new GWR route developments.

On 25 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). Two days later on 27 July 1864, the final section of the
Whitchurch line between Ellesmere and Oswestry was opened by the new Cambrian Railway coming into Oswestry from the northeast. The Cambrian Railway enlarged the loco shed with a four road shed alongside the existing building.

This meant that by 1866 the Cambrian mainline from Whitchurch to Aberystwyth, through Oswestry was complete, together with its various branch lines.

The newly formed Cambrian Railway decided to make its headquarters at Oswestry and they built a substantial station, locomotive, wagon and carriage works to the north of the station. The locomotive erecting shop had a central traverser serving twelve roads on each side, including the entrance and through road which was kept clear The other roads could each accommodate a single locomotive or tender They were moved by hand as far as the enclosed yard outside the shop, where the works shunter took over. At the other end of the works a network of sidings fanned out across an open yard and eleven, including the through road, continued into the carriage and wagon shops. Whilst a lot of carriageway and wagons were built in the workshops, only two locomotives were actually constructed at Oswestry, although many were extensively rebuilt.

The station consisted of two through platform faces and there were bays at each end. The main platforms were connected by a covered footbridge. Substantial buildings were provided on both platforms. Services ran to all parts of the Cambrian system.

In the1923 grouping the Cambrian Railway was taken over by the Great Western Railway. They already had a branch line from Gobowen, opened in 1848, which ran into a separate station in the town. In 1923 they closed their own station and diverted services into the former Cambrian Station. These services tended to be a shuttle service to Gobowen on the main Chester to
Shrewsbury line

In 1948 Oswestry station became part of the British Railways Western Region. At first little changed , the loco sheds were reroofed in 1950 and as the 1950s progressed increasing road competition led to a reduction in services. In 1963 the station and the lines that served it were transferred to the London Midland Region. On 18 January 1965 passenger services to
Welshpool  and to Whitchurch finished and the loco shed closed. This left only the shuttle, operated at this time by DMUs, to Gobowen which was the last passenger service to use the station. This service ended on 5 November 1966.

General freight services ran until 1971 and in the years following much of the station was demolished. A single line through the station was kept in use for trains that ran from Gobowen to Blodwel quarry until 1988. This line is still intact today is the recently restored building on the Whitchurch platform. The Welshpool platform is also still extant but in very poor condition.

In 1972 the Cambrian Railways Society was formed to preserve whatever it could of Oswestry's railways. The Society is based in their depot in the former Cambrian Railways goods yard where they have an extensive museum. They have and set out to 'maintain a living continuance of the railways historical presence in a town steeped with railway history.' In 1998 the Cambrian Railways Trust came into being with similar aims to the Cambrian Railways Society. The main station building and Cambrian offices were fully restored and housed the town's tourist office and visitor centre.

By the summer of 2013 the Cambrian Railways Society had restored the up platform and had brought a section of line into use. Work had also started on restoring the line southwards to Llynclys.

Source: Stanley Jenkins, Steam Days Magazine, December 2008. Tickets from Michael Stewart

Other web sites: BBC Shropshire History
                         Shropshire roots to roots     

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

See also Park Hall Halt on the Oswestry - Gobowen line

Oswestry station looking north-east from the up (Whitchurch direction) platform in 1932. Standing at the down platform (Welshpool direction) is a GWR tank engine on a local service.
Copyright photo from
John Alsop collection

Oswestry station looking south-west from the north-eastern end of the up platform in February 1948. To the right a train can be seen in the bay platform. This was the platform that after 1923 was used by trains running to and from Gobowen.
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection

The north-eastern end of Oswestry station in the early 1960's. In the background can be seen the former Cambrian Railway locomotive works.

Looking north-east at Oswestry station from a Llanfyllin train that terminated at the station. Standing at the down platform is an Ivatt 2-6-2 tank on a train that had just arrived from Whitchurch.
hoto by Bevan Price

Looking south-west towards Oswestry station in May 1978. Only a single line remained.
hoto by Alan Young

Oswestry station looking south-west in May 1995. By this time the line had gone out of use.
hoto by Nick Catford

Oswestry station up platform building in February 2006. The building had been renovated but the platforms had not received the same treatment.
Photo by Paul Wright

Looking north-east along the up (Whitchurch direction) platform at Oswestry station on 9 June 2013. Life was returning to the station through the efforts of the Cambrian Railway Society.
Photo by Paul Wright

Oswestry station looking south-west along the up platform on 9 June 2013.
Photo by Paul Wright

Click here for more pictures of Oswestry Station




[Source: Paul Wright]

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