Station Name: OSWESTRY (GWR)

[Source: Paul Wright]


Date opened: 1.1.1849
Location: Lost under Oswald Road
Company on opening: Shrewsbury & Chester Railway
Date closed to passengers: 7.7.1924
Date closed completely: 12.1971
Company on closing: Great Western Railway
Present state: Demolished
County: Shropshire
OS Grid Ref: SJ294299
Date of visit: 9.6.2013

Notes: The Oswestry Great Western Railway (GWR) station was the southern terminus of a 2½-mile branch line that connected the Shropshire town to the company’s Shrewsbury and Chester main line at Gobowen. The branch was authorised in July 1846 when the Shrewsbury, Oswestry & Chester Junction Railway (authorised in July 1845 but which actually bypassed Oswestry) merged with the North Wales Mineral Railway to form the Shrewsbury & Chester Railway (S&CR). The S&CR opened the Oswestry branch on 23 December 1848. The station at Oswestry opened a few days later on 1 January 1849. It was at that time a very basic station.

The station was located on the north-eastern edge of the town and goods facilities were included.

The March 1850 timetable showed five arrivals and six departures Monday-to-Saturday. On Sundays there were two trains in each direction.

On 1 September 1854 the S&CR was taken over by the Great Western Railway (GWR). The main line went on to become a busy trunk railway used by express and local passenger trains and large volumes of freight. A Birmingham – Birkenhead express service was introduced on 1 May 1857 and a London Paddington – Birkenhead service on 1 October 1861. Many of these services called at Ruabon which was linked to Oswestry by a mixture of through local trains and a shuttle service.

On 1 May 1860 the Cambrian Railway (CR) opened a station at Oswestry. It was located just to the south of the GWR station and the CR line to Ellesmere passed just to the east. The CR made Oswestry their headquarters and built a very grand station. They also developed a large locomotive works just to the north-east of the GWR station.

Faced with the CR facilities the GWR improved their station at Oswestry in 1866. The new station facilities were housed in a single-storey building whose distinctive features were French pavilion roofs at either end of the pitched roof. This architectural device was used in the 1860s-to-‘80s by the GWR on some of its more important stations, other examples being Ross-on-Wye, Southall, Truro and Stourbridge Town.

There was just a single platform with run-around loop which was adequate for the service frequency.

The goods yard was also improved and it included a goods shed, five sidings, loading ramps and facilities for livestock.

The December 1895 timetable showed twenty-one departures Monday-to-Saturday all of which ran to Gobowen. There were also twenty-one arrivals that had all originated at Gobowen. On Wednesdays there was an extra departure with two extra departures on the first Wednesday of the month. there were no trains on Sundays.

In 1922 the CR merged with the GWR.

The July 1922 timetable showed twenty-two departures and twenty-two arrivals Monday-to-Saturday with an extra train each way on Wednesdays as shown in the table below. There were no trains on Sundays.

Departures July 1922 (Up) Destination Arrivals July 1922 (Down) From
7.40am Ruabon 7.33am Wrexham General
8.03am Gobowen 8.41am Gobowen
8.25am Gobowen 9.03am Gobowen
8.46am Gobowen 9.51am (Wednesdays Only) Gobowen
10.14am Gobowen 10.12am Wrexham General
10.27am Gobowen 10.49am Gobowen
11.45am Gobowen 11.21pm Gobowen
12.22pm Gobowen 12.17pm Gobowen
1.03pm Gobowen 12.50pm Gobowen
2.50pm Gobowen 1.35pm Gobowen
1.20pm Ruabon 2.00pm Gobowen
3.15pm (Wednesdays Only) Wrexham General 2.43pm Ruabon
3.23pm Gobowen 3.30pm Gobowen
3.48pm Gobowen 4.02pm Gobowen
4.20pm Ruabon 4.18pm Gobowen
5.35pm Gobowen 5.50pm Ruabon
5.55pm Gobowen 6.16pm Gobowen
7.00pm Gobowen 6.35pm Wrexham General
7.45pm Gobowen 7.30pm Gobowen
7.55pm Wrexham General 8.11pm Gobowen
8.26pm Gobowen 9.00pm Gobowen
8.45pm Wrexham General 10.03pm Gobowen
9.40pm Gobowen 10.32pm Chester General

The GWR did not want to operate two stations in the town especially as they were so close together. The CR facility was much the better station and the GWR decided to run all of its traffic into it. A connection existed between the Gobowen branch and the Ellesmere line that had been used by a few through passenger trains such as the Birkenhead – Aberystwyth expresses.

Gobowen line trains were switched to run to and from the former CR station on 7 July 1924 and the original GWR station closed to passengers. It was handed over to the goods department.

The station remained in use as a goods station until December 1971. It was demolished after 1975 and a road was later built on the site.

Passenger services continued to run between Oswestry and Ruabon (using the former CR station) until 7 November 1966.

Ticket from Michael Stewart and route map by Alan Young

Sources:

  • A Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain - Volume II North & Mid Wales - Peter E Baughan - David & Charles 1980.
  • Encyclopaedia of British Railway Companies - Christopher Awdry - Guild Publishing 1990.
  • Paddington to the Mersey - Dr R. Preston Hendry & R. Powell Hendry - Oxford Publishing Company 1992.
  • Railway Passenger Stations in Great Britain - A Chronology - Michael Quick - Railway & Canal Historical Society 2009.

See also: Oswestry (Cambrian) and Park Hall Halt


A view looking north at the Oswestry GWR station in 1936. Twelve years after closure the station retained all of its original features.
Photo from the John Mann collection


The original Oswestry GWR station shown on a six-inch scale map . Compared to the Cambrian Railway station to the south it was small and basic.


Oswestry GWR station shown on a 1:2,500 scale map from 1901.The more substantial facilities built in 1866 are shown. The other facilities at the GWR station include cattle pens, a coal depot, a weighing machine and a goods shed. To the right of the station can be seen the lines of the Cambrian Railway.

The GWR Oswestry station shown on a six-inch scale map from 1902.


Oswestry GWR station seen from the air in 1952 during the period when it was being used by the goods department. To the right of the passenger station is the GWR goods shed. To the left the platforms of the former Cambrian Railway station can be seen.
Copyright p
hoto courtesy of Simons Aerofilms


A view looking south along the platform at the Oswestry GWR station in the late 1950s.
Photo from the John Mann collection


Looking north towards the Oswestry GWR station in the mid-1960s. The station roof can be seen to the left of the water tower. Access to the station had been along the road seen in this view. In the foreground, to the left, is the Oswestry garage of the Crosville bus company and one of their buses is seen to the right.

A view looking south at the Oswestry GWR station in April 1966. To the left can be seen the north end of the former Cambrian station. Standing in the bay platform is a DMU on a Gobowen service.
Copyright photo from Ernies Photo Archive


Oswestry GWR station seen looking north after complete closure in January 1974.
Photo by John Mann

Looking north at the site of Oswestry GWR station on 9 June 2013.
P
hoto by Paul Wright

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[Source: Paul Wright]




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