Station Name: UPTON-BY-CHESTER

[Source: Paul Wright]


Date opened: 17.7.1939
Location: South side of the A5116, Liverpool Road.
Company on opening: GWR/LMS
Date closed to passengers: 9.1.1984
Date closed completely: 9.1.1984
Company on closing: British Rail (London Midland Region)
Present state: Both platforms still extant.
County: Cheshire
OS Grid Ref: SJ404689
Date of visit: 14.7.2009

Notes: Upton-by-Chester was situated on the Chester and Birkenhead Railway which had opened on 23 September 1840 and went on to become a main line. The line became a joint railway which by the 1930s was owned in equal part by the Great Western Railway (GWR) and the London Midland & Scottish Railway (LMS). Upton-by-Chester, located on the northern edge of Chester, opened on 17 July 1939 to cater for the cities growing suburbs. The station also served the nearby Chester Zoo and the (Cheshire) County Mental Hospital.

In common with many other stations that opened in the 1930s Upton-by-Chester was a fairly simple affair. Located to the south of the A5116 road which crossed the line by an overbridge the station was provided with two platforms of concrete construction. Each platform was linked to the road by ramps and steps. Simple timber waiting shelters were provided at platform level.
An equally simple booking office was provided at street level on the west side of the line.

Although the line was a busy trunk route used by express trains of both the owning companies, including the Birkenhead Woodside and London Paddington service, Upton-by-Chester was served only by local trains running between Chester General and Birkenhead Woodside. At the time of opening it was classified as a halt.

At nationalisation on 1 January 1948 the Upton-by-Chester became part of British Railways London Midland Region. The summer 1948 timetable showed eleven up and thirteen down services Monday-to-Friday. There was one less up service on Saturdays and the halt was also served on Sundays there being five trains in each direction. Emphasis was made in the timetable that all of the up trains called at Rock Ferry where connection could be made with a frequent electric service to Liverpool Central Low Level.

Up Trains Summer 1948 Destination Down Trains Summer 1948 Destination
7.23am Chester General 7.01am Birkenhead Woodside
7.52am Chester General 7.48am Birkenhead Woodside
8.25am Chester General 8.26am Birkenhead Woodside
11.20am Chester General 9.05am Birkenhead Woodside
2.25pm Chester General 12.08pm Birkenhead Woodside
5.21pm Chester General 12.35pm Birkenhead Woodside
5.57pm (Saturdays Excepted) Chester General 4.33pm Birkenhead Woodside
6.47pm Chester General 5.13pm Birkenhead Woodside
6.57pm Chester General 5.58pm Birkenhead Woodside
8.09pm Chester General 6.23pm Birkenhead Woodside
9.38pm Chester General 7.03pm Birkenhead Woodside
    8.43pm Birkenhead Woodside
    10.14pm Birkenhead Woodside

By the summer of 1957 the service had reduced slightly with eleven up and nine down services Monday-to-Friday. There was an extra train in each direction on Saturdays. Five up trains and four down ran on Sundays. From 1960 DMUs were introduced onto the local services that ran between Chester and Birkenhead. Upton-by-Chester was provided with an improved service which by the summer of 1962 consisted of sixteen trains in each direction Monday-to-Saturday with six up and seven down trains on Sundays. Upton-by-Chester even had a direct weekday train to and from Pwhelli.

The 1963 Re-shaping of British Railways Report recommended that stopping passenger services between Birkenhead Woodside and Chester should be withdrawn and intermediate stations such as Upton-by-Chester closed. The services on the line were well used and the proposal was not adopted. However with the completion of the electrification of the West Coast Main Line between Liverpool Lime Street and London Euston in April 1966 the main line services from Birkenhead Woodside were considered to unnecessary. On the 5 November 1967 Birkenhead Woodside Station closed and from that date no more express services passed through Upton-by-Chester station. The local service from Chester to Birkenhead was cut back to Rock Ferry where there was a convenient interchange with the former Mersey Railway that ran through to Liverpool Central.

After 6 May 1968 the term 'Halt' was dropped.

The May 1975 timetable showed Upton-by-Chester had twenty-three up and twenty down trains Monday-to-Friday as shown in the table below. There were slightly fewer trains on Saturdays and no Sunday service.

Up Trains from May 1975 Destination Down Trains from May 1975 Destination
06.55 Chester 07.15 Rock Ferry
07.37 Chester 07.55 Rock Ferry
08.07 Chester 08.15 Rock Ferry
08.57 Chester 09.10 Rock Ferry
09.37 Holyhead (Until 4 October then to Chester) 09.30 Rock Ferry
10.17 Llandudno (until 3 October then to Chester) 10.30 Rock Ferry
10.37 Chester 11.30 Rock Ferry
11.37 Chester 12.30 Rock Ferry
12.37 Chester 13.30 Rock Ferry
13.37 Chester 14.30 Rock Ferry
14.37 Chester 15.30 Rock Ferry
15.37 Chester 16.30 Rock Ferry
16.37 Chester 17.00 (Saturdays Excepted) Rock Ferry
17.07 (Saturdays Excepted) Llandudno 17.20 (Saturdays Excepted) Rock Ferry
17.37 (Saturdays only) Chester 17.30 (Saturdays Only ) Rock Ferry
17.42 (Saturdays Excepted) Chester 17.55 (Saturdays Excepted) Rock Ferry
18.10 (Saturdays Excepted) Chester 18.30 Rock Ferry
18.27 (Saturdays Excepted) Chester 19.30 Rock Ferry
18.37 (Saturdays only) Chester 20.30 Rock Ferry
18.47 (Saturdays Excepted) Chester 21.30 Rock Ferry
19.37 Chester 22.30 Rock Ferry
20.37 Chester    
21.37 Chester    
22.37 Chester    
23.37 Chester    

Upton-by-Chester retained its gas lighting until the mid 1970s. The train service at Upton-by-Chester remained as a basically hourly service in each direction Monday-to-Saturday with no Sunday trains through to the 1980s.

As early as the 1960s though had been given to electrifying the line from Rock Ferry to Chester. This would enable the electric trains that ran on the former Mersey Railway to run through to Chester providing a direct service to Liverpool for passengers using the stations that lay to the south of Rock Ferry. Since 1971 the line had been branded as part of the Merseyrail Wirral line. In the early 1980s plans were drawn up for the electrification of the line.

As part of the plans for electrification in 1983 work started on a new station a short distance to the south of Upton-by-Chester at Bache. Bache was more convenient for local shops and bus services. Upton-by-Chester closed on 9 January 1984. A couple of weeks later on the 31 January 1984 its replacement at Bache opened to the public. Electric trains started to run to Hooton on 30 September 1985. On 3 September 1993 the electric service was extended to Chester.

In 2013 the platforms at Upton-by-Chester were extant.

Tickets from Michael Stewart

Sources:

  • Merseyrail Electrics, The Inside Story, by T B Maud, NBC Books 2001.
  • Paddington to the Mersey, by Dr R Preston Hendry & R Powell Hendry, OPC 1992.
  • BR (LMR) Summer Timetable 1948.
  • BR (LMR) Summer Timetable 1957.
  • BR (LMR) May Timetable 1975.

To see other closed stations on the Birkenhead Woodside to Chester line click on the station name: Birkenhead Woodside, Birkenhead Monks Ferry, Birkenhead Town, Tranmere, Rock Lane, Hooton, Ledsham & Mollington


Upton-by-Chester looking south seen from a passing train in August 1973. On the up platform a BR LMR sign from the 1950s gives the station name. Beneath it is a BR corporate era sign advising passengers to 'Alight here for Chester Zoo.
P
hoto by Alan Young


Looking south along the up platform at Upton-by-Chester in 1975. At this time the halt still had gas lighting and its BR LMR totem signs.
P
hoto by Ian Wood

A BR LMR 1950s style station nameboard at Upton-by-Chester in 1975.
Photo by Ian Wood

Looking east towards the access steps for the up platform at Upton-by-Chester in 1975. Prominent in the foreground is a BR LMR sign dating from the 1950s.
Photo by Ian Wood

Upton-by-Chester looking north along the up platform in April 1977. Electric lighting had replaced gas and corporate era BR signs had replaced the totems.
P
hoto by Alan Young


Upton-by-Chester Station looking south seen from a passing train in July 1985
P
hoto by Alan Young


Looking south at Upton-by-Chester in July 2009. In the distance the replacement station at Bache can be seen. A Merseyrail service from Chester to Liverpool passes through the derelict platforms.
Photo by Paul Wright


Click on thumbnail to enlarge


 

 

 

[Source: Paul Wright]




Last updated: Tuesday, 12-Feb-2013 17:38:41 GMT
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