Station Name: WALCOT

[Source: Paul Wright]

Date opened: 1.6.1849
Location: East side of Bluebell Lane
Company on opening: Shrewsbury & Wellington Railway
Date closed to passengers: 7.9.1964
Date closed completely: 7.9.1964
Company on closing: British Railways
Present state: Demolished
County: Shropshire
OS Grid Ref: SJ594118
Date of visit: 8.3.2016

Notes: Walcot station was situated on the Shrewsbury & Wellington Railway (S&W), a joint line of 10 miles that was authorised on 3 August 1846. The S&W partners were the Shrewsbury & Birmingham Railway (S&B) and the Shropshire Union Railways & Canal Company (SUR&CC). For the S&B the joint line provided a link to Shrewsbury for its Wolverhampton line and for the SUR&CC for its Stafford line. The S&W opened on 1 June 1849 as did the SUC&RC Stafford and Wellington line which was immediately leased to the London & North Western Railway (LNWR). The S&B opened from Wellington to Oakengates at the same time but it did not reach Wolverhampton until 12 November 1849.

The station was located south of the village of Walcot just over xx miles from Shrewsbury. It was on the east side of Bluebell Lane over which the line passed on a bridge. The line was on an embankment and the main facilities were on the up side (Wolverhampton direction) just to the east of the bridge. Access was via a driveway which connected to Shawbirch Road. The station buildings consisted of two adjoining single-storey structures, brick-built with pitched roofs carried forward carried forward on the south side to provide shelter. Access to the buildings was at rail level, the up platform commencing at the eastern end of the buildings. The opposite platform extended west to the underbridge and on it stood an enclosed timber shelter.

At the time of opening there would have been only low platforms and no facilities were provided on the down side (Shrewsbury direction).

Walcot opened with the line on 1 June 1849. The March 1850 timetable showed nine up and ten down trains on Monday-to-Saturday as seen in the table below. On Sunday there were four trains each way. Two of the up trains travelled to Stafford and two to Wolverhampton. The down trains all went to Shrewsbury, two being LNWR services from Stafford and two S&B services from Wolverhampton.

Up Trains March 1850

Destination

Down Trains March 1850

Destination

6.15am (LNWR train)

Stafford

8.15am (S&B train)

Shrewsbury

8.20am (S&B train)

Wolverhampton

9.48am (LNWR train)

Shrewsbury

10.03am (LNWR train)

Stafford

11.25am (S&B train)

Shrewsbury

10.30am (S&B train)

Wolverhampton

1.29pm (LNWR train)

Shrewsbury

12.54pm (S&B train)

Wolverhampton

1.45pm (S&B train)

Shrewsbury

4.05pm (S&B train)

Wolverhampton

3.45pm (S&B train)

Shrewsbury

5.36pm (LNWR train)

Stafford

6.15pm (S&B train)

Shrewsbury

7.11pm (LNWR train)

Stafford

7.38pm (LNWR train)

Shrewsbury

7.45pm (S&B train)

Wolverhampton

8.40pm (S&B train)

Shrewsbury

10.13pm (LNWR train)

Shrewsbury

The S&B had close ties with the Shrewsbury & Chester Railway (S&C) and together the companies had aspirations to create an alternative route between the Midlands and the River Mersey. These intentions antagonised the LNWR who worked tirelessly to frustrate them. One of the ways in which the LNWR caused trouble for the S&B was stopping it from reaching Birmingham. Despite having Birmingham in its name the company was never able to gain access to the town over its own metals.

The Great Western Railway (GWR) also aspired to reach the River Mersey and it had the size and corporate muscle to take on the LNWR. This led to the S&B and the S&C becoming part of the GWR on 1 September 1854; the S&W became a joint line of the LNWR/GWR. The GWR had reached Wolverhampton in April 1854. A mixed gauge line (broad gauge at 7ft 0¼in and 4ft 8½in standard gauge) line was opened between Wolverhampton and Birmingham on 13 November 1854. This created the through route between Shrewsbury and Birmingham that the S&B had desired and a line between London Paddington and the River Mersey at Birkenhead that the LNWR had done everything in its power to stop.

A few trains from Walcot had started to run through to Birmingham New Street on 4 February 1854 via an LNWR line but they moved to Birmingham Snow Hill on 13 November 1854 and the service was improved.

Under the GWR the line through Walcot became a busy trunk railway that carried 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. These were prestigious trains that called only at principal stations.

At some point in the second half of the nineteenth century raised platforms were added to Walcot station. Owing to the position of the station buildings on the embankment the up platform was built to the east of it the western end ramp linking onto a section of the original low level platform that remained. A timber waiting room was provided on the down platform which had also gained a signal box, at its mid-point, by 1880s. Steps were also provided that linked the down platform to Bluebell Lane.

In 1895 there were eight up and six down trains on Monday-to-Friday. Five of the up trains were GWR services. Two ran to Wolverhampton Low Level, one went to Wellington, one to Birmingham Snow Hill and one went to the South-West. Three of the up services were LNWR trains that travelled to Stafford. Four of the down trains were GWR services two going to Chester and two to Shrewsbury. The other two down services were LNWR trains that travelled to Shrewsbury having originated at Stafford. On Saturdays there was an extra train in each direction running between Shrewsbury and Wellington. There were four trains each way on Sunday of which one in each direction was an LNWR service.

In 1898 a refuge siding was installed on the up side of the line to the west of Bluebell Lane. Goods trains were able to reverse into the siding to allow express passenger services to pass.

In 1903 9,068 passenger tickets were sold at Walcot and 927 parcels were handled.

In 1909 the up side refuge siding was converted into a loop which meant that goods trains could be moved out of the way of express services without having to reverse. To control the loop a new signal box was provided on the down side of the line to the west of the station. The original box was demolished.

On 1 January 1923 the LNWR became part of the London Midland & Scottish Railway (LMS) which meant that the line became a joint concern of the GWR/LMS. In that year 11,411 passenger tickets were sold and 28,683 parcels were handled.

Ticket sales in 1933 had increased to 14,482 but parcels traffic had declined with only 6,555 being handled.

On 1 January 1948 Walcot became part of British Railways [Western Region] (BR[WR]). However services between Shrewsbury and Stafford were operated by the London Midland Region [LMR]. More BR[LMR] services called at Walcot than BR[WR] services.

In 1958 there were seven trains in each direction on Monday-to-Friday. Six of the up services went to Stafford and one went to Birmingham Snow Hill. Six of the down services went to Shrewsbury, five of them originating from Stafford. The other train went to Chester. On Saturday there was an extra up train that departed for Wolverhampton Low Level at 10.23pm. In the down direction there were two extra trains both of which went to Shrewsbury.

From 1 January 1963 Walcot came under the operational control of (BR[LMR]) and was transferred fully to this region on 1 July 1963. During the Western Region era the station was not significantly modernised; totem name signs were not installed and GWR running-in boards continued to display the station’s name.

The BR[LMR] timetable for the summer of 1963 showed eight up and six down trains on Monday-to-Friday. On Saturday there was an extra train in each direction. Most of the trains ran to and from the Stafford line.

By the time of the ‘Beeching Report’ (March 1963) the minor stations on the principal routes from Shrewsbury to Chester, Welshpool and Hereford were already closed, but those on the line to Wellington and Wolverhampton, however limited in importance, were still open. Although it was compiled following traffic censuses to assess the financial viability of passenger lines and stations the report, nevertheless, contained apparent anomalies; surely one of these is that Beeching proposed not to close any stations between Shrewsbury, Wellington and Wolverhampton. The accompanying map in the Report indicated, however, that the service would be ‘modified’ between Shrewsbury and Wellington – although the line was absent from the official list of modified services! Modification generally implied the closure of stations on a line which would remain open, though this clearly did not apply to Shrewsbury-Wellington. Dancing in the streets of Walcot, Upton Magna and Admaston must have quickly given way to gloom when on 11 October 1963, in addition to the formal announcement of the intention to close the Wellington–Stafford line (which was in ‘Beeching’) the three intermediate stations between Shrewsbury and Wellington (which were not) would be thrown in with it. On 27 May 1964 Ernest Marples, Secretary of State for Transport, decided that these services would end just over three months later, on 7 September.

After closure the station was demolished.

The line continued to be a busy railway linking the West Midlands to Shrewsbury and remained so in 2016.

Tickets from Michael Stewart and route map by Alan Young

Sources:

  • A Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain - Volume 7 The West Midlands - Rex Christiansen - David & Charles 1973.
  • 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.
  • Wolverhampton to Shrewsbury - Vic Mitchell & Keith Smith - Middleton Press 2009.

To see the other closed stations on the Wolverhampton - Chester General line click on the station name: Wolverhampton Low Level, Dunstall Park,
Stafford Road
,
New Hadley Halt, Admaston Halt, Upton Magna, Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury S&C, Leaton, Oldwoods Halt, Baschurch, Stanwardine Halt, Haughton Halt, Rednal & West Felton, Whittington Low Level, Weston Rhyn, Whitehurst Halt, Rhosymedre, Cefn, Rhosymedre Halt, Wynnville Halt, Rhos, Johnstown & Hafod, Rhosrobin Halt, Gresford, Rossett,
Pulford
, Balderton
and Saltney


Walcot station seen looking west from the down platform in 1950.
Copyright photo from Stations UK



Walcot station shown on a six-inch scale map from 1900.


Walcot station shown on a 1:2,500 scale map from 1902.

Looking west from the up platform at Walcot station in the 1950s.
P
hoto by R M Casserley

A view of Walcot station looking east along the down platform in the early 1960s.
Photo from John Mann collection



Walcot station in the early 1960s looking west.
Photo from John Mann collection



The site of Walcot station looking east on 8 March 2016.
Photo by Paul Wright


A view looking south-east from the station entrance gate at Walcot on 8 March 2016. The station building was located on the bank towards the right of the view.
Photo by Paul Wright

The Walcot down platform entrance looking east on 8 March 2016.
Photo by Paul Wright

 

 

 

[Source: Paul Wright]




Last updated: Friday, 26-May-2017 08:53:25 BST
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