Station Name: WEST KIRBY (Birkenhead Joint)

[Source: Paul Wright]


Date opened: 19.4.1886
Location: On the north side of Grange Road (A540). Orrysdale Road now runs through the station site.
Company on opening: Birkenhead Joint (Great Western Railway and London North Western Railway)
Date closed to passengers: 17.9.1956
Date closed completely: 7.5.1962
Company on closing: British Railways (London Midland Region)
Present state: The station has been demolished, Orrysdale Road now runs through the station site.
County: Cheshire
OS Grid Ref: SJ214870
Date of visit: April 2005 & 26.10.2008

Notes: West Kirby’s joint station was opened on the 19th April 1886 as the northern terminus station on the Great Western Railway (GWR) and London North Western Railway’s (LNWR) extension to their 1866 branch line from Hooton to Parkgate as part of their Birkenhead Joint Railway. The extension ran from Parkgate through Heswall, Thurstaston and Caldy terminating at West Kirby.

The station was only a short distance to the east of the Wirral Railway’s West Kirby station which had opened in 1878 and which was extensively rebuilt as quite a grand affair in 1896. In comparison the Birkenhead Joint Railways station was very modest. It consisted of a single platform on the west side of the line. A single storey brick built building provided
passenger and parcels facilities. The Hooton to West Kirby Branch line was a single track route but at West Kirby Station a passing loop was provided as was a small turntable and watering facilities. Although the station was a terminus the line continued beyond the station to the north and made a connection with the Wirral Railway which facilitated the movement of goods between the two networks. Also in the early days some long distance passenger services used the connection as did excursion traffic. In later years the only significant through service was once a day when one or two coaches ran from New Brighton via Bidston to Hooton and Chester, where it was attached to a London Euston train; this ran until 1939

From the start regular passenger services operated from West Kirby to Hooton which was an important Junction station on the Birkenhead Joint Railway’s Birkenhead Woodside to Chester line. Connections could be made at Hooton with London Paddington Express trains as well as with many local and inter regional services. During the peak times some West Kirby services continued on from Hooton and went as far as Birkenhead Woodside. For West Kirby residents travel to Birkenhead was far quicker from the Wirral Railway Companies Station. One of the major users of the line were scholars travelling from stations along the route to the secondary schools in West Kirby. The line became uneconomical after WW1 with a further reduction in passenger traffic in 1927 when Neston Colliery closed but the line remained open serving a largely agricultural community and also day trippers visiting the sea side towns of Parkgate and West Kirby. 

In 1923 the London Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) became the joint partner with the GWR but very little changed and service patterns remained constant. As the LMS had taken over the Wirral Railway consideration was given to the idea of building a new station at West Kirby that would accommodate both lines. The plans were never realized. In 1938 the
former Wirral Railway line between West Kirby and Birkenhead saw the introduction of electric train services making that route even more preferable to the joint line.

In 1948 the Hooton to west Kirby line became part of the British Railways (London Midland Region). In 1950 nine trains operated in each direction on weekdays with four on a Saturday. The Hooton to West Kirby line suffered from increasing road competition in the 1950s and its passenger service was withdrawn on the 17th of September 1956. The very last train to leave West Kirby left for Hooton at 9:55pm. Many local people turned out to see it leave. Attached to the last train was a box van carrying two circus elephants which made a loud noise as the train pulled away from the station.

In 1961 newly introduced DMUs ran along the line to West Kirby station. However they were not for the use of passengers. The line was being used to train drivers in the use of the DMUs.

West Kirby station continued to be used for goods until the 7th May 1962. The last goods train stopped at all of the former passenger stations and removed any remaining fixtures and fittings that were of value. Early in 1964 the demolition gangs began their work by making a break in the line at West Kirby station. A joint Wirral-Birkenhead goods depot was sited in the
triangular area between the Wirral station and the Birkenhead Joint station. This was mainly used to receive coal for domestic distribution and closed on 30th October 1965.

In 1968 the route of the Hooton - West Kirby Branch was chosen to create Britain's first country park the Wirral Country Park opening in 1973. The park forms the central section of Wirral Way, a 12 miles cycleway and foopath that follows the course of the railway between West Kirby and Hooton. There is a visitor centre and car park at Thurtaston Station. The site of the lines at West Kirby’s Joint Station did not survive with Orrysdale Road running through the station site. Wirral Way starts just south of West Kirby station on the south side of Grange Road..

Tickets from Michael Stewart

To see the other stations on the Hooton - West Kirby line click on the station name: Kirby Park, Caldy, Thurstaston, Heswall, Parkgate (2nd), Parkgate (1st), Neston South, Hadlow Road & Hooton


West Kirby Station looking north west in 1886, the turntable is seen in the foreground




1912 Ordnance Survey map showing the Wirral station (left) and Birkenhead Joint station (right). The joint freight depot is located between the two. The Birkenhedad Joint station
also had its own goods sidings

Looking north at West Kirby Joint Station in 1930 after the arrival of a train from Hooton. The locomotive would have run around its train and then returned to Hooton.
Copyright photo from Stations UK


An auto train arives at West Kirby Joint Station in September 1954
Copyright photo by R M Casserle
y

Looking north west at the derelict West Kirby Joint Station in August 1968  before it was demolished. In the distance can be seen West Kirby signalbox which was located on the former Wirral Railway line that ran to Birkenhead. The signalbox would have controlled a junction between the Wirral Railway and the Joint line that survived right up until the lines closure.
Copytight photo by Nigel Mundy


The site of West Kirby Station looking north west in October 2008, taken from a similar viewpoint to the 1930 picture above.
P
hoto by Paul Wright


April 2005

October 2008

Click on thumbnail to enlarge

 

 

 

[Source: Paul Wright]



Last updated: Tuesday, 20-Apr-2010 16:11:00 BST
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