Station Name: WEST KIRBY 1st

[Source: Paul Wright]


Date opened: 1.4.1878
Location: East side of Grange Road
Company on opening: Hoylake & Birkenhead Rail & Tramway Company
Date closed to passengers: 1896
Date closed completely: 1896
Company on closing: Wirral Railway
Present state: Demolished
County: Cheshire
OS Grid Ref: SJ213869
Date of visit: 8.2014

Notes: The first West Kirby station opened on 1 April 1878 as the western terminus of the Hoylake & Birkenhead Rail & Tramway Company’s (H&BR&TC) line from Birkenhead Dock. The line had originally opened between Birkenhead Dock and Hoylake as the Hoylake Railway on 2 July 1866. The extension of 1 mile 225yd from Hoylake to West Kirby was authorised when the H&BR&TC came into existence on 1 July 1872.

West Kirby station was located on the north side of Grange Road directly opposite Acacia Grove. It had a single platform at the southern end of which was located a single-storey timber building that housed the booking office and waiting rooms. The station also had goods facilities in the form of two sidings, a goods shed and a weighing machine.

At the time of opening West Kirby was served by trains that ran to and from Birkenhead Dock. From Birkenhead Dock, which was three miles to the west of the Birkenhead, the company’s horse-worked tramway provided a connection with the ferry terminal at Birkenhead Woodside which linked to Liverpool.

In 1881 after the H&BR&TC had sold the tramway it changed its name to the Seacombe, Hoylake & Deeside Railway (SH&DR).

On 19 April 1886 the Birkenhead Joint Railway (BJR - a partnership of the Great Western Railway and the London & North Western Railway) opened an extension to its Hooton – Parkgate branch from Parkgate to West Kirby. The BJR West Kirby station was located a short distance to the east of the SH&DR facility. A connection was put in between the two systems just to the north of both stations. A signal box on the west side of the SH&DR line was opened by the SH&DR to control traffic movements over the junction. The connection was used mostly by goods trains but passenger excursions also passed over it.

The August 1887 timetable showed West Kirby as having 17 departures and 16 arrivals on Monday-to-Friday. There were extra trains on Saturday and eight in each direction on Sunday. All of the trains ran to or from Birkenhead Dock. Most of the services called at all of the intermediate stations but some called only at Hoylake.

On 2 January 1888 two extensions to the SH&DR line were opened. At the eastern end was the extension to Birkenhead Park of just under a mile. At Birkenhead Park there was an end-on connection with the Mersey Railway (MR) which passed under the River Mersey providing a connection to Liverpool. The other extension to the system was the New Brighton branch which diverged from the original route just east of Bidston (opening as far as Wallasey on 2 January 1888 and New Brighton on 30 March 1888).

With the opening of the new lines West Kirby became busier. The majority of its services ran to and from Birkenhead Park but there were also through coaches to Liverpool James Street for a short period.

On 1 July 1891 the SH&DR became part of the Wirral Railway (WR). The WR opened a branch to Seacombe on 1 June 1895 and trains began to operate between Seacombe and West Kirby. The December 1895 timetable showed West Kirby as having 36 arrivals and 38 departures Monday-to-Friday. Extra trains ran on Saturdays and there were 15 trains in each direction on Sundays. Trains ran more or less hourly to both Birkenhead park and seacombe giving a half hourly service between Bidston and West Kirby.

By the 1890s West Kirby had become a busy station and it was not large enough to cope with the volume of traffic. Consideration had been given to creating a joint station with the BJR, but the idea came to nothing and in 1896 the WR built a new station of its own just to the west of its original facility. The new station opened in 1896 when the line between Hoylake and West Kirby was doubled (doubling of the section between Bidston and Hoylake being completed on 23 May 1895). The original station became part of the goods yard.

The goods yard remained in use until 30 October 1965 and was later developed as part of the West Kirby Concourse. The 1896 West Kirby station is still open as part of the Merseyrail Wirral Line.

Sources:

  • Railway Passenger Stations in Great Britain - A Chronology, by M Quick, RCHS 2009.
  • The Wirral Railway and its Predecessors , by T B Maud 2009.

To see other closed stations of the Wirral Railway click on the station name: Birkenhead Dock, Liscard & Poulton and Seacombe

See also related features: The Woodside and Birkenhead Dock street tramway
& Railways at Bidston

See also

West Kirby BJR


Looking south at the railway facilities of West Kirby at the beginning of the 20th century. The first West Kirby station was to the left of the view where a water tank can be seen. The tank was at the north end of the platform, the remains of which can be seen to its south. To the right is the 1896 Wirral Railway station. At the bottom of the picture are the lines of the Birkenhead Joint Railway.
P
hoto from the John Mann collection


West Kirby's first station shown on a 1:2,500 scale OS map from 1895 when it was part of the Wirral Railway. As well as its single passenger platform the station has three sidings, a goods shed and a weighing machine. To the east is the station of the Birkenhead Joint Railway. There were discussions about creating a single station for both companies but in the end the idea never came to fruition and in 1896 the Wirral Railway built a new station on the land that is seen to the west of the first station.

Looking south along the platform of the 1896 West Kirby station in the first decade of the 20th century. The first West Kirby station was to the far left of the photograph where a small hut can be seen.
Copyright photo from the John Alsop collection


A view looking south along the platform of the 1896 West Kirby station in 1952. The degraded remains of the first station platform is seen to the left of the sidings. Beyond it is the goods yard.
P
hoto from the John Mann collection

Looking south at the railway facilities at West Kirby as they were on 24 July 1966. The first West Kirby station was located to the left of the 1896 facility from which the train can be seen departing. A row of vans standing on a siding in the distance mark the site of the first station. At the far left of the photo can be seen the platform of the BJR station.
Photo by Keith Holt from the KDH Flickr photostream


The site of the first West Kirby station looking north from Grange Road in May 1988.
Photo by John Mann


The site of the first West Kirby station looking north from Grange Road in August 2014. Part of the 1896 station can be seen to the left.
P
hoto by Terry Callaghan

Looking south at the site of the first West Kirby station in August 2014 from a point that would have been towards the north end of the platform.
P
hoto by Terry Callaghan

 

 

 

[Source: Paul Wright]




Last updated: Friday, 26-May-2017 08:59:09 BST
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