Station Name: WHITTINGTON LOW LEVEL

[Source: Paul Wright]


Date opened: 14.10.1848
Location: South side of Oswestry Road
Company on opening: Shrewsbury & Chester Railway
Date closed to passengers: 12.9.1960
Date closed completely: 7.10.1963
Company on closing: British Railways (Western Region)
Present state: Station building extant.
County: Shropshire
OS Grid Ref: SJ321310
Date of visit: 23.11.2015

Notes: Whittington Low Level was located on the Shrewsbury & Chester Railway (S&CR) which opened throughout on 14 October 1848. The S&CR was formed in July 1846 out of a merger of the North Wales Mineral Railway (NWMR) and the Shrewsbury, Oswestry & Chester Junction Railway (SO&CJR). The SO&CJR was set up to create a route between Shrewsbury and Chester and the merger enabled that task to be carried out through an extension of the NWMR line which had been authorised in 1844. The first section of the line opened between Saltney Junction and a temporary railhead at Rhosymedre on 4 November 1846.

Whittington Low Level opened as Whittington on 14 October 1848. It was located to the west of its village namesake on the south side of a level crossing that carried the Oswestry road over the line.

The main facilities were located on the up (Shrewsbury direction) side of the line. They consisted of a two-storey rendered ‘Railway Tudor’ cottage orné with steeply pitched, slate roofs. The windows were given elaborate tracery, and an oriel window was provided on the large gable facing the platform. The overhanging gables were provided with deep, elaborately patterned bargeboards and were crowned with tall spiked finials. The booking office, waiting rooms and staff accommodation were found within this building.

To the south of the station building there was a large timber goods shed which was rail connected. Adjacent to it there was a goods yard that had three sidings.

At the time of opening the platforms were low and it is not known if there was any form of shelter on the down (Chester direction) side of the line.

Whittington was served by trains that ran between Shrewsbury and Chester and also onto the Oswestry branch. The March 1850 timetable showed six trains in each direction on Monday-to-Saturday and two each way on Sunday. Destinations served included Chester, Oswestry and Shrewsbury.

On x September 1854 the S&CR was taken over by the Great Western Railway (GWR). To read more about the events that led up to the takeover click here. Under the GWR the line through Whittington became part of a busy trunk route linking the Midlands to the River Mersey at Birkenhead.

On 27 July 1864 the Cambrian Railway (CR) opened a station at Whittington. Located a short distance to the north-east of the GWR station the CR facility had the same name.

In the latter half of the nineteenth century Whittington was provided with raised platforms and a waiting shelter had been built on the down side. It was a standard GW design incorporating an awning with a serrated valance.

A signal box had also been provided. It was on the north side of the level crossing on the up side of the line.

By the 1890s large volumes of passenger and freight traffic were passing through Whittington including the prestigious London Paddington and Birkenhead Woodside expresses. The station, however, was served mostly by local stopping trains. The December 1895 timetable showed five trains in each direction Monday-to-Saturday. There were two up and one down service on Sundays. There was also a once a month Wednesdays only down service.

By July 1922 there was one less down service on weekdays but there was an extra down train on Sundays.

At the railway grouping on 1 January 1923 the CR was absorbed into the GWR. On 1 July 1924 the former Whittington became Whittington Low Level and the former CR station became Whittington High Level.

On 1 January 1948 Whittington Low Level became part of British Railways [Western Region] (BR[WR]). In the summer of 1949 there were only five trains in each direction on Monday-to-Saturday (shown in table below) and two each way on Sundays.

Up Trains - Summer 1949 Destination Down trains - Summer 1949 Destination
8.36am Shrewsbury 8.17am Chester General
12.29pm Shrewsbury 11.16am Chester General
2.46pm Shrewsbury 2.18pm Chester General
6.24pm Shrewsbury 5.28pm Chester General
7.31pm Birmingham Snow Hill 7.24pm Wrexham General

Whiitington Low Level station was never fitted with totems by British Railways. By 1958 the service had reduced by one up train Monday-to-Friday but it remained at five trains each way on Saturdays. The Sunday service had increased by one down train.

On 12 September 1960 BR[WR] withdrew passenger services from Whittington Low Level (Whittington High Level having closed on 4 January 1960). On 1 January 1963 British Railways [London Midland Region] (BR[LMR]) assumed operational control of the former S&CR line and it passed into their administrative area on 17 June of that year.

BR[LMR] closed Whittington Low Level for goods on 7 October 1963.

After closure the platforms and the goods shed were demolished but the station building was taken over as a domestic residence.

Most of the express and long distance services had ceased to run by the end of 1967 (the Birkenhead Woodside – London Paddington services ceasing in March 1967) leaving only an hourly DMU service in each direction.

The signal box lasted until 14 March 1992.

Tickets 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.

To see the other stations on the Shrewsbury - Chester General line click on the station name: Shrewsbury S&C, Leaton, Oldwoods Halt, Baschurch,
Stanwardine Halt, Haughton Halt, Rednal & West Felton,
Weston Rhyn, Trehowell Halt, Llangollen Road, Whitehurst Halt, Rhosymedre,
Cefn, Rhosymedre Halt, Wynnville Halt, Rhos, Johnstown & Hafod,
Rhosrobin Halt
, Gresford,
Rossett, Pulford, Balderton and Saltney

See also: Whittington High Level


Looking south at Whittington Low Level from the north end of the down platform in the 1950s.
Copyright photo from the John Alsop collection



Whittington Low Level shown on a six-inch scale map from 1884.


Whittington Low Level station shown on a 1:25,000 scale map from 1901.

A view looking north along the down platform at Whittington Low Level station in the 1950s. Beyond the level crossing in the distance can be seen a bridge. It carried the Whitchurch - Oswestry line and to the right out of site was the Whittington High Level station.
Copyright photo from the John Alsop collection


Whittington Low Level station seen looking north from a down train on 2 August 1973.
Photo by Alan Young
A view of Whittington Low Level looking south on 3 July 1991.
P
hoto by Martin Potter


The Whittington Low Level station building seen from the road on 23 November 2015.
Photo by Les Fifoot

The site of Whittington Low Level station looking south on 23 November 2015.
P
hoto by Paul Wright

Click here to see more photos

 

 

 

[Source: Paul Wright]




Last updated: Friday, 26-May-2017 09:01:19 BST
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