Shropshire Railways History Past and present

Whitchurch to Chester

This line was built by the LNWR to provide competition for the GWR’s railway between Chester and Shrewsbury. They hoped it would attract the majority of the coal traffic  from the South Wales coal mines destined for Birkenhead and the Mersey Docks. Unfortunately, despite some coal traffic from Abergavenny, most of the coal freight originated in North Wales, with traffic running through Wrexham on the GWR line via Shrewsbury. Travelling from the north, the line branched off the Crewe to Chester Line about three miles south east of Chester Station at Tattenhall Junction. There were seven stations in total, including one halt (see station map opposite)Freight traffic was always the main priority here, but it was hoped that passenger numbers could also bring in some much needed revenue. However, this optimism didn’t last long and the initial service from Chester to Hereford soon got into difficulties. Very quickly the line was reduced to local services from Whitchurch to Chester and onto Rhyl. On one occasion during World War One the Royal Train made a night time stop at Malpas Station, something which required troops from the Household Division to guard the area.After the war the line peaked with seven trains daily each way between Whitchurch and Chester, connections onto Liverpool making the line quite popular with local businessmen. After the Second World War the line suffered a decline, just the same as most other lines at this period. The rapid increase in road traffic led to the inevitable closure of the line on 16th September 1957. Oil trains running from the Stanlow refinery kept freight trains operative on the line until complete closure on 4th November 1963. The track was lifted in 1965.Malpas and Tattenhall station buildings have been preserved and converted into other uses. The Waverton Station building also still exists, all be it on just one side of the line. First Impression is that there is little evidence left of this line, however on investigation there was still plenty to explore and discover.