Shropshire Railways History Past and present

                              Oswestry to Whitchurch

The Cambrian Railways came into existance on 25th July 1864, its headquarters moving to Oswestry from Welshpool two years later. A large fairly large railway works was built in the town and Oswestry became firmly established on the railway map. The Cambrian Railway Company were keen to join up the important link to the North West with a line from Oswestry to Whitchurch, hence making it possible to have a direct route from Northern England to Mid Wales and the Mid Wales coast. The section from Whitchurch to Ellesmere opened to freight traffic in April 1863 and to passenger traffic a month later. The line however, was not built without opposition and a number of landowners forced the route down through the swampy Fenn’s Moss area. The line is remembered for a disaster which struck on 11th June 1897 when a train derailed near Welshampton causing the death of eleven people. The jury is still out today on the cause of the accident and who was ultimately responsible. Accident inspectors cited poor railway track as the cause and put the blame firmly in the hands of The Cambrian Railway Company. The company contested this judgement claiming that there had been a long running problem with the brake van on this particular train which had never been dealt with properly. A number of ideas were put forward to build a line between Ellesmere and Wrexham; following years of delay this finally opened in November 1895. There are a number of preserved stations on the line today, none better than Bettisfield which is a ‘must visit’ for any lover of old railways (see my video and pictures) Frankton, Welshampton and Fenn’s Bank also still exist today as private residences, unfortunately not all were so lucky. There is little trace left of Whittington High Level and Whitchurch Station is a pale shadow of its former Victorian glory. The future of Ellesmere Station is very much in the balance at the time of writing.
Ellesmere Station