WHITCHURCH & ITS RAILWAY LINES
The Whitchurch Station Buildings were constructed for the Crewe to Shrewsbury Line which was the first railway line to pass through the town. The buildings were demolished in 1982.
The next line to be built was the Oswestry, Ellesmere and Whitchurch Railway which was completed in 1863 and was followed by a period of enthusiastic proposals for railway expansion for linking Whitchurch with Wrexham, Connah’s Quay and Mold; Newcastle under Lyme and Market Drayton. The company planning this line was the Potteries Junction Railway Company and it would have involved a viaduct 250 yards long crossing Watergate Street with a 50 ft span and crossing the canal with a 40 ft span. It was never built but the former Whitchurch Station Board shows the extent of the pre-Beeching network.
Whitchurch Station looking south, showing the Cambrian Line which takes the right hand south track after crossing the railway bridge. The Cambrian Company was formed by the amalgamation of the Oswestry Newtown, Llanidloes and Newtown, Whitchurch and Machynllyth and Newtown and Machynllyth railways in 1864. When the last section of line from Borth to Aberystwyth was built the journey from Whitchurch to Aberystwyth took between 4 and a quarter hours and 5 hours 25 minutes.
In the 1930’s when this picture was taken the station had a staff of over 100. Note the covered footbridge connecting the platforms which had enclosed staircases, the steps housed in wooden towers can be seen behind the churns, luggage, pigeon baskets and small packages on the platform. A waiting train in the left bay is the Chester train.
One of the features of the station was its turntable, shown here with a Class 2 LMS Engine being hand-turned on the 60 foot turntable.
At the south end of the main platform there was a water tower with flexible hoses to reach locomotive tenders. There was a large reservoir to the east of the station.
The north end of the platform with Smith’s Iron Works in the background. The brazier on the right was used in cold weather to prevent the water in the water column from freezing. The column contained a valve (note the handle to release the water as required).