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PGH's photographs of British Railways from c1960

steam branch lines diesel



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#1 PGH

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 14:24

The title of this topic might be rather misleading and might imply that I've spent over 50 years photographing on British Railways (as in the nationalised rail system not the railways of Britain as a whole), whereas in fact most of this time has been spent off BR on industrial and narrow gauge.  However the involvement with BR over this period has covered perhaps some of the more varied and remote parts of the system mainly in the North Wales, Mid Wales and Welsh Border Areas, and I thought the results might be of interest to RMweb members.

 

Some of the earliest years of my railway enthusiast/modeller 'career' were spent exploring BR branch lines and for a brief period in the early 1960s I was afflicted with the then fairly common railway modellers condition of "modelling a GWR branch line in 00 gauge", until I found there were more interesting things to model in more suitable scales.  However, many of the photos taken on BR at that time had that in mind and covered general views, station buildings, signal boxes, signals, etc.  This had the advantage, bearing in mind my limited photographic skills in those early years, that the infrastructure is usually static, anything moving (like trains for example) was invariably blurred.

 

All the images are scanned from my own negatives or slides and not merely 'trawled' from the net.  Some require a certain amount of photo editing to make the initial rather mediocre image more suitable for public viewing, so this topic starts as a 'toe in the water' as it were to see if there is enough interest in the subject to justify the time and effort spent.  All images posted here are my copyright and should not be published or posted elsewhere without my approval.

 

So, to begin, I will start with the Wrexham to Ellesmere line, where several visits were made in 1962 prior to its official closure on 10th September of that year.  Some photos were taken on the last day of service 8th September when the normal one coach auto train had been increased to two coaches.  Photos are posted working south from Wrexham to Ellesmere.

 

 

Wrexham to Ellesmere No.1 8.19BB.jpg

 

1432 at Wrexham Central with a Wrexham-Bidston line DMU in one of the bay platforms behind

 

 

Wrexham to Ellesmere No.2 8.08BB.jpg

 

1432 at Wrexham Central on the 11.55am train to Ellesmere

 

 

Wrexham to Ellesmere No.3 10.16BB.jpg

 

Train from Ellesmere arriving at Wrexham Central over the roof tops, with St.Giles Church in the background

 

 

Wrexham to Ellesmere No.4 10.13BB.jpg

 

Cambrian signal near Marchwiel 

 

 

Wrexham to Ellesmere No.5 10.07BB.jpg

 

Marchwiel Signal Box 

 

 

Wrexham to Ellesmere No.6 10.08BB.jpg

 

Marchwiel Station - view towards Wrexham 

 

 

Wrexham to Ellesmere No.7 10.09BB.jpg

 

1458 at Marchwiel on an Ellesmere train 

 

 

Wrexham to Ellesmere No.8 10.11BB.jpg

 

3789 arrived at Marchwiel from the Wrexham direction with a brakevan, collected several empty mineral wagons and then……

 

 

Wrexham to Ellesmere No.9 10.12BB.jpg

 

departed in the direction of Ellesmere


Edited by PGH, 10 January 2016 - 11:43 .

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#2 PGH

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 14:37

Wrexham to Ellesmere No.10 10.06BB.jpg

 

Sesswick Halt - view towards Wrexham

 

 

Wrexham to Ellesmere No.11 10.05BB.jpg

 

Pickhill Halt - view towards Ellesmere.  The siding serving Cadbury's creamery branches off beyond the overbridge

 

 

Wrexham to Ellesmere No.12 10.04BB.jpg

 

The line's major engineering work, the Dee Bridge with 1458 on a Wrexham train

 

 

 

Wrexham to Ellesmere No.13 10.03BB.jpg

 

Makers plate on the Dee Bridge

 

 

Wrexham to Ellesmere No.14 9A.36BB.jpg

 

Bangor-on-Dee Station - view towards Wrexham 

 

 

 

Wrexham to Ellesmere No.15 8.09BB.jpg

 

Bangor-on-Dee station building

 

 

 

Wrexham to Ellesmere No.16 9A.35BB.jpg

 

Bangor-on-Dee signal box

 

 

 

Wrexham to Ellesmere No.17 9A.34B.jpg

 

1458 leaving Bangor-on Dee on an Ellesmere train

 

 

Wrexham to Ellesmere No.18 8.11BB.jpg

 

Cloy Halt - view towards Wrexham  


Edited by PGH, 10 January 2016 - 11:47 .

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#3 PGH

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 14:49

Wrexham to Ellesmere No.19 8.13BB.jpg

 

Overton-on-Dee Station - view towards Wrexham

 

 

Wrexham to Ellesmere No.20 8.14BB.jpg

 

Overton-on-Dee from the overbridge south of the station

 

 

Wrexham to Ellesmere No.21 8.16BB.jpg

 

Trench Halt - view towards Wrexham

 

 

Wrexham to Ellesmere No.22 8.17BB.jpg

 

Lattice girder and timber trestle viaduct between Overton-on-Dee and Ellesmere, apparently only over a field but in fact this was where the line crossed Liverpool Corporation's Vyrnwy Acqueduct.  1432 passing, evidently at great speed !

 

 

Wrexham to Ellesmere No.23 8.18BB.jpg

 

3208 and 3770 at Ellesmere Station.  3770 having probably worked down from Wrexham and just coupled behind 3208 on a Whitchurch to Oswestry freight train for return to Oswestry Shed.

 

 

Wrexham to Ellesmere No.24 10.18BB.jpg

 

1432 at Ellesmere just arrived from Wrexham

 

 

 

Wrexham to Ellesmere No.25 10.19BB.jpg

 

1432 having crossed to the other platform ready for departure to Wrexham with 46511 on Whitchurch train at Ellesmere

 

 

 

[Wrexham to Ellesmere No.26 10.24BB.jpg

 

7812 on Whitchurch train at Ellesmere

 

 

 

Wrexham to Ellesmere No.27 10.21BB.jpg

 

Ellesmere station from the overbridge - view towards Oswestry 

 

 

 

Wrexham to Ellesmere No.28 10.22BB.jpg

 

Ground signal at Ellesmere Station


Edited by PGH, 10 January 2016 - 11:54 .

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#4 DLT

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 14:54

Lovely set of evocative photos PG, of an area I'm not familar with.

Many thanks for sharing.

Dave.T


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#5 PD&SWJR

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 15:10

PGH,

 

These are terrific photos of an area that rarely appears in print.  Thanks for taking the time to scan, it is well worth your efforts  I particularly like the Overton-on -Dee views, with the CWS factory (creamery??) and the gable ended goods shed with the unequal roofs.  The lack of people is also notable.  Will follow this topic with interest.


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#6 Andy Y

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 17:09

A cracking set of pics sir; it seems as though some modellers just cannot sit a building straight on a layout.

 

 

post-14569-0-16100600-1386167675.jpg

 


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#7 Merfyn Jones

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 19:32

Great pictures Philip, of a line I never knew and am really sorry I didn't find it before it closed. I recall Clem Jones who I used to work with telling me he grew up in Ellesmere station where his dad was Stationmaster.

I look forward to more, please.

Merf.


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#8 woodenhead

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 20:47

The images of Bangor on Dee spurred me to visit GooglEarth, it appears the goods shed survives.
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#9 PGH

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 21:36



Philip, any one of those pictures could be used as a basis for a layout. They ooze nostalgia so thank goodness for the photographers who saw more to everyday railway scene than dynamic front three-quarter views.

 

Overton-on-Dee from the overbridge intrigues me with that siding going through the good shed and the coal siding apparently branching off in reverse. Presumably engines passed through the shed in order to place or collect coal wagons. Then in addition to the 'mainline' bridge there is a second smaller bridge to te left. Did the spur from the yard sidings pass through this?

 

 

No Larry, there was no other bridge under the road.  The track layout in 1962 is shown below:

 

 

Overton track layout.jpg

 

Excuse the rather crude sketch done at the time and it's opposite way round to the photos, i.e. to Ellesmere - top, to Wrexham - bottom.  Also I think the loop points at the Ellesmere end of the station should actually be under the overbridge marked 'track'.

 

Just off the photo to the left there was a brick and tile works served by a siding, but both the works and siding had gone by 1962.  The short siding to the rear of the signal box served an end loading dock and originally a cattle dock (also gone by 1962).  The CWS factory seems to have been built after 1930 (not shown on 6" OS of that edition).  According to the Oakwood Press history of the line (The Wrexham & Ellesmere Railway by S.C.Jenkins & J.M.Strange 2004) 'Milk traffic was conveyed from a CWS milk depot at Overton in glass-lined milk tank wagons', so presumably they were loaded on the headshunt or perhaps a siding alongside.  Additional sidings must have been provided there during World War II, when (quoting the above book again) 'an army storage and distribution depot was set up alongside the goods yard in a former factory'.  I noted that the factory was derelict in 1962.  It was later used as a brickworks and is now a timber yard.

 

The shunting of the yard must have been quite complicated because of its layout when all these facilities were in operation.


Edited by PGH, 04 December 2013 - 21:37 .

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#10 5050

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Posted 05 December 2013 - 11:50

Super set of shots in my old stamping ground.  I forever kick myself that I didn't go on that last train.  Some of my mates did - do you have any shots of the platform etc. before the train departed?  They may be on them.

 

I used the line's wooden station building design as a basis for the station building on my original 'Preesgwyn' layout - and I still have it 40+ years later.  I based it on drawings in the Model Railway Constructor by Mike Lloyd, Harry Leadbetter etc.  I also have a model of the goods shed which was made for a projected layout of a twig off the branch which (as yet?) never got built.

 

Love to see the rest of your photos!



#11 TheSignalEngineer

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Posted 05 December 2013 - 13:35

I like that pannier shot at the bottom of the first post. The slope side mineral behind the loco looks in remarkably clean condition.



#12 5050

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Posted 05 December 2013 - 14:29

Here's a shot of my 4mm scale model of the Overton/Bangor/Marchwiel style station buildings - made in 1972 for my 'Preesgwyn' layout.  Virtually all in card and paper including valances and ridge tiles (no etchings then!).  The chimney is (safely?) stored in a box somewhere.  I used a set of drawings published in Model Railway Constructor by Mike Lloyd, Harry Leadbetter etc. to build it but had to omit one set of windows to fit my site.  I still think it's an OK model and would use it again should I decide to build yet another Glyn valley layout - but with replacement valance and ridge tiles.  My modelling skills possibly haven't improved over the years.

 

The goods shed is a slightly later model, dimensions were taken from photos taken at Bangor-on-Dee late 70's/early 80's with Mrs 5050 acting as a height guide, bless her.  it's never actually been used on a layout as yet - but you never know for the future.  This is planked and corrugated plasticard, I had moved on by then.

 

Oh, and if you've got a sense of deja vu, I originally posted a version of this in the wrong thread.

 

'Silly me' or words to that effect.................................

Attached Thumbnails

  • Preesgwyn Mk1 Station Building (1).JPG
  • Overton Goods Shed.2.A.jpg

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#13 PGH

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 00:15

The following photos were taken in April/May 1967 on the remaining freight only northern section of the Wrexham to Ellesmere line.

 

 

83.17BB.jpg

 

The junction between the BR line (right), by then only extending as far as the Cadbury's Siding at Pickhill, and the Wrexham Trading Estate line (left).  A solitary oil tank wagon sits in the loop on the latter line - top left of photo.

 

The Wrexham Trading Estate Railway extended for a distance of about 4 miles from the junction and was originally provided to serve a Royal Ordnance Factory, which began production in 1940.  The ROF occupied a large area, no doubt to minimise damage in case of an air attack, and an internal passenger service was operated calling at halts along the line.  After the war the site was developed as an industrial estate, the railway being retained to serve the new factories.  By 1960 rail traffic had ceased apart from the first ¾ mile to Maelor Gas Works worked by BR.  In 1965 the track to the gas works was renewed, the remainder of the estate railway being removed shortly after.  A notable event was the experimental working of a 9F with a block oil train to the gas works in July 1966.

 

 

83.13BB.jpg

 

Freshly ballasted track about halfway along the loop line.  The area on the right was once occupied by more tracks used to exchange traffic between the ROF and the Wrexham to Ellesmere line.

 

 

83.12BB.jpg

 

One of the former platforms used for the ROF internal passenger service

 

 

83.11BB.jpg

 

The terminus of the line at Maelor Gas Works


Edited by PGH, 10 January 2016 - 11:56 .

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#14 5050

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 10:46

Great shots again.  I've never seen the gas works line even though our twice weekly cycle training sessions were around the estate, even going over the bridge in the background.  This was around '63-65 and I remember virtually the whole line around the estate being full of old wagons with gaps only where there were level crossings.  The line through Broxton was exactly the same.  Who knows what gems were there waiting to be photographed in their dying days.

 

Keep 'em coming! :good:

 

BTW - thanks for all the 'likes' on my models.  I didn't want to hi-jack the thread but as someone mentioned the line's potential for modelling I thought I would show that it is possible.


Edited by 5050, 06 December 2013 - 11:10 .


#15 New Haven Neil

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 11:07

Great set of photos that I have really enjoyed, despite not having any specific interest in the area!

 

Like Larry, I'm fascinated by the goods shed - after years of being told that locos NEVER went through goods shes, obviously they did there as there was no other way to shunt the yard!

 

Please keep posting, I'm hooked....


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#16 PD&SWJR

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 12:25

There is nothing in the 1960 Shrewsbury Traffic District Sectional Appendix about Overton-on-Dee, so shunting of the coal siding is still a mystery.  

 

They may have used pinch bars if a coal wagon was placed beyond the point for the coal siding and it was on the end of sufficient wagons so that the loco did not pass through the shed. They would not have been able to use a rope to bring it back, as that would have demolished the shed awning!



#17 5050

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 13:07

If someone posted their dreamed-up plan for a goods yard like the one at Overton-On-Dee, it would be regarded as unworkable I'm sure. Should the goods shed have vans in it being unloaded, then incoming coal wagons would have to be left in the goods loop, so blocking it. No doubt a light engine would be needed to push the goods vans further down the siding spur before going around te goods loop to haul coal wagons through the shed and propell them into the coal siding. Then the goods vans could be picked up and brought back through the good shed.

Would the yard only be shunted by either Up or Down trains?  I suppose there is a choice but is one direction more appropriate than the other?



#18 Oldddudders

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 13:19

Would the yard only be shunted by either Up or Down trains?  I suppose there is a choice but is one direction more appropriate than the other?

That was a very common arrangement for many routes, wagons being taken in the "wrong" direction before coming past again in the right one!



#19 Blandford1969

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 20:30

I've only just found this thread and wow what great photos of such rarley photographed places. The fact you approached it as a modeller means you have a far more important historical record of these sites. I will look forward to seeing what other amazing photos appear



#20 PGH

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 21:59

Super set of shots in my old stamping ground.  I forever kick myself that I didn't go on that last train.  Some of my mates did - do you have any shots of the platform etc. before the train departed?  They may be on them.

 

 

Do I have any photos of the last train at Wrexham ? - No, well not quite, I shall explain. 

I've been working out what I did on that last day, I didn't take any notes at that time apart from track layouts, and its over 50 years ago (I must have been very young at the time !) so I certainly can't remember, but from the sequence I took the photos this is apparently what I did.  First I rode the train from Wrexham to Bangor-on-Dee and photographed it leaving; then I walked on to the Dee Bridge and photographed the makers plate; leaving the bridge at the Bangor end I photographed the bridge with the train heading for Wrexham; I must have then walked back to Wrexham calling at Pickhill Halt, Sesswick Halt, Marchwiel - photographed Ellesmere train and 3789; Hightown Halt - photographed Wrexham train (poor); Kingsmill Viaduct - photographed Ellesmere train (cock-up); then back at Wrexham (more photos) caught the next Ellesmere train, the next photos being taken in Ellesmere.  At Ellesmere I 'laid over' between trains and the photos taken there get successively under exposed - I was using a camera limited with a fixed shutter speed of 1/60 sec - so I would guess it would be late afternoon and the light was fading, so I think the train I returned to Wrexham on would probably have been the last Ellesmere to Wrexham train.  The next negative is so underexposed that it's difficult to make out any detail, just the skyline at Wrexham Central, vague outline of a loco and station lights - obviously a vain attempt to photograph the last train to Ellesmere virtually in the dark.  Apparently the last train was strengthened to 4 coaches but I didn't ride it, as that would have involved a very circuitous route home.

 

With regard to shunting the goods yard at Overton-on-Dee, there is a low wall behind the fence that marks the left hand (in the photo) boundary of the goods yard, which extends to the CWS factory alongside the headshunt.  Just off the photo to the left is a ramp down (its on the negative which I cropped down slightly).  I think this would have been a loading platform alongside the brickworks siding provided for the use of the factory site as a supply depot during World War II and thus, apart from the lifted brickworks siding, no other additional sidings were required.  With all this traffic the yard must have been shunted by a loco which had to pass through the goods shed awning, and, according to the Oakwood Press book on the line, one driver recalled that during the War there were usually about 20 vans there and the yard was shunted by a 81XX class large prairie tank.  I don't know how these things were arranged, but if the yard was shunted daily would it take longer to receive a van at the shed and have it empty/loaded as required ready for dispatch the following day ?  If it wasn't it wouldn't be much trouble to place it out of the way in the siding behind the signal box while the yard was shunted.  As to whether the yard was shunted by up or down trains, with two loop lines available it wouldn't make much difference as it would be possible to run round the train and then individual wagons as required.


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#21 PGH

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Posted 07 December 2013 - 00:19

In April 1962 I rode the Wellington to Much Wenlock line in single unit railcar and then from Buildwas Junction down the Severn Valley line as far as Bewdley.

 

 

7.32BB.jpg

 

The railcar on arrival at Much Wenlock station - the station seating is a little unusual, or maybe indicates staff with plenty of spare time

 

 

7.33BB.jpg

 

The station building was quite an attractive and complicated structure

 

 

7.34BB.jpg

 

Much Wenlock goods yard with the loco shed in centre.  The former line to Craven Arms passed the yard on the far side of the shed

 

 

7.36BB.jpg

 

Goods train from Much Wenlock at Buildwas Junction.  The Much Wenlock platform was at a higher level than the Severn Valley line platforms, the line to Shrewsbury being just visible on the far right next to the access road to the station.  If I had taken this today I would probably have gone closer to the loco, but as taken it does contain some interesting detail - the lamp, the sign on a concrete post -  Much Wenlock train one way/ Wellington train the other - and the gradient board fixed to the fence.

 

 

8.02BB.jpg

 

Buildwas Junction station from the Severn Valley platform, view towards Bridgenorth.  The Much Wenlock platform is above the wall behind the station building, the previous photo being taken from just opposite the right hand rear corner.  Note the CEGB steel wagons in the sidings, the power station is on the opposite side of the Severn Valley line off the photo to the left

 

 

8.03BB.jpg

Bridgenorth Station with the southbound train crossing ex GWR railcar W26

 

 

8.04BB.jpg

 

Bewdley Station, somewhat more deserted than you would find it today !

 

 

8.06BB.jpg

 

Tenbury Wells train arriving at Bewdley.  I regret never managing a trip on that line, which closed to passengers later in 1962 

 

 

8.07BB.jpg

 

Southbound goods train arriving at Bewdley 


Edited by PGH, 10 January 2016 - 12:52 .

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#22 Fat Controller

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Posted 07 December 2013 - 10:29

The CEGB (formerly Midlands Electricity Board, I believe) opens lasted on traffic from pits around Stoke to Meaford power station (near Stone) until the beginning of the 1980s. I recollect a series of articles about the railways around Buildwas in Model Railway Constructor in the late 1960s; I suspect Dibber 25 might have been responsible for them. Lovely photos, BTW.


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#23 The Stationmaster

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Posted 07 December 2013 - 11:42

Would the yard only be shunted by either Up or Down trains?  I suppose there is a choice but is one direction more appropriate than the other?

 

Logically the yard would be shunted by a train heading towards Ellesmere but in reality the working was slightly more complex than that in post-war years and would be the sort of thing many modellers dream about for activity at a small station.  The early post war period clearly reflected traffic at its height and saw a reamarkable number of freight trains at Overton-On-Dee, as indicated by the 1947 freight timetable.

 

The day started with the 04.45 Oswestry - Wrexham calling between 05.45 and 06.05 and logically I would assume that it simply detached traffic although it might at least have positioned goods shed traffic and urgently required empties for places beyond the goods shed.  However the day then became somewhat 'freelance' in freight working terms as the Ellesmere No.1 (07.50 - 12.15) and No.2 (13.55 -20.15) Pilots were listed to work trips as required to/from Overton-On-Dee.

 

In addition three trains heading towards Ellesmere called with sufficient time to do some work.  It is not clear if the 10.00 from Wrexham (12.05 - 12X42) was booked to work but it possibly did; similarly it is not clear if the 14.30 ex Hightown Sidings (16.25 - 16X53) was booked to work although it might have done and was probably booked to pick up traffic.  However the 18.45 ex Wrexham (20.25 - 20.40) was booked to work.  So potentially lots of freight and shunting activity.

 

I suspect the pre-war situation was rather quieter and I will try to have a look at it when I have a chance.


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#24 The Stationmaster

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Posted 07 December 2013 - 17:14

As I expected the pre-war situation was much simpler.  The 05.45 freight from Ellesmere called 'as required' at Overton-On-Dee while the11.42 was booked to be there for 20 minutes although this did include being overtaken by an auto train which would have constrained any shunting quite considerably.

 

In the opposite direction the 10.00 from Wrexham to Ellesmere was booked at Overton-On-Dee from 12.38 to 13.12 (SX) and only until 12.52 on Saturdays suggesting taht on the latter there was little in the way of freight activity at the place.  The 14.15 MSX from Wrexham was only allowed 6 minutes (as was the equivalent MO train) which suggests that it did no more - if that that - than attach any outwards traffic.

 

The Ellesmere Pilot consisted of only one turn (13.45 - 17.45 SX, 15.15 -15.45 SO) and was not shown to undertake any trip working at all.

 

So overall the usual story typical of so many places with a lot of post-war timetabled freight activity probably indicative of the level of wartime traffic and not yet adjusted to peacetime 


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#25 gismorail

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 09:41

Phil this is fantastic ...... some real gems, the Wrexham area has interested me for years . Having been born in Shrewsbury and lived in Wrexham for the first two years of my life and the rest of my childhood spent in Chester with a spell as a boarder at Ellesmere College you can understand my interest. 

I'm hoping that you collection will include some pictures towards the Chester Northgate and will follow with interest


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