The Wrexham and Ellesmere Railway originally ran from Wrexham Central Station, to Ellesmere Station in Shropshire, England. The line first opened in 1895 and closed in 1962. The section between Wrexham Central and Abenbury was the last part of the line to close, surviving right up to the 1980s for freight only, by which time Class 25 diesels had replaced Pannier Tanks.
Stations, halts & sidings on the Wrexham and Ellesmere Railway
- Wrexham General.
- Wrexham Central.
- Caia Road sidings.
- Hightown Halt.
- Abenbury/Kings Mills Viaduct. (recently added)
- Cadburys Sidings.
- Marchwiel Station. (recently added)
- ROF Wrexham.
- Sesswick Halt.
- Pickhill Halt.
- Cloy Halt.
- Overton-on-Dee Station.
- Dee River Crossing. (recently added)
Wales – England Border
- Trench Halt.
- Elson Halt Ellesmere.
- Ellesmere Station.
The London and North Western Railway (LNWR) wanted to make a further connection with the Cambrian Railway, so proposed an extension of the existing joint Wrexham, Mold and Connah’s Quay Railway (WMCQ) from Wrexham Central to meet the new Cambrian Railway line at Ellesmere.
The WMCQ had opened between Wrexham General and Buckley Station on 1 May 1866. A southern extension to a station better situated for the centre of Wrexham was authorised on 18 August 1882; work did not begin until January 1887, and it was opened on 1 November the same year. Wrexham Central was a large station, with a marshalling yard and goods depot accompanying it. The station clock was provided and maintained free of charge by a local watchmaker named Pierce. Built jointly by the Wrexham, Mold & Connahs Quay railway and the Cambrian Railway, the Wrexham and Ellesmere Railway was built as a branch line, and opened on 2 November 1895. It was operated totally by the Cambrian Railway
WWII – ROF Wrexham
In the build-up to World War II, several shadow factories were built in preparation, located in the Northwest of the British Isles to be out of range of the Luftwaffe.
The Royal Ordnance Factory relocated several workers to various sites, and built a number of new factories, including ROF Wrexham. The site employed 13,000 workers, making cordite, an explosive propellant for shells. Spread out over a large site to minimise any potential explosive or bombing damage, the main buildings were camouflaged, and existing farm buildings were left in situ to help protect the site against reconnaissance. The Ministry of Works built a large water abstraction and treatment plant at Sesswick on the River Dee, just to supply the plant, which was amalgamated into the Wrexham Water Company (later Dee Valley Water) in 1951.
To connect the site to the national rail network via the WMCQ Brymbo Branch at Gwersyllt Junction. Within the site a large marshalling yard of 10 separate roads connected to the works internal network of rail lines. A passenger platform was built for military usage. All cordite produced at the plant was taken by these sidings, along the W&ER and forwarded to Crewe.
Having been a part of the GWR, in 1963 the former Cambrian Railway lines were to be passed to London Midland Region of British Railways. It was then decided as part of the Beeching cuts to close the old Cambrian Railway mainline between Oswestry & Whitchurch, a decision was made to close the Wreaham & Ellesmere Railway on 10 September 1962. The 45m lattice bridge over the Dee near Bangor was dismantled at this time.
Sources: Wrexham Railways – a collection of pictures; Lost Railways of North Wales – Mark Jones; British Railways Past & Present – North Wales Part 2; Wikipedia.