Chester railway station

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This article is about the railway station in England. For the station in Pennsylvania, see Chester Transportation Center. For the station in Toronto, see Chester (TTC).
Chester National Rail
Chester
The front of Chester railway station
Location
Place Chester
Local authority Cheshire West and Chester
Coordinates 53°11′48″N 2°52′47″W / 53.1968°N 2.8798°W / 53.1968; -2.8798Coordinates: 53°11′48″N 2°52′47″W / 53.1968°N 2.8798°W / 53.1968; -2.8798
Grid reference SJ413669
Operations
Station code CTR
Managed by Arriva Trains Wales
Number of platforms 7
DfT category B
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2004/05  2.239 million
2005/06 Increase 2.337 million
2006/07 Increase 2.441 million
2007/08 Increase 2.608 million
2008/09 Increase 2.829 million
2009/10 Increase 2.990 million
2010/11 Increase 3.052 million
2011/12 Decrease 2.957 million
- Interchange 0.818 million
2012/13 Increase 3.011 million
- Interchange Decrease 0.805 million
Passenger Transport Executive
PTE Merseytravel (for Merseyrail services only)
Zone G1
History
1848 Opened
1875 Renamed Chester General
1969 Renamed Chester
1972 Chester General rail crash
National RailUK railway stations
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Chester from Office of Rail Regulation statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
Portal icon UK Railways portal

Chester railway station is a railway station in Newtown in the city of Chester, England. It is currently operated by Arriva Trains Wales, although Merseyrail, Northern Rail and Virgin Trains also run services from the station. It is situated to the north-east of the city centre. From 1875 to 1969 the station was known as Chester General station, to distinguish from Chester Northgate.[1]

Work on the £10 million regeneration of the station and surrounding areas as part of the Chester Renaissance programme[2] was completed in 2007. The development includes a new roof, improved customer facilities and better access to the station.

A small plaque commemorating Thomas Brassey, one of the world's greatest railway building contractors in the early to mid-19th century, can be seen on the wall opposite the new booking office. Thomas Brassey was born at Buerton, on what is now the Eaton Estate, some six miles south of Chester; the house is no longer standing.

The station marks one end of the Baker Way, a footpath leading to Delamere railway station.

History[edit]

Historically, Chester General station was a joint station between the Chester and Holyhead Railway, the Chester and Crewe Railway and the Birkenhead Railway. Later these became the London and North Western Railway and the Great Western Railway (GWR). The joint station dates from 1848, replacing at least two earlier termini of the railway companies concerned.[citation needed]

A 1903 Railway Clearing House Junction Diagram showing railways in the vicinity of Chester (centre, shown as GENERAL STA.)

Architecturally the station has an Italianate frontage designed by Francis Thompson. The station also has carved wooden owls at some strategic locations high in the roof beams to help deter feral pigeons.

GWR and latterly BR Western Region express passenger trains operated from Birkenhead Woodside via Chester, Wrexham, Ruabon, Gobowen, Shrewsbury, Wellington (Salop), Wolverhampton, Birmingham Snow Hill, Leamington Spa and Banbury to London Paddington station until the electrification of the West Coast Main Line in 1967.

From 1875, Chester was also served by Chester Northgate station (owned by the Cheshire Lines Committee); however, that station was closed in 1969 and is now the site of a leisure centre.

In 1993, Chester became the terminus of one of the four Wirral Line branches of the Merseyrail network, using third rail electrification and providing frequent rapid access along the Wirral to Birkenhead and all four underground stations in central Liverpool. The historic Chester and Birkenhead Railway, the first railway to serve Chester, thus now forms part of Merseyrail's Wirral Line.

Architecture[edit]

The station was built between 1847 and 1848, designed by Francis Thompson, and built by the railway contractor Thomas Brassey. Also involved in the design and construction were the engineer C. H. Wild. who designed the train shed, and Robert Stephenson. It is built in Staffordshire blue brick and pale grey Storeton sandstone with slate roofs.[3][4] Its architectural style is Italianate.[4] It has a very long two-storey façade, with a 15-bay central section, and five-bay lateral projecting pavilions, each containing a pair of towers. The middle seven bays of the central section contain carvings by John Thomas.[3] The station building is designated by English Heritage as a Grade II* listed building.[4]

Services[edit]

Chester is served by four train operating companies.

Arriva Trains Wales[edit]

An Arriva Trains Wales Class 175 waits at platform 3

Virgin Trains[edit]

A pair of Virgin Trains SuperVoyagers departing from Chester.

Merseyrail Electrics[edit]

Merseyrail map with Chester to the south of the Network
  • 4 trains per hour (one every 15 minutes) to Liverpool Central via Birkenhead during the working day on weekdays and Saturdays. Late evenings and Sundays the frequency is every 30 minutes.[7] Merseyrail Electrics services to Birkenhead and Liverpool exclusively use Platform 7b although occasional operational requirements may necessitate the use of Platform 7a, Platform 7 being the only third-rail equipped platform at the station. These services are all provided by Merseyrail's fleet of Class 507 and Class 508 EMUs.

The Wirral Line provides a direct service to central Liverpool and central Birkenhead with underground stations at Birkenhead Hamilton Square, Liverpool James Street, Liverpool Moorfields, Liverpool Lime Street Low Level station and Liverpool Central. The Wirral Line runs in a clockwise loop through Liverpool's city centre returning to Chester, hence trains may be indicated as bound for Chester whether running north or south. A change at Birkenhead Hamilton Square station gives connections to New Brighton and West Kirby. A change at Liverpool Moorfields gives access to all of the Merseyrail Electrics Northern Line services. City Line services and Inter-City services are accessed by changing at Liverpool Lime Street.

Northern Rail[edit]

Northern Rail liveried Sprinters at Chester

There are proposals under consideration to reinstate a regular passenger service along the Halton Curve south of Runcorn railway station, which would permit the re-introduction of through trains from Liverpool to the North Wales Coast.

Refurbishment[edit]

In mid-2005, Arriva Trains Wales announced a plan to improve the condition of the station, as Chester General had been well known[citation needed] for its neglected appearance. The first of these improvements to be implemented was the ticket barriers, which came into operation in July 2006. On 31 October 2008 the station renaissance was officially completed and a plaque was unveiled by the then Chester MP, Christine Russell. Improved station facilities now include a new travel centre, new customer information screens, a Costa Coffee franchise outlet, new bicycle stands and a waiting area. 2009 saw further upgrades to the island platform and footbridge.

Railway lines in Chester
Chester to Manchester line
Wirral line (Merseyrail)
Bache; Mid Cheshire line
Roodee Junction; Chester
North Wales Coast line to Crewe
North Wales Coast line to Holyhead
Shrewsbury to Chester line

Layout[edit]

The station has seven platforms. Platform 1 is a bay platform located at the east end. Platform 2 at the western end is another bay platform. Platform 3 is a through bi-directional platform and is closest to the concourse; it is split into sections 3a and 3b although on occasions a train will use the middle of the platform.

Over the bridge – or by way of lifts – is the island platform. Opposite Platform 3 is Platform 4, another through bi-directional platform, with sections designated as 4a and 4b. There are two east facing bays (Platforms 5 and 6). Platform 7 is an additional through platform, the only one with third-rail electrification; it is split into 'a' (eastern) and 'b' (western) sections and thus capable of accommodating two trains at once.

Accidents[edit]

  • On 8 May 1972 a freight train suffered a brake failure and collided with a diesel multiple unit at Chester General station and caught fire, causing severe damage to the building and the trains involved.
  • On 20 November 2013, a class 221 Super Voyager diesel-electric multiple unit collided with the buffer stops on platform 1, riding up over them and smashing a glass screen. There were no injuries, although one passenger was taken to hospital for checks. A Rail Accident Investigation Branch report stated that the incident was due to exceptionally slippery rails, but that the consequences of this were made more severe by the buffer stop being of an older design, which did not absorb the impact energy effectively. The report further stated that that particular stop had not undergone a risk assessment within the previous ten years, and was possibly not appropriate for class 221 units.[9][10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Slater, J.N., ed. (July 1974). "Notes and News: Western's last "General"". Railway Magazine (London: IPC Transport Press Ltd) 120 (879): 361. ISSN 0033-8923. 
  2. ^ Chester Renaissance website. Retrieval Date: 10 July 2007.
  3. ^ a b Hartwell, Clare; Hyde, Matthew; Hubbard, Edward; Pevsner, Nikolaus (2011) [1971], Cheshire, The Buildings of England, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, p. 249, ISBN 978-0-300-17043-6 
  4. ^ a b c English Heritage. "Chester railway station (1375937)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  5. ^ GB National Rail Timetable 2013–14, Table 81
  6. ^ GB NRT 2013–14, Tables 65 & 82
  7. ^ "Wirral Line timetable". Merseyrail. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  8. ^ GB NRT, Table 88
  9. ^ "Train crashes into Chester Station barrier". BBC News Online. Retrieved 20 November 2013. 
  10. ^ "Buffer stop collision at Chester station 20 November 2013". Rail Accident Investigation Branch. November 2014. pp. 5, 9, 29–30, 37. Retrieved 24 November 2014. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Biddle, Gordon (1981). "Chapter 1 – North Cheshire & The Peak". Railway Stations in the North West. Clapham, Yorkshire: Dalesman. p. 8, fig. 1. ISBN 0-85206-644-9.  – photo of station frontage

External links[edit]

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Crewe   Arriva Trains Wales
North Wales Coast Line
  Flint
Helsby   Arriva Trains Wales
Chester to Manchester Line
  Shotton
Wrexham General   Arriva Trains Wales
Birmingham – Holyhead via Chester
  Flint
Wrexham General   Arriva Trains Wales
Cardiff Central to Holyhead
  Flint
Wrexham General   Arriva Trains Wales
Holyhead-Cardiff "Premier" service
  Flint
Terminus   Arriva Trains Wales
Wrexham to Chester 'Shuttle' Service(Late night only)
  Wrexham General
Wrexham General   Arriva Trains Wales
Chester to Wrexham General Line
  Terminus
Terminus   Merseyrail
Chester to Liverpool
  Bache
Mouldsworth   Northern Rail
Mid-Cheshire Line
  Terminus
Terminus   Northern Rail
Halton Curve (Limited service, northbound only)
  Runcorn
Crewe   Virgin Trains
WCML North Wales Branch
  Wrexham General/Flint
Crewe   Virgin Trains
WCML Chester Branch
  Terminus
Historical railways
Sandycroft
Line open, station closed
  London and North Western Railway
Chester and Holyhead Railway
  Terminus
Terminus   GWR & LNWR
Chester and Birkenhead Railway
  Upton-by-Chester
Line open, station closed
Disused railways
Saltney Ferry
Line and station closed
  London and North Western Railway
Mold Railway
  Terminus