Wrexham General railway station

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Wrexham General National Rail
Welsh: Wrecsam Cyffredinol
Wrexham General
Wrexham General railway station
Location
Place Wrexham
Local authority Wrexham County Borough
Grid reference SJ329508
Operations
Station code WRX
Managed by Arriva Trains Wales
Number of platforms 4 (+2 disused bays)
DfT category D
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2007/08 Increase 0.588 million
2008/09 Increase 0.665 million
2009/10 Decrease 0.584 million
2010/11 Increase 0.614 million
2011/12 Increase 0.622 million
2012/13 Decrease 0.615 million
History
Key dates Opened 1846
Rebuilt 1912
Cafe and new Platforms opened 2008
Platform 4 and footbridge rebuilt 2011 (1846
Rebuilt 1912
Cafe and new Platforms opened 2008
Platform 4 and footbridge rebuilt 2011
)
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 Wrexham General from Office of Rail Regulation statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
Portal icon UK Railways portal
Wrexham Exchange station building
Wrexham Exchange site today. One platform remains in use, the other as a staff car park. Wrexham General is to the right.

Wrexham General railway station (Welsh: Wrecsam Cyffredinol) is a main line railway station and the main railway station serving Wrexham, north-east Wales. It is currently operated by Arriva Trains Wales, but services are also provided by Virgin Trains who operate a service to London Euston. Until January 2011 Wrexham & Shropshire also operated from here to London Marylebone.

In terms of passenger numbers, it is now the busiest station in North Wales, surpassing Bangor with a 400,000 rise in usage over the last year[when?]. The station was first opened in 1846, later becoming part of the GWR network and expanded in 1912. It is one of three railway stations in the central area of the town, one now part of General, named Wrexham Exchange, the other being Wrexham Central. It is the main hub for inter-city services in the area, and as a result 77.7% of all rail journeys (2006/07) in Wrexham County Borough start or end at the station. It is also a major hub for inter-city services in North Wales.

Until the early 1980s what is now platform 4 of Wrexham General, serving the Wrexham Central – Bidston service, was a separate station: Wrexham Exchange.

History[edit]

In 1846 the first steam trains began the Railway Age in Wrexham. The line was originally called The North Wales Mineral Railway This was backed by local businessmen, among whom the developer of the steel works at Brymbo, Henry Robertson, is well known. There have been two railway station buildings on the site: the original was built by the Shrewsbury and Chester Railway in Jacobean style with Dutch gable pediments. The architect for that station was Mr Thomas Penson of Wrexham, who also designed the Shrewsbury and Gobowen stations. It was built on the edge of Wrexham, a town which at the time was heavily industrialised and had many coal mines and steelworks to attract the railway companies.

The second station building was constructed by the GWR in 1912. The company decided the increasing rail traffic needed newer and more efficient facilities, so the station was rebuilt to a standardised GWR 'French Pavilion' design, including ornate crestings on the roof "towers". This station design was unique in that it used stonework from the original building instead of standard red brick. It survived the Beeching cuts of the 1960s as a through route for steel produced in Shotton and wood for the Chirk MDF factory.

In 1997 a wagon on an empty coal train derailed at a nearby level crossing. The train carried on for a mile into Wrexham General where the wagons scraped up the platform, damaging it and the station canopy. This prompted a massive refurbishing, including new canopies, a jetwash of the blackened sandstone buildings, and platform retiling along all main platforms. The out of use bay platform saw no improvements, and retained its 1970s lighting until 2008 when refurbished by the Welsh Assembly Government.

The suffix "General" was used by the Great Western Railway, and later the Western Region of British Railways to differentiate their main stations from others in the area which belonged to other companies. Following the Beeching axe, Wrexham General remains the only "General" station on the National Rail network, whereas other "General" stations (including Shrewsbury General and Chester General, which were simply renamed "Shrewsbury" and "Chester" respectively), lost the suffix or (like Cardiff General, the last station to lose the "General" suffix) were re-dubbed as "Central" stations. Because of the continued presence of two stations serving Wrexham, the other being titled Wrexham Central, the "General" suffix was retained.[1]

Until 1967 Wrexham General was served by GWR, latterly BR Western Region, express services between London Paddington and Birkenhead Woodside which was withdrawn upon the electrification of the West Coast Main Line.

Wrexham Exchange[edit]

Now platform four of Wrexham General, Wrexham Exchange was originally a separate railway station opened in May 1866 for the Wrexham, Mold and Connah's Quay Railway (WMCQR). By the time WMCQR had been bought by the Great Central Railway, the line was a through station connecting to the Cambrian Railways Wrexham Central Railway Station. The station changed hands again in 1921 during the Grouping, to the London and North Eastern Railway, as one of their few stations in Wales.

A coal train from Gresford Colliery passes through Platform One in 1959.

Recent developments[edit]

The station is currently undergoing a renaissance as a number of new services have been introduced. Since 2005 the station has been a stop of the two hourly Cardiff to Holyhead Arriva Trains Wales service, which occasionally extends to Llanelli. The two hourly Birmingham New Street service has also been extended to Birmingham International and Holyhead.

As of January 2011 the station provides direct services to London on weekdays provided by Virgin Trains (via Chester and Crewe).

Wrexham and Shropshire's operational headquarters and train depot were located in the station.

Planning permission has been granted for further development at the station, to include a new cafe and taxi rank.

It was announced in November 2008 that the Welsh Assembly Government would fund work on rail infrastructure between Wrexham and Chester; this would allow increased express services from north to south Wales on this congested section of the line. This might see the currently single track section to Saltney Junction restored to double track operation, however the results of recent studies into the improvements has revealed a double track solution would be too costly as two structures crossing the A483 road are built to single track standard, and dynamic loops are more realistic.[2]

In June 2011, construction began on the increased access for disabled people to platform four. The existing footbridge between platforms three and four was removed in preparation for the construction of a new footbridge which includes a lift on Platform four. This obviates the use of the road bridge for disabled access to platform four. The new bridge has been built to modern standards but in a style sympathising with the rest of the station design.

The footbridge was installed in a record 12 hours and a timelapse video was shot of the event.

Services[edit]

Wrexham General benefits from Inter-City services towards Holyhead, Birmingham International, Cardiff Central, London Euston and a Sundays-only service to Manchester Piccadilly.

The station is also situated on the Borderlands Line, providing local services towards Deeside and Merseyside for connections to Liverpool Central.

Arriva Trains Wales[edit]

A Borderlands Line service at platform 4.
An Arriva Trains Wales Class 158 waits at platform 2.

Main weekday services[edit]

Other services[edit]

Virgin Trains[edit]

It is unclear whether further services will be introduced now the open-access operator Wrexham and Shropshire has withdrawn services.

Normal Service Pattern[edit]

Arriva Trains Wales - Borderlands Line:

  • 1tph to Bidston via Shotton (Platform 4, except for the first morning train each day which uses platform 3)
  • 1tph to Wrexham Central (Platform 4)

Arriva Trains Wales - North-South services via the Shrewsbury to Chester Line:

  • 1tph to Holyhead via Chester (Platform 2)
  • 1tph to Shrewsbury via Ruabon, Chirk and Gobowen (Platform 1), of which:
    • 1tp2h continues to Cardiff Central with some extending to Maesteg or Carmarthen
    • 1tp2h continues to Birmingham International via Birmingham New Street
  • 1tpd Premier express service to Cardiff Central (Platform 1)
  • 1tpd Premier express service to Holyhead (Platform 2)

Virgin Trains (Mon-Fri only)

  • 1tpd to London Euston via Crewe (Platform 2)

Evenings and Sundays[edit]

In the evenings and Sundays there is a slightly different pattern of service, all operated by Arriva Trains Wales

  • 1tp2h to Bidston
  • 1tp2h to Wrexham Central
  • 1tph to Shrewsbury with 1tp2h extending to Wolverhampton and Birmingham and 2tpd to Hereford and South Wales
  • 1tph to Chester with 1tp2h extending to Warrington Bank Quay or Manchester Piccadilly and a small number to Holyhead
Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Terminus   Virgin Trains
WCML Wrexham Branch
  Chester
Terminus   Arriva Trains Wales
Wrexham General to Chester Line
  Chester
Terminus   Arriva Trains Wales
Shrewsbury to Wrexham General Line
  Ruabon
Shrewsbury   Arriva Trains Wales
Welsh Marches Line
  Chester
Shrewsbury/Ruabon   Arriva Trains Wales
Cardiff Central – Holyhead
  Chester
Shrewsbury   Arriva Trains Wales
North to South Premier Service
  Chester
Ruabon   Arriva Trains Wales
Birmingham – Holyhead (via Chester)
  Chester
Wrexham Central   Arriva Trains Wales
Bidston to Wrexham Line
  Gwersyllt
Historical railways
Johnstown and Hafod   Great Western Railway
Shrewsbury to Chester Line
  Rhosrobin Halt

Facilities and further passenger information[edit]

  • Self service ticket machines are available
  • Ticket hall with counters for ticket purchase and information points is available
  • A shop and Cafe selling magazines, drinks and simple hot and cold food is available
  • All platforms have monitors showing the next three trains to depart or terminate are in use
  • All platforms have announcements
  • There is a taxi rank at this station
  • Regular buses call at this station
  • There is a large pay and display car park at this station
  • There are three entrances/exits to the station, one via the main ticket hall. Another on platform one near the overpass. The third is located on Mold road, connecting to platform 4
  • Disabled access to whole station
  • Lifts to all platforms via main over pass
  • All regular north and south bound long distance trains have at seat or buffet car catering
  • Waiting rooms are located on the island platforms
  • This station is covered by a roof
  • Regular BTP security checks are carried out throughout this station

Layout[edit]

A layout map of Wrexham General

Wrexham General comprises four operational platforms with two disused bay platforms at the southern end of Platform 1. These were used for trains to Barmouth via the Ruabon Barmouth line until the 1960s. Platforms 1 and 2 are on the main Chester to Shrewsbury line, platform 3 being on an island platform opposite 2; and platform 4, until the mid-1980s a separate former Great Central Railway station named Wrexham Exchange, was on the ex-Ellesmere to Bidston line, now the Wrexham to Bidston Borderlands Line. Platform 5, once opposite and on the same route as platform 4, became disused when the line was singled, however in 2008 it has been re-surfaced and is now a private parking space.

  • Platform 1 can accommodate a 10 car train,[4] and is used for long distance southbound intercity passenger services to Shrewsbury, and onwards to Birmingham International (via Telford Central) or Cardiff Central, operated by Arriva Trains Wales, and for services terminating at Wrexham from Chester and London Euston. Due to signalling constraints, trains cannot depart to the north.
  • Platform 2 can accommodate a 10 car train,[4] and is used for regular northbound passenger inter city and regional services to Chester and services onwards to the North Wales Coast line to Holyhead and for services to Manchester Piccadilly via Chester and Runcorn, operated by Arriva Trains Wales. Inter city Services to London Euston (via Chester and Crewe) are also provided on this platform by Virgin Trains. Due to signalling constraints, trains cannot depart to the south.
  • Platform 3 can accommodate a 7 car train,[4] and was used for regular passenger services to London Marylebone via Shrewsbury, Telford Central and Tame Bridge, operated by Wrexham & Shropshire. This platform is now used by a small number of Borderlands Line passenger services (usually the first northbound and last southbound train each day), for services terminating at Wrexham from Shrewsbury and for freight services changing between the Shrewsbury-Chester line and the Borderlands line. This platform is signalled bidirectionally, so trains can depart either south towards Shrewsbury or north towards Bidston, although no services from Shrewsbury currently depart on the Borderlands line and vice versa. In practice this platform is used for trains terminating from either direction.
  • Platform 4 is located outside the main station canopy and is used for regular branch line passenger services northbound to Bidston, and to Wrexham Central in the opposite direction, operated by Arriva Trains Wales. This platform is signalled bidirectionally, so trains can depart either south towards Wrexham Central or north towards Bidston.

Merseytravel are currently in negotiations with network rail and a number of other companies to upgrade the Halton Curve, a section of the Liverpool branch of the West Coast Mainline which connects to Chester, in order to start direct services to Liverpool Lime Street via Chester and Runcorn.

Infrastructure improvements[edit]

On 28 April 2008, Ieuan Wyn Jones AM, the Deputy First Minister for Wales opened a new Wrexham Network Rail depot. It consisted of the refurbishment of two terminal bay platforms to the south of the station for overnight stabling of trains and the construction of a crew depot. The development was opened to coincide with the start of services from Wrexham General to London by Wrexham and Shropshire, who utilised the depot until services to London Marylebone stopped in January 2011.

From February 2009 a cafe has opened on the station in formerly empty office space.

On 20 May 2012 it was announced that sections of the North to South Wales line would be upgraded along the Wrexham section of the line to a total of £46 million worth of improvements. These include redoubling the Wrexham – Chester section, and upgrading sections of the line to allow for 90 mph running throughout. This will allow for an increase in traffic between Wrexham and Chester, including further London services and a possibility of regular services to new destinations. One report has suggested extending the hourly First TransPennine Express HullManchester Piccadilly service to Wrexham via Chester, which would provide a direct service to Manchester, Leeds and Hull. Other suggestions include extending the current hourly Chester – Crewe shuttle service south to Wrexham and north to Manchester (via Manchester Airport).[5]

Notes[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 – Wrexham – Shrewsbury Rail Study Scott Wilson Railways
  3. ^ "Wrexham on new Arriva Trains Wales north-south link". BBC News. 10 March 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c Yonge, John (March 2005) [1990]. Jacobs, Gerald, ed. Railway Track Diagrams 4: Midlands & North West (2nd ed.). Bradford on Avon: Trackmaps. map 22D. ISBN 0-9549866-0-1. 
  5. ^ http://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/2012/03/20/46m-rail-improvement-scheme-for-wrexham-lines-55578-30575951/

Gallery[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 53°03′03″N 3°00′05″W / 53.05083°N 3.00139°W / 53.05083; -3.00139