Oswestry railway station

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Oswestry - The former station and Cambrian Railways headquarters.jpg
Place Oswestry
Area Shropshire
Grid reference SJ294298
Original company Oswestry and Newtown Railway
Pre-grouping Cambrian Railways
Post-grouping Great Western Railway
Western Region of British Railways
Operated by Cambrian Heritage Railways
Platforms 1 (formerly 6)
1 May 1860 (1860-05-01) Station opened
7 November 1966 (1966-11-07) Closed to passengers
1971 Closed to freight
17 August 2014 First steam services restart
Stations on heritage railways in the United Kingdom
170433 at Edinburgh Waverley.JPG UK Railways portal
View north towards Whitchurch and Gobowen, with ex-GWR 7800 Class 4-6-0 No. 7815 Fritwell Manor on a down-stopping service towards Welshpool

Oswestry railway station is a heritage railway station in Oswestry, Shropshire, England. It was closed when passenger services were withdrawn in 1966. The station building today is used as commercial premises.


Great Western Railway[edit]

The railway first was first opened by the GWR who opened its single platform station on 1 January 1849 on a branch from Gobowen.[1]

Under the Railway Act 1921, the CR was allocated to the GWR. The GWR immediately closed its competing station on 7 July 1924 and diverted all services to either pass through or terminate at the adjacent former Cambrian Railways station. The main GWR service integrated was the shuttle to Chester via Gobowen on the Shrewsbury & Chester Railway.[2]

The GWR immediately made the CR/LNWR engine shed its divisional base for the new Oswestry locomotive division, allocating it code: OSW. In 1929, the GWR improved the facilities, adding electric lighting to the entire complex, extra inspection pits, and a GWR standard-pattern single-ramp coaling stage. A further improvement programme occurred in 1939, when the wooden roof was replaced with steel trusses, allowing the introduction of improved clearances, increased ventilation and additional glass shuttering.[3]

An administrative oddity occurred throughout the period of control by the GWR, in that a singular ex-LNWR engine was stabled but not allocated to Oswestry shed from 1923, only attached to the shed after 1946 when the UK railway system was nationalised under British Railways.[3]

Cambrian Railways[edit]

Main article: Cambrian Railways

Proposed to be formed from the amalgamation of a series of local regional railway companies,[2] as a result the new company called Cambrian Railways (CR) proposed to base its headquarters in Oswestry. Using existing Parliamentary Act approval for development of a station, it proposed to build closer to the centre of the town than the existing Great Western Railway (GWR) station, which had opened in 1849. On completion, the CR station would complete the mainline for the London and North Western Railway, from Whitchurch on the Crewe and Shrewsbury Railway, to Welshpool in Mid-Wales.[4]

The first connection to the station was made from the south by the Oswestry and Newtown Railway, which operated its first train on 1 May 1860.[2] After a legal tussle between the two competing companies, LNWR and GWR, Parliament authorised building the CR/LNWR sponsored line to Whitchurch in August 1861, driven by the need to regenerate Ellesmere. However, the proposed route was heavily fought over by land owners, with the eventual tracks running via Fenn's Moss, requiring additional civil engineering, support and drainage to overcome the local bog conditions. On 25 July 1864 the CR was formally created, allowing the first CR train to the run from Whitchurch into Oswestry two days later on 27 July 1864.[2]


The station consisted of two main platforms, which each had two bays either end, creating a total of six platforms: one main up, one main down, two bays up, two bays down. Built to standard gauge, there was an allowance to build a third freight-bypass track down the middle of the running road, which was completed later by the GWR in 1923. The station building was designed by a local architect in keeping with CR constituent design philosophies, but was substantial and included a great deal of office accommodation and a Boardroom. This was to allow, once the first CR train had run into the station from the north, the CR to formally move its headquarters and administration base to the station building.[2]

After the station opened, the CR demolished the temporary wooden 2-road O&NR shed, located just north in the fork between the GWR junction to Gobowen and the CR mainline to Whitchurch. Designed, engineered and hence based on standard LNWR practice, when completed it comprised: 4-road running shed; 2-road lifting shed; 55 feet (17 m) turntable; coal tip; plus associated offices and mess rooms.[3]

On the opposite side of the tracks, the CR later built its own railway works. Its construction of 22 locomotive roads and an 11 carriage and wagon works sidings, hastened Oswestry's boom as a railway town: from a population of 5,500 in 1861; to nearly 10,000 40 years later.[5]

A war memorial, designed by Allan G Wyon, to 53 CR employees who died serving in World War I was erected after the war and stood in the station until after its final closure (1971) when, in 1975, Oswestry Town Council moved it into the Cae Glas Park where it stands today.[6]


In 1963, the station was reallocated to become part of the London Midland Region. In the review under the Beeching Axe the Cambrian Railways line from Whitchurch to Welshpool was decreed surplus to demands, and listed for closure.[2]

On 18 January 1965, passenger services to Welshpool and Whitchurch finished, and the locomotive shed closed.[3] A shuttle service to Gobowen operated by Diesel Multiple Units continued until 7 November 1966 when both the station closed to passengers and the works closed.[7]

Freight services continued to run until 1971, but following this much of the station was demolished, to leave only the main building.[2] A single line from Gobowen through the station to Llanyblodwel quarry was used by freight trains until 1988 but since closure the track has remained in place .[2]


Private ownership[edit]

The station was sold in the 1980s to local businessman Mr Den Hinton and became Oswestry DIY & Home Centre. The offices and former Cambrian Railways boardroom on the first floor were converted into eight flats and two bedsits. The ground floor was opened up to form a large retail area and the rear platform was enclosed to provide storage.

The building was sold to Owens Motor Factors in 1993 who renamed their car parts business Cambrian Autoparts. During their redevelopment of the car park adjoining the building (which covered the land that previously carried the Oswestry to Gobowen line) a large air raid shelter was uncovered which had tunnels running off it to the old railway works.

In the late 1990s the site was purchased by Tesco with the aim of developing a supermarket on the land behind the station and using the original station building as the frontage and entrance foyer which would incorporate small, specialist retail units. After a fierce (and controversial) planning battle, permission was refused and the site remained empty until its purchase by the local authority in 2005.

Cambrian Heritage Railways[edit]

The single railway track still runs through the station, and is the subject of a plan by Cambrian Heritage Railways (CHR) to reopen the line between Oswestry and Llanyblodwel, and eventually to Gobowen to reconnect with the mainline.[8] CHR has agreed leases with Shropshire County Council for an 8.5-mile (13.7 km) section of the Oswestry and Newtown Railway between Gobowen and Blodwel. The lease runs for 50 years from 2014.[8]

On 17 August 2014, Beyer Peacock 0-4-0ST No. 1827 hauled the first steam passenger services from Oswestry for the first time since January 1965.[8] Passengers were carried in the CHR's brake van over the first half-mile of track towards Gobowen.[8][9]

T&WA Order[edit]

The CHR applied for a Transport & Works Act Order for transfer of NR's residual rights to itself and this was granted on 28 February 2017. This permits the CHR to reopen the route from Gobowen to Blodwel Quarry subject to level crossings of the A5 and A483 being replaced by a tunnel and overbridge respectively.[10]

Cambrian Railways Museum[edit]

The station's former goods depot now serves as the Cambrian Railways Museum.[11] Displays include photographs, signs, lamps, signal box fittings, and artefacts related to the history of the Cambrian Heritage Railways.


  1. ^ http://www.disused-stations.org.uk/o/oswestry_gwr/index.shtml
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Oswestry". disused-stations.org.uk. Retrieved 2012-02-05. 
  3. ^ a b c d Edward T. Lyons C.Eng MIStrucE (1978). An Historical Survey of Great Western Engine Sheds 1947. Oxford Publishing Co. ISBN 0-902888-16-1. 
  4. ^ "Oswestry Railway". BBC Shropshire. Retrieved 2012-02-05. 
  5. ^ "Two stations for Oswestry". Shropshire County Council. Retrieved 2012-02-05. 
  6. ^ Francis, Peter (2013). Shropshire War Memorials, Sites of Remembrance. YouCaxton Publications. p. 177. ISBN 978-1-909644-11-3. 
  7. ^ "Cambrian Railways works". discovershropshire.org.uk. Retrieved 2012-02-05. 
  8. ^ a b c d Piggott, Nick, ed. (September 2014). "First steam passenger service in Oswestry since 1965". Railway Magazine. 160 (1362). 
  9. ^ Johnston, Howard (3–16 September 2014). "Oswestry". RAIL (756): 24. 
  10. ^ DfT TWAO Decision letter
  11. ^ "Museum". Cambrian Heritage Railways. Retrieved 19 March 2015. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°51.7719′N 3°2.8014′W / 52.8628650°N 3.0466900°W / 52.8628650; -3.0466900