The Wrexham to Bidston railway
'The Borderlands line'
Wrexham General and the former

Wrexham Exchange

The north end of Wrexham General in August 2009.  On the left a Holyhead to Cardiff service calls at platform 1, in the centre a service from London Marylebone has just arrived, while on the right a train from Bidston calls at platform 4 on its way to Wrexham Central.

A Class 101 waits for custom on a Wrexham Central service at the remaining platform of what was once Wrexham Exchange in 1999.  As its name implies this station was adjacent to the ex GWR General station whose platforms may be seen on the right.  The two stations have been worked as one for many years but only in the last few years has there been direct access between the two. Prior to this passengers changing between the two services had to use the busy road bridge.

101682 is seen again, leaving on a Bidston service, 6th September 1999.  The remains of the other platform can be seen on the left.

Signals galore as 47235 moves a coil train from South Wales onto the goods loop on 30 September 1985.  The freight will head for Dee Marsh once the passenger train from Central, whose departure is indicated by the signal on the left,  has reached Penyffordd.  Since this photo was taken the layout and signalling at Wrexham has been severely rationalised.  At one time there were six signalboxes in the immediate area.  In 1984 the section from Saltney Junction to Wrexham was singled to enable construction of a new road, further cutbacks saw the closure of all signal boxes except Croes Newydd North Fork. This now controls to Gobowen (on the Shrewsbury line), Penyffordd (Bidston line) and fringes to Chester powerbox whose area extends to just north of Wrexham.

Class 47 No. 47217 brings a log train from Warrington to Dee Marsh into the up and down goods loop at Croes Newydd.  The locomotive will run round its train here to access the Bidston line.  The disused sidings on the right were formerly Watery Road goods depot and are now a housing estate.  The wasteland to the left was Croes Newydd motive power depot situated in the triangle of the line to Brymbo and Minera.  The Brymbo line closed in 1982 and the steelworks it once served has also closed.  General station is in the distant background.  28 September 1992.

Class 31 No. 31201 heads a freight consisting of three china clay wagons from Dee Marsh to Warrington in August 1998.  The wagons were returning empty to Cornwall having been discharged at Shotton Paper.  This train has run round in the loop which is beyond the level crossing and is now heading in the Chester direction.  The point in the foreground forms the all important connection to the Bidston line.  Apart from the Mersey rail tunnel, this is now the only access to the line.  The sidings to the left were once used for passenger trains to Llangollen and Barmouth and saw some use afterwards for parcels traffic.  These are the only sidings which remain in the Wrexham area and they were used as a servicing depot for Wrexham and Shropshire Railway.  The now demolished Wrexham lager brewery is prominent in the background.

A view of the bay platforms in 2009 with two WSMR trains stabled.

60096 'Ben Macdui' brings a long train of empty steel coil wagons into Wrexham General off the single track connection from the Bidston line.  The carriage of cold rolled steel coils for coating at Shotton is the lines staple freight traffic with a daily block train normally running.  The carriage of coil commenced in 1980 when Shotton Steel Works ceased steel manufacture.  Until its closure in 1992, steel coil from Ravenscraig in Scotland was also treated at Shotton, this arrived via the Mickle Trafford line (covered later in this website).  The maximum train length for the Bidston line connection is 21 coil wagons.  If the train is any longer careful regulation is needed.

Freight action at Wrexham General on 15th March 2005.  66243 is on a train of logs from Warrington Arpley to Kronospan, Chirk.  It is held at the signal as 60012 comes over the crossover after running round its train at Watery Road.  This train is of empty coal wagons from Castle Cement, Penyffordd and it is going to Redcar for reloading.

A six week trial using two MPV units sandwiching seven OTA timber wagons was run in early 2005.  The train ran from Aberystwyth to Kronospan at Chirk and reversed in platform three at Wrexham General.  It is seen here on the 15th March 2005.  This platform is used for the first train of the day to Bidston when Central station is closed.

66097 works train 6V75 Dee Marsh to Margam, with 25 empty coil wagons, at Wrexham General, 6 March 2012.  Photo by Mark Edwards.

As the Bidston line forms the only connection to the Merseyrail Wirral lines, engineering trains are a fairly common sight.  In 1993 the Merseyrail section was being resignalled and in this view 31242 passes through Wrexham General station on a train of cable drums.

A scene of devastation at Wrexham General on 26th April 1997.  A few days earlier an empty coal train had derailed at speed while passing through the station.  There was massive disruption but no injuries were caused.   The station has since been extensively refurbished.

57304 on a train of logs from Scotland to Kronospan at Chirk nears Wrexham General, 10-04-08.

150281 at platform 3 of General station.  In the evenings the Bidston service is operated by one unit, the other unit works a passenger service to Chester after which it goes for servicing.  To access the Chester line this train will use the loop at Watery Road to reverse.


Crew training for the start of WSMR services to London in April 2008.

08909 stabled in the bay at Wrexham General.  The loco had developed a fault while travelling from Dee Marsh to Allerton for maintenance, 18th July 2001.

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