Wrexham General station

button-theme-crimeWrexham General station

This structure was once two rail stations. Both had their origins in the scramble for the lucrative job of transporting the large volumes of coal and iron produced in this area.

The North Wales Mineral Railway was first on the scene, set up in 1844 to create a railway between Chester and Ruabon. Eventually this line passed to the Great Western Railway, which named the station Wrexham General and rebuilt it from 1909 to 1912. The distinctive shape of the station building’s roof – which you can look down on from the road bridge across the tracks – was a feature of GWR stations of that period.

The other station here, Wrexham Exchange, was to the west, on a railway opened in 1863 by the Wrexham, Mold and Connah’s Quay Railway. This line eventually became the only Welsh outpost of the London & North Eastern Railway, better known for the Flying Scotsman and other trains on the East Coast Main Line. From Exchange, trains ran north to the port town of Birkenhead. In the other direction they turned sharp left, dived under the GWR line and continued to Wrexham Central, Bangor-on-Dee and Ellesemere.

William Page, who drove the Wynnstay Arms’ omnibus, died in 1866 after a gust of wind blew papers from his pocket at Wrexham General. He retrieved them from the track but then noticed he’d missed one, so he jumped back down to fetch it – about five metres ahead of an approaching engine.

In 1889 a train filled with passengers derailed near Wrexham Exchange, injuring the engine driver and fireman and blocking the main GWR line towards Chester. An official inquiry found that an empty horsebox between the engine and heavy coaches had jumped the track, having not been coupled tightly enough to the engine. The horsebox should have been attached to the rear of the train.

The GWR promoted William Edward Jones to a “responsible position” at Wrexham General in the 1880s. Eventually he was dismissed because of his drinking. He then became an “expert railway thief”. In 1903 a Newport court sentenced him to prison with hard labour for stealing, among other things, a passenger’s new suit, a Gladstone bag and items of GWR property.

After nationalisation, the ex-LNER line was truncated to Wrexham Central and the other line reduced to a single track from Wrexham to Saltney, near Chester. Wrexham General’s status was downgraded in 1967, when British Railways withdrew services between Birkenhead and London Paddington.

The station was rejuvenated after BR’s privatisation. The GWR structures were refurbished in the late 1990s. Services improved in 2005, when Arriva Trains Wales introduced regular hourly trains via Wrexham from Holyhead to Shrewsbury, continuing alternately to Cardiff and Birmingham. The fusion of Exchange and General was completed in 2011, when Network Rail provided a passenger lift to ensure everyone could access one half of the station from the other, without a detour over the road bridge.

Postcode: LL11 1EL    View Location Map