FIFTY years ago, physicist and engineer Richard Beeching became a household name when he published his report called The Reshaping of British Railways.
Known as The Beeching Report or The Beeching Axe, the result was a cut of 4,000 route miles.
To coincide with the anniversary, the Chester History & Heritage Centre has mounted an exhibition, entitled Up the Junction.
Chester was affected by the report with the closure of the Northgate and Blacon stations.
Northgate station, opened in 1875, was the city centre’s second station with trains to Manchester, Birkenhead and North Wales. It had a station building and two covered roofs, and four tracks with two side platforms.
From 1890 services from Chester Northgate ran to Connah’s Quay via Blacon and to Wrexham General and New Brighton on the Wirral.
During the Second World War, the station served military personnel that were based at RAF Sealand and at Blacon Camp.
The station, on a site now occupied by the Northgate Arena was closed on October 6, 1969 although was used by Corus steel making plant at Shotton until March 1980. Freight services continued on a double-tracked line until April 20 1984. Goods services resumed on a single-track line on August 31 1986 before final closure in the early 1990s. The track bed is now a cycleway.
Blacon Railway Station was part of the line between Chester Northgate and Hawarden Bridge and the line was later extended to Wrexham and Birkenhead. The station opened on March 31, 1890 and included the station master’s house and a brick goods warehouse. Despite being a busy station, it was closed on September 9, 1968. Like Northgate, freight continued to use the line until April 20, 1984 and the railway closed completely in 1992.
Up the Junction runs until March 29 2013.