Celebrating 175 years of the Chester to Shrewsbury line

A series of events and activities have taken place throughout August to celebrate the 175th anniversary of Chester Station opening and to commemorate its chief engineer, Thomas Brassey.

Celebrations also focused on the Chester to Shrewsbury and Chester to Holyhead lines, which were also completed in 1848.

Talks were led by record producer Pete Waterman, a leading member of the Thomas Brassey Society, covering the history of the station and Brassey’s long list of achievements.

By the late 1840s, Brassey had been responsible for building around a third of all Britain’s railways and three quarters of France’s railways. Such was his renown that he won railway building contracts in countries including Spain, Australia, Norway, and the Crimea.

Wednesday 9 August saw 3 Counties Connected and North Cheshire Community Rail Partnerships (CRP), with support from Transport for Wales and Avanti West Coast, host a Victorian costume day and tea dance alongside Friends of Chirk Station and the Chirk Community Food Cupboard, who raised £141 towards their funds.

Josie Rayworth, Rail Officer for the 3 Counties Connected CRP, said: “We had lots of children dressed up as Victorians enjoying the magic shows, including a Victorian tightrope walker. There were raffles, a fabulous display from local families, and performers from Ballet Pod, where visitors can discover the life of the Victorians and experience wonderful dance, song, and musical performances.”

“This was the perfect opportunity for a good old-fashioned community get together, to celebrate our history, share stories from retired workers, and enable the community to recall railway memories from many years gone by.”

Melanie Lawton, Community Rail Strategy Lead for Transport for Wales, said: “It was brilliant to bring everyone together to mark the railway history of the city. Chester Station is a remarkable building in its own right and in railway terms, it connects so many communities in England and Wales.

“The fact that is has been in operation for 175 years is wonderful and a testament to its designer Thomas Brassey and all those workers and engineers who built it. Sharing our history with new generations is vital and we hope these events will help inspire others to follow in his footsteps as we work with communities to better connect them to their railways.”