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British Industrial History

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Chester and Holyhead Railway

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1838 George Stephenson made a survey for a line from Chester to Holyhead, with a view to the mails going by that route. His report was in favour of the Chester-Holyhead route, since the Shrewsbury-Porth Dynllaen was impracticable, as regards gradients, against a practically water-level line to Holyhead. The government decided against the Porth Dynllaen route and accepted Holyhead as the route.

A grant of £30,000 a year was to be paid for the conveyance of the mails by rail to Holyhead for five years certain with the option of renewal for a further five years certain, and Holyhead Harbour was to be improved. On April 3rd, 1846, the Chester and Holyhead Railway Company agreed, with the Government to contribute one-quarter of the cost of the construction of a harbour of refuge and a steam packet pier. Such payment by the company, however, was not to exceed £200,000. The extension to Admiralty Pier was sanctioned in 1847 and by 1848, the railway company was authorised to purchase, hire and use steamboats.

The first 2-mile section between Chester and Saltney Junction was opened jointly with the Shrewsbury and Chester Railway (S&CR) in 1846.

1847 On May 1st, there was opened the first stage - from Chester to Conway- of the Chester and Holyhead Railway, which had been sanctioned in 1844.

In 1847 Robert Stephenson's bridge over the Dee estuary collapsed

In 1848 the line opened to Bangor and from Llanfair to Holyhead later the same year

In 1849 the Mold Railway was absorbed.

In 1849 the Postmaster-General called for tenders for the conveyance of the mails by sea between Holyhead and Kingstown. Through some misunderstanding as to its position, the Chester and Holyhead did not tender and consequently the contract went to the City of Dublin Steam Packet Co, which retained it until November 4th 1920, when at long last, it passed into the hands of the London and North Western Railway.[1]

In 1850 the Britannia Bridge and Conwy Railway Bridge were completed and the line was fully opened.

In 1859 the London and North Western Railway (L&NWR) who worked the line made an offer for the line and it the company was dissolved in 1879.

1879 - On August 17th the Llandulas Viaduct on the Chester and Holyhead line was washed away by a species of avalanche and thrown into the sea. A temporary wooden bridge was ready by the 24th, and within the same period girders for a new bridge had been made at Crewe. They were erected, and goods trains were running over the new permanent bridge on September 15th. [2]

See Also


Sources of Information

  • Encyclopedia of British Railway Companies by Christopher Awdry. Published 1990