North Western Trains
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Please note: Numbers after station names between Wrexham and Shrewsbury
are approximate journey times from Wrexham, with journey times from Shrewsbury in brackets.
Those between Wrexham and Bidston are journey times from Wrexham, with journey times from Bidston in brackets.
Shrewsbury 38 mins
Shrewsbury is, perhaps, the best-preserved medieval town in England, but has a history which dates back to the 6th century. Set on rising ground in an almost-complete loop of the River Severn, two reminders of its role as a border town between England and Wales are the Welsh Bridge and the English Bridge across the western and eastern loops, respectively, of the river. The castle - located close to the station - has Norman, Edwardian and Civil War connections, with a tower added by Telford, the 18th century engineer and architect better known for his work with roads, canals and railways. Many old half-timbered buildings remain. The site of the Battle of Shrewsbury - between Henry IV and the rebellious Sir Henry Percy (the Harry Hotspur of Shakespeare's play) - lies three miles to the north.
From Shrewsbury, trains connect with services to Machynlleth and Aberystwyth/Pwllheli or trains on the Marches Line between South Wales and Liverpool/Manchester.
Gobowen 18 mins (20 mins)
Particularly noteworthy is the station building itself, designed by TK Penson and dating from 1848.
Most of the village lies to the west of the railway, and is largely residential, however, less than three miles to the south is Oswestry, the unofficial hot air ballooning capital of the world.
Oswestry is named after St Oswald, the king of Northumbria who was slain by Pendra King of Mercia in AD643. An earlier historical pedigree for the town can be found a mile north of Oswestry, in the remarkable iron age fort standing on top of a 100ft earthwork which offers splendid views of the surrounding countryside.
Also in the area is the world-famous orthopaedic hospital.
Chirk 12 mins (26 mins)
Surrounded by ornamental gardens, Chirk Castle is half-a-mile west of the town. Begun in the 13th century, wrought iron gates and a 1½ mile arcade of trees guard the building which was restored in the 1840s. From the Marina, boats may be hired for cruises along the Llangollen Canal.
Ruabon 7 mins (31 mins)
Once the seat of the Williams Wynn family whose influence in this part of North Wales was total from the beginning of the 18th century. Their manor house of Wynnstay has been redesigned several times, most famously in French Renaissance style by Robert Adam with the gardens laid out by Capability Brown, and was last occupied by Lindisfarne College. Ruabon Church contains an effigy of the first Sir Watkin Williams Wynn, and a font also designed by Robert Adam. Near the church is the Round House, formerly the eighteenth-century lock-up, used for prisoners being taken to Shrewsbury jail.
Wrexham is served by two stations - the Central (57 mins) and the General 4 mins (54 mins) - a ½-mile apart.
The town is dominated by the 140-ft pinnacled and decorated tower of St Giles' Church - once considered one of the seven wonders of Wales. In the churchyard is the grave of Elihu Yale who gave his name to the famous Connecticut University. In the Clywedog Valley, south of the town, are reminders of the area's industrial past: A heritage trail through the valley includes the Minera Lead Mines, the Bersham Ironworks and Heritage Centre - where cannon for the American War of Independence were cast - and the wildlife centre at Nant Mill. Two miles south is Erddig Hall, a restored mansion house. Bangor-on-Dee National Hunt racecourse is three miles south east of the town.
Gwersyllt 7 mins (49 mins) is noted for its church dating from the early 1850s, which has a broach spire, and stained glass windows commemorating its architect, Thomas Penson. Aerobics and a range of other activities may be found at the Gwyn Evans Sports Centre.
Cefn-y-bedd 11 mins (45 mins)
A quiet village on the River Alyn surrounded by fields and wooded valleys. There is an industrial estate a mile to the east.
Caergwrle 13 mins (43 mins) briefly was a spa town at the end of the 19th century, but its well now lies in ruins. So, too, is its former castle, built some six centuries earlier.
Hope 15 mins (41 mins) stands on the River Alun, and is noted for its church which has a double nave and contains some stained glass from the 15th century.
Penyffordd 19 mins (37 mins)
Located some distance west of the village, the station also serves the communities of Rhosybrwyner and Penmynydd. Mostly residential, there is some light industry to the north.
Buckley 23 mins (34 mins) owes its existence to the clay used to produce bricks and pottery. The chancel of St Emmauel's church is dedicated to 19th century British prime minister William Gladstone. Every July, on the second Tuesday of the month, the Buckley Jubilee event is held. The congregations of local chapels and churches combine for a march and gala, with field events and competitions. The Jubilee has taken place for over 150 years.
Hawarden 27 mins (29 mins) (pronounced harden) has many reminders of William Ewart Gladstone, four-times Prime Minister of England, who moved into Hawarden Castle (built in 1752 on the site of a 12th century Marcher fortress) after his marriage. There is a statue of him in front of St Deinol's Library which he built and to which he donated over 30,000 books from his own collection; and he is also commemorated by a stained-glass window in Hawarden Church by celebrated pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Burne-Jones. Also in the Castle is the Black Sheep Gallery, specialising in Fine Arts.
Shotton 31 mins (24 mins)
The extensive steel works has closed, and only a tin-plate works remains. Light industry occupies the Deeside Industrial Park, built on the remainder of the site. The Deeside Ice Rink is in nearby Queensferry. 13th century Ewloe Castle and Wepre Park are close by, where ranger activities and nature trails through the woodland are among the attractions on offer. A short walk to the Low Level station gives access to trains on the Chester - Holyhead line.
Hawarden Bridge 34 mins (22 mins) station is on the north bank of the River Dee, and now serves the light industry which has replaced Shotton Steel works. The 520ft bridge from which the station takes its name and which took the train across the river, crosses the Dee in three spans, the middle of which was swung on a central pier.
Neston 42 mins (15 mins) is part of the Wirral Country Park. Ness Botanical Gardens are open all-year round, while Hadlow Road station, just over a mile to the east on the Wirral County Path, is preserved in a timewarp as it looked when it closed in 1956.
Heswall 47 mins (10 mins) and Upton 53 mins (4 mins) stations serve various communities on the Wirral.
Bidston 58 mins
This is the interchange station for MerseyRail services to Liverpool.
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