We were planning to visit Crewe when the opportunity arose, but instead we found ourselves there one evening, literally through an accident. The entrance is on the middle of a bridge and has a very small taxi and set-down area, so there will be little time to linger. The area is level access, with the ticket office to your right as you enter. For such an important station, it may seem surprising that the booking office is closed in the later evening but for many passengers it will be a journey interchange point. But there are machines near the entrance to sell you tickets to a large variety of destinations if you brought your credit/debit card.
|CREWE is one of the major interchange points on the railway system. And for a century it was the manufacturing heart of the largest railway company in the country. The yellow route diagram below shows its importance to the system.
From the left of the entrance, you reach the main platform overbridge, which is simpler than you expect: most of the platforms are additional limbs of the two main ones, 5 and 6, with platform 12 being the only separate one. This means that there are only three ways down to platform level (stairs and lifts are available), with platform 2 being the farthest walk. The platforms are also linked by a second passenger bridge (steps only) near the southern bays. Electronic screens display train arrivals and departures with voice announcement as well.
The station dates back to 1837 (though largely rebuilt as it expanded), and its architecture still stems from its great Victorian and Edwardian days. But there is fresh paint around and a good percentage of the platforms have canopy cover. The two large buildings provide indoor shelter in snack bars (closing at or shortly before 9.00 p.m. on weekdays), and there are also vending machines available for the unearthly hours. There is no parking immediately by the station, but if you go down off the plan below and turn right (i.e. northwards), the streets there lead to short and long-term parking including a 20 minute free parking area for the station (which has a £10 charge (in 2009) for late return). Wheels: all routes.
Nantwich once had a traditional station building, but after this was sold for commercial use, the new owners blocked off the platform doors and windows and painted the whole building black. They had every right to do this, of course, but its blackness does loom rather painfully over the platforms. Otherwise facilities are much as found elsewhere along the line between the major stations, and as with several others, the access is easy ramps from a level crossing at the south end of the station. There are no remaining canopies, and small bus shelters and train information are the only facilities now offered, though there is a ticket machine. However, the level crossing has obviously been busy for many years, so a passenger overbridge will get pedestrians over the line if the gates are closed.|
David Houghton has kindly informed us (in 2014) that all semaphore signals have now been replaced by colour lights automatically controlled from Cardiff; and the signal boxes at this station and elsewhere along the line had been closed and were scheduled for demolition. Wheels: CS.
Wrenbury station lies between the villages of Aston (which is just
off the A530 Whitchurch Road) and Wrenbury, reached by following the Wrenbury Road from Aston. If you're on
the right road, you cannot miss it as it goes straight over the level crossing - and just beyond, on the
right, there is a gravelled patch for about 4 cars (though the ownership of the patch isn't obvious). The
former station building on the southbound side has gone into private hands, so the two platforms only have
bus shelters (the Crewe-bound shelter taking 4 people at a squeeze). Both platforms have ramps, so access is
Whitchurch station is on the eastern edge of the town on Waymills (B5398), about a third of a mile from the centre, and not far from the A525. The access is a drive leading up from road level to overbridge level, where there is parking for roughly 25, plus at least 3 disabled spaces. Apart from Crewe and Shrewsbury, Whitchurch is the only station along this line to still display evidence that it was once bigger than you find it today, with a third platform face and a bay both in place but long out of use. The Crewe platform has an open-fronted shelter by the carpark, then a small canopy beside the bay, possibly added for increased commuter traffic. There is a larger, modern bus shelter on the opposite platform though the only way across to it is by a stepped passenger bridge that replaced the one shown in the photo in 2013. However, we understand that there are still no footboards for wheelchair users. On our own visit we watched a wheelchair-user being detrained with helpful patience by one of the train crew, despite the likely delay in the train's schedule, so you probably need to call ahead if using the southbound platform. There is a ticket machine and CCTV. Wheels: CS.|
Prees station is actually just outside the western boundary of the village itself, where Station Road does a sharp right turn immediately beyond the level crossing, on its way to finding the B5476. The level crossing marks the south end of the station platforms, and was guarded by a signal box/gate-keeper's cabin (giving you a useful landmark if approaching by car, but only until it gets demolished). A rough verge might give parking space for a couple of cars - but that's all. The station is unstaffed and simply provides train information and a bus shelter on each side with seats for 8-10 people. Both platforms have easy ramp access.
Wem station is about five minutes level walk along Aston Street from the town shopping area, and the level crossing is a reasonably visible marker. The signal box was a better one, but if it hasn't already gone it will in due course. There is a parking area, and both platforms are easily accessed by short ramps. The platforms themselves have train information and bus shelters. There is no ticket office, but there is a ticket machine and CCTV. For another view see the photo at the top of this page.Wheels: CS.|
Yorton is named for the nearest location, but it's Clive, up the hill
to the east, that provides most of the walking distance clientele (Station Road links the two). There is parking
for a large handful of cars, and ramp access to the Shrewsbury platform, which has a bus shelter for 8-10 people.
The former station building, also on this side, has been sold to private owners (and beautifully done up).
Things are less happy on the other side. There is no footboard across, and therefore no wheelchair route from
a car. The old waiting room seems to be permanently boarded up, and the only way to the platform is from the
road beyond the railway overbridge, with two sets of steps en route. Having said that, a stream of arriving
passengers testified that the steps were no hindrance to young and healthy pedestrians.
SHREWSBURY Like many stations, Shrewsbury has seen grander days, but most of
its grandeur is still intact. Built as a combined station and hotel, it is a big, imposing building, with
crenellations in mimicry of its close neighbour, Shrewsbury Castle. It is located at the edge of the main
shopping area, though you have to trek uphill to the shops (this is standard for Shrewsbury as the town centre
sits on top of a hill and everything is down or up). Its forecourt allows limited parking only, with a set-down
area. The entrance is canopied in front of a ticket office and separate information area on opposite sides of a
short, level subway.|
This leads to steps and a lift
up to the main platform, which has four numbers: 4 and 7 are the main faces, while 5 and 6 lie in a bay at the
southern end. (Platforms 1 and 2 have disappeared, and platform 3, just above the station entrance is now only
used in special circumstances.) The main platform offers toilets (by the bay) and refreshments. Behind the
station is a pay-and-display parking area, though you have to drive round and under the station, then up Howard
Street to reach it. Once on foot, there is a level, roofed overbridge (by a sign that says The Dana) that will
take you directly to the station building - the quick way down involves 35 steps, but staying on the sloping
path gives wheelchairs (etc.) a longer-winded but easier route. Wheels: ChCa.
Shrewsbury also serves the Walsall to Shrewsbury line,
the Chester to Cardiff line, and the Shrewsbury to Llandrindod [and Swansea] line.
Please note: the notes and sketches are intended only to give a general impression, and should not be
relied upon for more than that. Dudley Mall accepts no liability for errors, but will correct any significant ones notified to us through firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to Dudley Mall, 62 Gervase
Drive, Dudley, West Midlands DY1 4AT.