John Speller's Web Pages Wrexham, Mold & Connah's Quay Railway

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Wrexham, Mold & Connah's Quay Railway
The Buckley Railway was incorporated by an Act of 14 June 1860 to build a 5 mile line from Buckley to the London & North Western Railway's Chester & Holyhead line at Connah's Quay. There were several low bridges on this line, and locomotives working on it had to have their chimneys, etc., cut down. The Wrexham, Mold & Connah's Quay Railway was incorporated by an Act of 7 August 1862 to build a 12 mile line connecting the Buckley Railway with Wrexham. The WM&CQR took over the Buckley Railway on 30 June 1873. At Wrexham Central a junction was put in in 1895 with the Ellesmere Branch of Cambrian Railways, which provided access for the Great Central Railway to the south of Wales. Another junction at Wrexham General subsequently allowed access to the entire Great Western system.

The line's principal promoters were Scottish industrialist Henry Robertson (1816-1888) and civil engineer Benjamin Piercy (1827-1888). From 1866 the latter's brother Robert Piercy (1825-1894), who had previously constructed a railway in Sardinia, was Resident Engineer. The company's locomotive works was at Wrexham.

In 1883 the WM&CQR opened a branch line serving various collieries and terminating at Brymbo. Lines connecting with the WM&CQR were later built in collaboration with the Manchester, Sheffield & Lincolnshire Railway. The North Wales & Birkenhead Joint Railway (WM&CQR/MS&LR) gave access to Birkenhead (and thence via the Mersey Tunnel to Liverpool) and the Chester & Connah's Quay Railway (MS&LR) gave access to Chester and thence to the rest of the MS&L system. The line went into receivership on 18 May 1896 and was bought by the MS&LR, now the Great Central Railway, with effect from 1 January 1905. The close cooperation between the WM&CQR and MS&LR was long reflected by the makeup of the Board thus in 1894 the Chairman was William Pollitt, General Manager of the MS&LR. Prime Minister W. E. Gladstone lived near the line at Hawarden Castle, and his youngest son Herbert John Gladstone, First Viscount Gladstone (1854-1930) was a Director.

WM&CQR locomotives were painted Indian red lined out with black and amber. One slightly shady collusion between the WM&CQR and the GCR was that in 1896-1898 the Great Central Railway repainted ten of its Pollitt 0-6-2 tanks in WM&CQR livery and gave them WM&CQR numbers (Nos. 17-26) so that the Great Central Railway could use them to exercise the WM&CQR's running powers over the Wirral Railway to Birkenhead and thence by the Mersey Tunnel to Liverpool! The WM&CQR locomotive livery was maroon lined out in black and yellow; the coaches were painted chocolate brown.
Railway Clearing House Junction Diagram of Wrexham
Buckley Railway 0-6-0ST No. 1 "Wheatley" built by Hudswell, Clarke & Rogers in 1861
WM&CQR 0-6-2 No. 6 "Queen," rebuilt from an ex-L&NWR locomotive in 1892. Rebuilt again as an 0-8-0ST in 1903, "Queen" became the only WM&CQR locomotive to survive into LNER ownership in 1923
GCR No. 402, an ex-WM&CQR 0-6-0ST reboilered at Wrexham Works in 1904 and cut down for working on the Buckley to Connah's Quay section
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