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Ruthin Railway Station

Fiona Gale

16 November 2022

See also on this website:

Rhyl to Corwen Railway, 50 Years On



The first passenger railway to come to North Wales was the North Wales coast line, The Chester and Holyhead Railway Act was passed in 1844, and construction began on 1 March 1845 with George's son Robert Stephenson as chief engineer.

Other lines developed in the area with the line between Ruabon and Dolgellau/Barmouth via Llangollen begun in various stages.

Here, an old and fanciful representation of the station at  Llangollen!

The Vale of Llangollen Railway was built as a spur from the Shrewsbury and Chester railway south of Ruabon to  Llangollen. The line was built along the northern side of the Dee Valley and authorized by an Act of Parliament on 1 August 1859. It was initially opened for goods only on 1 December 1861 and to passenger traffic on 2 June 1862 it was worked from the outset by the Great Western Railway. 

The Llangollen and Corwen Railway was formed as a continuation of the Vale of Llangollen Railway to continue the line along the Dee Valley to Corwen. This was opened on 1 May 1865 and was worked by the Great Western .

Part of the line survives as the Llangollen Railway, running between here and Corwen.

Here's the station in Llangollen as it appears today.


Once both the North Wales coast line and the Llangollen/Dee Valley line were planned or in place there was desire to link the two lines. However the first section of the line was constructed in the north to link Denbigh to Rhyl and was built following the Act of Parliament of June 1856, before the line in the Dee Valley was started.This northern part of the line from Rhyl to Denbigh opened to passenger traffic in 1858, with the permanent station opening at Denbigh in December 1860. 

This was followed by the Denbigh, Ruthin and Corwen Railway which gained Royal Assent to the Act in July 1860.


The original route proposed for the railway line was to the west of the Castle, through what is now Cae Ddol park and close to the Park Place public house. This was built to serve the Railway! The Cornwallis Wests, living in the Castle, objected and it was built to the east of the centre of the town.

Onthe 4thof September 1860 Miss Florence West of Ruthin Castle cut the first sod of the line. By early 1862 the line had been constructed from Denbigh to Ruthin with stations at Llanrhaeadr and Rhewl.

The part to Gwyddelwern was finished by March 1863 while the final section to Corwen was complete by October 1863.

Ruthin Station was intended to be the Headquarters of the Denbigh, Ruthin and CorwenRailway but very soon after the line opened it was taken over by the LNWR (London and North Western Railway) and the grand offices became surplus to requirements.
The station had a main platform and second platform which was only used if two trains were in the station at the same time. There was a covered waiting area on both platforms and a footbridge over the line.
Initially there was a locomotive depot at Ruthin but this was closed by around 1900.
There was a large Goods Yard at the station as there was a lot of produce coming in and out, coal, timber and agricultural supplies.


This excellent piece of work by Brian Williams, below, shows the railway layout superimposed on the current road pattern.


The station canopy was removed in c. 1900


The signal box at Ruthin housed a 22 lever frame of which 15 were working levers.


The last station master at Ruthin was

Mr. William Glynne Hughes.


Below, some views of the goods yard.


Two views of the cutting in front of Railway Terrace, south of the station, now a footpath:


Beyond the cutting the line passed under Well Street by a bridge.

Trains served Ruthin Station for nearly 100 years. Regular passenger services south to Corwen stopped in 1953 but freight trains continued south almost until the whole line closed to all traffic in 1964. Formal closure was in 1965 and the line was lifted very soon after. The last passenger train from Ruthin to Denbigh was in April 1962. The line was then lifted.


Dereliction set in. The cutting was partially filled in and the bridge under Well Street removed.


The route of the line heading north-west  towards Rhewl can clearly be seen , with the short branch to the brickworks and quarry curving to the west (right). 

One further relic is the Goods Yard Crane, found in a derelict state, but now restored and standing in the grounds of the Craft Centre, not far from its original location.


After demolition of the station site the construction of a roundabout and the Craft Centre removed all traces of the railway just here, but nearby the remains of the Afon Clwyd bridge still exist, and clues to the route can be seen on the ground and from the air. 


Railway Terrace was built alongside the railway line in 1864. There is a date on the terrace between numbers 7 and 8. The Terrace was designed by the architect John Jones (1810 – 69). He was the bard known as ‘Talhaiarn’

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