The Shrewsbury to Chester Line, also known as the Severn - Dee Line (after the rivers on which Shrewsbury and Chester stand), was built in 1846 as the Shrewsbury and Chester Railway. The engineer for the line was a Mr Robertson while the contractor was Thomas Brassey in partnership with William Mackenzie and Robert Stephenson.
It became part of the Great Western Railway's main line from London Paddington to Birkenhead Woodside until nationaliation when it was part of the Western Region until later transferred to the London Midland Region of British Railways. It runs from Shrewsbury in England to Chester, also in England. Of the intermediate stations, Gobowen is in England but the remainder are in Wales.
Passenger trains along the line are operated by Arriva Trains Wales. At Chester, there are connections to Crewe, Northwich, Warrington, Manchester, Liverpool and along the North Wales Coast Line to Holyhead. At Shrewsbury, connections are provided with lines to Welshpool, Aberystwyth, Pwllheli, Swansea, Hereford and the Welsh Marches Line, Cardiff, Wolverhampton, Birmingham, Crewe and Manchester.
Growth in services
Arriva Trains Wales in December 2005 introduced a new timetable to the line, providing an hourly service between Shrewsbury and Chester, Monday to Saturday, from early morning until around midnight (involving eight additional trains serving Gobowen). This improved service includes a through train every two hours between Holyhead and Cardiff throughout most of the day. The line has seen passenger numbers double during 2003/2004 and increase by 300 percent since 1999.
In 2006 the Wrexham Shropshire and Marylebone Railway Company (WSMR) was formed, with the aim of providing direct services to and from London.
Shrewsbury-Chester Line - Principal stations (from south to north)