CLC Lines at Chester

Chester in the 1970s, with its large station, wagon works, diesel depot and yards provided much interest, and it was easy to ignore the other railway line that passed through the city. This was the CLC (Cheshire Lines Committee) line which ran from Mickle Trafford (on the line between Chester and Helsby) to Dee Marsh Junction (on the line from Wrexham to Bidston). Originally there had been a terminal station at Chester Northgate, on a branch off this line, but when this closed, passenger services were withdrawn or diverted into Chester General, and the CLC line was retained for a few freight trains to or from Shotton Steelworks. The line closed in the 1980's, briefly reopened and then closed permanently.

24057 at Chester 05/08/77 (s1263.jpg)

5th August 1977 and 24057 heads east with a train of empty coke hoppers from Dee Marsh Junction. The train is on the section of line just past the bridge over the Rock Ferry line.

24036 at Chester 26/08/77 (s1280.jpg)

Not a great photograph, but lots of interest. 24036 is seen propelling the Chester tool van train along the CLC line. It is actually heading back to the depot, the entrance to which is under the green bridge in the foreground! The train will have to run out to Mickle Trafford and then return on the LMS line through Chester General station. The large signal originally controlled the divergence of the main lines to Chester Northgate from the avoiding line, which by now was the only route. The signal itself is of interest, with wooden brakets and arms hung from the central concrete post. The green bridge carried the CLC line over the Chester - Hooton line alongside Chester Diesel Depot and Chester No 5 signal box.

40108 at Dee Marsh Jcn 13/01/79 (s1835.jpg)

Unsurprisingly, given the state of the track in the previous picture, the Mickle Trafford - Dee Marsh route was not normally available for passenger traffic. However, on the 13th January 1979, 40108 worked along the route on a special from London Marylebone, covering freight lines in the North West of England. Here the train is seen at Dee Marsh Junction, having shunted from the Chester line to the Wrexham line, but with the loco still on the wrong end. Freezing conditions, a very complicated route and eventually a points failure in Northwich Yard led to a curtailed route and a late return south.