Caldy Railway Station
by Mark Hughes
It is difficult to imagine now but Caldy once had its own railway station.
The railway track was extended from Hooton to Parkgate in 1866 and later extended in 1886 along what is now known as the Wirral Way, to West Kirby passing of course through Caldy. However, at this point, trains could not stop at Caldy as there was no station. Indeed with a population of around 140 people, largely employed in agriculture there was no real need for a station. The extension opened on 19 April 1886. The occasion is said to have been a quiet affair. Indeed, five days the Chester Chronicle newspaper reported that the opening took place “without any kind ‘of formality or demonstration”. The extended line eventually ran from West Kirby via Kirby Park, Caldy, Thurstaston, Heswall, Parkgate, Neston South, Hadlow Road to Hooton.
Apart from the acquisition of Caldy by the Barton family, the coming of the railway was one of the most influential developments in the history of the village. Within decades of the arrival of the railway there was significant change and development in the former farming village. The railway laid the foundations for the village’s development into the premier residential district that undoubtedly it is today.
Decades passed before the building of Caldy Railway station, which opened in May 1909, enabled wealthy businessmen and merchants to travel easily to work in Liverpool or Birkenhead from their new executive homes being built in the village. The station was a simple design which consisted of a single wooden platform, a corrugated iron building decorated on each gable end with bargeboards. It consisted of a ticket office, a waiting room and a lavatory.
A train journey from West Kirby, where the line started, would have taken passengers past Kirby Park railway station. Once past Kirby Park, the view to the right was what is now known as Cubbins Green and the River Dee, and to the left would have been a very pleasant view of the beautiful slopes of Caldy Hill.
The station was in operation for 45 years but the motorcar later reduced the need for rail travel from Caldy, and the railway station closed along with Thurstaston on 1 February 1954, The last passenger train to pass through the village of Caldy was on the 15th of September 1956. This was followed by the final goods train which followed almost six years later 7th May 1962. In 1960 Queen Elizabeth passed through Caldy on the train, on her way back from an engagement in Wallasey. It was not a scene of flags, banners or bunting although a number of people stood, waiting to catch a glimpse of her, but apparently Her Royal Highness never appeared out the window.
The railway line was converted into the Wirral Way after Cheshire County Council bought the track bed in 1969. Indeed, the Wirral Way became Britain’s first country park. Although it is hard to imagine now, next time you walk along the Wirral Way imagine the old fashioned steam trains travelling along the route.