Station Name: BANGOR (Still open but included for completeness)

[Source: Les Fifoot, John Wilson & Paul Wright]

Date opened: 1.5.1848
Location: North side of Station Road
Company on opening: Chester and Holyhead Railway
Present state: Many original features remain including the original 1848 building.
County: Caernarvonshire
OS Grid Ref: SH575716
Date of visit: 31.1.2013

Notes: Bangor station was originally part of the Chester & Holyhead Railway (CHR) which was authorised in 1844 and opened in stages between 1848 and 1850. Bangor station opened on 1 May 1848, and for a period it was the western terminus of the line from Chester. The final section of the route to open was that between Bangor and Gaerwen (which included the Britannia Bridge over the Menai Strait) which opened on 18 March 1850. From that date Bangor became a through station.

Bangor was an important town located to the north of the Snowdonian mountain range and on the south side of the Menai Strait that separates Wales from the Island of Anglesey. The town lies between two prominent hills, and the station is located in the space between them. To the east of the station the line passes into the 890yd Bangor Tunnel, and to the west into the
648yd Belmont Tunnel. This geographical situation would ultimately create a cramped site for the railway at Bangor.

At the time of opening the station’s main facilities were on the up (Chester) direction platform. Access to the station was via a driveway that connected the main entrance to Station Road, on the southern edge of the town centre. The station building was the work of the distinguished railway architect Francis Thompson whose distinctive work graced the North Midland and Eastern Counties railways as well as the Chester & Holyhead. Although altered and extended since its construction in 1848 it carries Grade II listing. It is a commodious, two-storey structure under a hipped roof, with flat-headed ground floor window openings replacing original round-headed specimens, but matching the originals on the upper floor. There were originally pavilions on the building. Recent restoration has enhanced the attractive ‘CH’ monograms and the slate name panel. The down platform (Holyhead direction) originally had only basic facilities.

The station had goods facilities and an engine shed located to the south.

On 1 January 1859 the CHR became part of London & North Western Railway (LNWR). In 1859 the LNWR replaced the original engine shed with a larger structure.

The line through Bangor became a busy trunk route, and with the opening of many branches in the area the facilities at the station quickly became inadequate. In 1884 the LNWR enlarged the station. The down platform was enlarged and became an island through the addition of a platform face on its north side. Waiting rooms and an extensive canopy were provided on the down platform. The alterations to the down platform required the demolition of the 1859 engine shed. A replacement in the form of a six-road straight shed was built just to the south of the station.

A footbridge was also provided towards the western end of the platforms. On the up platform a bay had been created at the western end giving Bangor four platform faces.

Between the up and down platform lines there were two fast lines giving four tracks between the platforms.

To the south of the locomotive shed a large goods shed was provided with areas of sidings and a traverser crane. A footbridge for staff linked the down island platform to the goods yard at the western end of the station.

To control all of the traffic following the alterations, a

signal box was provided at each end of the station. Bangor No. 2 was located on the north side of the line at the western end and No. 1 on the south side at the eastern end.

During the late Victorian and Edwardian period Bangor station was an extremely busy place and offered passengers a wide variety of train services. Fast express trains linked Bangor directly to London, the Midlands and Holyhead. Other express trains provided connections to Liverpool, Manchester and Yorkshire. There were frequent stopping services to Afon Wen, Amlwch, Bethesda, Chester, Holyhead and Llandudno.

On 1 January 1923 Bangor became part of the London Midland & Scottish Railway (LMS). Between 1923 and 1927 the LMS carried out major works at Bangor. The up platform was converted into an island when a northern face was created and two lines laid (one serving the platform and one as an avoiding line) along what had been part of the approach road. The original
CHR building became isolated from the approach road on the up island platform. The solution was a new building that provided the main entrance and booking hall which was constructed north of the new line. The original building’s frontage was concealed behind one of the new ridge-and-furrow awnings, but most of the white Penmon stone dressings and quoins were retained. Planning of the new entrance building was probably at an advanced stage during the final LNWR years. Detached from the platforms, the design of the new brick building was in sympathy with the 1848 block. The building was single-storey with shallow hipped roofing, and Anderson & Fox (1981) note that the frontage was enhanced by a full-length awning of steel and glass, cantilevered from the building, the facia member being decorated with roses. An upper storey, also with a hipped roof, rose above the entrance, behind an elaborate clock-surround which formed the centrepiece. The entrance led to the broad staircase and covered footbridge which connected to the platforms. A new shortened approach road was created.

On the up platform new facilities were built in the Art Deco style adjacent to the original building. At platform level it was clad in tiles so that it blended in with the newer structures.

The new platform face on the up platform was numbered 1 and the original up platform was numbered

2. The original down platform became 3 and the southern face 4. A new bay platform, called the Bethesda bay, was created at the east end of the down platform for use by the local trains that served that destination.

At this time Bangor was served by express trains that ran to many destinations throughout Great Britain. It was also served by many local services, including many that originated or terminated at the station.

Little changed at Bangor until the 1950s. On 3 December 1951 the Bethesda service was withdrawn leaving little use for the Bethesda bay. In the 1960s many other local services were axed. The locomotive depot closed on 14 June 1965. BR installed totem name signs at Bangor station in the late 1950s, but by mid 1973 these had given way to black-and-white Corporate Identity signage.

On 8 December 1968 Bangor No. 1 signal box was closed. It was demolished shortly after. Bangor No. 2 box took control of all lines and was renamed as simply Bangor.

The northernmost platform face (platform 1 created between 1923 and 1927) had been taken out of use by

1980, and the track was lifted. This effectively returned the situation to how it had been. However the 1920s booking office was retained as the main entrance, and the trackbed adjacent to platform 1 was converted to a car park.

By 2013 Bangor station had only two platform faces having reverted almost to how it was in 1848. The locomotive depot building and goods shed were still standing but the area adjacent to them had been developed as a station car park. The station had services to Birmingham, Cardiff, Crewe, London, Manchester and Holyhead.

Tickets from Michael Stewart.


  • A pictorial record of LMS architecture - V R Anderson and G K Fox - Oxford Publishing Company 1981
  • Britain’s historic railway buildings - G Biddle - Oxford University Press 2003
  • From Chester to Holyhead: The Branch Lines – B Rear - OPC 2003
  • Railway Passenger Stations in Great Britain a Chronology - M Quick - Railway and Canal Historical Society 2009
  • Victorian stations - G Biddle - David & Charles 1973

To see the stations on the Bethesda branch click on the station name:
Felin Hen, Tregarth and Bethesda

See also:

Tregarth Tunnel and Bethesda Branch Features

Bangor station, looking north from an elevated position in the early years of the twentieth century. At this time it had three through platforms. A signal box can be seen on the down island platform towards the right. It was later replaced with a larger box closer to the Bangor Tunnel. A bay was created near to where it stood for Bethesda branch trains.

On this map from 1890 Bangor station is shown as it was following the 1884 alterations. The down platform has two faces, and the up has a bay at its western end. The original CHR building of 1848 can be seen on the up platform and was, at the time of the map, the main entrance.

Bangor station as seen on a 1963 map. The map shows the station in the form that it took following the alterations that the LMS made in the 1920s. The up platform had been converted into an island, and the new entrance building with its booking office can be seen to its north.

Bangor station’s original building of 1848, looking west in 1906, when it was the main entrance to the station. In the 1920s the LMS created a platform in front of the main entrance, and the building was altered to form on-platform facilities. A new entrance and booking hall was built further to the west.
Copyright photo from the John Mann collection

A LNWR westbound express is seen passing through Bangor on the up fast through line in 1920.
Copyright p
hoto from the John Mann collection

Looking north-west at Bangor station from the eastern end of platform 3 in 1932.
Copyright p
hoto from the John Alsop collection

Bangor station looking east from an elevated position in 1955. The layout of the station at its western end is clearly shown. The roof of the locomotive shed can be glimpsed to the right of the station.
Copyright photo from the John Alsop collection

Looking east towards Bangor station from the engine shed approach lines on 20 October 1963. The Caernarvonshire Rail Tour is seen taking on water at platform 4. The footbridge seen just beyond the first locomotive provided a link from the down island platform to the goods yard.
Copyright p
hoto from the John Mann collection

A view looking north-west at Bangor station from the high ground above the 890 yd Bangor Tunnel in August 1963. The station is seen as it was in its largest form. To the left is Bangor locomotive depot which was still open when the view was taken. The island platform immediately to the right of the shed was the down platform. It actually had three platform faces, two of them serving through lines numbered 3 (to the right) and 4 (to the left). A short bay platform can be seen in the foreground with a wagon standing adjacent to it; this was originally used by Bethesda branch push-and-pull trains. The two signal boxes that controlled the lines through Bangor can also be seen. Bangor No. 1 is to the left of the Bethesda bay and No. 2 is at the far end of the station.
Photo by Chris Davies

Bangor station looking south-east in 1969. A class 40 locomotive is seen passing through on the down fast through line on a mixed freight. The covered footbridge that was built in
the 1920s dominates the view.
Copyright photo from the John Mann collection

Looking south-east along platform 3 at Bangor on 2 February 1975. Although the station had lost many services over the previous fifteen years it still had its four through platforms at this time.
hoto by Alan Young

Looking north-west at the 1848 station building at Bangor on 27 May 1975. At that time it was still part of the island platform that had been created by the LMS in the 1920s. The front of a Metro-Cammell DMU can just be seen standing at platform 1. Another DMU of the same class is seen standing at the middle part of platform 2.
hoto by Alan Young

Bangor station looking north-west from the up platform on 31 January 2013. This platform had originally been number 1. After the LMS altered it to an island platform in the 1920s it became number 2, number 1 being to the right. At the time of this photograph only two platforms were in use.
Photo by Paul Wright

Bangor station’s 1920s-built main entrance and booking office seen on 31 January 2013.
Photo by Paul Wright
Click on thumbnail to enlarge

To see more photos of Bangor click here




[Source: Les Fifoot, John Wilson & Paul Wright]

Last updated: Sunday, 04-Jun-2017 08:59:33 CEST
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