Making Tracks 2

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What does cheese say when it’s having its photograph taken?

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This page last updated Tuesday, 16 Apr 2013
Still steaming along

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Making Tracks looks at some of the history of the railways affecting the Warrington area.

Note: some of this material is from Wikipedia, the online encyclopaedia. Please see the foot of the Feedback page  for important copyright information

 Featured here in Part 2
West Coast Main Line to the Channel Tunnel
West Coast Main Line 1830s-1870s Railways Act 1921 Transport Act 1962 Channel Tunnel 1994
Cheshire Lines Committee 1865
(including The Four Original Lines
and Warrington stations)
Transport Act 1947 The Beeching Axe At the Flicks
The Lancashire Derbyshire
 & East Coast Railway (LDECR)
British Rail 1948-1997 Intercity 1966 LMS Black 5 Visit
Oliver Cromwell Returns to Warrington

Part 1 covers Beginnings to Bank Quay Low Level Line

Part 3 features Warrington to Lymm - Low Level: 150 Years of Change by Mr Bert Harris

A-Z of Railways: ALLELUIA! - Railway slang for a signal to shut the tap when washing out the boiler of a steam locomotive

West Coast Main Line (Built 1830s-1870s)  Some text from Wikipedia

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The West Coast Main Line (WCML) is one of the most important intercity railway lines in the United Kingdom. The line links London and Glasgow on a 401-mile route which runs via the West Midlands, the North West and southern Scotland.  It is the mainline service passing through Warrington Bank Quay.

46517 at Winsford Junction (LNW) in the exchange sidings opposite the signal box on the Cheshire Cat Tour on 14 May, 1966. The tour was nicknamed "The Cowpats of Cheshire". The train has just come off the (now closed) Over & Wharton branch. Photo © Peter Spilsbury.


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The line was built in stages between the 1830s and the 1870s, with the first stages being the Grand Junction Railway (Warrington - Birmingham) and the London and Birmingham Railway, both completed in the 1830s. These lines, together with the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, the Northern Union Railway and the Manchester and Birmingham Railway amalgamated in 1846 to form the London and North Western Railway (LNWR).

North of Carlisle, the Caledonian Railway remained independent and opened its mainline to Beattock in September 1847, to Edinburgh in February 1848 and to Glasgow in November 1849. One important section, the North Staffordshire Railway, which opened its line in 1848 from Macclesfield (connecting with the LNWR from Manchester) via Stoke-on-Trent to Norton Bridge and Colwich, also remained independent until the forced amalgamations of 1922.

Photo © Peter Spilsbury 2006.

Notice the Highland
Terrier on the side of
this Scottish-based
engine, 37022, on
the WCML with
National Carriers
in the background.

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46254 City of Stoke-on-Trent shunting the 3 O' Clock parcels at Bank Quay Station in 1964.

Photos © Peter Spilsbury.

A-Z of Railways: BACON SLICER - Name for a large wheel in a signal box for manual operation of level crossing gates. From the resemblance to the bacon slicing machines formerly seen in grocer's shops  

Following amalgamation, in 1922, the line became part of the London Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS). In 1947, following nationalisation, it came under control of British Railways London Midland and Scottish Regions. This is when the term "West Coast Main Line" officially came into use, although the term is something of a misnomer given that the line only runs along the coast on a brief section overlooking Morecambe Bay just north of Lancaster.
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48319 at
Dallam shed.
42730 at
Dallam shed.
45633 Aden
at Dallam shed.
84001 at
Dallam shed.
46520 at
Dallam in 1967.
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45395 at Dallam shed
being turned and watered.
70032 Tennison 
at Dallam shed.
45156 Ayrshire Yeomanry
at Dallam shed 1968.
70045 Lord Rowallen
at Dallam shed.
Photos © Peter Spilsbury.

The following images show the WCML in modern times (10-11 Sep 2006).

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Gas Works at Dallam
in 1968. To achieve this
effect, Peter used a
20 minute long exposure.
The train was standing
still throughout.
Photo © Peter Spilsbury.
Bank Quay Station,
view from Liverpool
Road bridge. In August
2010 the road bridge
was strengthened.
Bank Quay Station, viewed
from the southeast.
Nowadays, the platform
in view serves trains to
Chester and North Wales.
Approaching Bank Quay
from the south.
The West Coast Main Line
merges with the North
Wales Coast Line as it
approaches the station.
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 A Llandudno - Manchester
service at Bank Quay.
South of Bank Quay
from Moore Lane.
North of Folly Lane bridge. A shunter which would
have been used regularly
at Dallam shed.
Reader Story:
I have many happy memories of my grandfather and the railway. He was a driver, and as a child of about 7-10 years old I went down to Dallam shed with him. He also took me to work with him on a number of occasions after he gave up main line driving.

He started as a cleaner at Dallam with the LNWR aged 14 in 1917. The shed employed a ‘knocker-upper’. He was a lad that rode round the town in the early hours on his bike with a long pole. He had to go to homes of the staff on ‘early turns’ and tap on the bedroom window with the pole to wake up the driver/fireman!

Grandfather tells me the story of an incident in the ’30s when a tank engine somehow ended up in the turntable pit on its side. He stayed at Dallam shed until it closed in 1967, apart from a 3-year break in the early 60’s when he was on the National Executive of the NUR. It was when he returned to the railway that he left steam and, after a course at Derby, started on the DMU’s. It has to be said he was glad to see the back of steam.

He drove DMU's, on Warrington/St Helens trips and on more than one occasion I went with him. My grandmother would take me to Bank Quay and when his train came in I’d get on and do 2 or 3 trips with him sitting along side him in the drivers compartment. Later he moved on to shunters at Froghall Lane, Walton Old Junction and Arpley sidings.

I remember to get to Walton Old Junction we had to walk from Arpley along the tracks over 12 Arches Viaduct and not a Hi-Vis jacket in sight! Walton Old Junction sidings were closed on weekends so on one occasion I remember on a Friday evening travelling in the shunter from Walton back to Dallam where it was stabled for the weekend. Heaven for a small boy. I don’t know what the Health & Safety Executive would make of it these days.

The Dallam shed 8B building
still exists to this day,
but looks very different.
It now houses the engineering
firm Clarcor UK, who took over the
former Locker Air Maze company
in 2002. Paul has kindly supplied these two photos taken around the 1980s.

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Dallam shed 8B in the 1980s.
Photos © Paul Robinson
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Another memory was my grandfather telling me that when they were filming Brief Encounter at Carnforth [between 5 and 16 February 1945] locomotives were banned from stopping for water at the station.

I also remember as a small boy standing with my mother and/or my grandmother at a bus stop on the town centre side of Central station bridge and regularly seeing a steam engine, normally a Black 5, stabled behind the station wall where Midland Way runs now.

Paul Robinson.
dallam_shed_100815-2gg.jpg (59484 bytes) And this is what the area looked like on 15 August 2010. The view, left, shows the shed itself, while the second, wider shot shows the area alongside Dallam Lane which formed part of the Warrington and Newton Railway featured in Making Tracks 1. dallam_shed_100815_1gg.jpg (234549 bytes)

A-Z of Railways: CAPTAIN HORNBLOWER - A driver who uses the whistle excessively

Modernisation by British Rail

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The line was modernised and electrified in stages between 1959 and 1974 - initial electrification was in 1959 between Crewe and Manchester and Liverpool, with the rest of the southern section of the line following in stages to 1967; the line from Weaver Junction (where the route to Liverpool diverges) to Glasgow was electrified in 1974. This era was notable for time consuming and congestion causing routine changes from steam, and later diesel, to electric traction at busy change-over stations like Birmingham New Street, Crewe and Preston.

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46520 at Froghall
Bridge on 12 Feb 1967.

A Class 5 at
Froghall Bridge.

Electrification did not arrive on the short Carstairs Junction - Edinburgh Waverley branch until 1989, since this was at the time considered part of the ECML. Only the Preston - Manchester via Bolton, and Chester - Holyhead branches remain unelectified.
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45102 at Winwick
Quay in 1964.
44353 at
Winwick Quay.
45274 at
Winwick Quay.
46115 Scots Guardsman
at Winwick Quay 1965.
A 9F at
Winwick Quay.
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70004 William
Shakespeare at
Winwick Quay.

45377 at
Winwick Quay.

70040 at Winwick. 90146 at
92046 at
Winwick Quay.
Photos © Peter Spilsbury.
The running of express passenger services on the WCML came under the Intercity brand in the late 1970s, which prior to privatisation in 1996, was known as "InterCity West Coast". "InterCity CrossCountry", with its hub at Birmingham, was also greatly developed with the introduction of transferred HST units following the electrification of the East Coast Main Line. Following privatisation, the principal operator on the line has been Virgin Trains who operate all long-distance express services, but many regional operators along the route also run local commuter services.
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73131 at
Bank Quay.
08284 shunter 
at Bank Quay Station.
25253 and 25232. 87019 Sir Winston
Churchill at Crewe
on 14 May 1979.
Photos © Peter Spilsbury.

A-Z of Railways: DOCKERS' UMBRELLA - Nickname for the Liverpool Overhead Railway, whose continuous viaduct afforded shelter for dockers in wet weather

Modernisation by Network Rail

The WCML is currently nearing completion of a major upgrade along almost its entire length. The original plans drawn up by Railtrack estimated that this upgrade would cost £2bn, be ready by 2005, and cut journey times from London to Birmingham to 1hr (currently 1hr 40mins) and 1hr 45mins from London to Manchester. This would be achieved through increasing the line speed to 225 km/h (140 mph), in place of the previous maximum of 175 km/h (110 mph).  

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D235 Apapa diesel
locomotive at Bank
Quay in 1971.
Class 86 Electric Loco
at Bank Quay Station.
Photos © Peter Spilsbury.
However the plan was doomed from the beginning, since Railtrack had not assessed the technical viability of "moving block signalling" prior to promising the speed increase to Virgin and the Government. With Moving Block, computers are used to calculate a 'safe zone', behind each moving train, which no other train may enter. The system depends on precise knowledge of where each train is and how fast it is moving.
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These images of the West Coast Main Line were taken from Moore on 1 Nov 2006.
Photos © G I Gandy, mywarrington.

With Moving Block, lineside signals are unnecessary, and instructions are passed direct to the trains. It has the advantage of increasing track capacity by allowing trains to run much closer together. No-one had attempted to implement Moving Block on a line as complex as the WCML anywhere in the world, and it soon became apparent to engineers that the technology was not mature enough to be used on the line.

The bankruptcy of Railtrack in 2001 following the Hatfield rail crash brought a reappraisal of the plans, whilst the original cost of the upgrade soared. The revised estimates indicate that the total line upgrade costs will total £13bn, be ready by 2008 with a maximum speed for tilting trains of a more modest 200 km/h (125 mph).

A-Z of Railways: ELEPHANT'S EARS - Name given to locomotive smoke deflectors


Cheshire Lines Committee (1865)  Main text from Wikipedia. Other sources as indicated.

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The Cheshire Lines Committee (CLC) was the second largest joint-railway in Great Britain. Despite its name 143 route miles were in Lancashire. Initially, the Cheshire Lines group had been formed by a joint committee of the Great Northern Railway and the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway in 1862 to regulate traffic on four proposed lines in Cheshire (listed below). This was made official by the Great Northern (Cheshire Lines) Act of 1863.

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Photo © GI Gandy, mywarrington 2006.

Map © GI Gandy, mywarrington 2006.

The Midland Railway became an equal partner under the Cheshire Lines Transfer Act of 1865. Under the Cheshire Lines Act of 1867, it became a wholly independent company, although its management consisted of three directors of the three companies. Its purpose was to gain control of lines in Lancashire and Cheshire, an area which was dominated by the LNWR.

It was granted the powers to build a line to Liverpool, which opened in 1873, from a temporary station in Manchester, and totalled 34 miles (54.7 km) in length. The section from Liverpool was on the Garston and Liverpool Railway. The line ran from the St Helens and Runcorn Gap Railway line at Garston Docks to Brunswick railway station. It opened on 1 June, 1864, and was absorbed into the CLC on 5 July, 1865. From 1874, the CLC was headquartered at Liverpool Central Station, having been at Alexandra Buildings, James Street, Liverpool previously.

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I spotted this notice at
the National Railway
Museum in York.
Photo © GI Gandy,
mywarrington 2006.
31420 passes over the
Sankey/St Helens Canal
and Sankey Brook in Sankey
Valley Park between
Bewsey and Old Hall in
Warrington on the former
Cheshire Lines route
on 6 Apr 1984.
Photo ©
Peter Spilsbury.
DMU Approaching
Warrington Central
on 12 Apr 1988.
Photo ©
Peter Spilsbury.
It was necessary to bring the various operations into a single terminus. The Midland and the MS&LR were using London Road (now Piccadilly), which the latter shared with the LNWR. Accordingly, Manchester Central was built in 1880.

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In 1923, the Midland Railway, along with the LNWR, was grouped into the London, Midland and Scottish Railway, while the MS&LR (by then the Great Central Railway) became part of the London and North Eastern Railway. On nationalisation in 1948, both parent companies became part of British Railways.

DMU at Froghall Bridge on 17 Apr 1985. Photo © Peter Spilsbury.

Like other joint railways (see examples in Part 2), the Cheshire Lines Committee was not grouped among the Big Four in 1923, remaining until nationalisation on 1 January, 1948.

A-Z of Railways: FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE - A shunter carrying his oil lamp after dark

The Four Original Lines

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The Cheshire Midland Railway (incorporated by an Act of 14 June, 1860) ran from  the Manchester, South Junction & Altrincham terminus at Altrincham to Northwich (12 miles 65 chains). It opened from Altrincham to Knutsford on 12 May, 1862, and from Knutsford to Northwich on 1 January, 1863.

Source: The Cheshire Lines Railway by R. Prys Griffiths, Oakwood Press 1947

^46517 ICI Winnington near Northwich on 14 May 1966. Photo © Peter Spilsbury.

The two-mile Stockport and Woodley Junction Railway (incorporated by an Act of 15 May, 1860) opened on 12 January, 1863, and was transferred to the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire, and Great Northern Railway companies under the Cheshire Lines Transfer Act on 5 July, 1865. The barrow and spade used in cutting the first sod are preserved in the Vernon Park Museum, Stockport. Source: Wikipedia.

The West Cheshire Railway (incorporated by an Act of 11 July, 1861) ran from Northwich on the Cheshire Midland to Helsby (14 miles 50 chains), forming a junction there with the Birkenhead Railway branch from Hooton, already authorised and opened on 1 July, 1863. 

Source: The Cheshire Lines Railway by R. Prys Griffiths, Oakwood Press 1947

The Stockport Timperley and Altrincham Junction Railway (incorporated by an Act of 22 July, 1861). The line linked the Stockport & Woodley Junction Railway with the LNWR at Broadheath (opened 1 Feb, 1866) and with the M.S.J. & A.R. at Timperley Junction (opened 1 Dec, 1879) and at Altrincham (Deansgate Junction - opened 1 Dec, 1865).

Source: The Cheshire Lines Railway by R. Prys Griffiths, Oakwood Press 1947

Other sections Built by the CLC: Skelton Junction to Cressington Junction line as part of Liverpool to Manchester line (CLC) railway.  North Liverpool Extension Line      Southport & Cheshire Lines Extension Railway

A-Z of Railways: GANDY DANCERS - American phrase for a track surfaceman. From the motion of men using track tongs or claw bars supplied by the Gandy Manufacturing Co. of Chicago when carrying rails

Warrington Stations on the CLC Line (from west to east)

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The original planned route through the town is the section known as the "straight line" on my map. A station was planned at the junction of Winwick Road and Kerfoot Street at the point where my green and blue lines cross, but was never built. This was because the locals protested and insisted on a station in the town centre instead. Warrington Central was built in 1873 and the "straight line" opened ten years later, mainly to transport goods, and also for express passenger trains not stopping at Warrington Central.  Map © GI Gandy, mywarrington 2006.


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Also known as Sankey for Penketh, Sankey Station is located in the west of the town. The main station building is the original (dating from the opening of the line in 1874), and in a standard style used by the Cheshire Lines Committee. It is used as a booking office and waiting room, though part of the building is a house and another part disused.

Sankey Station on 6 Jun 2006. Photo © GI Gandy, mywarrington.

A-Z of Railways: HALF DIRTIES - Train crews employed on both steam and electric traction in the period when both existed on BR main line services

Warrington Central

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The main station building faces away from the town. It was built in 1873 and is located on Winwick Street.

Most of it today is rented out to small businesses; the booking office and other facilities having been relocated to a modern building at a lower level.

A Class 170 Central Trains diesel at Warrington Central on 14 Oct 2006. Photo © GI Gandy, mywarrington.

The booking offices were originally positioned on the platforms. Have a look at a photo in Peter's Gallery of the Liverpool-bound platform. The original entrances used to be from two flights of steps underneath the bridge. At one time you could get a direct train from Warrington Central to Aintree for the Grand National, and also a direct train to London.
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Warrington Central on 27 May 1982 during construction
of the new ticket office (left). Copyright unknown.
And how it look in May 2003 (right).
All other images
© GI Gandy, mywarrington.

 The outside of the
building, until recently
used as a YMCA
training centre.

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The bridge was reconstructed and widened in 1934.
The Mississippi Showboat nightclub is advertised, but
it burned down in 2004. See photos on My Warrington page.

 The signal box as seen
on 9 May 2003.

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The image, left, shows the intended location of the original
Warrington station at the junction of Winwick Road,
Longford Street and Kerfoot Street. Also in view is the fire
station (centre, bottom) and the Horse and Jockey pub
(centre, left), now long gone and replaced by a McDonalds
drive thru restaurant. The photo was taken in the 1970s,
Copyright unknown.

A-Z of Railways: IGLOOS - Platform shelters with transparent walls and barrel-shaped transparent roofs adopted by BR from around 1985


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Padgate Station is located in the east of the town, just past the junction of the "straight line" and "loop line" sections of the Cheshire Lines Railway. The building opened on 1 September, 1873. It is an unstaffed station, so passengers must purchase their tickets on the train. In the war it was the nearest station for troops to disembark for the local RAF Padgate base, which is now a housing estate and Bennett's Rec recreation ground.

The "Plaice Station" fish and chip shop now occupies part of the station building, located on Station Road South. It has received a Seafish Friers Quality Award, a nationally recognised award for producing first class fish and chips in a first class environment. See for more.

A DMU at Padgate Station
on 17 Apr 1985.
Photo ©
Peter Spilsbury.

A-Z of Railways: JAFFA CAKE - An orange and brown livery adopted by BR in the mid-1980s, after the popular orange-flavoured chocolate cake


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Birchwood Station opened in 1981. It is located next to Birchwood shopping centre with a journey time of approximately 6 minutes from Warrington Central. It features an overbridge, but even though it was built just 25 years ago, its facilities for the disabled and infirm are lacking. There is no lift, so anybody in a wheelchair cannot make the journey into town centre or Liverpool. They are expected to travel to Manchester to come back through the station.

Birchwood Station looking west from the Liverpool-bound platform. Photo © GI Gandy, mywarrington.

A-Z of Railways: KETTLE ON THE BOIL - A locomotive in steam


Glazebrook Station is located on the eastern border of Cheshire and Greater Manchester. Glazebrook was formerly the junction for lines to Wigan Central and St Helens Central, services to those stations ceasing in 1964 and 1952 respectively; and also for the line to Stockport Tiviot Dale, the service to there ceasing in 1964.

The station building, constructed in 1873, is of typical Cheshire Lines Committee design, with trains visiting every two hours nowadays. Glazebrook East Junction signal box still stands east of the station building.
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Glazebrook Station on 14 Oct 2006.

Glazebrook Junction
on 14 Oct 2006.

Glazebrook Station 
 clock on 14 Oct 2006.

Photos © GI Gandy, mywarrington.

A-Z of Railways: LEMON TIME - An officially-sanctioned refreshment/recreation break for men engaged in shunting work. From the practice of sucking lemons at halftime during football matches

Culcheth Station
Information in this section courtesy of Paul Wright. See more of Paul's work at

making_tracks_culcheth_station_80822.JPG (140591 bytes) Culcheth Station opened on 1 April, 1884, along with 6 other stations on the Wigan Joint Railway, which included Glazebrook and Lowton. It was located on the north side of Wigshaw Lane. The line had been promoted by the Cheshire Lines Railway in 1874 as a branch from its main Liverpool to Manchester line at Glazebrook that would link it to the lucrative Lancashire coalfields.

Only the Manchester Sheffield and Lincolnshire constituent of the CLC remained interested in the concept, and it was they who built the line which opened to goods services in 1879. When opened, it connected to the main line at Glazebrook with an east to north curve,  meaning services could only easily go towards Manchester. In 1900, a west to north curve was added to allow trains to head to and from Liverpool. The line became part of the Great Central Railway and, in 1923, part of the LNER, but it was operated as part of the CLC system.

Culcheth Station location
viewed east on 22 Aug
Photo © GI Gandy, mywarrington.

The station had two platforms with wooden booking facilities on the southbound platform. A basic shelter was provided for northbound passengers. Initially, passenger services ran from Manchester Central to a temporary terminus at Wigan, which was not replaced until the opening of Wigan Central in 1892. From 1900, when a west to north curve was added at Glazebrook, services started to run to Warrington Central. Monday to Friday services in 1903 saw the GCR run 8 trains to Manchester and 6 to Warrington each day. From 1900 until 1952, Culcheth also enjoyed some services to and from St. Helens Central but these ceased with the closure of that line to passengers. At the outbreak of World War Two, lines were connected to the naval camp at Culcheth and the Royal Ordnance Factory at Risley.

Services increased under the LNER, especially during the war years. However, after 1945 the line went into decline and the last service was the Wigan Central to Irlam or Manchester Central service. Latterly, some of these services where operated by DMU's until the end came on 1 November, 1964. It was closed for good by British Railways (London Midland Region) on 4 January, 1965. The line lingered on for goods services until 1968.

Culcheth Station platform on 10 Jun, 2004. Photo © GI Gandy, mywarrington.

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The station has been demolished but the path down from the road bridge survives. Today the station building site is now the location of the Ranger's cabin for Culcheth Linear Park, which extends along the old track bed. There was another station called Newchurch Halt, which also closed in 1964.

A-Z of Railways: NOMO - No-Man Operation; a proposed London Transport fully-automated system of train operation

Cheshire Lines Route in Warrington Today

The main line through Warrington Central is now run by First Trans Pennine (the original "loop" section of Cheshire Lines). The "straight" section closed in the second half of 1968 and the trackbed and bridges were removed sometime between 1970 and 1972. I make the assumption that the "straight" section was removed due to cost as most of the traffic was now going through the "loop" section via Warrington Central. Parts of the "straight" section embankments are still here, whilst other sections have been sold off for new housing or business locations. The following photos show what is here now, with three old photos from Peter Spilsbury.

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This image is by taken
close to the arched
bridge over Sankey
Valley Park. The
"straight" and "loop"
sections began to the
left of the houses.
The "straight" section
came through this
point from the bridge,
passing the front of my
old school, Bewsey
Secondary Modern
(later High).
Today it is occupied by
a housing estate.
Photo © Peter Spilsbury
This is the bridge over Lovely
Lane/Folly Lane. Known
locally as Folly Lane Bridge
[also as Bewsey Bridge] with
Bewsey Road to the right,
Lodge Lane to the left. A
poster offers a train to
London for £2 and Blackpool
for 18/- (90p). A bargain even
in 1970 when this was taken.
Dallam Lane was the
next section to contain
a bridge. The line
passed Dallam shed
maintenance depot.
The yellow and grey
building is the Channel
Tunnel Rail Depot.
Photo © Peter Spilsbury
46115 Scots
Guardsman is on steam
at Dallam shed. The
bridge of the CLC
"straight" line 
can be seen in the
background of Peter's
photo taken in 1965.
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Photo © Peter Spilsbury
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Peter describes this 1970 scene (left): to the right is Longford
Street with Carney's greengrocers shop on the corner. Another
member of the family had a shop in Warrington Road, Penketh,
just opposite the recreation field. Under the bridge to the left is
Kerfoot Street, with the Horse and Jockey pub on the corner.
On the right just under the bridge is a belisha beacon, and behind
it is a gents toilet. A little further up is Jockey street (giving the
bridge its name). The fire station was built next to that later. In
the background is Long Lane Technical school [Warrington
Collegiate now]. If you look to the rear of the red mini you will
see a boy looking at the fencing. Look up from there above the
hoarding and you will see another boy trespassing on the railway.
My image shows the scene today from Matalan.
The route now passes through the Orford estate, crossing Hale Street at the
back of the fire station (first image), then along the back of the houses on 
West Avenue, crossing Central Avenue (2nd image) and on to Alder Lane
bridge (image 3). From here it travelled along the back of Orford Park on
its way through to the junction of Orford Road and Birchwood Way. It then
linked up with the "loop" section just before Padgate Station.
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The old trackbed at
the back of Orford Park.
Remains of the bridge
over Hallfields Road.
The trackbed continues
behind Ryfields.
The "loop" gets closer
on Gorsey Lane.
Birchwood Way. The
railway continued
where the trees are now.
Photos © GI Gandy, mywarrington 11 Sep 2006 (© Peter Spilsbury where indicated).

And the view from the Padgate side.

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Wide view from Bennett's
Rec bridge. "Loop" section
on left, former "straight"
section across the field.
Closer views of "straight" section showing Ryfields
retirement village in the distance and Orford Road beyond
the properties in the centre. Third photo shows property
on Orford Road. Birchwood Way is right of the horse.
Photos © 25 June 2012
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The line as it looked on 21 December 2006 by Midland Way.
Photos © GI Gandy, mywarrington.
Meanwhile, the "loop" section travels over the other Lovely Lane bridge alongside Warrington hospital. It crosses the West Coast Main Line (WCML) via two bridges at Froghall Lane and onto Warrington Central Station. The bridge outside the station was reconstructed and widened in 1934 (see the stone plaque outside between the two original entrances under the bridge).
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Lovely Lane bridge by
the hospital 11 Sep 2006.
Froghall Bridge over
the WCML 10 Sep 2006.
Froghall Lane viewed
west 11 Sep 2006.
Warrington Central as
it was on 9 May 2003.
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Warrington Central
Signal box 9 May 2003.
In the days of the goods warehouse, many tracks
filled the area to the left and the original bridge on
Lythgoes Lane was 4 or 5 times wider to hold all the
tracks and points. These photos 9 and 24 May 2003. 
Battersby Lane with
Rylands office building
in situ on 22 Feb 2003
before demolition.
Photos © GI Gandy.
During the second World War, Burtonwood Air Base had a branch line with the Cheshire Lines route. The area is close to the modern Old Hall estate and the images below show what remains of the track today. See photos of the Base in RAF Burtonwood.
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Remains of the branch line to Burtonwood Air Base, with the trackbed route on the left in the 5th photo.
The only remaining section of the track is what you see in the first two photos. (11 Sep 2006)
Photos © GI Gandy, mywarrington.

A-Z of Railways: ON THE CUSHIONS - Footplatemen and other uniformed employees travelling in public passenger accommodation while on duty.

Other CLC connections

Manchester Central (G-Mex)  Text from Wikipedia.

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Manchester Central, formerly G-MEX, started life as Central Station and was Manchester's fourth railway terminal. It was built between 1875–80 by the Cheshire Lines Committee. The building was granted Grade I listed building status on 18 December, 1963, but has since been downgraded to Grade II* status.
Photo © GI Gandy, mywarrington 2006.

The building consists of a huge wrought-iron and glass segmental vault spanning 210 feet, 550 feet long, and 90 feet high, and was built by Handysides of Derby. The substructure and masonry partition was provided by Robert Neill and Sons of Manchester. The engineers were Richard Johnson, Andrew Johnston and Charles Sacré. Whilst the station was under construction, a temporary facility called Manchester Free Trade Hall Station, was used by the Midland Railway from 9 September, 1877. It was later converted to become Manchester Central Goods.

The Midland, in particular, at last had a secure base for its services - the terminus for its expresses to London St Pancras. Initially it ran two prestige expresses, one a Pullman service, making the journey in four and a quarter hours. Later it added more services, a total of nine daily, with two on Sundays, including an overnight Pullman sleeper.

In LMS days, there were two named expresses the "Palatine" and The "Peaks", the former making the trip in three hours and fifty five minutes, with stops at Chinley, Millers Dale, Matlock, Derby and Leicester.

There was a brief return to glory in British Railways days with the Midland Pullman, between 1960 and 1966, during the electrification of the West Coast Main Line. This stopped only at Cheadle Heath (now closed) and made the journey in three and a quarter hours.

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The ornamental clock 
from the Cheshire
Lines Railway days,
which is still on display inside G-Mex, was
made at the CLC's
workshop on Battersby 
Lane in Warrington.

 Photo © GI Gandy, mywarrington 2006.Thanks to G-Mex (now Manchester central) for
access to the building.

Services through Millers Dale finished in 1968 when the line was closed. The station continued to provide local services for a while, but finally closed in 1969, when remaining services were switched to Manchester Piccadilly Station.

A-Z of Railways: PAN CATCHER - A device which prevents pantograph-equipped locomotives and cars from proceeding beyond the end of overhead traction current wires with their pantographs still raised [pantographs are the metal sections which connect the train to the electric overhead power supply]

The Midland Hotel, Manchester  Text from Wikipedia.

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The 303 bedroom Midland was built by Charles Trubshaw in 1898-1903 for the Midland Railway Company and is situated next to the Manchester Central (formerly G-Mex Centre), Bridgewater Hall and Manchester Central Library. Its distinctive style is made of red brick and brown terracotta, with the exterior clad in several varieties of polished granite and Burmantofts (a type of terracotta). The hotel was regularly used by American cotton traders whilst they were on business selling their raw cotton to Manchester's cotton cloth manufacturers; the businessmen collectively referred to themselves as the Old Colony Club. One of the hotel's restaurants has been renamed The Colony in recognition of this fact. Photo © GI Gandy, mywarrington 2006.

The Midland is perhaps most famous for being the meeting place of Charles Stewart Rolls and Frederick Henry Royce, leading to the formation of Rolls-Royce Limited in 1906. The Midland Hotel was also allegedly coveted by Hitler as a possible Nazi headquarters in Britain.

A-Z of Railways: Q TRAIN - A special train manned by British Transport Police officers and supported by other police in radio contact travelling in road vehicles in the vicinity of the train. The trains can be stopped at any time, at the direction of the officer in charge, to enable the police to deal with any incidents or vandalism, trespass or other crimes encountered on the journey. Started in 1983

Grand Central (Warrington)

The original goods warehouse by Warrington Central Station is being put to good use. A new apartment block is been created out of the building, and like the former goods warehouse of the Great Northern in Manchester, is being retained with the original brickwork. Have a look at some photos of earlier days.

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Open Day 5-6 Sep 1981. The
top section of the image shows
the CLC Centenary run in 1965.
25085 at the CLC
Open Day in 1981.
The old railway
offices 6 June 1982.
All photos © Peter Spilsbury.
As a youngster, I lived less than a mile away from the goods yard and used to watch everything that happened - goods vans, shunters, cattle vans and parcel vans. And from my house I would hear the screeching and groaning of the metal wheels on the tracks. Sights and sounds you don't often see these days.
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Used as a car park. The building stood
empty for years.
The date of construction.
All photos © GI Gandy, mywarrington, 9 May 2003.
The offices of the Cheshire Lines Committee next to it are still offices, but are now occupied by Morgan Williams, a chartered surveyors and commercial estate agents.
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The new accommodation
will also fill this space.
In a sorry state. Morgan Williams offices. And a photo of the old
goods warehouse in 2007
before conversion into
Grand Central apartments.
First 3 photos © GI Gandy, mywarrington 9 May 2003, 4th photo © Nick D.

A-Z of Railways: ROCKING HORSE - A freight gaurds' van offering a bumpy ride

Reader Story: I remember the blue brick abutments at the extreme angles on Folly Lane bridge as a child and saw the girder bridge itself in pictures now long lost. I did see the Horse and Jockey bridge though and also witnessed its removal, so it must have outlived the Folly Lane bridge by a few years – I guess Tetley Walker were paying BR for the advert on it.

I grew up in John St in the centre of town until the council demolished the houses in 1971 and we moved. I remember all the shunters at the Central Station warehouse and the 3-wheeler lorries carrying steel to and from Rylands. My dad was an engine driver at Dallam shed till it closed and then he turned down the offer of diesel training and became a postman, so he took me for a final look round the place before it was converted into the present factory unit. The turntable was filled in but the pits and shed tracks were still in place – from memory I suspect most of it survives under the modern cladding, as I remember the walls being left standing prior to the new roof and frontage being built. Rob Gandy.

A-Z of Railways: SEWER RAT - A London Underground Railways train driver

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Items from the collection at National Railway Museum, York.
All photos © GI Gandy, mywarrington 2006.

The Lancashire Derbyshire & East Coast Railway (LDECR) (1891)

The Lancashire Derbyshire & East Coast Railway (LDECR) was conceived by William Arkwright, a Derbyshire industrialist and landowner, as a means of connecting the west and east coasts of England and providing an export route for coal. The intention was to run the line from Warrington (where the Manchester Ship Canal gives access to the River Mersey) via Macclesfield to Chesterfield, and then on through Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire to Sutton on Sea on the east coast. The projected route covered around 170 miles and was approved in the summer of 1891.

However, the LDECR was soon struggling for funds, and the Great Eastern Railway was approached for support, which it agreed to supply in 1884, but with conditions attached. One such condition was the cancellation of the vastly expensive and difficult Warrington to Chesterfield section. The LDECR eventually collapsed into the arms of the Great Central Railway on 1 January 1907, which already had a route across the Pennines and a connection with Warrington as part of the Cheshire Lines Committee under its previous guise as the Manchester Sheffield & Lincoln Railway.

Material adapted from British Steam Railways magazine – © Planet Three Publishing Network Ltd / De Agostini UK Ltd.

Click the link for the British Steam Railways magazine's website:

Railways Act 1921 From Wikipedia

The Railways Act of 1921, also known as the Grouping Act, was an enactment by the British government of David Lloyd George. The intention was to stem the losses being made by many of the country's 120 railway companies, move the railways away from internal competition, and to retain some of the benefits which the country had derived from a government-controlled railway during and after the First World War of 1914-1918.


The British railway system had been built up by more than 100 railway companies, large and small, and often, particularly locally, in competition with each other. The parallel railways of the East Midlands, and the "war" between the South Eastern Railway and the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway at Hastings were examples of such local competition.

During World War I the railways were under state control, which continued until 1921. Complete nationalisation had been considered, and the 1921 Act is sometimes considered as a precursor to that, but the concept was rejected.

After consideration of the Railways Bill it was decided that the Scottish companies, originally destined to be a separate group, would be included with the Midland/North Western and Eastern groups respectively, in order that the three main Anglo-Scottish trunk routes should each be owned by one company for its full length: the West Coast Main Line and the Midland Main Line by the former group, and the East Coast Main Line by the latter.

The opening paragraph of the Railways Act 1921 states:

"With a view to the reorganization and more efficient and economical working of the railway system of Great Britain railways shall be formed into groups in accordance with the provisions of this Act, and the principal railway companies in each group shall be amalgamated, and other companies absorbed in manner provided by this Act."

The Act took effect on 1 January, 1923. By that date most of the mergers had taken place, some from the previous year. The Railway Magazine in its issue of February, 1923 dubbed the new companies as "The Big Four of the New Railway Era".

These "Big Four" were:

London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS)

Great Western Railway (GWR)

London and North Eastern Railway (LNER)

Southern Railway (SR)

duchess_of_sutherland.jpg (63096 bytes)

A few lines remained outside the Big Four, many operated as joint railways. Examples include the Midland & Great Northern Joint Railway (M&GN) between the LMS and the LNER in eastern England, the largest of the joint railways; and the Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway (S&DJ) between the LMS and the SR in south-western England, perhaps the most famous of the joint railways.

Image by Phil Scott (Our Phellap) Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled  "GNU Free Documentation License".

The Duchess of Sutherland, above, ran on the London Midland and Scottish (LMS) route. She passed through Warrington on 11 April, 2007.

A-Z of Railways: TEDDY BEARS - GNR 0-6-2T, introduced in 1907. After the children's teddy bears which first appeared in that year

Transport Act 1947 From Wikipedia

Under the Transport Act 1947 the railways, long-distance road haulage and various other types of transport were acquired by the state and handed over to a British Transport Commission  (BTC) for operation. The commission was responsible to the Ministry of Transport for general transport policy which included canals, sea and shipping ports, bus companies, and eventually amidst much opposition, road haulage.

The Act was part of the nationalisation agenda of Clement Attlee's Labour government, and took effect from 1 January, 1948. In Northern Ireland, the Ulster Transport Authority acted in a similar manner.

The BTC was a part of a highly ambitious scheme to create a publicly owned, centrally planned, integrated transport system.

However, the road haulage industry bitterly opposed nationalisation, and they found allies in the Conservative Party. Once the Conservatives were elected in 1951, road haulage was soon de-nationalised and de-regulated, but the still heavily regulated railways and buses were left under the control of the BTC - the Labour ideal of an integrated transport system had been shattered.

British Rail (1948-1997)  From Wikipedia

After the war the "Big Four" railway companies of the grouping era were effectively bankrupt, and the Act was intended to bring about some stability in transport policy. As part of that policy British Railways was set up to run the railways.

Given the fragile national economic situation of the late 1940s, however, an outright government purchase of the railway companies was too expensive to consider. The method chosen by the government was to compensate the shareholders of the former private railway companies, over a period of time, with guaranteed fixed interest payments paid from British Rail's income. The government had based the levels of compensation for former railway shareholders, on the valuation of the railway companies in 1946, a time when the valuations were artificially high due to the large amount of wartime traffic being carried. Given the run-down state of the rail network, the government had paid far more to buy the railways than they were actually worth. This saddled British Rail with unnecessarily high debt re-payments, which would in later years cripple the railways finances.

British Railways (BR), which later traded as British Rail, ran most of the British railway system from the nationalisation of the 'Big Four' British railway companies in 1948 until the privatisation of its railway services in stages between 1994 and 1997. This period saw massive changes in the railway network: steam traction was eliminated in favour of diesel and electric power, passengers replaced freight as the main source of business, and the network was severely rationalised.

The new system was split geographically into six regions along the lines of the Big Four:

Eastern Region (ER) — southern LNER lines.

North Eastern Region (NER) — northern LNER lines in England and all ex-LMS lines east of Skipton.

London Midland Region (LMR) — LMS lines in England and Wales and most ex-LNER lines west of Skipton.

Scottish Region (ScR) — LMS and LNER lines in Scotland.

Southern Region (SR) — SR lines.

Western Region (WR) — GWR lines.

These regions formed the basis of the BR business structure until the 1980s. The regional boundaries were re-drawn in 1958 to make them more geographically-based, rather than being based on pre-nationalisation ownership. The North Eastern Region was merged with Eastern Region in the 1960s; a new Anglia Region was split off from the Eastern Region in the 1980s. They retained a level of independence, though there was also some centralisation.

1948-55: The early years

The priority in the immediate aftermath of nationalisation was to repair wartime damage and clear the backlog of maintenance work. Some pre-war capital investment schemes that had been cancelled upon the outbreak of hostilities were restarted. The new BR regions to a large extent inherited the organisations, structures and ethos of their predecessor Big Four companies, and continued to work with a large degree of autonomy, building new steam locomotives and rolling stock to their respective companies' pre-war designs.

Rather than pursue other forms of motive power on a large scale, in 1951 a new range of BR standard steam locomotives was introduced, along with new standard passenger and freight rolling stock. Production of the various pre-nationalisation types ceased in favour of these. At the same time attempts were made to standardise other engineering standards and operating standards across the company wherever possible.

1955-63: The Modernisation Plan

Britain's railways arguably went into the Second World War having technologically fallen behind those of its peers. As the years passed after the War, it became apparent that Britain was falling further behind. Countries like Japan, USA and France had already made significant investment in new diesels and electrics before the War, which continued after the war. Britain was not, and the run-down network deteriorated even more because of painfully slow rebuilding.

The 1955 Modernisation Plan, detailed in the British Transport Commission's (BTC) Modernisation and Re-equipment of British Railways, argued for spending  £1,240 million over a period of 15 years. Some routes were closed during the 1950s to take account of changing transport patterns and to remove obvious route duplication.

Transport Act 1962 From Wikipedia

The Transport Act, 1962 was passed by Harold Macmillan's Conservative government to dissolve the British Transport Commission, which had been established by Clement Attlee's Labour government in the 1940s to oversee railways, canals and road freight transport. The act established the British Railways Board, which took over the British Transport Commission's railway responsibilities from 1 January, 1963, until the passing of the Railways Act 1993.

British Railways Board (1962) From Wikipedia

The British Railways Board (BRB) was the governing body of British Railways (later British Rail). It had overall control of British Railways/British Rail from 1 January, 1963, until the privatisation introduced by John Major's Conservative government under the Railways Act 1993. It has survived as a residuary body, BRB (Residuary) Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA). Through its subsidiary, Rail Property Ltd, it retained responsibility for "non-operational railway land" (for example, railway lines closed in the Beeching Axe which have never been built on).

The British Railways Board also owned a large amount of railway archive material, including papers, maps, films and photographs, dating back before nationalisation. At privatisation in the 1990s these were distributed to various other bodies: the films went to the British Film Institute in London, the photographs went to the National Railway Museum (NRM) in York, and most of the papers went to the Public Records Office.

1963-68: The Beeching Axe and the end of Steam From Wikipedia

The Beeching Axe is an informal name for the British Government's attempt in the 1960s to control the spiralling cost of running the British railway system by closing what it considered to be little-used and unprofitable railway lines.

It was a reaction to the failed railway modernisation plan of the 1950s, which spent huge amounts of money on buying new equipment, such as new diesel and electric locomotives. These purchases were made without first examining the role of the railway and its requirements, recognising the implications of changing old-fashioned working practices, or tackling the problem of chronic overmanning. The result of this was to plunge the railway system deeply into debt.


In tune with the mood of the early 1960s, the transport minister in Harold Macmillan's Conservative government was Ernest Marples, the former director of a major road-construction company. Marples believed that the future of transport lay with roads, and that railways were a dead-end relic of the Victorian past.

An advisory group known as the Stedeford Committee (after its chair, Sir Ivan Stedeford) was set up to report on the state of British transport and provide recommendations. Also on the Committee was Dr. Richard Beeching, the chairman of British Railways appointed by the Conservative government. Stedeford and Beeching clashed on a number of issues related to the latter's proposals to drastically prune the rail infrastructure. In spite of questions being asked in Parliament, Sir Ivan's report was not published until much later, and the proposals for the future of the railways that came to be known as the "Beeching Plan" were adopted by the Government.

Beeching believed the railway system should be run like a business and not a public service, and that if parts of the railway system did not pay their way - like some rural branch lines - they should be eliminated. He reasoned that once these were closed, the remaining core of the system would be restored to profitability.

Beeching made a study of traffic on all the railway lines in the country and concluded that 80% of the traffic was carried on just 20% of the network, with much of the rest of the system operating at a loss. In his report "The Reshaping of British Railways" issued on 27 March, 1963, he proposed a massive closure program. The report proposed that out of Britain's then 18,000 miles (28 800 km) of railway, 6,000 miles (9 600 km) of mostly rural branch and cross-country lines should be closed. Furthermore, many other rail lines should lose their passenger services and be kept open for freight only, and many lesser-used stations should close on lines that were to be kept open. The report was accepted by the Government.

At the time, the highly controversial report was called the "Beeching Bombshell" or the "Beeching Axe" by the press. It sparked an outcry from many communities that would lose their rail services, many of which (especially in the case of rural communities) had no other means of public transport.  

The government argued that many rail services could be provided more cheaply by buses, and in a policy known as "bustitution," promised that abandoned rail services would have their places taken by replacement bus services. In practice, this policy proved unsuccessful.

A significant part of the Beeching Plan also proposed that British Rail electrify some major main lines and adopt containerised freight traffic instead of outdated and uneconomic wagon-load traffic. In general, politicians jumped at the money-saving parts of the plan but were less enthusiastic about those parts that required expenditures. Some of those plans were adopted, however, such as the electrification of the West Coast Mainline.

Not all of the railway lines listed for closure were closed; some were kept open for a variety of reasons, including political manoeuvring. For example, the railway lines through the Scottish Highlands, although not cost-efficient by Beeching's definition, were kept open in part because of pressure from the powerful Highland lobby. It has been suggested that other lines may have been kept open because they passed through marginal constituencies.

Overall, 2,128 stations were closed on lines that were kept open. As well as minor railway lines, a few major inter-city railway lines were closed, where it was deemed that these lines were duplicates of other main-lines. Since 1974, railway closures in the UK have been virtually non-existent, and indeed there have been some re-openings, although a few railways across the country have closed in the last 20 years.

Beeching II

In 1964, Dr. Beeching issued a second, less well-known, report "The Development of the Major Railway Trunk Routes", widely known as "Beeching II", which went even further than the first report. The report singled out lines that were believed to be worthy of continued large-scale investment.

Essentially, it proposed that all railway lines other than major inter-city routes and important commuter lines around big cities had little future and should eventually close. The report was rejected by the-then Labour government and Dr. Beeching resigned in 1965. Although politicians were ultimately responsible for the rail closures, Dr. Beeching's name has become synonymous with them ever since.

Changing attitudes and policies

In 1964, the Labour government was elected under prime minister Harold Wilson. During the election campaign, Labour promised to halt the rail closures if elected. Once elected, however, they quickly backtracked on this promise, and the closures continued, at a faster rate than under the previous administration and until the end of the decade.

In 1965, Barbara Castle was appointed transport minister, and she began to look at the country's transport problems as a whole. Mrs. Castle decided that at least 11,000 route miles (17 700 km) of "basic railway" would be needed for the foreseeable future and that the railway system should be stabilised at around this size.


The closures failed in their central purpose of restoring the railways to profitability, with the promised savings failing to materialise. By abolishing a third of the rail network, Beeching managed to achieve a saving of just £7 million whilst overall losses were in excess of £100 million. The losses were mainly because the branch lines acted as feeders to the main lines, and this feeder traffic was lost when the branches closed - in turn meaning less traffic for, and worsening the finances of, the main lines. The assumption at the time was that car owners would drive to the nearest railhead (which was usually the junction where the closed branch line would otherwise have taken them) and journey onwards by train, but in practice having once left home in their cars, they used them for the whole journey.

The "bustitution" policy of replacing rail services with buses also failed. Most of the replacement bus services were far slower and less convenient than the train services they replaced, and they proved unpopular with the public. Most of the replacement bus services only lasted a few years before being scrapped through lack of use, effectively leaving large parts of the country without any means of public transport.

The last major railway closure resulting from Beeching was of the 80-mile-long (130 km) Waverley Route main line between Carlisle and Edinburgh, in 1969; plans have since been made to re-open a significant portion of this line. One of the major criticisms made of the Beeching report was that it failed to take into account future trends such as population growth and greater demand for travel.

In the early 1980s, under the government of Margaret Thatcher, the possibility of more Beeching-style cuts was raised again briefly. In 1983 Sir David Serpell, a civil servant who had worked with Dr Beeching, compiled what became known as "The Serpell Report" which called for more rail closures. The report was met with fierce resistance from many quarters, and it was quickly abandoned.


Since the Beeching era, a number of the closures have been reversed. Notable amongst these is the Robin Hood Line in Nottinghamshire, between Nottingham and Worksop via Mansfield, which reopened in the early 1990s. Previously Mansfield had been the largest town in Britain to have no rail link.

Other reopenings include Snow Hill Station in Birmingham in 1987, the Coventry to Nuneaton line in 1988 and lines around Newcastle, Scotland and Wales.

The effect of the Beeching Axe on a small station was the subject of Oh, Doctor Beeching!, a television sitcom by David Croft and Richard Spendlove from 1995 to 1997. The theme song ran:

"Oh! Dr. Beeching, what have you done? 
There once were lots of trains to catch but soon there will be none.
I'll have to buy a bike as I can't afford a car.
Oh! Dr. Beeching! What a naughty man you are!"

This is based on the once-well-known and railway-related ditty used in the 1935 Will Hay film Oh Mr Porter

"Oh! Mr Porter, what can I do!
I wanted to go to Birmingham and they took me on to Crewe.
Take me back to London as quickly as you can
Oh Mr porter what a silly (girl) I am!"

Flanders and Swann Flanders commemorated the loss of the branch lines and small country stations in 1964 in their song "Slow Train".


InterCity (British Rail) 1966  Text from Wikipedia

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InterCity (or, in the earliest days, the hyphenated Inter-City) was introduced by British Rail in 1966 as a brand-name for its long-haul express passenger services.

In 1986 InterCity was divided into 7 divisions, with Warrington served by the West Coast Main Line from London Euston to the West Midlands, the North West and southern Scotland.

It operated High Speed Trains (under the brand-name "Inter-City 125", reflecting its top speed in miles per hour - roughly 200 km/h), InterCity 225s (although this refers to the top speed in kilometres per hour - roughly 140mph), and various other loco-hauled trains.

InterCity 225 in Swallow
livery at Peterborough.
© Andrew Hadley
Wikimedia Commons

The original InterCity livery consisted of standard British Rail corporate blue and grey with the brand "InterCity" added in white lettering on each coach. The power cars at each end of Inter-City 125 trains had extensive yellow panels, hence the nickname "flying bananas".

The swift logo on the side of Intercity trains was known as "Roderick"

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The success of the HST trains and the investment in electrification schemes, resulting in shorter and more reliable journey times, coupled to innovative marketing, led to InterCity becoming one of the great successes for British Rail in the 1980s.

Patronage increased markedly, and it soon became the most profitable part of the state-owned rail operator, and cross-subsidisation from InterCity's profits was used to safeguard the future of unprofitable (but necessary) rural routes which had been under threat from closure since the Beeching Axe of the 1960s. After the privatisation of British Rail, InterCity trains through Warrington were operated by Virgin Trains.

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HST power car 43 127
is shown here crossing
the Kennet and Avon Canal.
Wikipedia.Public licenseIC 125
Class 91/1, no. 91118 
‘Bradford Film Festival’
at Peterborough 
on 27th July 2003.
from Wikipedia. Public licenseIC 225

A-Z of Railways: UNIMOG - A four-wheel drive diesel-engined vehicle capable of operating on roads, across country or using the tracks, developed by Mercedes-Benz in the 1960s


Time now for a Commercial Break

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Items from the collection at National Railway Museum, York.
All photos © GI Gandy 2006, mywarrington.

A-Z of Railways: VIEW FINDER - Alternative phrase for a 'second man', a qualified driver who travels with the driver of the fastest trains, assisting him in the observance of signalling and ready to act in an emergency

Reader Story: And the iron bridge further up the line - one day I was lay flat across the bridge, over the line where I knew the train would be coming on, as it roared beneath me, belching thick, thick smoke (I loved the excitement of doing this) but on my walk home, my eyes were smarting and watering AND it was Warrington Walking Day the following day. Lucky for me, I woke up feeling fine and suffering no ill effects. The slow line, just before it got to the Black Bridge heading south, branched off and ran under the road and into the grounds of Winwick Hospital. Just a single track presumably carrying coal etc for the hospital. What I DO remember now so vividly are the blackberry bushes that grew at the bottom of the bank and better still, in the hospital grounds. In between collecting train names and numbers, and waiting for the next train to come, I would go blackberry picking  down the bank and feeling no fear at all, would walk through the 'tunnel' and into the hospital grounds. Many's the time I heard a train approaching on this single track and had to abandon  my fruit picking until it had gone past. Sounds terribly dangerous (I KNOW it was), but  SO exciting to a  youngster who was "trains mad". Don't know if that track is still there hidden under years of undergrowth. Kathy Barker.

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Items from the collection at National Railway Museum, York.
All photos © GI Gandy 2006

A-Z of Railways: WAGON CHASER - A brakesman or shunter in a shunting or marshalling yard. The duties include running after a moving wagon to pin down its brakes

High Speed Trains

Advanced Passenger Train  Text from Wikipedia

The Advanced Passenger Train (APT) was an experimental tilting High Speed Train developed by British Rail during the 1970s and early 1980s, which did not enter regular service.

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In order to permit a top speed of 150 mph (240 km/h), and thereby cut journey times, British Rail's engineers at the Derby Research Division developed an advanced active tilting technology, using hydraulic rams controlled by computer to tilt the passenger cars into the curves so that no lateral forces would be felt. This was a very ambitious project and was led by a group of engineers, many of whom had an aeroengineering background. Not only was the train designed to tilt, but it was also articulated and had hydrokinetic brakes. The latter feature is often overlooked but was in fact just as significant as the tilting concept, because it enabled the train to stop within the existing signal spacings. The fact that under operating conditions it failed to do so, was one of the main factors in the train being withdrawn.  

HST at Bank Quay
on 25 Feb 1978.
Photo © Peter Spilsbury.

APT today

The APT-E unit is now owned by the National Railway Museum and is on main display at their Locomotion museum at Shildon in County Durham. Also at Locomotion is an APT-P power car, number 49006, which is due to undergo restoration work after having been stored outdoors at York for many years. Appropriately the second APT-P unit is now on display at The Railway Age, Crewe and can be seen from trains passing on the adjacent WCML.

A-Z of Railways: XP 64 - Prototype BR express passenger coaches in blue and green livery introduced on the Talisman London to Edinburgh service in 1964

Other High Speed Trains

British Rail Class 180  Text from Wikipedia

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The British Rail Class 180 "Adelante" is a type of British diesel multiple unit (DMU), built by Alstom between 2000 and 2001 at Washwood Heath in Birmingham. The units are express trains built for First Great Western to supplement their High Speed Train fleet.

Class 180, no. 180114 at Cheltenham Spa on 31st March 2004. These units currently form the majority of Cheltenham to London Paddington services.  Our Phellap Wikimedia Commons

British Rail Class 220    Text from Wikipedia.

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The Class 220 Voyager is a class of Diesel-electric high-speed multiple unit train, built by Bombardier Transportation for the British train operating company Virgin CrossCountry. They are the mainstay of those long-distance trains in Britain that do not terminate in London (although they are used for services between Holyhead and London Euston). They are air-conditioned throughout, with powered doors and a top speed of 125 mph.

They were introduced to replace the thirty-year-old High-Speed Train fleet that had been so successful at building passenger traffic on these routes. When the Voyagers were introduced, there were many complaints that they were far more cramped and much less comfortable than the HSTs they were replacing, as well as offering fewer seats.

A Class 220 Voyager
at Bristol.
Photo by
Chris McKenna
from Wikipedia. Public license

British Rail Class 221    Text from Wikipedia

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The Class 221 Super Voyager is a train used by Virgin Trains. They are similar to the Class 220 Voyager units, but they are built with a tilting mechanism to allow faster speeds on curved tracks, and most have five carriages rather than four.

They are named after ‘famous voyagers’, including Christopher Columbus, Michael Palin, Marco Polo, Sir Francis Drake and Doctor Who.

Virgin Trains Class 221 Super Voyager 221113 "Sir Walter Raleigh" at Glasgow Central Station, Scotland. 5 May 2005. By Martin J.Galloway. Donated from the British Photo Encyclopedia. Dotonegroup from Wikipedia. Public license

British Rail Class 222    Text from Wikipedia

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East Midlands Trains
five-car 222017 at Derby.

The British Rail Class 222 is a diesel-electric multiple unit high-speed train. The Class 222, manufactured by Bombardier Transportation, is capable of 125 mph (200 km/h) and is similar to the Class 220 and 221 Voyager units used by Virgin Trains. Midland Mainline put twenty-three Class 222 units in service on certain routes in 2004. Midland Mainline's class 222 units are called 'Meridians'. The train operating company, Hull Trains, have also introduced Class 222 units to replace their Class 170 Turbostars in May 2005. Hull Trains Class 222 units are called 'Pioneers', which are fitting with the city that they serve. Their introduction has brought journey time reductions of up to twenty minutes on the Hull to King's Cross route.

This image has been (or is hereby) released into the public domain by its author, Dave coxon at the Wikipedia project. This applies worldwide. Public license

Class 390 Pendolino    Text from Wikipedia.

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Pendolino (from Italian Pendolo "Pendulum" and -ino, a diminutive suffix) is a  family of tilting trains used in Italy, Portugal, Slovenia, Finland, the Czech Republic, United Kingdom and Switzerland. It was developed and manufactured by Fiat Ferroviaria, which was taken over by Alstom in 2002. In 2004 Virgin Trains began operating custom-designed Pendolino trains known as the Class 390 on its West Coast Main Line franchise. These trains were constructed by Alstom and are leased by Virgin Trains from Angel Trains. The Class 390 Pendolino are maintained by Alstom (West Coast Traincare) under contract to Virgin Trains until 2012.

An Italian-built Class 390 Pendolino at Carlisle. Image by Phil Scott (Our Phellap). from Wikipedia. Public license

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Items from the collection at National Railway Museum, York.
Photos © GI Gandy, mywarrington.

On BBC Radio One in the 1980s, Dave Lee Travis had a darts quiz as part of his show. One week a contestamt was asked on which form of transport you would find a "dead man's handle". The contestant replied "a hearse!" The correct answer is a train. A dead man's handle is a safety device incorporated in the master controller of an electric train which requires the driver to exercise a continuous pressure to prevent interruption of current supply and the application of the brake. If pressure was not applied, the train would stop. The device was invented in 1902 by American Frank J. Sprague

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Items from the collection at National Railway Museum, York.

Photo © GI Gandy, mywarrington.

A-Z of Railways: YORK, THE - No. 9 platform in the old London (Euston) terminus, originally provided for trains to the Midlands and York

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Items from the collection at National Railway Museum, York.
Photo © GI Gandy, mywarrington.

Channel Tunnel (1994)

This series of photos is from my visit to the Channel Tunnel the day after the Queen's official opening.

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Channel Tunnel section with a quarry truck for
removal of waste at National Railway Museum, York.
Photos © GI Gandy, mywarrington.
Celebrations in 1994.
Photo © GI Gandy,
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My ticket. The DMU which took
us into the tunnel.
Terminal. Trackside.
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Locomotives. Into the tunnel to the
first crossover point.
A Tunnel Boring Machine
(TBM) for sale. Any offers?
Ticket for a trip
on a steam train.
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80079 The Harbour Master took us on a brief journey along Folkestone Harbour.
All photos © GI Gandy, mywarrington 7 May 1994.

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Items from the collection at National Railway Museum, York.
Photo © GI Gandy, mywarrington.

A-Z of Railways: ZOO KEEPER - A railway man or woman checking tickets, etc. at station barriers

mywarrington special. So special,
you can't find it anywhere.

making_tracks_nrm_locomotive_14_pushmepullme.jpg (67146 bytes) It's a computer-generated
version of the GNER Class 91 tender
approaching York from Scotland.

At the flicks...

Four of my favourite films are set on the railways.

Oh, Mr Porter! (1937). Will Hay stars as the stationmaster of a run-down railway station in Ireland where, among the comedy chaos, he manages to track down a group of gun runners.

The Titfield Thunderbolt (1952). This is an Ealing comedy starring Stanley Holloway about the rescue of a much-loved branch railway. I wonder if this is where Dr Beeching got his ideas from? The film featured a replica of LMR 57 Lion, now preserved at Manchester's Museum of Science and Industry.

The Great St Trinian's Train Robbery (1966). The wild girls school discover a train has been robbed and the cash is stored in their school. Classic comedy starring Frankie Howerd and George Cole as Flash Harry.

The Railway Children (1971). A classic adaptation of E. Nesbitt's novel, starring Jenny Agutter. A wealthy family move from the city to the country when the father is wrongly imprisoned. It has often been described as the best children's novel of its time, spurning an ITV remake, again starring Jenny Agutter, but this time as the mother.

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Items from the collection at National Railway Museum, York.
All photos © GI Gandy, mywarrington 2006.

LMS Black 5 visits Warrington

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Warrington Bank Quay was graced with the appearance of a London Midland Scottish (LMS) Black 5 steam engine at 11 PM on Saturday 28 April, 2007. The 4-6-0 gauge No. 45407 hauled the return trip of a Railway Touring Company excursion from Manchester to Central Wales. It was a accompanied by BR standard class 4 No. 76079. The journey began at Manchester Victoria just after 8 a.m. with a Class 47 diesel engine pulling an array of old-style carriages. The Black 5 was designed by William Arthur Stanier (1876-1965).

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Oliver Cromwell Returns To Warrington

Don't panic, there isn't another Civil War starting. This is the steam train by the name of Oliver Cromwell, which pulled a heritage train through the town on Friday 27 April 2012 at 11.30 a.m. But if you blinked you would have missed it - we nearly did! The 'we' are members of the Creative Remedies photography group which meets at the Pyramid on Palmyra Square every Friday morning. Between us we managed to get a couple of good shots of it. One of my email correspondents from mywarrington passed the information on to me about the appearance of Oliver Cromwell, so thanks for that. The itinerary said it would pick up at Warrington, but clearly nobody was scheduled to get on there in the end as the train thundered through the station at over 60 mph. I was lucky to get this shot of it! 

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Oliver Cromwell

I don't know what the ticket price was, but Creative Remedies members suggested we should have clubbed together to buy one ticket to make it stop at Warrington Bank Quay! Still, it was an experience. If you want to read the profile of the man Oliver Cromwell, go to the Warrington People page and see why he gets a listing in that section.

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Items from the collection at National Railway Museum, York.

All photos © GI Gandy, mywarrington 2006.

And Finally...

My last story is a true story from my first journey to London on Intercity. One of the stopping points was Nuneaton Station, 26 miles east of Birmingham. The train was slowing down and so the conductor announced "We are now approaching Nuneaton". Passengers alighting began to gather their belongings and move towards the exits. By now the platform was in sight of everybody and the conductor makes his announcement again "We are now approaching Nuneaton". Still pulling in, 20 miles per hour, ten miles per hour, 5 miles per hour and the Conductor has made his same announcement three more times. Finally the train stops at the platform and the conductor makes his final announcement: "We have now APPROACHED Nuneaton!" Roars of laughter and applause all the way down the train...

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Owen Dunn.
Wikimedia Commons.

The train from Platform Three, calling at Edge Hill, Mossley Hill, West Allerton, Allerton, Hunts Cross, Halewood, Hough Green, Widnes, Sankey, Warrington Central, Padgate, Birchwood, Glazebrook, Irlam, Flixton, Chassen Road, Urmston, Humphrey Park, Trafford Park, Deansgate and Manchester Oxford Road......has just left. We apologise for the late running of this announcement...

Making Tracks Part 1    Making Tracks Part 3    Peter's Gallery

Warrington - A Town of Many Industries

mywarrington - created by Gordon I Gandy
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Rainbow After the Storm

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Where Mental Health Matters

Rainbow After the Storm is an award-winning mental health
support group and Community Interest Company.


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