The 8D Association



The Birkenhead Joint.

In this section we shall be covering the stations form Warrington Bank Quay through to Mickle Trafford on the main line and the stations on the branch line from Helsby through to Overpool.

Warrington Bank Quay.

Opened on 4th July 1837 by the Grand Junction Railway the station was an important calling point for Warrington. The area was rapidly expanding with wire making one of the major industries, latterly the Lever Brothers works which were situated next to the station would add to the towns prosperity. The station was re-sited under the LNWR and opened on 16th November 1868 to form an interchange with the St Helens railway which ran beneath it. The station is still busy today with main line expresses to London and Scotland and local services to Liverpool, Chester and Manchester. The station has 4 through platforms and north and south bay platforms which were latterly used to store spare locomotive in case of failures.


A 5 MT is seen arriving at Warrington Bank Quay, the station is being re built in conjunction with the west coast electrification project. The driver and fireman walking towards the camera are worthy of note with the chap on the left wearing his bicycle clips presumably to stop coal dust. The signal box and the platform buildings on platforms 1 and 2 would be swept away as they have already been on 3 and 4.
28th August 1961.
Photo by Harry Arnold MBE/Waterway Images.
To view more of Harry's Waterway images click here


A charming period shot of the LNWR Bank Quay station as a 5 MT arrives with an excursion train to Llandudno with plenty of day trippers ready to board.
Easter 1960.
Photo by Harry Arnold MBE/Waterway Images.
To view more of Harry's Waterway images click here


86 407 is seen at rest in the South bay platform at Warrington, this was a familiar sight in the 1980's providing a spare loco should one be needed. The Lever Brothers chemical works can be seen in the background.
1989.
Photo by Terry Callaghan.

Daresbury.

Opened in conjunction with the Birkenhead Joint line on 18th December 1850 as Moore the station was sited in a lightly populated area and thus suffered from low passenger numbers. It was re-named Daresbury on 5th April 1861 to avoid confusion with the other Moore station close by. Even in the 1930's the service was poor and resulted with the closure to passengers on 7th July 1952 and to goods on 1st June 1965.


A Class 25 passes the site of Moore station with a mixed goods train.
3rd May 1983.
Photo by John Wilson.

For further information click here


Runcorn East.

Opened by British Rail on 3rd October 1983 in conjunction with increased demand from the Runcorn New Town development the station enjoys a frequent service both to and from Chester and Manchester. The station is busy with passengers with over 147,000 passenger journeys in 2010/11.


Looking east from the westbound platform.
22nd June 2013.
Photo by Robert Callaghan.



Looking west from the eastbound platform the tail end of the log train for Chirk can be seen passing through.
22nd June 2013.
Photo by Robert Callaghan.


The simple vandal proof booking office situated at street level on the eastbound side.
22nd June 2013.
Photo by Terry Callaghan.

Norton.

Opened as a direct result of the Sutton Tunnel accident in March 1852 the station was important for westbound trains because it ensured that the tunnel was clear of traffic. This was done by the use of the electric telegraph which linked it to the station on the other side of the tunnel. As with others on the line the area was not heavily populated and the station suffered from low passenger numbers which led to its closure on 1st September 1952.


Approaching Norton station wrong line is this steam hauled passenger train under the watchful eyes of the flagmen on duty. A crowd of children await its passage through the now closed station whilst a DMU awaits the road at the signal on the other side of the bridge.
1967.
Photo by Les Fifoot.



Another shot of wrong line working through Norton station with LMS compound loco 1108 drawing forward to use the crossover seen in the previous shot to gain the correct line.
Date Unknown.
Photo by Roy Gough.

For further information click here


Halton.

Opened in March 1852 also as a direct result of the recommendations made into the Sutton Tunnel accident. The station was linked to the previous one at Norton by the electric telegraph to signal when the tunnel was clear. As with Norton the station was in a lightly populated area and was quite remote from the nearest village. It was closed to passengers on 7th July 1952 and finally to goods on 3rd May 1954.


Halton station seen after closure.
1967.
Photo copyright Halton Borough Council.
Reproduced with permission.



The site of Halton station today the buildings are still in use as a private residence. The Class 70 loco is hauling an Ellesmere Port to Fiddlers Ferry coal train.
5th August 2010.
Photo by Paul Wright.

For further information click here


Frodsham.

Another of the original station on the line which opened on 18th December 1850. The station remains open today and has a frequent service which is well patronised by the local community. The buildings still stand and are Grade 2 listed they are not in use at the present time and the station is unstaffed although the Cheshire Rail User Group look after the station and it is well kept. Interestingly the goods shed still survives adjacent to the station though it does not seem to have been used for several years but still seems to be in good condition.


An 0-8-0 passes through Frodsham station on a mixed goods.
1959.
Photo by Roy Gough.


Looking in the Warrington direction from the Chester bound platform.
1960's.
Photographer unknown.
From the David Ingham collection.
To view more of David's excellent and extensive Flick photostream click here



Arriva Trains 175101 prpeares to depart from Frodsham with a Manchester bound service. The platform buildings are in a good state of repair but are sadly awaiting new tennants.
19th November 2007.
Photo by Harry Arnold MBE/Waterway Images.
To view more of Harry's waterway images click here


Helsby.

Helsby station first appeared in the timetable in 1852 and is a junction station with the line to Ellesmere Port branching off to the right. Like Frodsham the station is now unstaffed and the buildings are listed but unused. The local rail user group also look after this station ensuring it is clean and tidy. An interesting feature is the signal box on platforms 2 & 3.


The main station building at Helsby is currently being refurbished although it will not be used by the railway once complete. Thankfully this magnificent building survives.
29th August 2013.
Photo by Robert Callaghan.


Sadly unused but still in good order, the waiting room on platforms 2 and 3.
29th August 2013.
Photo by Terry Callaghan.


158 755 heads a North Wales coast express through platform 1 at Helsby.
1993.
Photo by Terry Callaghan.


Awaiting departure from platform 3 is 156 440 with the branch service to Ellesmere Port. This is now just a Parliamentary service run by Northern Rail because it has to.
25th August 2012.
Photo by Les Fifoot.

Dunham Hill.

Another of the original stations on the line opening on 18th December 1850 the station was remote from the area it was meant to serve and therefore suffered from low passenger numbers. It was to close to passengers on 7th April 1952 and finally to goods on 7th may 1956.


A wonderful shot of an LMS Stanier Class 4P 2-6-4T No.2456 passing through Dunham Hill station heading in the Chester direction. The locomotive was allocated to Wigan Springs Branch from 1 January 1948 and was withdrawn from service on 24 April 1965 being scrapped by Cashmore's at Great Bridge (near Birmingham) during October 1965.
Photo by Robert Whitfield from the Pete Berry collection 


For further information click here


Mickle Trafford.

Mickle Trafford was a later addition to the stations only opening on 2nd December 1889. The station never fulfilled its potential, mainly due to the lightly populated area in which it was built. It was to be the earliest of the closures along the line just 3 years after nationalisation on 2nd April 1951.

We do not have a picture of Mickle Trafford station or the site of, if you do and would like to share it please send it to The8DAssociation@sky.com. It will be shown here and fully credited.

For more information and pictures click here


We now return to Helsby to look at the stations along the branch to Overpool.

Ince and Elton.

An original station of the branch opening on 1st July 1863. The branch now runs to an end on connection with the Merseyrail Electrics network at Ellesmere Port. It was a through route originally but as the line was only electrified to Ellesmere Port a shuttle service has to operate from there to Helsby. This has now been cut back to a Parliamentary service which is of no real use to the travelling public with only 532 journeys either to or from the station in 2010/11. You can read more of the service and a trip made by 8D members on the service by clicking onto the Events 2012 page and then the relevant Special Feature page.


A general view of Ince and Elton station the platforms are quite long, the largest train to call here now is a two car DMU.
25th August 2012.
Photo by Les Fifoot.



156 440 prepares to depart from the deserted Ince and Elton station with the service from Ellesmere Port to Helsby.
25th August 2012.
Photo by Les Fifoot.



Stanlow and Thornton.

The station was built here for workers at the nearby oil refinery and was opened for Shell oil workers only on 23rd December 1940. The general public were able to use the station from 24th February 1941. With such a poor service neither the oil refinery workers or the general public can make much use the service. In 2010/11 there were only 342 passenger journeys either to or from the station.


156 440 prepares for departure with the service to Helsby.
25th August 2012.
Photo by Les Fifoot.

Ellesmere Port.

The station at Ellesmere Port opened with the line on 1st July 1863 as Whitby Locks it was renamed Ellesmere Port on 1st September 1870. The station still retains the original stone building which are typical of the early stations on the line. Since the line was electrified passenger usage has risen and the service to Liverpool is frequent. In 2010/11 over 291,000 people used the station probably for journeys to Liverpool and Chester via Hooton.


A great view of the well presented original buildings at Ellesmere Port station.
21st January 2009.
Photo by Harry Arnold MBE/Waterway Images.
To view more of Harry's waterway images click here

 
Overpool.

This station was opened on 15th August 1988 by British Rail and became part of the Merseyrail network when the branch from Hooton to Ellesmere Port was electrified in 1994. It is a fairly basic affair with two virtually vandal prook brick built waiting shelters and a ticket machine. The station today sees a 30 minute frequency service to Liverpool and Ellesmere Port. The station is unstaffed.


The basic but effective station at Overpool although it will not win any design awards it shows that new stations on the Merseyrail system are viable.
29th August 2013.
Photo by Robert Callaghan.






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