Station Name: ASHTON-IN-MAKERFIELD

[Source: Paul Wright]

Date opened: 3.1.1900
Location: West side of Lodge Lane (A49)
Company on opening: Great Central Railway
Date closed to passengers: 3.3.1952
Date closed completely: 4.1.1965
Company on closing: British Railways (London Midland Region)
Present state: Demolished
County: Lancashire
OS Grid Ref: SJ577983
Date of visit: 2.12.2005 & 3.1.2011

Notes: Ashton-in-Makerfield station was situated on the St Helens Central to Lowton St Mary’s branch which left the Glazebrook to Wigan Central line at Lowton St Marys. This line had been sanctioned as early as July 1885 and the original intention was to create a line that would link Wigan to Southport by creating a route from Lowton St Marys to Fazakerley Junction on the Cheshire Lines Committee (CLC) North Liverpool Extension Line. The railway company that was formed to build the line was called the St Helens and Wigan Junction Railway (SH&WJR). The SH&JWR became the Liverpool St Helens and South Lancashire Railway (LSH&SLR) on 26 July 1889 but they were in constant financial difficulty and despite the first sod being cut on 28 January 1888 the line did not open to goods traffic until 1 July 1895 and even then only from Lowton to St Helens.

It was to take another five years for the line to be brought up to passenger standards by which time any hope of continuing west had been abandoned.

Ashton-in-Makerfield station opened on the 3rd of February 1900. The station was built to serve the township of Ashton-in-Makerfield which lay to the north but it was actually within the boundary of Haydock. The station was on the west side of Lodge Lane, the A49, which passed over the line on a bridge. A single storey brick built building located on the south side of the line provided the main entrance and booking office. The route of the line through the station was double track so the station was provided with two platforms both of which were provided with brick built waiting facilities. The station was also provided with a goods yard which was located behind the westbound platform and ran up to the rear of the main station building. The yard had a goods shed and three sidings. Unusually the goods sidings were at a higher elevation than the passenger platforms.

Passenger services were provided by the Great Central Railway (GCR) which had invested money in the line. There were six trains in each direction from Ashton-in-Makerfield. In the westbound direction all of the trains went to St Helens Central. Five of the eastbound services ran through to Manchester Central and one terminated at Lowton St Mary.

Ashton-in-Makerfield station was situated close to the Haydock Park Racecourse and from the start it handled race day excursions even though a station was opened to the east inside the grounds of the course.

On 1 January 1906 Ashton-in-Makerfield station became part of the GCR when the LSH&SLR was absorbed by them. The station master at this time was William Walsh who had accommodation in Beech Villa which was adjacent to the station. Walsh had previously been station master at Culcheth. In the last year of the GCR there were five eastbound and six westbound trains on weekdays as shown in the table below and none on Sundays.

Eastbound Trains (Lowton St Mary direction) July 1922 Destination Westbound Trains (St Helens Central direction) July 1922 Destination
8.25am Manchester Central 7.40am St Helens Central
10.12am Manchester Central 8.48am St Helens Central
2.20pm Manchester Central 1.21pm St Helens Central
5.12pm Manchester Central 4.21pm St Helens Central
9.13pm Manchester Central 5.49pm St Helens Central
    8.21pm St Helens Central

At the ‘Grouping’ of 1923 the line became part of the London & North Eastern Railway (LNER). The LNER ran additional services between ManchesterCentral and St Helens Central. On the 1 January 1948 Ashton-in-Makerfield station became part of the nationalised British Railway’s Eastern Region but within a few months it was transfered to the London Midland Region. In the fist year of nationalisation Ashton-in-Makerfield had only four eastbound and four westbound services Monday to Friday. On Saturdays there were only three westbound trains.

Eastbound Trains (Lowton St Mary direction) Summer 1948 Destination Westbound Trains (St Helens Central direction) Summer 1948 Destination
7.17am Irlam & Cadishead (Except Saturdays when it ran to Glazebrook) 8.44am St Helens Central
9.47am Manchester Central 1.28pm St Helens Central
2.07pm Manchester Central 4.31pm St Helens Central
5.04pm Lowton St Mary 6.11pm Except Saturdays St Helens Central

Although the line had proved to be remunerative in terms of goods, as it passed through an area of numerous collieries, it never lived up to expectations with regards to passenger services. As a result British Railways withdrew the passenger service from the line on the 1 March 1952 and Ashton in Makerfield station was closed to passenger services. The station continued to handle race day excursions throughout the 1950s.

On the 4 January 1965 the line from St Helens Central to Ashton in Makerfield closed completely and it was lifted to a point several hundred metres to the west of the station. On 24 August 1968 a Diesel Multiple Unit brought passengers to Ashton in Makerfield station on a Railtour called the ‘Makerfield Miner'. During the same year a connection was put in to the West Coast Main Line over which the St Helens and Lowton line passed at Golbourne. The connection allowed the route through to Lowton St Mary and down to Glazebrook to close.

In June 1969 an oil terminal opened a short distance to the west of Ashton-in-Makerfield station which was seved by block oil trains. A scrap business established itself on the goods yard site and made use of its rail connection. The yard even had its own shunting locomotove.

In 1975 the last racecourse excursions visited Ashton-in-Makerfield. The last oil trains ran in 1983 and the scrap metal company last used rail in 1989. Excepte for a short section near to the West Coast Main Line the surviving section of the former St Helens and Lowton St Mary branch closed in1991 and was lifted shortly after.

The station platforms remained extant until the whole site was redeveloped as office accommodation in the early part of the 21st Century.


Tickets from Michael Stewart

Sources:

Click on the station name for other stations on the
St. Helens Central - Lowton St. Mary's Line. St. Helens Central, Haydock, Haydock Park Racecourse, Golborne North & Lowton St. Mary's

Ashton-in-Makerfield station looking east in 1910. The goods facilities are clearly shown.
Copyright photo from John Alsop Collection



Ashton-in-Makerfield station shown on a 1905 map.


Ashton-in-Makerfield station as it was in 1961. Although it had closed to passengers in 1952 it was still open for goods services.


The station staff of Ashton in Makerfield seen in the early years of the 20th century resplendent in their GCR uniforms. Second from right on the first row is William Walsh who was station master.
Photo from John Keegan



Ashton-in-Makerfield Station looking west along the St Helens direction platform in 1950.
Photo from the John Mann Collection


The 'Makerfield Miner' rail tour stands at the former St Helens direction platform at Ashton in Makerfield station in August 1968.
Photo by Kenneth Gray courtesy of Bruce McCartney from Railscot web site


Ashton in Makerfield station looking west on 28 August 1976. The station had been closed for twenty-four years by this date but it was still clearly recognisable as a former passenger station. During the 1970s and through to the late 1980s freight services to a scrap yard and to an oil terminal continued to pass through the station.
Photo by John Mann



Ashton-in-Makerfield station looking east on 16 September 1979.
Photo by Philip Hodkinson


Looking east along the down (St Helens direction) platform at Ashton-in-Makerfield station on
16 September 1979. Only four years earlier race day specials had run to the station.
Photo by Philip Hodkinson



Ashton-in-Makerfield station looking west on 16 September 1979.
Photo by Philip Hodkinson


The site of Ashton in Makerfield Station in December 2005. Looking west at from site
of the road bridge
Photo by Paul Wright



A view looking east at the site of Ashton in Makerfield station in January 2011.
Photo by Paul Wright



Click on thumbnail to enlarge


 

 

 

[Source: Paul Wright]


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