Station Name: ATHERLEIGH

[Source: Paul Wright & Bevan Price]

Date opened: 14.10.1935
Location: On A579 Atherleigh Way, south of junction with Westbourne Avenue.
Company on opening: London Midland & Scottish Railway
Date closed to passengers: 29.3.1954
Date closed completely: 29.3.1954
Company on closing: British Railways (London Midland Region)
Present state: Demolished. The A579 now runs along the trackbed through the station site.
County: Lancashire
OS Grid Ref: SD656013
Date of visit: 22.4.2006

Notes: Atherleigh was situated on the 10½-mile Kenyon Junction and Bolton line. The first section of the line was the Bolton & Leigh Railway (B&L) which was the first public railway to open in Lancashire. The line was authorised on 31 March 1825 and ran from the important manufacturing town of Bolton to the Leigh Branch of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal at Leigh and Bedford. Engineered by George Stephenson the line opened on 28 August 1828 for goods services only. On 5 May 1826 the Liverpool & Manchester Railway (L&M) was authorised and its route passed through Kenyon which was only 2½ miles to the south of Leigh. Both the L&M and the B&L were keen to have a connection between the two lines and to bring this about a separate company, the Kenyon & Leigh Junction Railway (K&LJR) was created. A 2½-mile connecting line was authorised on 14 May 1829. The L&M opened to passengers on 15 September 1830 and was an immediate success. Less than a year later on 2 June 1831 the K&LJR, opened. On 8 August 1845 the B&L, K&LJR and the L&M merged into the GJR. A year later on 16 July 1846 the GJR merged with the L&B to form the London & North Western Railway (LNWR). The line was doubled between 1880 and 1885 and passed to the London Midland & Scottish Railway (LMS) on 1 January 1923.

By the 1935 large areas of housing had been developed adjacent to the line on the northern outskirts of Leigh and the LMS opened a station there on 14 October 1935. It was given the name of Atherleigh, which seems not to have been an existing place-name and was presumably created as an amalgam of Leigh, to the south, and Atherton, to the north. It was located at Westbourne Avenue which was on both sides of the line linked by a pedestrian footbridge. The station was to the south of the footbridge and consisted of two timber faced platforms backfilled with cinders. A simple single-storey timber building under a pitched roof was provided on the down platform (Bolton direction) which contained a ticket office and waiting facilities. Photographic evidence (1950) suggests that the station was lit by electricity.

At the time of opening there were 20 departures from Atherleigh on weekdays. A few extra trains ran on Saturday but there was no Sunday service.

During the Second World War passenger services on the Bolton line were reduced and after the war they were not restored to the pre-war levels. The 1947 summer timetable showed eight up and seven down trains on Monday-to-Friday as shown in the table below. On Saturday there was an extra up and two extra down trains.

Up Trains Summer 1947

Destination

Down Trains Summer 1947

Destination

7.02am

Kenyon Junction

6.52am

Bolton Great Moor Street

7.44am

Kenyon Junction

8.11am

Bolton Great Moor Street

8.38am

Warrington Bank Quay

12.40pm (Saturday Only)

Bolton Great Moor Street

12.16pm (Saturday Only)

Kenyon Junction

1.30pm

Bolton Great Moor Street

2.06pm

Kenyon Junction

4.37pm

Bolton Great Moor Street

4.37pm

Kenyon Junction

5.33pm

Bolton Great Moor Street

5.21pm

Kenyon Junction

6.06pm

Bolton Great Moor Street

6.19pm

Kenyon Junction

7.24pm

Bolton Great Moor Street

8.46pm

Kenyon Junction

9.18pm (Saturday Only)

Bolton Great Moor Street

On 1 January 1948 Atherleigh became part of British Railways [London Midland Region] (BR[LMR]).

The 1953 summer timetable showed seven up trains on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. There were eight up trains on Tuesday and Thursday and ten on Saturday. In the down direction there were six trains on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. On Tuesday and Thursday there were seven trains and on Saturday, nine. On 29 March 1954 BR[LMR] withdrew its regular services to Bolton Great Moor Street and Atherleigh station was closed completely. In the summer months holiday trains continued to travel to and from Bolton until 1958.

On 17 June 1963 the line through Atherleigh (between Pennington South Junction and Howe Bridge North Junction) was closed. The station was still standing at this time.

In the 1970s a road, the A572, was built along the former Kenyon and Bolton railway sweeping away all traces of it.

Route map by Alan Young.

Sources:

  • A Lancashire Triangle Part 2 - D J Sweeney, Triangle Publishing 1997.
  • A Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain - Volume 10 The North West - Geoffrey O Holt, David & Charles 1986.
  • Forgotten Railways - North West England - John Marshall, David & Charles 1981.
  • Railway Passenger Stations in Great Britain - A Chronology, by M Quick, RCHS 2009.

See also: The Bolton & Leigh Railway

To see the other stations on the Bolton Great Moor Street - Kenyon Junction line click on the station name: Kenyon Junction, Pennington, West Leigh,
Atherton Bag Lane
, Chequerbent 1st, Chequerbent 2nd, Daubhill 1st,
Rumworth & Daubhill
& Bolton Great Moor Street


A view looking north at Atherleigh during the construction of the station in 1935.
Photo received from Steven Buckley



Atherleigh station shown on a 25-inch scale map from 1937.

Looking west towards Atherleigh station in 1950.
Copyright photo from Stations UK


Atherleigh station looking south from the footbridge in 1963.
Photo received from Steven Buckley

The site of Atherleigh station looking south from Westbourne Avenue in April 2006. Taken from the same viewpoint as the picture above.
P
hoto by Bevan Price


Looking north at the site of Atherleigh station in April 2006.
P
hoto by Bevan Price

 

 

 

[Source: Paul Wright & Bevan Price]


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