Station Name: BANKS

[Source:Tony Graham & Paul Wright]

Date opened: 20.2.1878
Location: On the north-east side of Guinea Hall Lane
Company on opening: West Lancashire Railway
Date closed to passengers: 7.9.1964
Date closed completely: 7.9.1964
Company on closing: British Railways (London Midland Region)
Present state: Part of the down platform survives
County: Lancashire
OS Grid Ref: SD392206
Date of visit: 30.7.2011

Banks station was on the West Lancashire Railway (WLR) Company’s Southport & Preston Railway which opened in stages between 19 February 1878 and 6 September 1882. The WLR was promoted by Sir Thomas George Fermor-Hesketh, Bart. Royal Assent was given for the ‘West Lancashire Railway’ on 14 August 1871. The Act authorised construction capital amounting to £150,000. James Brunlees and Charles Douglas Fox were appointed as civil engineers, and the contract for construction was let to Clarke Pruchard and Co. The first sod was cut at a special ceremony held at Little London, in Southport, attended by the Mayor, Alderman Squire JP, on 18 April 1873. From the start the WLR project struggled financially and, although construction started successfully, it stopped abruptly when the contractor faced financial difficulties. A further WLR Act of 1875 authorised the raising of a further £187,500 and granted an extension of time for the line’s completion. A new contractor, Barnes & Squire, was appointed, and work resumed.

Banks station opened on 20 February 1878 with the first section of the WLR line from Hesketh Park (in Southport) to Hesketh Bank. The station was built by Bridges of Burscough Junction. It was on the north-eastern side of a level crossing with Guinea Hall Lane. The settlement of Banks lay a short distance to the north. As the line was double-track two platforms
were provided. The main facilities were on the down (Preston-bound) platform north-west of the tracks. In the early days these consisted of a single-storey L-shaped brick building, with a canted bay looking out onto the platform beneath a gable-end, and there were round-headed door and window openings. An enclosed timber waiting shelter with a pent roof was on the up (Southport direction) platform.

The goods yard was behind the down platform, north-west of the station building. The signal box, built by McKenzie & Holland of Worcester, stood at the south-western end of the down platform; it controlled the crossing and the section of line through Banks.

At its opening Banks was served by trains between Hesketh Park and Hesketh Bank, but on 10 June 1878 the line was extended southwards to Southport Windsor Road. The WLR completed the route to Preston on 6 September 1882, when trains started to operate between Banks and Preston. To coincide with the completion of the route the WLR opened the new Southport Central terminus at the southern end of the line.

On 1 July 1897 the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway (LYR) took over the WLR. In a minute from a Board Meeting dated 21 February 1899 it was recorded that a stationmaster’s house was to be built at Banks. It was constructed adjacent to the station building on its south-western end; it was an austere two-storey structure in brick with segmental-arched windows,
presenting a gable-end to the platform. Beyond the original station building was an open waiting shelter followed by a group of small, wooden sheds whose age has not been determined.

In 1900 a new signal box was installed at the south-western end of the up platform. By this time the goods yard was shown as having two sidings controlled by a ground frame, which was in turn controlled by the new box; the original box on the down platform was demolished. From 16 July 1900 the LYR closed the WLR Preston station and diverted trains into Preston’s main line station. From 1 May 1901 all WLR line trains were transferred to Southport Chapel Street, and Central station was closed.

The LYR introduced a ‘railmotor’ service between Tarleton and Crossens on 3 June 1912  Tarleton was at the southern end of a 1¼-mile branch which connected the Leeds & Liverpool Canal to the WLR at Hesketh Bank. The line had opened for goods in 1880. The passenger service, which called at Banks, was not a success and was withdrawn on 1 October

On 1 January 1922 the LYR was absorbed by the London & North Western Railway but a year later that company became part of the London Midland & Scottish Railway (LMS). In summer 1932 Banks had 17 weekday services to Southport and 16 to Preston. The first departure from Banks was at 6:05 am and the last was at 11:21 pm, both of which went to Preston.

Banks became part of the nationalised British Railways (London Midland Region) on 1 January 1948. Housing estates developed in its vicinity during the post-war period. In winter 1956/7 there were 19 weekday trains to Preston, one to Accrington and 20 to Southport. After nationalisation the updating of station signage from Southport to Preston reached no further than Banks which was the most northerly station to be fitted with BR(LMR) totem name signs (after 1956). Railway Magazine (July 1959) reported that the LMR was considering closure of the route between Crossens – the terminus of the electric service – and Preston, so the ‘modernisation’ at Banks is perhaps surprising.

The Reshaping of British Railways report of 1963 recommended the complete closure of the railway from Meols Cop through to Preston. The goods yard at Banks station closed on 6 April 1964 and, despite local protests, all passenger services were withdrawn with effect from 7 September 1964. Banks closed completely as did the line from Hesketh Park to
Preston. On 5 January 1965 a track-lifting train passed through Banks and travelled a short distance towards Preston, stopping at Long Lane Crossing. The next day work began on removing the track back towards Southport. The rails through Banks had gone by the end of February 1965. The wooden station buildings were demolished during that month.

Shortly after closure a drainage ditch was dug on the site of the trackbed which obliterated the up platform. The down platform and the station building survived the works in a derelict state for a few more years, but the building was demolished in 1968. Sections of the down platform could still be seen in 2011.

Tickets from Michael Stewart except 517 Alan Castle & 1451 Les Fifoot, & 2395 Chris Totty, route map drawn by Alan Young, Bradshaw from Nick Catford


To See other stations on the Southport - Preston (West Lancashire) line click on the station name: Southport Central, Southport Windsor Road, Southport Ash Street, St. Lukes, Hesketh Park, Churchtown, Crossens, Hundred End, Hesketh Bank & Tarleton, River Douglas, Hoole, Longton Bridge,
New Longton & Hutton
, Penwortham (Cop Lane) & Preston West Lancashire

See also Tarleton Branch
Boat Yard Crossing Halt & Tarleton

Banks station in 1963, looking north-east from Guinea Lane level crossing. The main station facilities were on the down (Preston-bound) platform.
photo from John Mann collection

1894 1:2,500 OS map. Banks station as it was in 1894. At this time the signal box was located on the Preston platform.

1928 1:2,500 OS map. The area around Banks had not really changed much between 1894 and 1928; it was still predominantly rural. The original signal box had been replaced with the new structure on the Southport platform.

A Southport Chapel Street train arrives at Banks station's down platform (looking north-east) in August 1964. 42061 was built for BR to a Fairburn design at Derby works. A development of the Stanier 4P tanks, this 2-6-4t was delivered new to 5D, Stoke Shed on 8.12.1950. It was allocated to another ten sheds during it’s working life until finally being allocated to 27C, Southport in December 1962, from where it was withdrawn on 25.9.1965 and cut up by Wards of Kilmarsh
later that year
Photo by D. Hampson

Looking north-east towards Prestonin August 1964, less than two weeks before the line closed. The train is the 17:59 from Preston headed by LMS Fowler 2-6-4T No. 42369. This loco was delivered new on 11.9.1929 after being built at the LMS works in Derby. A Fowler designed 4P, 2-6-4-tank, it had a working life of over 35 years when it was withdrawn from Wigan, Springs Branch on 15.5.1965 and cut up in Wigan at the Central Wagon Co. by the end of that month.
Photo by Ben Brooksbank

A rear view of the down platform at Banks from the footplate of Lostock Hall's BR Standard 2MT 2-6-0 No. 78041; the locomotive is awaiting departure with the 14:10 Southport – Preston on 6 September 1964.  Notice the row of original gas lamps still providing sterling service over half a century after being installed. Evidence of the despair, apathy and resultant lack of care that overcame many of the doomed stations on this line is visible in the uncontrolled vegetation on the fence which threatens to engulf not only the formerly well-tended flower beds but also one of the platform seats.
Photo by Alan Castle

A Preston service arrives at Banks station in September 1964 only days before the
station is to close completely.
photo from John Mann collection

Looking north-east along the up (Southport-bound) platform at Banks station in September 1964. A Preston to Southport Chapel Street service had just arrived. 42645 is a Stanier class 4p tank built at Derby for the LMS in December 1938. It was withdrawn from 27C, Southport shed, on 11.9.1965 and scrapped at Cashmores of Great Bridge in November of that year. Note the lamp on the smokebox to identify a class B stopping train. The lamp was normally situated on top of the smokebox in front of the chimney, but was moved with the introduction of overhead wires to save the crews from getting a 25KV zap from above!
photo from John Mann collection

The derelict Banks station in 1968. To the right of the picture is the sloping bank of the drainage ditch that had obliterated the station's up (Southport-bound) platform.
Photo by Tony Graham

Looking north-east along the down platform at Banks station in August 1984. The cars are standing on the site of the station building. A drainage ditch, seen to the right, had obliterated
the former up platform.
Photo by John Mann

Looking north-east at the site of Banks station from the site of the Guinea Hall Lane level
crossing in July 2011.
Photo by Paul Wright

The surviving down platform at Banks station looking north-east in July 2011.
Photo by Paul Wright

Banks station looking south-west in July 2011. The surviving down platform can be seen to the right. The up platform was lost just after closure of the station when a drainage ditch was dug, which can be seen to the left of the picture.
Photo by Paul Wright

July 2011

July 2011

Click on thumbnail to enlarge

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