[Source: Paul Wright]

Passenger services on the line improved dramatically after 1850 when the inclined planes were reduced. Journey times between St Helens and Widnes reduced to only 25 minutes. It was following these developments that intermediate stations such as Farnworth & Bold were opened..

The December 1895 timetable showed Farnworth & Bold as having nine up and eight down trains on Monday-to-Friday running between St Helens and Ditton Junction as seen in the table below. There was an extra down train on Saturdays and three trains in each direction on Sundays.

Up Trains (St Helens direction) December 1895 Destination Down Trains (Ditton Junction direction) December 1895 Destination
7.24am St Helens Shaw Street 6.45am Ditton Junction
9.51am St Helens Shaw Street 8.57am Ditton Junction
12.22pm St Helens Shaw Street 11.36am Ditton Junction
2.23pm St Helens Shaw Street 1.41pm Ditton Junction
3.44pm St Helens Shaw Street 3.01pm Ditton Junction
5.39pm St Helens Shaw Street 4.43pm Ditton Junction
6.54pm St Helens Shaw Street 6.16pm Ditton Junction
9.04pm St Helens Shaw Street 8.21pm Ditton Junction
10.20pm St Helens Shaw Street 11.16pm (Saturdays Only) Ditton Junction

By July 1922 there were ten up and nine down passenger services on weekdays as shown in the table below. Sunday services had ceased to run.

Up Trains (St Helens direction) July 1922 Destination Down Trains (Ditton Junction direction) July 1922 Destination
7.17am St Helens Shaw Street 6.40am Ditton Junction
8.18am St Helens Shaw Street 8.51am Ditton Junction
10.21am St Helens Shaw Street 11.36am Ditton Junction
12.17pm (Saturdays Only) St Helens Shaw Street 2.27pm Ditton Junction
12.28pm St Helens Shaw Street 3.25pm Ditton Junction
3.02pm St Helens Shaw Street 4.47pm Ditton Junction
4.18pm St Helens Shaw Street 6.34pm Ditton Junction
5.32pm (Saturdays Excepted) St Helens Shaw Street 9.02pm Ditton Junction
5.43pm St Helens Shaw Street 9.58pm (Saturdays Excepted) Ditton Junction
7.12pm St Helens Shaw Street 10.18pm (Saturdays Only) Ditton Junction
9.52pm St Helens Shaw Street    

On 1 January 1923 Farnworth & Bold station became part of the London Midland & Scottish Railway (LMS). Very little changed, and the service continued to run between Ditton Junction and St Helens Shaw Street. The LMS summer timetable for 1932 had thirteen trains leaving Farnworth & Bold for St Helens and thirteen trains for Ditton Junction on weekdays. Additional trains ran on Saturdays.

During the Second World War the passenger service was cut back to only six trains per day in each direction, and they ran only in the morning and evening peak hours. There were midday services on Saturdays for shoppers but, in the main, the line was given over to goods services and troop trains. At the end of the War the services at Farnworth & Bold remained sparse although the trains that did run were popular with local people for travelling to work and for Saturday shopping trips.

On 1 January 1948 Farnworth & Bold became part of the nationalised British Railways (London Midland Region). The 1949 summer timetable had only six up and six down trains on Monday-to-Friday, with a long gap during the daytime as shown in the table below. On Saturdays there were retimed workings and a midday service.

Up Trains (St Helens direction) Summer 1949 Destination Down Trains (Ditton Junction direction) Summer 1949 Destination
7.11am (Saturdays Excepted) St Helens Shaw Street 6.38am (Saturdays Excepted) Ditton Junction
8.15am St Helens Shaw Street 7.03am Ditton Junction
12.26pm (Saturdays Only ) St Helens Shaw Street 8.40am Ditton Junction
1.45pm (Saturdays Only ) St Helens Shaw Street 12.57pm (Saturdays Only ) Ditton Junction
4.24pm (Saturdays Excepted) St Helens Shaw Street 1.35pm (Saturdays Only ) Ditton Junction
5.15pm (Saturdays Excepted) St Helens Shaw Street 4.52pm (Saturdays Excepted) Ditton Junction
5.41pm St Helens Shaw Street 5.36pm (Saturdays Excepted) Ditton Junction
6.19pm (Saturdays Excepted) St Helens Shaw Street 6.16pm Ditton Junction

British Railways wanted to concentrate on goods services so they proposed that the St Helens Shaw Street and Ditton Junction passenger service be withdrawn. Despite local protest, and the replacement bus service taking considerably longer, passenger services were withdrawn on the 16 June 1951 and the ‘Ditton Dodger’ was no more.

Special workings and diversions continued to operate through Farnworth & Bold right up until the line closed as a through route in 1981.

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[Source: Paul Wright]

Last updated: Thursday, 18-May-2017 11:51:11 CEST
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