Station Name: HAYDOCK PARK RACECOURSE

[Source: Paul Wright]



Date opened: 10.2.1899
Location: On the north side of the main car park at Haydock Park racecourse
Company on opening: Great Central Railway
Date closed to passengers: 5.10.1963
Date closed completely: 5.10.1963
Company on closing: British Railways (London Midland Region)
Present state: Demolished
County: Lancashire
OS Grid Ref: SJ584984
Date of visit: 2.12.2005

Notes: Haydock Park Racecourse station was situated on Lowton St Mary – St Helens branch of the Great Central Railway (GCR). At Lowton St Mary the branch connected to the GCR Glazebrook and Wigan line which at its southern end linked to the Cheshire Lines Committee (CLC) Liverpool and Manchester main line.

The GCR St Helens branch had originally been promoted as an ambitious scheme to link the Glazebrook and Wigan line to Liverpool via a connection with the CLC at Fazakerley. The line was promoted by the St Helens & Wigan Junction Railway (SH&WJR) who obtained an act to build it in July 1885. The company had great difficulty raising finance and the first sod was not cut until 28 January 1888. On 26 July 1889 the SH&WJR was renamed as the Liverpool, St Helens & South Lancashire Railway (LSH&SLR) and the line between Lowton St Mary and St Helens opened to goods services on 1 January 1895.

The line ran along the northern boundary of the Haydock Park racecourse passing very close to the main stand. Haydock Park Racecourse station opened on 10 February 1899 to serve the racecourse. When it opened the Lowton St Mary – St Helens branch had no passenger services but the GCR introduced one on 3 January 1900. The service only called at Haydock Park Racecourse during race meetings.

As the purpose of Haydock Park Racecourse station was to serve race meetings it was provided with very few facilities. The line was double track and two long platforms, capable of handling excursion trains, were provided linked by a footbridge that was located at the mid-point of the station. Toilets were provided on both platforms.

Access to the racecourse was via a driveway that commenced at the western end of the down platform (St Helens direction). At the eastern end of the down platform there was a signal box.

A photograph dating from 1905 shows that during race meetings Haydock Park Racecourse station was very busy being used by thousands of people. Trains came from destinations including Liverpool, Manchester, Warrington, St Helens and even Sheffield.

Although from the start train services had been operated by the GCR the LSH&SLR was nominally independent. The company was fully absorbed by the GCR in 1906.

On 1 January 1923 the Lowton St Mary – St Helens line became part of the London & North Eastern Railway (LNER). At nationalisation on 1 January 1948 it became part of British Railways Eastern Region but being remote from that region was quickly transferred to the London Midland Region .

British Railways withdrew the passenger service between Lowton St Mary and St Helens from 3 March 1952 but Haydock Park Racecourse continued to be served by race day trains.

The last time that Haydock Park Racecourse station was used by a race day train was on 5 October 1963. On 4 January 1965 the western end of the branch, between Haydock and St Helens was closed completely. After depositing passengers at the racecourse race day specials had run to St Helens for servicing and turning. With the closure of the line this was no longer possible.

Race traffic continued after 1963 but used Ashton-in-Makerfield station (closed to regular passenger services 3 March 1952) which was less than half a mile to the west near the main entrance to the racecourse. There were run around facilities at Ashton-in-Makerfield and some sidings. The last race day trains ran in 1975.

The line through Haydock Park Racecourse continued to be used by freight trains after 1965. In 1968 a spur was put in from the branch to the West Coast Main Line just to the north of Golbourne at what became Haydock Branch junction. The spur facilitated the closure a section of the branch between a point half a mile to the east of Haydock Park Racecourse and Lowton St Mary. The line was also singled through Haydock Park Racecourse station around this time.

In June 1969 block oil trains started to run to an oil terminal just to the west of Ashton-in-Makerfield station which also had a rail served scrap yard in the station goods yard. The last oil trains ran in 1983 and the last scrap in 1989 after which all but a short stretch at the West Coast Main Line was closed and the track was lifted through the site of Haydock Park Racecourse. By 2005 much of the station site had been lost under a landscape planting scheme and an extension to the car park.

Tickets from Michael Stewart

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


Haydock Park Racecourse station looking east from the footbridge in 1905.
Copyright photo from John Alsop Collection



Haydock Park Racecourse station shown on a 1928 map.


Haydock Park Racecourse station shown on a 1961 map. Regular passenger services had ceased on the branch nine years earlier but the racecourse station would continue to be used until 1965.


A view looking east along the down (St Helens direction) platform at Haydock Park Racecourse station in August 1960. Signs and chalk boards provide information to passengers and show that at this time on race days trains ran to Liverpool, Manchester, Warrington and Irlam. Heading west is a coal train from Golbourne colliery en route to the coal preparation plant at Lyme Pit.
Copyright photo from the Jim Peden collection


Haydock Park Racecourse station looking west in August 1976.
Photo by John Mann


Looking east at the derelict Haydock Park Racecourse station on 16 September 1979. At this time the line was still in use for freight services that ran to Ashton-in-Makerfield.
Photo by Philip Hodkinson


The site of the Haydock Park Racecourse station looking east from a similar location to the 1979 view above in December 2005.
Photo by Paul Wright



Looking west at the remains of a footbridge that was located a short distance to the east of the station. It can be seen in the 1905 view above.
Photo by Paul Wright



 

 

 

[Source: Paul Wright]


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