[Source: Paul Wright]
Date opened: 22.6.1870
Location: On the north side of Chester Road (A56)
Company on opening: Cheshire Lines Committee
Date closed to passengers: 6.1.1964
Date closed completely: 2.3.1964
Company on closing: British Railways (London Midland Region)
Present state: Station building still present in use as a private dwelling. Platform still intact but obscured by tree growth.
County: Cheshire
OS Grid Ref: SJ486747
Date of visit: 5.4.2005

Notes: Helsby & Alvanley Station was situated on the Cheshire Lines Committee’s (CLC) Mouldsworth to Helsby Junction railway which opened on the 1 September 1869. Mouldsworth was located on the CLC Manchester to Chester line. The CLC was jointly owned by the Great Northern Railway (GNR), the Manchester Sheffield & Lincolnshire Railway (MSLR) and the Midland Railway (MR) and the purpose of the line was to provide them with access to the Birkenhead Dock system via the Birkenhead Joint Railway (BJR) which had a line that ran from Helsby to Birkenhead.

The line was primarily constructed for goods services but a passenger station was opened at Helsby on the 22 June 1870. As the BJR already had a station called Helsby the CLC named theirs Helsby and Alvanley.

The line was a single track branch so the station was provided with one platform which was located on the east side of the track. It had a two storey stone built building which housed all of the usual station facilities and also had living accommodation for the station master.

A signal box, called Helsby Station, was provided at the north end of the platform. It controlled access to the goods facilities that were located on the north side of Chester Road on the west side of the line. The goods facilities included a goods shed and a 5-ton lifting crane.

The first service on the line did not prove to be very popular and it was withdrawn by the CLC on the 1 May 1875. Helsby and Alvanley station was closed to passengers.

In 1884 The Telegraph Manufacturing Company opened a works in Helsby just to the west of the CLC line on Chester Road. The works was provided with a siding which connected to the station goods yard.

On 12 April 1889 the signal box was replaced with a new structure. The new box was all timber and was also located at the north end of the platform.

In 1893 the CLC opened a two road engine shed at Helsby & Alvanley. It was located to the north of Chester Road on the east side of the line. There had been a siding and a turntable at that location since the line opened in 1869. The shed had a short life closing in 1929 (click here to see a photo and a map of the shed).

On 14 April 1932 the Helsby Station signal box was closed.

From October 1936 the station re-opened. It was used by workmen’s services and by a Summer Sundays only Birkenhead and Northwich service. The September 1938 Bradshaw timetable showed two of these Sunday only trains in each direction. Departures from Birkenhead Woodside were at 10.40am and at 3.33pm. Departures from Northwich were at 12.56pm and 8.00pm. The Sunday service ended in 1938.

The timetable for 1943 had one workmans train arrival in the morning which had departed from Hooton at 7.20am, followed by an evening departure that went back to Hooton and departed from Helsby & Alvanley at 6.00pm. The service ran until the 22 May 1944 after which the station closed once again.

On the 1 January 1948 Helsby & Alvanley station became part of the nationalised British Railways (London Midland Region). A steady stream of goods services continued to pass through the station. The line gained extra traffic with the opening of a large oil refinery at Stanlow a short distance to the north.

The 'Handbook of Stations' 1956 listed Helsby & Alvanley as being able to handle public goods, parcels, livestock and horse boxes. The station still had its 5-ton crane. Also listed was a private siding for British Insulated Callender's Cables Ltd. This company had taken over the works of the Telegraph Manufacturing Company.

On the 9 September 1963 at a time when stations throughout Britain were closing in their hundreds Helsby & Alvanley re-opened as a passenger station with one train per day leaving at 5.30pm for Rock Ferry. The service lasted only a few months and on the 2 January 1964 the station closed for good to passenger services.

Goods services contined for a few more months until the station closed completely on the 2 March 1964.

Interestingly the station never appeared as a passenger facility on an Ordinance Survey Map in the 20th Century.

The line remained busy until 1990 by which time the oil industry had built numerous pipelines from the Stanlow Refinery. The commissioning of the pipelines led to a dramatic drop in the number of freight trains running to and from Stanlow and to make matters the signal box at West Cheshire Junction was destroyed by fire. Making alternative arrangements for signalling was deemed to be not worthwhile and the Mouldsworth to West Cheshire Junction line was closed on 14 September 1991. The track remained in situ for a number of years and was still present in the early months of 1995.

The station had passed into private ownership after closure and was still in use as a private residence in 2011.

Ticket from Michael Stewart.


See also Manley station

Looking north from the north end of the platform at Helsby & Alvanley station in the early years of the Twentieth Century. The Helsby & Alvanley station signal box that dated from 1889 is clearly shown. Railway employees including station staff, signalmen and a locomotive crew are posing for the photographer. The locomotive appears to be a Charles Reboul Sacré design 'Class 18' 0-6-0 goods engine dating from 1869. Charles Sacré was the chief engineer of the Manchester Sheffield & Lincolnshire Railway from 1858 to 1886. One 'Class 18' locomotive survived into LNER ownership but it was scrapped in 1924. A batch of these locomotives was converted into saddle-tanks during the Great Central Railway and they became Class J28 under the LNER. They had all been withdrawn by 1930.

When this 6-inch scale map was drawn in 1873 Helsby and Alvanley station was in a sparsely populated and remote area. The goods facilities can be seen to the north of Chester Road.

Helsby and Alvanley station shown on a 25-inch scale map from 1897. To the north of the station can be seen the goods facilities and a turntable.

Helsby and Alvanley station shown on a 25-inch scale map from 1935.

The Helsby and Alvanley station goods yard shown on a 25-inch scale map from 1935. The Helsby & Alvenley locomotive shed which closed in 1929 is also shown.

Helsby & Alvenley station seen from the air in 1939. The passenger station is seen above the main road and the goods facilities below. The private siding that served the British Insulated Callender's Cables Ltd works can be seen leading off from the goods yard.
Copyright photo with permision from the Britain from Above website

Helsby and Alvanley station in the Summer of 1949 still carried its nameboard despite the fact that this was one of the periods when the station was closed to passenger services. In this view looking south the station appears to be remarkably well kept. The occupants of the station house were no doubt eager to keep it in good order.
Photo from the John Mann Collection

Helsby & Alvanley station looking south on 31 May 1972.
hoto by Keith Holt from the KDH Flickr photostream

A view looking south at Helsby and Alvanley station in January 1980. At this time a steady stream of goods services continued to pass through the station. In particular large quantities of petrochemical products passed along the line and continued to do so until the early 1990s.
Photo by John Mann.

The site of Helsby & Alvanley stations goods yard looking north on 17 May 1991. The yard had been to the left of the line the goods shed being at the point where a tractor can be seen. The train was a Freightliner service from Ellesmere Port to Crewe.
Photo by Dave Sallery from his Flickr photostream

Helsby & Alvanley station looking south on 4 March 1995 after track lifting had started.
Photo by David McGuire from the DMC1947 Flickr photostream

Helsby and Alvanley station looking south on the 15 May 1997.
Photo by Alan Young

Helsby & Alvanley station building in April 2005.
hoto by Paul Wright

Click here to see more photos




[Source: Paul Wright]

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