Station Name: LATCHFORD (2nd)

[Source: Paul Wright]
Date opened: 10.7.1893
Location: On the north side of Station Road
Company on opening: London & North Western Railway
Date closed to passengers: 10.9.1962
Date closed completely: 1.7.1965
Company on closing: British Railways (London Midland Region)
Present state: Demolished. Only a boundary wall and entrance gates remain on Station Road.
County: Lancashire
OS Grid Ref: SJ624869
Date of visit: 10.4.2005 and 18.1.2015

Notes: The second Latchford station was located on the London & North Western Railway’s (LNWR) Warrington and Broadheath line which had been opened by the Warrington & Stockport Railway on 1 November 1853. By 1864 line had become a through route of the LNWR linking the South Manchester area to Liverpool.

There had been a station at Latchford at the time of opening but in 1885 the Manchester Ship Canal Company (MSCC) had been authorised to build a waterway capable of taking ocean-going vessels between Eastham and Salford. The canal passed through Latchford, very close to the course of the original line. The LNWR (along with many other railway companies) had objected to the canal and one of their concerns had been the installation of a swing bridge to carry their line over it. The LNWR felt that such a bridge would interfere with the operation of their trains. A concession to the LNWR (also made to other railway companies along the canal route) was that a bridge had to be built at Latchford to carry the line over the waterway. The canal required 75ft clearance from the water level. To achieve this height a new section of line, a deviation to the original route, had to be built slightly to the north. As the deviation would bypass the original Latchford station a replacement had to be provided.

By 1891 the earthworks for the deviated line were mostly in place and work began on a new station for Latchford in August of that year.

In 1893 the bridge over the Manchester Ship Canal was completed and it was tested by running six locomotives onto it. In February 1893 the LNWR started to run its goods services over the new line. They had insisted on a period of proving and for this reason passenger services were not diverted onto the line until 10 July 1893 when the second Latchford station also opened. The original course of the line was then severed and the canal was excavated through its course. The Manchester Ship Canal opened in 1894.

The station was located on the north side of Station Road which ran parallel to the canal on its north bank. A high level road bridge connected Station Road to the south bank of the canal just to the south of the station.

The second Latchford station was constructed of timber and far less imposing than its predecessor. The main entrance was set back from Station Road adjacent to the line but at a slightly lower elevation. It was a modest, rectangular single-storey structure under a hipped roof with a tall chimneystack. Behind the building there was a subway which connected to the up platform. A set of covered steps connected to the down platform.

On the north platform there was an unpretentious single-storey structure with a hipped roof, resembling the street-level entrance building, whilst the south platform had a similar building but with a pitched roof.

The station had goods facilities in the form of three sidings, a goods shed, weighing machine and 3-ton lifting crane located on the south side of the line to the west of the passenger station. At the western end of the goods yard, also south of the line, was an LNWR all-timber signal box which controlled the connection to the goods yard and traffic on the main line.

The December 1895 timetable showed Latchford as having 14 up and 15 down trains Monday-to-Friday. There was an extra train in each direction on Saturdays 3 trains each way on Sundays.

In July 1922 Latchford had 15 up and 13 down trains Monday-to-Friday. there was 1 less up train on Saturdays and 1 extra down. On Sundays there were only 2 trains in each direction.

On 1 January 1923 Latchford became part of the London Midland & Scottish Railway (LMS). Their summer 1932 timetable showed 16 up and 15 down trains Monday-to-Saturday. Only 5 of the down trains went as far as Liverpool Lime Street Monday-to-Friday and 4 on Saturdays. On Sundays there were 2 trains in each direction.

Up Trains Summer 1932 Destination Down Trains Summer 1932 Destination
6.34am Manchester London Road 7.41am Liverpool Lime Street
6.52am Broadheath 8.16am Ditton Junction
7.17am Manchester London Road 8.33am Warrington Bank Quay
8.01am Manchester London Road 9.54am Ditton Junction
8.42am Manchester London Road 10.56am Warrington Bank Quay
10.19am Manchester London Road 12.49pm Liverpool Lime Street
12.22pm Manchester London Road 1.46pm (Saturdays Only) Warrington Bank Quay
1.15pm Manchester London Road 2.18pm (Saturdays Excepted) Liverpool Lime Street
2.23pm Manchester London Road 2.51pm (Saturdays Only) Ditton Junction
4.22pm (Saturdays Excepted) Manchester London Road 4.21pm Warrington Bank Quay
4.27pm (Saturdays Only) Manchester London Road 5.42pm Warrington Bank Quay
5.25pm Manchester London Road 6.13pm (Saturdays Excepted ) Liverpool Lime Street
5.42pm Manchester London Road 6.20pm (Saturdays Only) Liverpool Lime Street
6.47pm Manchester London Road 6.52pm (Saturdays Excepted ) Warrington Bank Quay
7.56pm Manchester London Road 7.46pm Liverpool Lime Street
9.00pm Manchester London Road 9.05pm Warrington Bank Quay
10.10pm Manchester London Road 9.52pm Liverpool Lime Street
    11.29pm Warrington Arpley

During the Second World War passenger services were reduced to allow more freight trains and other war traffic to run. After the war the number of passenger services did not return to pre-war levels. The LMS timetable for the summer of 1947 showed only 9 trains in each direction Monday-to-Friday. On Saturdays there were 2 extra up and 1 extra down trains. No trains called at Latchford on Sundays.

On 1 January Latchford became part of British Railways London Midland Region. The summer 1948 timetable showed a similar level of service to that offered by the LMS in 1947. By 1953 there were still 9 trains each way Monday-to-Friday. On Saturdays there were retimed workings but still only 9 trains each way.

In the late 1950s diesel multiple units were tried on the line but their presence was short-lived and steam was responsible for all workings by 1960. The September 1960 time table showed only 6 up and 6 down workings Monday-to-Friday. On Saturdays there was an extra down train.

None of the stations from Warrington Arpley to Broadheath were significantly modernised by British Railways, and enamel totems were never installed. Latchford remained gas-lit. This absence of investment was perhaps justified when in 1959 British Railways proposed the withdrawal of the local passenger services through Latchford, and this eventually took place on 10 September 1962. Passenger trains continued to pass through in the form of a nightly Liverpool to York Mail train and summer Saturday holiday trains between Yorkshire and North Wales. The mail was diverted to another route in 1965 and the holiday trains had ceased by the end of the 1960s.

Latchford closed to goods on 1 July 1965. The station was demolished shortly afterwards, and having been built entirely of timber little trace of it remained. Latchford signal box continued to control traffic movements along the line.

The line through Latchford remained busy with freight traffic into the 1980s. However structural problems were discovered with the high level bridge over the ship canal which would have been costly to repair. Rather than spend the money British Rail decided to close the line between Latchford and Skelton Junction and divert its traffic to other routes. The last scheduled services ran on 7 July 1985. In summer 1988 trains once again passed through Latchford on track- lifting duties.

In 2013 the up line at Latchford was still in situ but the station approach and yard had been developed with housing.

Sources:

  • Encyclopaedia of British Railway Companies - Christopher Awdry - Guild Publishing 1990.
  • The Manchester South Junction & Altrincham Railway - Frank Dixon - The Oakwood Press 1994.
  • The Manchester South Junction & Altrincham Railway - Martain Bairstow - Published by Martin Bairstow 2014.
  • The St Helens Railway, Its Rivals and Successors – J M Tolston – The Oakwood Press 1982.

To see stations on the Warrington and Stockport railway click on the station name: Warrington Arpley, Warrington Wilderspool, Latchford (1st),
Thelwall
, Lymm, Heatley & Warburton, Dunham Massey & Broadheath.

See also the stations on the Garston and Warrington railway: Garston Dock,
Speke
, Halebank, Ditton, Ditton Mill, Widnes (1st), Widnes South, Cuerdley, Fidlers Ferry & Penketh, Sankey Bridges &
Warrington Bank Quay Low Level.


The second Latchford station seen under construction on 26 August 1891.



The second Latchford station shown on a 2,1:500 scale map from 1894.


Latchford station shown on a six-inch scale map from 1908.


Looking east from the down platform at the second Latchford station in 1955. The Latchford bridge which carried the line over the Manchester Ship Canal can be seen in the distance.
Copyright photo from Stations UK


Latchford station looking east in April 1957.
Photo by H C Casserley


Looking east along the down platform at the second Latchford station on 3 October 1959. The steps that provided access to the booking office and subway are located to the right.
Photo by G C Lewthwaite


Latchford station site looking east from the signal box in the 1970s. Passing through the station site is a Wath to Fiddlers Ferry coal train.
Photo by David Lennon from his Dallam Dave Flickr photostream


On Sunday morning 20 May 1984 Class 20 locomotives numbers 20 185 and 20 186 are seen heading east through the site of Latchford station with a diverted Oakleigh to Tunstead ICI working. Latchford signal box can be seen in the distance.
Photo by Terry Eyres from his Flickr photostream


Looking west at the site of the second Latchford station in April 2005. For some reason the former up line had been left in situ up to the Latchford Manchester Ship Canal bridge.
P
hoto by Paul Wright

The site of the second Latchford station looking west on 18 January 2015.
P
hoto by Paul Wright


Looking west at the site of Latchford station in April 2015. The trackbed had been cleared as part of a land sale agreement.
Photo by Terry Eyres
To see more photos click here

 

 

 

[Source: Paul Wright]


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