Station Name: NORTON

[Source: Paul Wright]
Date opened: March 1852 (first appeared in timetable)
Location: On the south side of Norton Station Road
Company on opening: Birkenhead Lancashire & Cheshire Junction Railway
Date closed to passengers: 1.9.1952
Date closed completely: 1.9.1952
Company on closing: British Railways (London Midland Region)
Present state: Station building in use as private dwelling platforms demolished
County: Cheshire
OS Grid Ref: SJ559816
Date of visit: 9.2.2005

Notes: Norton station was situated on the Birkenhead, Lancashire & Cheshire Joint Railway’s (BLCJR) Warrington and Chester line which opened on 31 October 1850.

Norton Station did not open with the line but following a serious railway accident that took place in the Sutton Tunnel on 30 April 1851 a report by Captain R. E. Laffan recommended that a station be opened at each end of the tunnel and that they be linked together by electric telegraph. Norton was the station provided at the northern end of the tunnel. The station at Norton first appeared in the public timetable in March 1852.

Norton station was located on the south side of a road overbridge which carried what became Station Road over the line. The BLCJR was a double track railway so Norton was provided with two platforms. The stations main facilities were located in a two storey brick built building on the west side of the line on the down (Warrington direction) platform. The brick building was rendered so as to give a smooth finish. The building provided booking and waiting facilities and it also incorporated a Station Masters house.

On the up platform (Chester direction) there was a simple brick built waiting shelter.

An approach road connected the main station building with the public highway and this was the main approach to the station. Access to the Chester direction platform was via s set of steps that led down from a gateway on the east side of the road overbridge.

Norton was not provided with goods facilities.

Norton was served by three trains in each direction running between Chester and Manchester Victoria.

In 1854 a branch from Norton station to Preston Brook on the Bridgewater canal was authorised. It was built shortly after its purpose being to facilitate the transfer of goods between canal and railway.

On 1 August 1859 the BLCJR became the Birkenhead Railway but within a matter of months it was taken over jointly by the Great Western Railway (GWR) and the London North Western Railway (LNWR) as the Birkenhead Joint Railway (BJR) on 1 January 1860. The GWR used the line through Norton as a means of access to Manchester via Warrington and lines belonging to the LNWR. Norton station however remained very much a local facility.

By 1863 Norton had four trains in each direction Monday-to-Saturday and two each way on Sundays.

In 1870 a signal box was provided at Norton. It was a GWR/LNWR Joint Type 1 brick built box which was located to the south of the up platform. The Bridgewater Canal Branch had closed by this time and the track had been lifted.

The December 1895 timetable showed seven up and six down trains calling at Norton Monday-to-Saturday as shown in the table below. On Sundays there were. two trains each way.

Up Trains - December 1895 Destination Down Trains - December 1895 Destination
7.52am Chester 8.10am Manchester Exchange
9.16am Chester 10.12am Warrington Bank Quay
12.27pm Chester 11.38am Warrington Bank Quay
2.03pm Chester 2.42pm Warrington Bank Quay
3.25pm Chester 5.37pm Warrington Bank Quay
6.17pm Chester 8.08pm Warrington Bank Quay
7.53pm Chester    

In the early years of the 20th Century Norton was known for its fine floral displays which were created by the staff.

In 1920 the signal box had its lever frame replaced with a 10 lever LNWR Tumbler frame.

The July 1922 timetable showed eight up trains Monday-to-Friday and six on Saturdays. In the down direction there were six trains Monday-to-Friday and five on Saturdays. On Sundays there was just one train which was a down service.

On 1 January 1923 the BJR came to an end and the line became a joint concern of the GWR and the London Midland & Scottish Railway (LMS) into which the LNWR had been absorbed. On 20 March 1926 the station was renamed Norton Cheshire. This was to distinguish it from a Norton station in Yorkshire. the name was shoert lived and Cheshire was dropped in the 1932/3 period.

Over the years of the BJR agreement had been reached that made the LNWR responsible for track, signalling and buildings. The responsibility passed to the LMS who fitted their 'target' style signs to Norton station in the 1930s.

The Summer 1932 LMS timetable showed seven up trains Monday-to Friday and eight on Saturdays. There were four down trains Monday-to-Friday and five on Saturdays. A single train in the down direction still ran on Sundays.

On 1 January 1948 Norton became part of British Railways [London Midland Region] (BR[LMR]). The summer 1949 timetable showed five up and three down services Monday-to-Friday as seen in the table below. On Saturdays there were six up and five down services. No trains called at Norton on Sundays.

Up Trains - Summer 1949 Destination Down trains - Summer 1949 Destination
7.36am Chester General 8.09am Manchester Exchange
9.03am (Saturdays Excepted) Chester General 10.46am (Saturdays Only) Manchester Exchange
9.10am (Saturdays Only)   12.22pm (Saturdays Excepted) Manchester Exchange
1.01pm (Saturdays Only)   12.57pm (Saturdays Only) Warrington Bank Quay
1.15pm (Saturdays Excepted) Chester General 6.19pm Warrington Bank Quay
2.51pm (Saturdays Only)   9.51pm (Saturdays Only) Manchester Exchange
6.03pm Chester General    
8.22pm Chester General    

Norton Station was in a fairly isolated location so it was never very busy and BR[LMR] closed it completely on 1 September 1952.

The line through the station site remained busy with both local and long distance passenger services and a steady stream of goods trains. In the early 1960s the land around Norton station was designated to become part of a Runcorn ‘New Town’.

On 3 September 1972 the 1870 signal box closed and was replaced with a BR structure. The station platforms had been demolished the previous year.

By the 1980s there was much residential development close to the line and the Runcorn Development Corporation decided that a station should be provided. They provided funding for a station but rather than re-opening Norton a new facility was built slightly to the south-west. The new station was named Runcorn East and opened on 3 October 1983.

The Norton station building was still standing in 2016 being used as a private residence. 

Tickets from: Peter Blackmore and route map by Alan Young

Sources:

  • Bradshaws Rail Times July 1922, Guild Publishing 1986
  • British Railway Companies, C Awdry, Guild Publishing 1990.
  • British Railways (London Midland Region) Summer Timetable 1948 
  • LMS Summer Timetable 1932
  • Railway Passenger Stations in Great Britain a Chronology - M Quick - Railway and Canal Historical Society 2009

To see the other stations on the Chester - Warrington line click on the station name: Mickle Trafford, Dunham Hill, Halton & Daresbury


Norton station looking north-east at the turn of the Twentieth Century.



Norton station shown on a six-inch scale map from 1874. The route of the short lived Bridgewater canal branch is shown on the map.


Norton station shown on a twenty-five inch scale map from 1898.


The Norton Station Master is seen by the extensive floral displays that had been planted adjacent to the up platform in the early Twentieth century. Norton was well known for its floral displays.


Norton station looking south-west in December 1965 as an ex-LMS Class 5 locomotive heads towards Warrington with a fast goods service. Despite being closed for over ten years the station was remarkably intact.
Photo by M J Esau

Looking north-east at Norton station c. 1970/1. At this time the stations platforms and the original signalbox were extant. Close observation shows that demolition work had begun on the former up platform, to the right of the picture. The signalbox had an open fire for heating. Coal for use by signalmen can be seen heaped at the end of the up platform.
Photo by David Lennon

Norton Station looking towards the south-west in September 1995. By this date the up platform had been demolished and the Warrington direction platform had been cut back by a few metres. Also the station building, in use as a private residence, had lost its waiting room area by this time. The shape of the waiting room area can be seen on the side wall . In the background can be seen Runcorn East station which opened in 1983 to serve the 'New Town' areas of Runcorn which had developed after Norton station closed.
P
hoto by Alan Young

Norton station looking towards the south-west as darkness falls in January 2010. In the distance can be seen Runcorn East station which opened in October 1983. The signalbox on the left of the line stands on a location which was just at the end of Norton stations up platform.
Photo by Mark Aldred

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[Source: Paul Wright]


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