Station Name: PRESTON BROOK

[Source: Paul Wright]


Date opened: 4.7.1837
Location: South side of Chester Road
Company on opening: Grand Junction Railway
Date closed to passengers: 1.3.1948
Date closed completely: 1.9.1958
Company on closing: British Railways London Midland Region
Present state: Demolished
County: Cheshire
OS Grid Ref: SJ567805
Date of visit: 14.4.2012

Notes: Preston Brook station was situated on the Grand Junction Railway (GJR) which opened from Newton to Birmingham on the 4 July 1837. The GJR was Britain’s first trunk railway and had been supported by many of the same individuals who had been behind the Liverpool & Manchester Railway (L&M). The GJR connected with the L&M at Newton Junction (which later became Earlestown Junction) thereby providing a link between Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester. From 9 April 1838 the line connected with the London & Birmingham Railway (LBR) at Birmingham Curzon Street allowing passengers to travel between London, the Midlands and the great industrial and port cities of the north-west.

Preston Brook station opened with the line on 4 July 1837. The station was located in a cutting on the south side of the Warrington and Chester Road at Preston Brook. Preston Brook was the location of the junction between the Bridgewater and the Trent & Mersey canals and had become a trading location of local importance.

At first the facilities at Preston Brook were very basic consisting of a small building with a hipped roof on the down side (Newton direction) of the double-track line. There were no platforms at the time of opening. Access to the station was via a sloping footpath which led up to the road from the station building.

Goods facilities were provided to the south of the station on the east side of the line. They included a transhipment shed located on the west side of the Trent & Mersey Canal, sidings and a crane.

On 16 July 1846 Preston Brook became part of the London & North Western Railway (LNWR). By this time the station was on a route that stretched from London to Carlisle.

The March 1850 timetable showed Preston Brook as having three up and five down trains on Monday-to-Saturday. No trains called on Sunday. Two of the up trains ran to Birmingham and one to London. Three of the down trains ran to Liverpool, one to Carlisle and another Preston. A connecting omnibus service operated from the station to Runcorn at this time.

By the early 1860s the railway had extended beyond Carlisle and reached Glasgow. Although numerous express services would have passed through Preston Brook station it was served by stopping trains of a more local nature.

By the 1870s the station had been provided with platforms and both of them had modest single-storey brick buildings with pitched roofs. Behind the building on the up platform was another single-storey pent-roofed structure, possibly attached to its neighbour. An access path from the Chester Road to the up platform had also been provided. There was also a stationmaster’s house to the east of the passenger facilities.

By December 1895 there were eight up and seven down trains on Monday-to-Saturday as shown in the table below. On Sunday there were one up and two down trains.

Up Trains December 1895

To

Down Trains December 1895

To

7.20am

Crewe

6.50am

Wigan

7.48am

Acton Bridge

7.53am

Lancaster Castle

8.38am

Crewe

9.00am

Warrington

10.55am

Crewe

11.51am

Lancaster Castle

2.01pm

Crewe

3.15pm

Lancaster Castle

2.46pm

Acton Bridge

4.49pm

Warrington

5.46pm

Hartford

6.52pm

Fleetwood

7.33pm

Crewe

On 1 January 1923 the station became part of the London, Midland & Scottish Railway (LMS). By summer1932 Preston Brook had 10 down trains on weekdays. Four went to St Helens, three to Newton le Willows, two to Earlestown and 1 one to Preston. In the up direction there were also 10 trains. Five went to Crewe, 3 to Over & Wharton and 2 went to Acton Bridge.

By 1947 there were only two up and two down trains serving Preston Brook station on Monday-to-Friday. On Saturday there were three up and one down.

On 1 January 1948 Preston Brook became part of the nationalised British Railways London Midland Region. With such a poor service the station was not profitable so British Railways closed it to passenger services on 1 March 1948. The station continued to be used by railwaymen until April 1952. The goods yard remained in use until 1 September 1958. The station was demolished some time after this date, but the stationmaster’s house was still standing in 2014 in use as a private residence.

The line through the site of Preston Brook is still in use and as busy as ever. It was electrified in the early 1970s and today it sees a steady stream of express passenger services as well as a variety of freight.

Tickets from Michael Stewart route map by Alan Young.

Sources:

  • Britains First Trunk Line - The Grand Junction Railway - Norman W Webster - Adams & Dart 1972
  • Lost Stations of North West England – Paul Wright – SLP 2011
  • Railway Passenger stations in Great Britain - A Chronology - Michael Quick - RCHS 2009

To see other stations on the Grand Junction Railway between Earlestown and Crewe click on the station name:
Vulcan Halt, Winwick Quay, Warrington Dallam Lane,
Warrington Bank Quay (1st)
, Moore, Minshull Vernon and Coppenhall

The 8D Association - Dedicated to promoting the history of South Lancashire and North Cheshire railways. Web Site

A print showing Preston Brook station as it was looking north in 1840. At this time the station did not have platforms which was fairly typical in the early days of the railways.


Preston Brook station shown on a 1:2,500 scale OS map from 1875.


The goods facilities at Preston Brook shown on a 1;2,500 scale OS map from 1875.

Looking north along the up platform at Preston Brook station in the early years of the 20th century. The basic facilities at the station are clearly illustrated.
Copyright photo from the Halton Borough council collection

The down platform at Preston Brook station seen in 1912.
Copyright photo from the John Mann collection


Looking north from the down platform at Preston Brook station in the late 1930s as a Coronation class locomotive passes through on a southbound express.

The site of Preston Brook station looking south on 4 June 1980.
Photo by John Mann


The Preston Brook station house looking south-west on 27 January 2011.
Photo by Paul Wright


The site of Preston Brook station looking north on 14 April 2012.
P
hoto by Paul Wright


Looking south toward the site of Preston Brook station in 2014. The station
was on the far side of the bridge.

 

 

 

[Source: Paul Wright]




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