Station Name: WALKDEN LOW LEVEL

[Source: Philip Hudson]


Date opened: 1.4.1875
Location: Between Park Road & Walkden Road (A575)
Company on opening: London & North Western Railway
Date closed to passengers: 29.3.1954
Date closed completely: 29.3.1954
Company on closing: British Rail (London Midland Region)
Present state: Demolished
County: Lancashire
OS Grid Ref: SD737025
Date of visit: May 2006

Walkden Low level station was situated on the London & North Western Railway’s (LNWR) Roe Green Junction – Fletcher Street Junction line which opened for goods services on 16 November 1874. The line, which was authorised on 12 July 1869, created a shorter route for the LNWR between Bolton and Manchester and one that could compete more easily with the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway (LYR) who had a direct route between the two times dating back to 1839. The LNWR Bolton and Kenyon line provided a link between Bolton and Manchester but it was not direct and it was more than twice as long as the LYR route. From 1864 the situation was improved when the LNWR opened a line between Eccles and Wigan from which a connection to the Kenyon line was made at Howe Bridge, but again the route was still longer than the LYR line.

The first sod on the direct line was cut on 23 January 1871 but construction did not start until March 1871. The new line diverged from the Eccles and Wigan line at Roe Green and then ran for 4¾ miles to Fletcher Street in Bolton where it connected to the Kenyon line. Passenger services were introduced on 1 April 1875. Walkden Low Level was opened as Walkden along with two other stations (Little Hulton and Plodder Lane).

As built Walkden station had two platforms reached by four ramps. There were similar single-storey brick buildings with a canopy on each platform, that on the north side being longer as it included the booking office. The railway company originally proposed naming the station 'Walkden Stocks' but was overruled by the Local Board. In June 1924 it was renamed Walkden Low Level to distinguish it from the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway's Walkden station which became Walkden High Level. The station had no goods facilities.

Passenger services were discontinued on 29 March 1954 but the line continued to be used for freight traffic.

THE TYLDESLEY LOOP LINE
The Tyldesley Loopline was opened by the London& North West Railway Company on 1st September 1864, to provide a link between Eccles (located on the famous 1830 Stephenson line between Manchester and Liverpool), and Wigan (located on the main West Coast line which ran from London to Glasgow).

In 1870 an additional branch line (the Roe Green Loopline) was opened to Bolton, via Walkden Low Level. The station was initially opened at Walkden with Low Level being added 2.6.1924. A key function of the lines was to support the surrounding collieries in conjunction with the Bridgewater canal, the largest of which was at Mosley Common, one of the biggest pits
in the UK at its prime.

The Tyldesley Loopline extended from Eccles, through Monton and Worsley to Roe Green, where it turned westwards through Ellenbrook. At Roe Green, the Roe Green Loopline diverted northwards through Walkden to Bolton.

Roe Green itself was the scene of a major rail crash in on 11th February 1926, when several wagons and a brake van broke loose from an engine at Little Hulton, thence proceeded down the gradient through Walkden into the vicinity of Roe Green. Here, an emergency plan was hastily put into operation and the carriages were diverted into a small siding adjacent to Beesley
Bridge. They smacked into the bridge, breaking up in the process and depositing their contents far and wide, before bursting into flames. The contents of one wagon being boxes of Daddies Sauce, and the other crates of Wellington boots.

The lines were managed by several companies before their closure in the late 1960s. The Tyldesley Loopline was finally closed under the 'Beeching Axe' on 5th May 1969, when under the control of British Rail. The Roe Green branch line closed in October 1969.

Since the 1980's parts of the line has been progressively reclaimed and now forms an integral part of the Salford network of recreation pathways. More recently, the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority has promoted the concept of reclaiming some 7km of the old line as a bus corridor.

Tickets from Michael Stewart and route map by Alan Young

See also: Bolton Great Moor Street, Plodder Lane for Farnworth,
Little Hulton, Worsley & Monton Green



Walkden LNWR station looking south-east in 1905.
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection




Walkden LNWR station shown on a 6-inch scale map from 1891. The proximity of the LYR station is clearly demonstrated.


Walkden station shown on a 25-inch scale map from 1891.


On this 25-inch scale map from 1936 the 'high level' and 'low level' suffix has been added by the LMS to avoid confusion between the two stations. There had also been considerable residential development since the 1890s.


The Walkden LNWR station looking north in 1905. Standing at the up platform is a local service for Manchester Exchange. In the distance the LYR line can be seen.
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection


Walkden Low Level station looking south-east in the early 1920s. The station was sited between two roads with ramps down to both platforms from Park Road and Walkden Road.
Photo received from Chetham's Library


The Walkden Low Level station down platform seen in the 1930s.
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection


Walkden Low Level station in 1954. Note the paper token sign on the notice board. When metal totem signs were eventually fitted to stations a few years later, the High Level station got them but Walkden Low Level didn't.
Photo received from Chetham's Library


The site of Walkden Low Level station looking north in April 1976.
Photo by John Mann

The site of Walkden Low Level station in May 2006
P
hoto by Philip Hudson

Click on thumbnail to enlarge

 

 

 

[Source: Philip Hudson]


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