Notes: The station opened as Plank Lane for West
Leigh along with 6 other stations on the Wigan Joint Railway
in 1884. It was renamed West Leigh & Bedford on 1 January 1894.
The line had been the promoted by the Cheshire Lines Railway
in 1874 as a branch from its main Liverpool to Manchester line
at Glazebrook that would link it to the lucrative Lancashire
Coalfields. Only the Manchester Sheffield and Lincolnshire constituent
of the CLC remained interested in the concept and it was they
who built the line which opened to goods services in 1879. When
opened it connected to the main line at Glazebrook with an east
to north curve which meant services could only easily go towards
Manchester. In 1900 a west to north curve was put in to allow
trains to head to and from Liverpool. The line became part of
the GCR and in 1923 part of the LNER but it was operated as
part of the CLC system. The station was situated on an embankment
and had two platforms.
Initially passenger services ran from Manchester Central to
a temporary terminus at Wigan which was not replaced until the
opening of Wigan Central in 1892. In 1894 the station was renamed
as West Leigh and Bedford. From 1900, when a west to north curve
was put in at Glazebrook services started to run to Warrington
Central. Monday to Friday services in 1903 saw the GCR run 8
trains to Manchester and 6 to Warrington each day.
Services increased under the LNER especially during the war
years. However after 1945 the line went into decline and the
last service was the Wigan Central to Irlam or Manchester Central
service. Latterly some of these services where operated by DMU's
until the end came on 1 November 1964. The line lingered on for goods
services until 1968 although goods service had been withdrawn
from West Leigh & Bedford on 5 May 1952.
Today remains of the station including the steps leading up
from the road can be seen but only by struggling through the
extensive shrub growth that has colonized the station site.
On the west side of the site a substantial section of blue engineering
brick supporting wall can be seen in a residential garden.
To see the other
stations on the Wigan Central - Glazebrook line click on the
station name: Wigan Central,
Lower Ince, Hindley
& Abram, Lowton
St. Marys, Culcheth