[Source: Paul Wright]

Date opened: 1.4.1884
Location: North side of Crankwood Road
Company on opening: Manchester Sheffield & Lincolnshire Railway
Date closed to passengers: 2.11.1964
Date closed completely: 2.11.1964
Company on closing: British Railways (London Midland Region)
Present state: Steps down from theCrankeood Road, platforms and a retaining wall survive but the station site is heavily overgrown and access is difficult.
County: Lancashire
OS Grid Ref: SD624000
Date of visit: 3.1.2006

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 The line lingered on for goods services until 1968 although goods service had been withdrawn from West Leigh & Bedford on 5 May 1952.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 South,
Bickershaw & Abram, Lowton St. Marys, Culcheth & Newchurch Halt.

West Leigh & Bedford Station in the early 1950's
Photo received from Steven Buckley

West Leigh & Bedford station shown on a 25-inch scale map from 1905.

Railway staff at West Leigh & Bedford station pose for the camera in the second decade of the 20th-century. The importance of the railways at this time is clearly illustrated by the number of staff employed at West Leigh & Bedford.
hoto from the Brian Johnson collection

Steps down to the platform at West Leigh & Bedford Station in December 2005
hoto by Paul Wright

The remains of the southbound platform at West Leigh and Bedford Station are
covered by undergrowth.
hoto by Paul Wright

Click on thumbnail to enlarge




[Source: Paul Wright]

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