WIDNES SOUTH PASSENGER SERVICES

[Source: Paul Wright]


Notes: At the time of opening Widnes station was served by trains between Liverpool and Manchester and shorter workings along the route. Some trains from Liverpool terminated at Widnes station. St Helens line trains also served the station, running between Ditton Junction and St Helens. When the Garston & Warrington line had originally been built its owner (The St Helens Canal & Railway Company) had seen it as a main line. The LNWR took over the route on 1 August 1864 and they saw it as a secondary passenger route but an important freight artery.

Widnes enjoyed a good level of service in the late 19th Century the December 1895 timetable showed 25 ‘up’ (Manchester/St Helens direction) departures and 22 ‘down’ (Liverpool direction) departures on Monday-to-Friday as shown in the table below. There were 2 additional trains in each direction on Saturdays and on Sundays there were 7 'up' and 6 'down' services.

Up Trains December 1895 Destination Down Trains December 1895 Destination

7.05am

Manchester London Road

6.00am Liverpool Lime Street

7.15am

St Helens

6.55am

Ditton Junction

8.56am

Warrington Arpley

7.55am

Liverpool Lime Street

9.33am

Manchester London Road

8.40am

Liverpool Lime Street

9.40am

St Helens

9.05am

Ditton Junction

10.33am Manchester London Road

9.58am

Liverpool Lime Street

10.43am Terminating train from Ditton Junction 10.18am Liverpool Lime Street

12.14pm

St Helens

11.55am

Ditton Junction

12.16pm

Lymm

12.08pm

Liverpool Lime Street

1.04pm Manchester London Road 1.30pm (Saturdays Only) Liverpool Lime Street

2.10pm

Warrington Bank Quay

1.49pm

Ditton Junction

2.15pm

St Helens

2.10pm

Liverpool Lime Street

3.20pm

Manchester London Road

3.09pm

Ditton Junction

3.36pm

St Helens

3.47pm

Liverpool Lime Street

4.00pm Manchester London Road

4.51pm

Ditton Junction

5.00pm

Stockport (LNWR)

5.05pm Liverpool Lime Street

5.30pm

St Helens

5.26pm

Liverpool Lime Street

5.55pm

Manchester London Road

6.23pm

Ditton Junction

6.45pm

St Helens

6.32pm

Ditton Junction

6.46pm

Manchester London Road

7.05pm Liverpool Lime Street
7.38pm Terminating train from Liverpool Lime Street

8.15xpm

Liverpool Lime Street

8.50pm

Manchester London Road

8.29pm

Ditton Junction

8.55pm (Saturdays Only)

St Helens

10.01pm Liverpool Lime Street
10.08pm Terminating train from Ditton Junction

11.25pm (Saturdays Only)

Ditton Junction

10.19pm

St Helens

   
11.06pm York    
11.46pm (Saturdays Only) Terminating train from Liverpool Lime Street    

In 1911 a railmotor was introduced onto the St Helens service. It became known locally as the 'Ditton Dodger'. The railmotor was a success and by 1919 it was inadequate for the service. The LNWR introduced Webb tank locomotives capable of operating push and pull trains onto the service with two coaches.

On the Liverpool and Manchester services the LNWR tended to deploy elderly main line locomotives that were reaching the end of their working lives.

The July 1922 timetable showed Widnes as having 27 ‘up’ departures and 23 ‘down’ services Monday-to-Friday as shown in the table below. There was one less train in each direction on Saturdays and on Sundays there were 4 'up' and 3 'down' trains. The St Helens service no longer ran on Sundays by 1922.

Up Trains July 1922 Destination Down Trains July 1922 Destination
5.45am Terminating train from Ditton Junction. 6.10am Liverpool Lime Street
6.52am Manchester London Road 6.50am Ditton Junction
7.09am St Helens 7.42am Liverpool Lime Street
8.07am St Helens 8.29am Liverpool Lime Street
8.14am Manchester London Road 9.00am Ditton Junction
8.48am Warrington Bank Quay 9.20am Liverpool Lime Street
9.08am Terminating train from Liverpool Lime Street 10.26am Liverpool Lime Street
9.37am Manchester London Road 11.47am Ditton Junction
10.12am St Helens 12.30pm Liverpool Lime Street
10.44am Terminating train from Liverpool Lime Street 1.15pm Liverpool Lime Street
11.52am Broadheath 2.00pm Liverpool Lime Street
12.10pm (Saturdays Only) St Helens 2.37pm Ditton Junction
12.19pm St Helens 2.52pm (Saturdays Excepted) Liverpool Lime Street
12.47pm Manchester London Road 3.25pm (Saturdays Only) Liverpool Lime Street
1.50pm Manchester London Road 3.41pm Liverpool Lime Street (Ditton Junction on Saturdays)
2.55pm St Helens 5.00pm Ditton Junction
3.34pm Manchester London Road 5.15pm (Saturdays Excepted) Liverpool Lime Street
3.49pm (Saturdays Excepted) Manchester London Road 5.25pm Liverpool Lime Street
4.09pm St Helens 6.43pm Ditton Junction
5.15pm Manchester London Road 6.54pm Liverpool Lime Street
5.25pm (Saturdays Excepted) St Helens 8.22pm Liverpool Lime Street
5.35pm St Helens 9.11pm Ditton Junction
6.07pm Manchester London Road 10.08pm (Saturdays Excepted) Ditton Junction
6.50pm Manchester London Road 10.25pm Liverpool Lime Street
7.04pm St Helens 10.30pm (Saturdays Only) Ditton Junction
9.33pm Manchester London Road    
9.44pm St Helens    
11.05pm Terminating train from Liverpool Lime Street    

Little changed when the LMS took over in January 1923. In the summer of 1932 Widnes had 24 up departures on weekdays. Ten services travelled to Manchester London Road, four to Warrington Bank Quay and ten to St Helens Shaw Street. The first eastbound departure was at 5.48am, and its destination was Manchester London Road. There were 31 down services: 15 travelled to Liverpool Lime Street, some of them originating at Widnes, and 16 services went to Ditton Junction. The first down departure was the 6.10am to Liverpool Lime Street. The last was also for Liverpool Lime Street at 10.23pm.

During the Second World War services on the St Helens line were reduced to only three trains in the morning peak and three in the afternoon on weekdays only. After the war was over the service remained at this level but some mid-day services for shoppers did run on Saturdays.

The last LMS summer timetable of 1947 showed 17 up trains Monday-to-Saturday. There were 13 down trains on Monday-to-Friday and 17 on Saturdays as shown in the table below. There were no trains on Sundays.

Up Trains Summer 1947

Destination

Down Trains Summer 1947

Destination

6.37am

Timperley

6.47am

Ditton Junction

7.03am

St Helens

7.15am

Ditton Junction

7.31am

Manchester London Road

7.41am

Ditton Junction

8.07am

St Helens

8.15am

Liverpool Lime Street

8.13am

Manchester London Road

8.49am

Ditton Junction

8.45am

Warrington Bank Quay

8.59am

Ditton Junction

9.08am

Terminating Service from Liverpool Lime Street.

12.02pm (Saturdays Only)

Ditton Junction

10.12am (Saturdays Only)

St Helens

12.35pm (Saturdays Only)

Liverpool Lime Street

12.18pm

St Helens

1.06pm (Saturdays Only)

Ditton Junction

12.42pm

Manchester London Road

1.44pm

Ditton Junction

1.37pm (Saturdays Only)

St Helens

1.53pm

Ditton Junction

4.16pm

St Helens

5.01pm

Ditton Junction

5.08pm (Saturdays Excepted)

St Helens

5.39pm

Liverpool Lime Street

5.17pm

Manchester London Road

5.45pm (Saturdays Excepted)

Ditton Junction

5.33pm

St Helens

6.25pm

Ditton Junction

5.55pm (Saturdays Excepted)

Terminating Service from Liverpool Lime Street.

8.14pm

Ditton Junction

6.11pm (Saturdays Excepted)

St Helens

10.18pm (Saturdays Only)

Ditton Junction

6.53pm

Manchester London Road

10.36pm (Saturdays Only)

Terminating train from St Helens

8.31pm

Warrington Bank Quay

9.31pm (Saturdays Only)

Manchester London Road

9.49pm (Saturdays Excepted)

St Helens

10.03pm (Saturdays Only)

St Helens

11.03pm

York

The first summer British Railways timetable of 1948 showed a similar level of service to that of the last year of the LMS. After the withdrawal of the St Helens service Widnes station had only scheduled services on the former Garston & Warrington line. In the summer 1957 timetable there were only eight ‘up’ and five ‘down’ departures on Monday-to-Friday as shown in the table below. On Saturdays there were retimed workings and one less up train. The York Mail had ceased to call at Widnes by this time but it still passed through.

Up Trains Summer 1957

Destination

Down Trains Summer 1957

Destination

6.39am

Timperley

7.47am

Ditton Junction

7.45pm

Manchester London Road

8.02am

Liverpool Lime Street

8.16am

Manchester London Road

8.56am (Saturdays Excepted)

Ditton Junction

8.46am

Warrington Bank Quay

12.34pm (Saturdays Only)

Liverpool Lime Street

12.42pm

Manchester London Road

1.44pm (Saturdays Only)

Ditton Junction

5.14pm

Manchester London Road

1.48pm (Saturdays Excepted)

Ditton Junction

5.54pm (Saturdays Excepted)

Terminating train from Liverpool Lime Street

5.28pm

Liverpool Lime Street

6.44pm

Warrington Bank Quay

Many special train services ran from Widnes station in the 1950s including works outings and rugby league supporters’ trains.

Only a few months after renaming the station as Widnes South on 5 January 1959 British Railways was considered withdrawing the passenger service. Widnes South was being used by only half a dozen passengers per day. In the summer 1961 timetable the passenger service was wrongly shown as withdrawn with a note underneath stating that it was still operating. A timetable was added in the back of the timetable for the service.

The last timetable for Widnes South had only 8 ‘up’ and 3 ‘down’ trains Monday-to-Friday, with a long gap in the daytime as shown in the table below. On Saturdays there were only 6 'up' trains. With such a poor level of service it was little wonder that so few passengers used Widnes South.

Tickets by Michael Stewart, timetables from and route map drawn by Alan Young.

For interesting timetable information see the Timetable World website

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The British Railways London Midland Region timetable for the summer of 1961 wrongly showed the Ditton Junction and Broadheath service as discontinued and Widnes South as closed with an addendum stating that the service was still running.


The hastily put together summer 1961 timetable that was printed in the back of the British Railways timetable on page 807.


The British Railways London Midland Region timetable of 10 September 1962 correctly showing the train service that served Widnes South as being withdrawn and the station closed to passengers.

 

 

 

[Source: Paul Wright]




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