The 8D Association

The GC & MR Joint. (The Widnes Loop)

Only two stations appear on the line.

A DMU heads along the loop line photographed from Moor Lane the train would shortly be calling at Widnes Central. Early 1960's. Photo by Neville Conroy.

Widnes Central.

Opened on 1st August 1879 it was the first station to open on the Widnes Loop. The station was located on a high embankment which ran parallel with the LNWR's Deviation line through the centre of Widnes. The station was provided with two platform faces and a booking office on the westbound platform. The eastbound platform had a brick built waiting room and a subway connected the two. The station was also provided with platform canopies on both sides. The service was good until the early 1960's with 11 westbound trains Monday to Friday and 9 eastbound and 12 westbound services on a Saturday in 1948 but by 1964 this had declined to six westbound and five eastbound Monday to Friday with six westbound but only four eastbound on Saturdays. The line and both its stations were recommended for closure in the Beeching report and on 3rd October 1964 the final trains ran. The station officially closed on 5th October 1964. The whole station site along with the embankment on which it stood were swept away in the late 1980's when Ashley Way was built. No trace remains of the station.

A Fairburn 2-6-4T, No 42064 stands at Widnes central station in 1964 shortly before the stations closure. It is hauling the midday service to Liverpool with a rake of pre-war suburban coaches. The midday Saturday service was very popular with shoppers wanting an afternoons shopping in Liverpool it was under exploited by the railways and coupled with the run down of services led to the closure. Photo by Neville Conroy.

Ticket for one of the Workman trains which operated along the loop dating from  13th September 1945.
Supplied by Les Fifoot. (
For more information and pictures click here )

Tanhouse Lane.

The station at Tanhouse opened on 1st September 1890 and was located in a very industrialised area. From the outset the station was popular with people travelling to and from work. The early owners of the line ran Workmens trains which terminated there, this practice lived on into B.R. days and until ultimate closure, with the first service of the day terminating there. The station suffered from the rising popularity of the motor car and was recommended for closure, along with the line in the Beeching Report of 1963. Closure arrived on the 5th October 1964 with the final services having run on 3rd October 1964. The goods yard adjacent to the station continued to be used up until the mid to late 1990's for the delivery of cement to the Blue Circle terminal on Tanhouse Lane. After standing derelict for a number of years the whole area was turned into a public park with a short length of the Widnes Loop retained as a feature and as a reminder of its railway heritage. A short section of the station wall can be seen.

A 1964 view of Tanhouse Lane station shortly before closure. Photo by Gordon Howarth.

ICI Pilkington Sullivans locomotive 'Kestrel' in between duties stands at the rear of Tanhouse Lane station. The wall behind the loco is that of the westbound waiting room. 11th April 1959. Photo by the late Jim Peden. (Reproduced with permission from the Industrial Railway Society).

A 1990's view, Blue Circle Cement 'Sentinal' shunter H002 draws a rake of wagons from Tanhouse Yard into the terminal. The telegraph pole to the left of the train can be seen in the next shot. Photo by Terry Callaghan.

The section of original Widnes Loop line left insitu as a reminder of the railway heritage in the area. The telegraph pole to the left of the line is visible in the previous shot. 26th October 2012. Photo by Terry Callaghan.

A fascinating Great Central and Midland Joint Monthly  Return ticket for the short journey from Widnes Central to Tanhouse Lane. Supplied by Les Fifoot. (For more information and pictures click here )

Further Information.
'Lost Stations of North West England' by Paul Wright.
'Widnes and St Helens Railways' by Bob Pixton.

Dedicated to promoting the history of the railways of South Lancashire and North Cheshire.
Community Web Kit provided free by BT