The 8D Association

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Posted by Mark Coyle on 28/03/2018   Email

What a great site and thanks to Denis Flood for his memories of Mollington Street and some of the characters who worked there. I, too, started on the footplate at Birkenhead, following my Dad and Uncle, both of whom were Drivers but moved to the new depot at Ellesmere Port when the shed shut in November 1985. Just a point on the Whittington tanks. Although, as Denis pointed out, the job was lost to others during the latter years at Birkenhead, when we moved to The Port, the job soon came home and was worked by Ellesmere Port men throughout and was frequently run as a combined train with the tanks for Crewe Bank at Salop. Visitors to this site may find the pictures I took whilst on the footplate at BC & EP of interest. If you go to the Flickr website, click to search people, my flickr name is 6E37. Keep up the good work and many thanks.

Posted by Eric Stuart on 24/07/2017   Email

I am writing an article about classic steam Push-Pull trains and would be interested in any eye-witness accounts or ex-staff comments or good jpgs of the trains. Acknowledgements would be given if/when published. Thanks.

Posted by Richard Mercer on 26/06/2017   Email

since 2011 in all our walks and visits it has become a tradition to take a group photograph at each location. some of them have appeared on our web-site, but not all. I intend to gather as many of these group photos possible to create a record of our activities through the years for the archive. if you have any photos of these occasions please forward a copy, together with place and date, to my e-mail address for inclusion. many thanks

Posted by Ann shacklady-Smith on 19/05/2017   Email

Hello, we are a community not for profit run cinema in St Helens 100 Corporation Street, and are screening Railways on tour 1898-1970 - RARE ARCHIVE OF FILMS CHARTING THE HISTORY OF OUR RAILWAYS. Brings home the romance and heady freedoms offered by grain travel as it expanded during early 20c. 7.30 May 23rd - 7.30 screening. We would appreciate if you could promote amongst your members. our site and for information look forward to seeing you there. See trailer: Thank you for reading this

Posted by Colin Jones on 14/02/2017   Email

Hi I would like to know whether the scope of this Association covers the Wirral as I am interested in researching the LNER shed at Bidston and it's link with Wrexham. I do have some interesting(certainly to me anyway!) information as my Father worked at both sheds Wrexham 1937 -1945 (I have a record of his activities for this period, Passed cleaner/Fireman/Passed Fireman turns) Bidston 1945 - 1963 (Passed Fireman turns for 1953) also some correspondence with LNER from these years.

Posted by Dave Hutchinson on 14/01/2017   Email

Interesting site...'must use precious time and resources to research my ancestor, JH,for now, but I wish youall well in your undertaking. regards, DH.

Posted by Richard Mercer on 01/01/2017   Email


Posted by Richard Mercer on 28/12/2016   Email

have a look at my flickr page

Posted by Vincent Swift on 20/11/2016   Email

Something wrong with your pic in study of signal boxes saying Johnson passing stones box It's an LNWR precedent loco not a johnson a webb

Posted by Richard Mercer on 30/09/2016   Email

thanks to all those who came along to Victoria Park last Saturday & Sunday in support of the 8D display, an enjoyable weekend, except when our gazebo collapsed on top of us, poor Chris Hollins didn't know what hit him

Posted by Richard Mercer on 26/08/2016   Email

there is a photo in the gallery by Les Fifoot of a 9F, 92218, passing Carterhouse Juction, this was the Manchester Rail Travel Society and Severn Valley Rlwy Society's North West Tour on the 27th April 1968 with 92218 on the Edgeley Junction - Lime Street leg of the tour, a swan song for 92218

Posted by Richard Mercer on 01/06/2016   Email

I have to say I am disappointed, but not surprised, that the annual photographic exhibition seems to have fallen by the wayside. The first exhibition was in 2010 at Widnes library, a result of which was the founding of the 8D Association. the venues for the display grew year by year and in 2015 saw it visit 7 locations in the district all of which expressed a desire for further visits in 2016 and possible new venues in ST Helens and Warrington. Benefits from the exhibitions has not only brought in new members but also much information and photo collections which may well have been lost. The future of the exhibition is in your hands, it's continued existence depends on a person or persons willing to commit time and effort to sorting photos to build the display and 4 volunteers to erect and man the outdoor venues, the indoor ones look after themselves. the association now boasts some 60+ members, most of whom live in the area. If you feel you can spare some time to carry on this worthwhi

Posted by Richard Mercer on 03/05/2016   Email

Derek French, yes the 18/2/67 tour did go through ditton but did not stop, it passed on the slow line through platform 4. The push-pull in 1966 w2as the LAST steam hauled passenger train to use platform 1 Richard Mercer

Posted by tony cook on 23/04/2016   Email

Very interested in pics of Field Trip on Runcorn Bridge, especially the chaps standing on steps on Runcorn side. Yes there was a wooden ramp leading from that position down to road level, but the toll booth wasn't used on that side of the bridge in 1950, when I use to cycle over it going to work in my first box as a signalman in Folly Lane. From the road I ascended a small path which lead to two lock gates over the Bridgewater Canal, which I negotiated to gain access to Percival Lane. It was quite an experience walking with the bike over these locks, with one side of the canal full to the top with water, whilst a gaping chasm plunged on the other side, and this in the dark, plus, in the depth of winter, made the journey very hazardous, when frost and snow covered the walkways. Health and Safety rules were non existent at this time, and I was lucky in not missing my footing. It was a case of getting to work in the quickest possible way to relieve your mate.

Posted by tim on 21/03/2016

sad too hear the demolition of Newton le Willows station as progress replace by a carbunkle of a building! sickening!

Posted by Derek French on 14/01/2016

The British Transport Executives Guild & The Locomotive Club of Great Britain ran a tour on 18th February 1967 entitled Liverpool and Warrington Area Rail Tour which was one of the final services to use platform 1 at Ditton station. Seen here during a photo stop in platform 1 with Ivatt 2-MT Class 2-6-0 no. 46250 at the head of the train. The main lines through the station have been electrified at this point with the 'modern' 1960's buildings having replaced the LNWR On the photograph with the above caption, you have got the wrong number for the tank locomotive.

Posted by Richard Mercer on 17/12/2015   Email

David Gibson, yes I am still working on that book, almost finished maybe a few months will let you know when its out

Posted by Geoff. Randall on 14/12/2015   Email

I'm seeking information regarding a fatal accident at Wavertree Gate Sidings on or about 18 May 1872 that resulted in the death of William Oliphant. Any information will be gratefully received.

Posted by David Gibson on 10/12/2015   Email

I lived in Penketh from 1948 until 1958, attending Wade Deacon Grammar School from '53 to'58, travelling from Sankey to Farnworth by train, hence my interest in the area. Since 1958 I have lived in Carlisle (yes, that place which is rather damp at the moment) but have always been interested in Railways and their history. I spent many a long hour at Froghall Lane bridge where I could see both the WCML and the CLC. In the early years of travelling to school I can recall seeing LNER Cresley coaches in teak and lettered CLC. Why didn't my parents buy me a camera when I was 5?

Posted by David Gibson on 10/12/2015   Email

This is a message for Richard Mercer. Some years ago you contacted mewhen youwere trying to identify the crew on a Long Meg to Widnes Anhydrite train for your forthcoming book. I have kept a look out for the book but not seen it as yet. Is it still progressing or did I miss publication?

Posted by Les Fifoot on 17/06/2015

I have Paul's contact details Ray, with a view for arranging something for October. The previous walks were initiated by someone off Facebook, and were limited to a party size of ten individuals for a walk duration of one hour.

Posted by Ray Barber on 10/05/2015   Email

been on Facebook today on Runcorn Photos and Network Rail have taken a party over the railway path alongside the railway over the river would be good if you could be able to organise a trip for members the person to contact is This was an organised trip.... Paul Banner of Network Rail got permission to do this and escorted the party

Posted by Richard Mercer on 05/05/2015   Email

Thursday May 7th, 8D photo display at Widnes Library in the downstairs corridor. Local press there about 10.00am. If anyone wants to come along do so all are welcome...

Posted by Richard Mercer on 04/05/2015

tomorrow sees the opening of the 8D photograph exhibition in the downstairs corridor at Widnes library. I will be setting it up about 10.00am, all are welcome

Posted by Tom ORourke on 15/01/2015   Email

Was there any coaling point for steam trains between Dingle and Hunts Cross on the now electric line. I think there was on near Seddon Road. Many thanks

Posted by Terry Callaghan on 13/09/2014   Email

The 8D Association can be contacted via All pictures used will be fully credited.

Posted by Tony Cook on 13/09/2014   Email

I have some interesting pictures to send you. Tell me how to get them to you by e-mail. Thanks a lot

Posted by Brendan on 07/09/2014

Brings back memories when I started at Edge HIll in 1974 as traction trainee then when it closed moved to Garston then when that closed Lime St The good old days ( Rod Dixon know him from Gartson great place )

Posted by Tony Cook on 01/09/2014   Email

Received my Sept 2014 copy of On Shed, and found it very interesting. Especially, about the Liverpool trams, which I travelled on during and after the second world war. More interesting though, was Chris Hollins article about the Rugby trains. Whilst I was not personally a Rugby fan, I did work alongside his dad. (I was a signalman in Ditton No 1, at the time) Teddy Lewis, (I recall lost his young wife to cancer)in the late 50s. They were good friends of mine. Ernie Miller, transferred to Ditton from Garston, I believe, and Stan Owen was a signalman in Runcorn Box, when I was on relief at Widnes, and was on Widnes Council for many years. Ernie Shakeshaft, meanwhile trained me as a shunter in Ditton Yard, and I was utilised as such, when a shortage of staff arose, on my rest days. Ernie's brother was a signalman in Olive Mount Jucntion Box. I actually worked in the old Ditton No 2 Box, situated on the Down Slow line side, opposite the existing one. (Happy Days.) Thanks Chris.

Posted by Roger Kilshaw on 02/08/2014   Email

We were confused when looking at the group photo at Spike Island, I thought to myself, 'where is Paul Wright'? Then we scrolled down and saw that Paul was the photographer! I may, with the permission of the members join you on one of the walks later this month. Roger Kilshaw

Posted by Tony Cook on 03/06/2014   Email

Hello members of 8dAssociation. I have written a book about the signalling in the Liverpool, Widnes, Wigan and Warrington areas and require a few more photographs of signalboxes in these areas. At the moment I have over 150 photographs taken in these areas, already edited into the script. (So it is going to be some tome, when finished.) Please make contact with me on and by all means send anything of interest. I was a signalman and relief signalman for close on 50 years, working in over 80 boxes during this long career, including all those that were in Widnes and Runcorn, including The two at Ditton Junction. Thanking you. Tony Cook.

Posted by Tony Cook on 02/06/2014   Email

I worked in all the signalboxes in Widnes, and in reply to Wayne I worked in Deviation Junction as a relief signalman in the 1950s. It was a very clean box considering its location, and at that time the signalmen had sack shoes over their normal ones and shuffled along the floor to polish the lino. I myself worked in over 80 boxes around Liverpool, Widnes, Wigan and Warrington, and have written a book about the history and my involvement in it. Hopefully to be published next month. I also worked in the boxes at Ditton Junction and was a regular signalman in No 1 box for six years. Seeing the electrification taking place there, as well as a few years later on the Wigan area. I note Jimmy Mackenzie an old friend and fellow signalman of mine has written on this site, and would ask his permission to use some of his photographs. If anyone has any interesting pictures, send them to me, and I will try a find a place in my book. Regards to all. Tony Cook. (My very first signalbox as a si

Posted by chris Tigwell on 12/05/2014   Email

Why was Pilks loco Briars Hey so called? House by that name in Rainhill was owned by Joseph Crossley, chemical manufacturer. Seems an odd coincidence!

Posted by steve bate on 09/04/2014   Email

fantastic lads brought back so many memories

Posted by Derek French on 28/01/2014   Email

On the Widnes-Runcorn railway bridge at either end is a stone set high up in the portico. Does anybody know the insciption on the stone & has anyone got a photo.

Posted by Trevor Powell on 19/11/2013   Email

Love the website and it has really enhanced this sixty one year old former Prescot Lad's knowledge of the area. Can I also recommend 'Cheese Butties and the 12:39 to Wigan' by Andrew Mellor. Are there plans to feature the Liverpool to Wigan line , particularly the BICC and Prescot? This site has been very useful in my research for my 00 gauge exhibition layout, 'Rainford Stoops', the home of the fictitious West Lancs Preservation Railway. Kind Regards, Trevor Powell.

Posted by ray barber on 02/11/2013

Looking at some of the photo's Colin Turton did he work at Gallenkamp with me in Croft Street and did you have a driving school,also come across my old school mate from Bankfield Arthur Turner, we spent many a happy hour at Ditton Jct and Widnes shead, Arthur was to join the railway at Speke depot, me at 18 went to Widnes Corporation as a conductor joining Crosville in 1969 as a conductor then a driver then a supervisor just coming upto retirement after close on 45 years, I am the last member of staff from Crosville Motor Services and the last from the old depot, My son was to get on the railways 24 years ago and is now a NETWORK RAIL CONTROLLER at Manchester check out his photos at Wish I had gone with Arthur to Speke

Posted by Trevor Booth on 24/10/2013

Thought you might like to know that the picture of the steam hauled passenger train crossing over at the closed Norton station in 1967 is the 'Chester Festival Flyer'. It ran on sun 9/7/67 and going to Blackpool and return. It went from Crewe via Chester. As a small child I went with my father to see it and I am the child on the old platform in front of the station buildings. Alan Peglar was on the footplate and as the loco passed us slowly he said hello and had a few words with us. Great site to visit, especially like the CLC section.

Posted by Geoff Frodsham on 10/10/2013   Email

Found your website by chance. Born in St Helens 1944 and an avid rail buff from about 6 yrs old. I visited as many sheds that I could find on receiving my first bike at 11 years. Now living in Crete and unfortunately physically disabled, otherwise I would definitely be with you guys. Good luck for the future and I will be with you in spirit. Geoff Frodsham.

Posted by Michael Kaye on 30/09/2013   Email

Hi all, would just like to say what a brilliant website (bet you've been told that a few times !) I would just also like to say, would it be more interesting for example about the signal boxes stating the mileage and position of the box 'up side or down' side of the line, also if anyone is interested I took some photographs of the signal boxes whilst working trains over the Liverpool L. St - Man Vic in the 80's. Regards Michael

Posted by Stephen Latimer on 12/08/2013

found the site through disused stations site. some great pics of many familiar places due my rail travel throughout the Merseyside area. the Cheshire lines from hunts cross to Aintree is really interesting to me as I grew up near the Walton hall avenue section of it. during 1990 my school helped sustrans keep the loopline around west derby maintained. hope to make a field trip with the group soo. many thanks for such an enjoyable site.

Posted by john inman on 10/07/2013   Email

great site with some fantastic photos, unfortunately as I was born in 1972 I missed the glory days of steam, my local shed was warrington dallam 8b, I was told all about the shed and some stories of bunking etc by my father who haunted the shed and was the bane of the shed staff for a number of years, one particular story that stands out is the time my father and his friends watched 2 young kids run out of the shed carrying the nameplate from jubilee class loco Zanzibar being pursued by the foreman and other staff, the kids in their hurry then dropped the plate in the middle of the wcml as they made their escape, I am always on the look out for stories and photos of the shed and its locomotives, so any photos and stories would be much appreciated.

Posted by James Mackenzie on 11/06/2013

Re STH&RGR signalboxes dont forget St Helens No3 Raven St just south of the station which controlled the south end of the station.

Posted by Martin Peers on 04/06/2013   Email

Hi, I've stumbled across your website which is very interesting. Could I come along with 2 ex drivers for the walk at 19:00 Thursday 6th June 2013. The CLC Halewood Triangle. Thanks Martin.

Posted by Christopher Styles on 02/05/2013   Email

I am delighted to find this wonderful site (came via dedicated to such a fasciinating area and era. I just caught the tail end of it, working as a porter at Bramhall and parcels clerk at Stockport 1979 - 1982. Will you be ccovering the area that far south east? All gone to wrack and ruin now, sadly...

Posted by Ray Walkington on 10/04/2013   Email

Having worked on the CLC line and in the Warrington and St helens areas over 40 years ago I find your site interesting will keep an eye on developments. Good luck.

Posted by Bob Lomax on 24/03/2013   Email

Hi there, I am building an O gauge model based on Runcorn in the late 30's. I will put Widnes shed down the middle. Your site is very helpful, do you know of any photo's of Runcorn goods yard in the 30's, 40's or 50's? Regards Bob

Posted by arthur padmore on 19/03/2013   Email

when i found this site it took me back all those years to my childhood in Sutton Manor,my brother was a fireman at Sutton Oak sheds,thanks for the site ,if you can help im looking for a photo of the signal box that was in Sutton Manor by the crossing into the colliery

Posted by Brian Russell on 16/03/2013   Email

Hi All, I came along to the film show on Saturday, 16th March and found it fascinating, well done !!!! Hopefully I shall be at the walk event on 6th, April to join the group. Brian, Runcorn.

Posted by dave newman on 05/03/2013   Email

just found your site which it said south lancashire and cheshire lines . well I did expect to see something about south lancashire because I worked at Didsbury station in the late 50s as a porter cum shunter ,my father was a signalman at Heaton Mersey jct , however its a very informative site and although I live in Gloucestershire I still do a bit on the preserved line Gloucestershire &Warwickshire Rly namely GWR.

Posted by Russel Warrington on 23/02/2013   Email

This is a very fascinating website, Great information.. I am looking at starting a project & Widnes Island strikes me as a very eventful subject.. Newly formed RuncornModelRailways Sooo new its only me .. It would be great to see more on how the land use to lay, so to speak Certainly considering membership Thanks for your time & efforts warm regards Russ

Posted by Mary Hines on 03/02/2013

enjoyed look at website my dad was signalman first at Moor Lane in Widnes and then at Hough Green

Posted by BRIAN PEMBERTON on 29/01/2013   Email

Hi Paul, Your name has been recommened by tle likes of Brian Dobbs, and Stepheb Wainght of Sutton Beauty. I am looking for information and photos of the Sutton Oak Engine Shed and its surrounding Branch Lines, and you are the person which can help KINDEST REGARDS BRIAN PEMBERTON

Posted by Pamela Draper on 24/01/2013   Email

I am very interested in the Association. I spent some time reminiscing about Widnes shed a few years ago, using the library, and I was not aware that an association had been started. I will look up as many photographs as I can, but there will not be many. My father had been the running shed shift foreman at Widnes shed for many years when he retired in 1962. He started work at 12 years old as an engine cleaner after his fathers early death. He falsified his age to fight in World War 1, and then resumed employment becoming a fireman, and then a foreman. He made Lantern slides of many of his photographs, of railway features but those beautiful images vanished after his death in 1963. I have some other photos though, including two or three of shed staff by a wagon which derailed off the bridge above the shed office, and hit the wall. I think I took at least one of them. My Dad died in 1963, and he was fit and well when the photos were taken prior to 1962. If I can manage the time, I would

Posted by Ray Barber on 16/12/2012

Yes I remember the loco crashing into the wall as the side of the shed. It was the head shunt for the coaling point think it was around 1964 it my well have been a 9F, I was down there a few years ago and you could still see the different brick work Ray B

Posted by Paul Wright on 16/12/2012

Very good. the site has come on leaps and bounds recently.

Posted by Richard Mercer on 10/11/2012   Email

Hi, anyone remember a loco crashing through the wall of the shed into the lane Richard Mercer

Posted by Peter Robinson on 29/09/2012   Email

Excellent site, which brought back lots of memories as I spent the first 18 years of my life in one of the railway cottages at Sutton Weaver and my bedroom had a clear view of all the traffic passing.

Posted by Stephen Phillips on 31/07/2012   Email

I'm fascinated by old photographs of Widnes & just when i thought i'd seen them all, you guys come up with new ones !! Your photograph of the Chestnut Lodge tunnel brought back some memories. I was born in 1959 & we lived in the prefabs in Montgomery Road. The trains had stopped running when i was a kid, but we used to make impromtu sledges from pieces of polythene & slide down the embankment at the back of the British Legion. At the speeds we used to reach, its a miracle none of us were ever hurt !! Keep up the good work !!

Posted by johnwood on 17/07/2012   Email

looking for info on tanhouse lane station and sullivans crossing both dismantled in the late 60's.

Posted by Ray Barber on 14/07/2012

Yes It is me the same Ray Barber, Still with Arriva but now a depot supervisor for the last 7 years, Chris never did the 82B you uses to get me on the 17 to St Helens at 06.30 with the tin rocket 1115 on your way to Kirby

Posted by Richard Mercer on 07/07/2012

to the lady in the library on saturday morning, the new station at adaitton opened on the 1st May 1871, so maps before that should help, two websites which are worth a visit are and .. good luck

Posted by Chris Hollins on 28/06/2012   Email

I wonder if the Ray Barber who posted the comments on 01/04, is the same person who works for Arriva at Runcorn bus depot and was for some time a driver on the 82B service that I travelled on from Irwell Street bus stop to Liverpool on daily during the 1990's and up to 2009, and who also has a son who works for network rail in Manchester.

Posted by Richard Mercer on 20/06/2012   Email

message for Ray Barber, interesting memories, why not get in touch, drop me an email anytime

Posted by Barry Nolan on 15/06/2012   Email

I started work at 8D in January 1955 as an Engine Cleaner and stayed at the shed until just prior to its closure in 1964. I have very fond memories of my time there and the really interesting characters I worked with. I now live in New Zealand so I was pleasantly surprised to stumble across this web site and have been drowning in nostalgia ever since. Thanks very much to those responsible for setting up this Association.

Posted by Ray Barber on 01/04/2012

I have found memory's of 8D went Bankfiels School 1960=1964, Spent many happy hours at Ditton sitting on the wall next to Ditton Brook or on top of the wooden steps, Can still picture DP2 on the Manxman, Every night we would get the Normanton Mail heading to Liverpool and most of the time it would have 45646 Napier. We managed a few cab rides on 41230 with Driver Jack Hensley after dropping the stock in platfrom 1 at Ditton, This along with 8F 48709 were always to be seen at Ditton, We could also be found in the Depot helping out no H%S then can remember calling in one night to find a 9F that was been shunted to the coaling plant, But was to long and the tender went through the wall to this day you can still see it different brickwork, But the biggest surprise we found one night was 70000 inside the shed does anybody remember that, What was a sad day for uses was to see 41230 depart on a Sunday afternoon to it's new home at Brighton, Was looking for a job at 8D lef

Posted by Richard Mercer on 25/03/2012   Email

it,s great to see people leaving comments, as archivist I would be interested in anyone who has memories or photographs to contact me

Posted by Wayne Dixon on 12/03/2012   Email

Its interesting that you have put time and effort in, for others to enjoy the History of railways around Widnes. I was asignalman at Widnes No8 during early 1985 and would be interseted in becoming a member. regards wayne

Posted by Eddie Owen on 07/02/2012   Email

Being of a certain age, I remember trainspotting regularly at Ditton Junction and also visiting the local sheds in the early 60s. Your site brings back many memories and also tries to fill in the gaps between then and now. Keep up the good work.

Posted by Mark on 04/02/2012   Email

Great, informative and very interesting website. Superb photo's too. I enjoyed this very much.

Posted by Glenn MacLeod on 24/01/2012   Email

Very pleasing to find your website dedicated to preserving the memory of the wonderful railways in South Lancashire and North Cheshire. I have fond childhood memories of the CLC route between Glazebrook East and Skelton Junction, particularly Partington Station.

Posted by peter keen on 02/11/2011

A couple of observations on your site contents 1. The Sankey Canal met the Mersey at Sankey Bridges in 1757, not Fidlers Ferry This access came in 1762. 2. Maps or plans wojuld be useful for the viewer like myself who is not familiar with the region. Keep up the good work Cheers Peter Keen

Posted by peter keen on 02/11/2011

Have just accessed your site for th first time and am very impressed with the contant and lay out.

Posted by Stan Jones on 19/07/2011   Email

Ex fireman at Widnes8D from 1953-1956, saw an article in free paper from Keen Pearce who lives in Australia wants any informatio/photo's and experiences about working in the Widnes-Warrington area covering years 1948-1958, Have made contact with photo of myself on footplate fireing a Super 'D' engine on ashpit, I would like to hear from any of the firemen/cleaners from this time, if they remember me, hope to hear from someone out there, Stan

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