LNWR WARRINGTON ARPLEY - BROADHEATH No.1 (12½ miles)
7.7.1985 (all traffic)
Arpley (closed 1958), Latchford, Thelwall (closed 1956), Lymm, Heatley (renamed Heatley & Warburton 1857), Warburton (renamed Warburton & Dunham 1856, Dunham 1857 and finally Dunham Massey 1861), Dunham (1855), Broadheath
Statham, Lymm station, Reddish Lane, Lymm Lane, Heatley & Warburton station, Dunham Massey station, Cinderland Crossing (Broadheath).
Arpley Junction, Wilderspool Crossing, Latchford Station, Thelwall Station, Lymm Station, Lymm Lane Crossing, Heatley & Warburton, Dunham Massey Crossing, Cinderland Crossing, Broadheath No.3, Broadheath No.1
Originally the Warrington & Altrincham Junction Railway it changed its name to the Warrington & Stockport Railway and was absorbed by the LNWR in 1867. It opened from a temporary terminus at Wilderspool (Warrington) to Broadheath in November 1853 with connections to Arpley station in Warrington and the Manchester South Junction & Altrincham Railway (MSJ&AR) following in May 1854. The line was realigned at Latchford in 1894 when the bridge over the Manchester Ship Canal (MSC) was opened and it was the condition of this bridge that was cited as the reason for the lines complete closure in 1985, passenger trains having been withdrawn in 1962.
A group calling itself the Warrington Arpley Preservation Society had plans to form a centre on the site of the now disused Arpley stabling point. The scheme included plans to reopen the line as far as Thelwall.
At the Warrington end the line is still in use to allow trains from the WCML to reverse and reach Fiddlers Ferry power station. It ends one mile east of Arpley Junction but from the stop blocks the double track continues (initially through dense undergrowth) as far as Wash Lane underbridge. From there a high embankment carries a single track right up to the bridge over the ship canal although security fencing prevents progress beyond Knutsford Road (A56) underbridge. The Trans Pennine Trail utilises the trackbed from the east side of Latchford high level bridge through to Broadheath and access to the trail starts in Bradshaw Lane, opposite Latchford locks (SJ639871). Up to 1997 the trail ended just beyond Heatley & Warburton station but in the Summer of 1998 Trafford MBC completed their section from a new bridge over the River Bollin to Cinderland Crossing and you can now walk or cycle the full eight miles on a good surface. Widening the M6 to four lanes over the Thelwall Viaduct has closed the earlier motorway ”tunnel“ but a suitable diversion has been provided alongside and then under Campsey Lane (A56). The walk is then straightforward to Cinderland Crossing from where the Trans Pennine Trail continues east along the Bridgewater canal. At one time it was possible to follow the trackbed a further three quarters of a mile ending at an industrial and retail park but more recently this has been reduced to 400yds as the formation is used for storing trailers and is blocked off. Just west of the site of Broadheath station a new road has been built over the line for a quarter of a mile. The bridge over Manchester Road (A56) has been demolished but an isolated section of arches that carried the line alongside Viaduct Road can be seen as can the bridge over the MSJ&AR line.
Lymm station demolished - site now a ranger station; Heatley & Warburton station house and buildings survive; Dunham Massey station house and rails over level crossing; Crossing keepers house at Cinderland. No trace of Latchford, Thelwall, Dunham or Broadheath.
Latchford high level bridge over MSC intact but sealed off; Railtrack planned to demolish it in 1997 but the MSC Co wouldn’t agree to their request for a nine day closure of the canal. A new full width bridge constructed over River Bollin, all other bridges (except those over the A56 and the canal at Broadheath) intact.
Trains to Warrington Bank Quay (WCML and Chester - Manchester/Liverpool) or Warrington Central (Manchester - Liverpool).
Bus services nos. 5, 37 & 38 Warrington to Bradshaw Lane, Latchford.
Northern Trains hourly service from Navigation Road to Manchester Piccadilly (via Stockport) or Chester; frequent Metrolink service to Manchester.
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