Warrington & Newton Railway
Formed by Act of Parliament on 14th May 1829, the W&N built
a 4½ mile line from a triangular junction with the Liverpool and Manchester Railway
near Newton-le-willows (thence called Newton Junction and later Earlestown Junction) to Dallam Lane in
Warrington. The W&N also had two short branches, one terminating close to the Mersey at Bank Quay
and the other to Cockhedge, east of Warrington. The railway was opened on 25th July 1831,
though was not entirely complete by that time.
The Act of Parliament of 6th May 1833, which authorised the formation of the Grand Junction Railway , proposed a line extending the W&N from Warrington to the northern outskirts of Birmingham, where it would connect with the London & Birmingham Railway . From late 1833 the Directors of the W&N (aware of their strong position in the centre of a strategic route) put forward a proposal to effectively sell out to the GJR, but the price was too high and the merger was not completed until 12th July 1835.
The triangular junction at Newton was to play an important part in the history of the LNWR because it was on this very tight curve that the engines then in use broke their crank axles with unacceptable regularity. This in turn led to the design of the outside-cylinder “Crewe Type” engines with no crank axles to break and eventually to the LNWR building its engines in-house. The tight curves at Earlestown remain in use to this day.