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Haydock Park & Ashton-in-Makerfield station

Started by: ashtonman01 (213)

Came across this cinefilm footage showing Haydock Park station and also Ashton-in-Makerfield station during the time both stations were in use. This must a very rare piece of film which I've never seen before, only came across by accident a few days ago.


Anyone know when this footage would've been filmed?. Ashton station closed to passengers in March 1952.

Started: 2nd Mar 2023 at 16:27
Last edited by ashtonman01: 2nd Mar 2023 at 16:33:12

Posted by: tonker (28058) 

You could estimate the date using the fact that a steam engine is being used. I think steam engines ran on that line up to the mid 60's.

From 'St.Helens Central Station' Wiki. - "goods traffic until 1965"

Replied: 2nd Mar 2023 at 17:20

Posted by: ena malcup (4151) 

Special race day excursions continued to use Haydock Park Station after Ashton Station's passenger services had ceased. Those large numerical codes displayed on smokebox door of the steam locomotive are of the sort used for indicating excursion traffic.

(I think the railway terminology for them is 'Reporting Number')

Replied: 2nd Mar 2023 at 18:34
Last edited by ena malcup: 14th Mar 2023 at 15:13:38

Posted by: riocaroni (683)

I went to Haydock park on the train 1975ish.

Replied: 3rd Mar 2023 at 19:52

Posted by: ashtonman01 (213)

Ricocaroni, you could'nt have gone to Haydock Park station on the train in 1975 as the station finally closed to passengers in 1965, and that included race days. Unless you are meaning you went to Haydock Park and went to Bryn station?.

Does anyone know anything about this footage, where it came from and whether any more footage was filmed?. It just starts mid way down the old disused track, we don't see it pass over the ruined/rotted iron bridge further up towards Golborne, so I would've assumed the person filming would've started filming much earlier before the train reaches the station, unless the shots before it were unrelated and was just edited out (maybe some random family footage). I don't think the person who uploaded it had any connection to the footage that his/her uncle, dad or whatever had filmed, seems like it was taken from somewhere else and uploaded to youtube. And that the uploader never mentions Ashton station in the title just Haydock Park station suggests to me he doesn't know much about the stations filmed. Has this been seen before it was uploaded a few years ago? because it's the first time I've come across it. It could've come from a railway documentary taken by a professional cinematographer or something made for British Railways.

Replied: 5th Mar 2023 at 11:21
Last edited by ashtonman01: 5th Mar 2023 at 11:58:42

Posted by: tonker (28058) 

Ashtunmon, considering the film was put onto YouTube by 'St.Helens History Channel', logic would point me towards making contact with 'St.Helens History Channel' to answer your questions.

That said, I'm sure I've seen that film, or part of it, before. Probably on this very site.

Replied: 5th Mar 2023 at 11:36

Posted by: ashtonman01 (213)

Tonker, I don't think that channel is an official St Helens history channel or is an official St Helens anything channel, it's just some random youtube channel with that title, the other videos on that channel are just random videos of the town. So it's unlikely the person had anything to do with the footage, but they must've got the footage from somewhere. As you say, you think you've seen the footage before.

Replied: 5th Mar 2023 at 12:01

Posted by: tonker (28058) 

It's on Haydock Past and Present, on Faceache!

Replied: 5th Mar 2023 at 12:06

Posted by: ena malcup (4151) 

There was experimental reintroduction of 'Race Day Specials' in 1975. Did not continue, following years.

Record says they used Ashton in Makerfield Station as dilapidation of Haydock Park Station too great for service.

Replied: 5th Mar 2023 at 20:05
Last edited by ena malcup: 5th Mar 2023 at 20:06:09

Posted by: riocaroni (683)

Ashton man I definitely went to Haydock park round about 1975. The train stopped roughly half way down the main driveway to the course. It was probably the big July meeting.

Replied: 7th Mar 2023 at 14:29

Posted by: ena malcup (4151) 

Maybe initially they tried using Haydock park Station but then switched to use A in M, because of the former's condition.

ps I have seen pics of the 1975 specials. They were DMUs. They are on internet somewhere, but I could not tell you where to find.

Replied: 7th Mar 2023 at 15:03
Last edited by ena malcup: 7th Mar 2023 at 15:08:40

Posted by: Tommy Two Stroke (15558)


"Does anyone know anything about this footage, where it came from and whether any more footage was filmed?"

My thoughts on when this was filmed.

In the film both Haydock Park and the Ashton in Makerfield Stations are obviously still open, because passenger trains were still running on the line, so the film was filmed before the 3rd March 1952, when passenger services were withdrawn from that line, after that only 'Race Day Special' trains stopped at both those stations, but that was not a 'Race Day Special' because there were only a few passengers, so it was definitely filmed before the 3rd March 1952, but looking at the state of Haydock Park Station, I would say that the closure of the line to passengers was imminent, and the reason that the person who filmed that film, filmed it, was to record a visual history of that line, before it closed.

The factory with the smoking chimney, which was across the fields from Haydock Park Station, that will have been Makerfield Mill.

Before such lines were closed, a six month closure notice would be issued by British Rail, that means the passenger closure notice will have been made on the 3rd September 1951, in the film the vegetation and the way people are dressed, suggests that it was filmed during the summer months, so I would say that film could have been filmed in September 1951

Replied: 7th Mar 2023 at 15:22
Last edited by Tommy Two Stroke: 7th Mar 2023 at 15:26:22

Posted by: ena malcup (4151) 

I beg to differ, tts.

The train shown is obviously a Race Day Special.
1 Only Race day specials used Haydock park Station: it was not a stop for ANY scheduled service. It does not appear in the published time tables.

2 The Steam locomotive carries on its smokebox door the numerical indications which were used to permit identification of excursion traffic.

Replied: 7th Mar 2023 at 15:38
Last edited by ena malcup: 7th Mar 2023 at 15:41:28

Posted by: riocaroni (683)

It was a DMU that we went on.

Replied: 7th Mar 2023 at 17:08

Posted by: Tommy Two Stroke (15558)


That was in 1975, I am in 1951/52


If the train with the number on was a race day special, and it was stopping at Haydock Park, then why are there no heads popping out of the train windows, but I suppose it could have been bringing carriages back, to pick up the punters, but I don't think that is the point, if you look at Ashton Station, it is clearly still open for passengers, several different passenger trains are shown, even the train seen chuffing out of Haydock Park, on the other side a loco is passing, and that line was single, and train stations like Haydock Park were used as passing points and run arounds, so maybe that train had been waiting at the signal at Haydock Park, for the other loco to run past it.

I can guess and guess and guess, but I believe that film was filmed in 1951/52 just prior to the passenger services being withdrawn.

Replied: 7th Mar 2023 at 17:40
Last edited by Tommy Two Stroke: 7th Mar 2023 at 17:42:42

Posted by: ena malcup (4151) 

The track may well have been singled in latter times, but I think when passenger services were using the stations it was double throughout.

Replied: 7th Mar 2023 at 18:02

Posted by: tonker (28058) 

It was a double line until Shell opened.

Replied: 7th Mar 2023 at 21:16

Posted by: Tommy Two Stroke (15558)

Yes I agree, it was a double track

Replied: 7th Mar 2023 at 21:42

Posted by: ena malcup (4151) 

I was amused to read in one of the comments following the vid on YouTube, a contributor claiming to have particular knowledge because he attended AGS, which is adjacent.
That may be so, but at the time of the activity concerned, AGS was not there, it was at this time located at the Northern extremity of Old Road.

Replied: 8th Mar 2023 at 11:27

Posted by: Tommy Two Stroke (15558)

The new AGS opened in 1965, the old AGS became Ashton Secondary Modern, which became Cansfield High School, the new AGS becoming Byrchall High School, when all schools in Wigan Metro became comprehensive schools

Replied: 8th Mar 2023 at 16:12

Posted by: tonker (28058) 

Ashton had the first grammar school in the area, over 500 years ago. And Brian Arrowsmith attended it!

Replied: 8th Mar 2023 at 19:15

Posted by: Tommy Two Stroke (15558)

Did he have a brother called Edmund

Replied: 8th Mar 2023 at 22:32

Posted by: ena malcup (4151) 


Were Ashton's schools under Wigan Metro at that time?

I do not know, I had left the district in 1965. Prior to this though, A in M's schools came under Lancashire Education Committee (LCC)

Some of my friends went to Wigan Tech upon leaving School. They had to get permits to do so from the abovementioned. I presume it was for Wigan to get payment for them from Lancs. I did not require a permit, because my employer paid my fees to Wigan Tech.

Replied: 8th Mar 2023 at 23:08

Posted by: tonker (28058) 

Wigan 'Metro' came into force in 1974. Prior to this, Ashton schools were run by Lancashire Education Committee (L.E.C.).

I went to Wigan Tech. after leaving school. I didn't have to have a permit. It was late 1974. It was crap!

Edmund Arrowsmith's 'real' name was Brian.

Replied: 8th Mar 2023 at 23:54

Posted by: gaffer (7982) 

Replied: 9th Mar 2023 at 16:41

Posted by: ena malcup (4151) 

That is interesting, Gaffer. I wonder if each track was signalled for bi-directional working. It was not something I have any recollection of. I would guess not though. For such a short distance and infrequent use it would be more economical to signal using flags on the day. I have had frequent experience of signalling by flags when travelling between Yorkshire and Manchester, as copper thieves frequently have stolen signal cable overnight around Huddersfield. It produces inordinate delays , but for the distance involved for the race day specials, and the lack of other traffic, I guess it would suffice.

Replied: 9th Mar 2023 at 18:54

Posted by: tonker (28058) 

"such a short distance and infrequent use"


Replied: 9th Mar 2023 at 20:59

Posted by: ena malcup (4151) 

Only race days

Only distance from Haydock Park to Junction North of Lowton St Mary's. I would guess about 3.5 miles.

Replied: 9th Mar 2023 at 21:23

Posted by: tonker (28058) 

As it was a busy line, used by all the collieries in the area and linked to the main lines N, S, E & W.

Replied: 9th Mar 2023 at 21:52

Posted by: ena malcup (4151) 

Yes, but they did not need to rig for bi directional working of each line. Even on race days, the conventionally use line is appropriately signalled. Only the line in counter-directional use has these particular signalling requirements, and then only briefly on race days.

I would imagine that as the bi-directional use is for such a brief period, they would not admit (ie signal check) any traffic from entering from spurs, exchange sidings or links.

Having said that, I do not know. Perhaps it was signalled for each track to have bi-directional working, and I had never observed that it was so. Maybe someone who knows the signalling of the route will come on and tell us.

Replied: 9th Mar 2023 at 22:15
Last edited by ena malcup: 9th Mar 2023 at 22:22:40

Posted by: tonker (28058) 

Yes, maybe the racecourse was granted exclusive use of the line for a couple of hours. Possible, when you consider the owner of the racecourse was also the landlord of the line and all the collieries.

Replied: 9th Mar 2023 at 22:24

Posted by: ena malcup (4151) 

I quite enjoyed Wigan Tech.

What was it you did not like about it?

Replied: 9th Mar 2023 at 23:05

Posted by: dougie (5019) 

Good photo here of Ashton railway station

Replied: 13th Mar 2023 at 10:24

Posted by: tonker (28058) 

There was a sidings too, to the left of that picture. Tha' sees!

Replied: 13th Mar 2023 at 18:51

Posted by: ena malcup (4151) 

A guy with whom I was at school with, lived on Ashton Heath, from where he could see the trains, tells me that the lines were NOT both used for same direction, only those in and adjacent to the Station.

That makes sense, on the photo, you can see the crossover just beyond the station to allow the outgoing train from the 'wrong' platform to regain its appropriate track. This would permit one train to be despatched whilst another is loading, and the next train to be moving from the storage sidings West of A49 into the free slot at the station.

Signalling requirements for that are conventional, as it is how they operate at terminal stations.

Replied: 14th Mar 2023 at 13:20

Posted by: tonker (28058) 

"A guy with whom I was at school with, lived on Ashton Heath"

Was he a tramp?

Replied: 14th Mar 2023 at 21:18

Posted by: ena malcup (4151) 

Far worse than that!

Replied: 14th Mar 2023 at 21:45

Posted by: bentlegs (5327)

Was the bridge outside old Boston connected to line...
And Tonker I went to the old grammar school in Garswood EST1588 .

Replied: 13th Apr 2023 at 15:06

Posted by: tonker (28058) 

“ Was the bridge outside old Boston connected to line...”


Was you in the same class as Brian Arrowsmith?

Replied: 13th Apr 2023 at 18:44

Posted by: bentlegs (5327)

No Edmund could be Brian's brother, I think thasbin watching Life Of Brian

Replied: 12th Nov 2023 at 11:52

Posted by: ena malcup (4151) 

Replied: 14th Nov 2023 at 14:50

Posted by: Gustavus (158)


Replied: 10th Dec 2023 at 20:38

Posted by: Tommy Two Stroke (15558)

In 1971 we moved from the County into the Borough (Wigan), I moved from a County Primary School to a Borough Primary School, but me brother who was at Ashton Grammar School carried on at Ashton Grammer School and I don't remember there being anything about a 'permit' being required for him to attend a school outside of the Borough, and going the other way I know of folk who lived the County, attending Wigan Grammer School.

Replied: 22nd Dec 2023 at 14:59

Posted by: ena malcup (4151) 

Perhaps they had done away with them by then.

I only know of them from the 1960's, and then had not known them to be applied to school attendance: just to my classmates who left at the same time as myself. A handful went to Wigan Tech full time. They were required to obtain said permits, but as I stated, I was not required to.

Replied: 22nd Dec 2023 at 18:04


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