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Leigh was a railway station in Bedford, Leigh, Greater Manchester, England on the London and North Western Railway. Leigh was in the historic county of Lancashire. Its station opened as Bedford Leigh in 1864, was renamed Leigh & Bedford in 1876 and Leigh in 1914. The station closed in 1969.

Coordinates53°29′48″N 2°30′41″W / 53.4967°N 2.5113°W / 53.4967; -2.5113Coordinates: 53°29′48″N 2°30′41″W / 53.4967°N 2.5113°W / 53.4967; -2.5113
Grid referenceSD662001
Original companyLondon and North Western Railway
Pre-groupingLondon and North Western Railway
Post-groupingLondon Midland and Scottish Railway
1 September 1864 (1864-09-01)Station opened as Bedford Leigh'
1 August 1876Station renamed as Leigh & Bedford
1 July 1914Station renamed as Leigh
5 May 1969Station closed
Disused railway stations in the United Kingdom
Closed railway stations in Britain


Leigh's railway station was on the Tyldesley Loopline which was opened on 1 September 1864 by the London & North Western Railway. The station was named Bedford Leigh when it opened for passengers in 1864 and its name was changed to Leigh & Bedford in 1876 before becoming Leigh in 1914.[1][2][3]

Post grouping the station became part of London Midland and Scottish Railway. The station closed on 5 May 1969 leaving the town without a passenger railway (Westleigh railway station, the town's other station had closed in 1954).[4]

Coal deposits were the chief motivation for building a railway in the area and the railway's supporters included many local colliery owners and industrialists.[5] In 1874 John Speakman sank Bedford Colliery to the north east of the station. The colliery railway was linked to the main line at Speakman's Sidings between Bedford Leigh and Tyldesley stations in 1882.

In 1870 the station was used by 46,906 passengers and five years later passenger numbers had increased to 75,223.[6] In 1894 more than 228,500 passengers were using the station.[7]


Leigh station was on the Tyldesley Loopline which ran from Eccles via Tyldesley, Bedford Leigh and Bradshaw Leach (later renamed Pennington) to Kenyon Junction.[8] When built the station was in the Atherton township because of the alignment of the ancient boundaries.[9] In boundary changes made in 1894, this part of the Atherton township was added to Leigh Urban District.[10] The station was built opposite the junction of East Bond Street and Princess Street to the east of Leigh town centre.[11][12] The town was also served by stations at Westleigh and Atherleigh on the Bolton and Leigh line and at Pennington.


The station as originally constructed consisted of two platforms, one each side of the double-track line on Leigh viaduct, a 350 yard long structure of 22 arches that carried the railway over the eastern side of Leigh town centre and the Bridgewater Canal.[11] The station was of timber construction with a booking office under one of the viaduct's arches. The platforms were reached from separate staircases of 43 steps and each platform, also of timber construction, had an open waiting shelter.[13][14] A crossover was located to the east of the station to facilitate changing lines for trains that terminated at Leigh.[15]

In 1875 a "Gentlemen's" waiting room was provided and a general waiting room was built next to the "Ladies" waiting room on the Manchester platform.[15]

Work costing £17,000 to rebuild the station began in March 1896 and was expected to be finished in summer 1897 but the station was not officially reopened until 1 April 1898.[16] The booking and parcels offices were built at the top of a new approach road on a slope up from the junction of Princess Street and East Bond Street. From the booking office at the top of the slope, covered walkway ramps accessed the platforms which were widened and provided with an ironwork canopy over both platforms and four waiting rooms on each side. Space for the structures was created by smaller arches built either side of the railway running lines.[17][18]

The goods yard and two sheds were located at a lower level to the north, between the station and Brown Street North.[19] In 1904 the goods yard had a full range of facilities and was able to accommodate "Furniture Vans, Carriages, Portable Engines, and Machines on Wheels; Livestock; Horse Boxes and Prize Cattle Vans; and Carriages by Passenger Train" as well as the normal goods and parcels.[20]


On opening the passenger timetable allowed for direct travel from Bedford Leigh to Manchester on eight trains on weekdays, six to Liverpool, two to Kenyon and one to Warrington, with a connection to Chester.[21]

The timetable for 1934 shows Leigh having 23 direct weekday services to Manchester, 11 to Liverpool, 4 to Tyldesley, 4 to Wigan via Pennington Junction and 1 to Warrington.[22]

In 1947 there were five weekday trains direct to Manchester and three services requiring a change at Tyldesley and one other service to Tyldesley. In the opposite direction there were five trains to Kenyon Junction to change for trains for Liverpool. On Sundays there were four trains direct from Leigh to Liverpool.[23] Services to Wigan via Pennington Junction stopped in 1942.[24]

By the 1960s services had been rationalised and most services through Leigh were on the Manchester to Liverpool service. In 1967 14 trains from Liverpool Lime Street to Manchester Exchange stopped at Leigh and three peak local trains operated between Leigh and Manchester Exchange.

Additional services were run during the annual holiday wakes weeks, usually the first two weeks of July. In 1958 it was possible to take a train to several stations on the North Wales coast, Blackpool, Bristol, Devon, Cornwall, Fleetwood (for the Isle of Man ferry), Holyhead (for the Dublin ferry), London Euston, Lancaster and Morecambe.[25]



  1. ^ Butt 1995, pp. 31,141.
  2. ^ Sweeney 1996, p. 70.
  3. ^ "Opening of the Wigan, Eccles and Tyldesley Railway". The Manchester Guardian. Proquest Historical Newspapers. 25 August 1864. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  4. ^ Butt 1995, p. 141.
  5. ^ Sweeney 1996, p. 71.
  6. ^ Sweeney 1997, p. 215.
  7. ^ Sweeney 1997, p. 218.
  8. ^ Conolly 1976, p. 45, section C2–C3.
  9. ^ Sweeney 1996, p. 72.
  10. ^ Greater Manchester Gazetteer, Greater Manchester County Record Office, archived from the original on 18 July 2011, retrieved 18 January 2018
  11. ^ a b Old Ordnance Survey Maps: Leigh (North) 1892: Lancashire Sheet 102.03 (Map). 1:4340. Cartography by Ordnance Survey. Alan Godfrey. 2012. ISBN 978-1-84784-653-2.
  12. ^ Old Ordnance Survey Maps: Leigh (North) 1905: Lancashire Sheet 102.03 (Map). 1:4340. Cartography by Ordnance Survey. Alan Godfrey. 1988. ISBN 978-0-85054-854-9.
  13. ^ Sweeney 2015, p. 156.
  14. ^ "Map of Leigh station as originally built". National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
  15. ^ a b Sweeney 1997, p. 216.
  16. ^ Sweeney 1997, p. 219.
  17. ^ Sweeney 2015, p. 158.
  18. ^ "Map of upgraded Leigh station". National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
  19. ^ Sweeney 2015, p. 162.
  20. ^ The Railway Clearing House 1904, p. 312.
  21. ^ Sweeney 2015, p. 215.
  22. ^ Sweeney 1996, p. 29.
  23. ^ "London Midland & Scottish Railway Passenger Services Timetable- June 1947 - Tables 156 & 149". Timetableworld. LMS. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
  24. ^ Sweeney 2015, p. 185.
  25. ^ Sweeney 1997, pp. 234-235.


  • Butt, R. V. J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations: details every public and private passenger station, halt, platform and stopping place, past and present (1st ed.). Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 978-1-85260-508-7. OCLC 60251199.
  • Conolly, W. Philip (January 1976), British Railways Pre-Grouping Atlas and Gazetteer (5th ed.), Shepperton: Ian Allan, ISBN 0-7110-0320-3, EX/0176
  • The Railway Clearing House (1970) [1904]. The Railway Clearing House Handbook of Railway Stations 1904 (1970 D&C Reprint ed.). Newton Abbot: David & Charles Reprints. ISBN 0-7153-5120-6.
  • Sweeney, D. J. (1996), A Lancashire Triangle Part One, Triangle Publishing, ISBN 0-9529333-0-6
  • Sweeney, D. J. (1997), A Lancashire Triangle Part Two, Triangle Publishing, ISBN 0-952-9333-22
  • Sweeney, Dennis. (2015), A Lancashire Triangle Reviewed, Triangle Publishing, ISBN 978-09550030-73

Preceding station   Disused railways   Following station
Line and station closed
Tyldesley Loopline
Line and station closed