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Warrington and Altrincham Junction Railway

Warrington & Altrincham Junction Railway
Stockport, Timperley and
Altrincham Junction Railway
Manchester, Sth Jct & Altrincham Rly
now Manchester Metrolink Altrincham Line
Dunham Massey
Heatley & Warburton
Latchford Viaduct over
Manchester Ship Canal
former Vladivar Vodka distillery
Warrington Wilderspool
Warrington Arpley
Warrington Bank Quay
Low Level
High Level
Eastern terminal Junction at Altrincham
Start at Warrington Arpley
Bridge over the River Mersey
Bridge over the Manchester Ship Canal

The Warrington and Altrincham Junction Railway was a railway line that was in operation from 1 November 1853 to 7 July 1985. The railway was created by an act of parliament on 3 July 1851[1] to build a line between Timperley Junction on the Manchester, South Junction and Altrincham Railway (MSJAR), to provide a through route to Manchester, and Warrington Arpley on the St Helens and Runcorn Gap Railway providing a link with Liverpool.


A bill to build an extension, designed by Thomas Brassey, to Stockport was authorised on 4 August 1853 also renamed the railway company to the Warrington and Stockport Railway.


The Warrington and Stockport Railway (W&SR) was opened on 1 November 1853 from a temporary station at Wilderspool in Warrington to a station at Altrincham which later became Broadheath. Delays in the delivery of iron work for the bridges over the Mersey and Bridgewater Canal meant that the line was initially isolated from the rest of the railway network. The line was opened throughout from 1 May 1854 although passenger trains terminated at Broadheath until the W&SR and MSJAR could agree on charges for passengers travelling beyond there to Manchester via Timperley.

A link with Stockport was achieved when the Stockport, Timperley and Altrincham Junction Railway (ST&AJ) opened its line on 1 February 1866 from Broadheath Junction on the W&SR to Skelton Junction on the newly opened line from Deansgate Junction to Stockport.

The LNWR operated the line from opening and on 1 January 1861 bought it. On 9 July 1893 the line was re-routed to allow for the Manchester Ship Canal, which would open in 1894, the canal being crossed by the high level Latchford Viaduct.

Passenger trains on the line ended on 10 September 1962. The line to the east of Latchford closed completely on 7 July 1985. The line was still busy at this time but extensive (and costly) repairs would have been needed to the Latchford Viaduct for continued operation – these were deemed not to be economically justifiable given that the remaining freight traffic could be diverted via alternative routes and there was no desire to extend the Manchester tram system to Warrington.

The trackbed between Latchford and Broadheath now forms part of the Trans Pennine Trail. Current plans for HS2 show it may cross the line between Heatley and Carr Green.

In March 2015 a planning application was submitted to build up to 280 homes on the former route in Latchford.[2] This would involve levelling the railway embankment to the west of Latchford viaduct.



  • G.O.Holt   A Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain – vol.10 The North West.   David & Charles (1986) ISBN 0-946537-34-8
  • Frank Dixon   The Manchester South Junction & Altrincham Railway   The Oakwood Press (1994) ISBN 0-85361-454-7