Ditton railway station

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Place Ditton
Area Halton, Cheshire
Grid reference SJ487846
Pre-grouping London & North Western Railway
Post-grouping London, Midland and Scottish Railway
London Midland Region of British Railways
Platforms 5
1 July 1852 Opened
1 May 1871 Resited 230m west and renamed (Ditton Junction)
7 May 1973 Renamed (Ditton)
29 May 1994 Closed
Disused railway stations in the United Kingdom
Closed railway stations in Britain
UK Railways portal

Ditton railway station, earlier known as Ditton Junction, was in the town of Widnes in Cheshire, England on Hale Road on the border between Ditton and Halebank. The station, on the London-Liverpool line, was closed to passengers on 27 May 1994.

On 17 September 1912 15 people were killed when the 17:30 train from Chester derailed while crossing from the fast to the slow line at speed.

The station was the first to be closed by Railtrack following the privatisation of British Rail in 1994. It had been in decline since the 1960s and 1970s with the steady withdrawal of services; that to St Helens Central (the Ditton Dodger) had been first to go in 1951, followed by those to Manchester Oxford Road in 1962, and to Chester which continued to North Wales via the North Wales Coast Line in 1975, leaving the station with an hourly shuttle between Crewe and Liverpool. By the late 1980s even this service had begun to omit Ditton from its schedule and dwindling passenger numbers eventually led to its closure.[1]

Ditton Railway Station is one of two stations where Paul Simon reputedly composed the song "Homeward Bound", the other being Widnes railway station. It is uncertain exactly where the song was written: in an interview with Paul Zollo for SongTalk Magazine, Art Garfunkel says that Simon wrote the song in a train station "around Manchester"[2] while in an earlier interview for Playboy Magazine Simon himself mentioned the train station was at Liverpool.[3] It is likely, however, that it was written at one of the two Widnes stations during a long wait for a train, as Simon was traveling back from Widnes, where he had been playing.[4] A plaque commemorating this claim to fame is displayed on the Liverpool bound platform of Widnes railway station.[5] Simon is quoted as saying "[i]f you'd ever seen Widnes, then you'd know why I was keen to get back to London as quickly as possible."[6]


Halton Borough Council has protected the site of the station as well as the Halton Curve from development prejudicial to their reuse as part of the rail network; the Council notes that "there is an opportunity for the re-opening of this station, particularly with the possible increase in patronage from major industrial, commercial and housing developments in the area. It may be possible to use the station as a park and ride facility."[7] The alignment of the "Shell Green Route" which linked Ditton with Widnes South and Warrington is also protected.

Preceding station Disused railways Following station
Allerton   Regional Railways
Weaver Junction and Liverpool Line
Hale Bank   London and North Western Railway
St Helens Railway
  Widnes South
  London and North Western Railway   Runcorn


  1. ^ Subterranea Britannica, "Ditton".
  2. ^ Zollo, Paul (1990). SongTalk Magazine http://www.artgarfunkel.com/articles/songtalk.html. Retrieved 27 September 2012.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ "'Paul Simon immortalised Widnes Station'". Cheshire Magazine (Cheshire, England: C.C. Publishing). Retrieved 27 September 2012. 
  4. ^ Just ask Sunday Mail (Glasgow); 24 December 2006; MARGRET CAMPBELL; p. 38
  5. ^ GADFLY - Paul's fair deal for Scarborough Northern Echo (Darlington); 7 June 2006; MIKE AMOS; p. 11
  6. ^ Backtrack - BACKTRACK BRIEFS . . . Northern Echo (Darlington); 21 November 2008; Mike Amos; p. 11
  7. ^ Halton Borough Council, Unitary Development Plan, Chapter 6, TP3.

See also[edit]

Coordinates: 53°21′23″N 2°46′15″W / 53.3563°N 2.7707°W / 53.3563; -2.7707