Ditton railway station

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Ditton railway station (disused) (12).JPG
The disused station seen in 2012
AreaHalton, Cheshire
Grid referenceSJ487846
Pre-groupingLondon & North Western Railway
Post-groupingLondon, Midland and Scottish Railway
London Midland Region of British Railways
1 May 1871New station opened as Ditton Junction, replacing Ditton Mill
7 May 1973Renamed (Ditton)
29 May 1994Closed
Disused railway stations in the United Kingdom
Closed railway stations in Britain

Ditton railway station, originally Ditton Junction, was a railway station which served the Ditton area of Widnes in Cheshire, England. It was located on Hale Road on the border between Ditton and Halebank.


The station opened in 1871 on the London-Liverpool line. It replaced an earlier station named Ditton Mill which was inconveniently located off the then new main line some 230 yards to the east.

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 rebuilt between 1960-61[2] at a cost of £48,500[3] (equivalent to £1,060,400 in 2018).[4]

Ditton closed to passengers on 27 May 1994 and the station buildings were demolished in 2005.

Paul Simon[edit]

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"[5] while in an earlier interview for Playboy Magazine Simon himself mentioned the train station was at Liverpool.[6] 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.[7] A plaque commemorating this claim to fame is displayed on the Liverpool bound platform of Widnes railway station.[8] Simon is quoted as saying "if you'd ever seen Widnes, then you'd know why I was keen to get back to London as quickly as possible."[9]


The station was the first to be closed by Railtrack following the privatisation of British Rail in 1994. Passenger numbers declined during the 1960s and 1970s with the steady withdrawal of services. The Ditton Dodger to St Helens Central was the first withdrawal in 1951, followed by services to Manchester Oxford Road in 1962 and to North Wales via the North Wales Coast Line and Chester in 1975. The station was left 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.[10]

As of 2018 the platforms survive and can easily be seen from passing trains.


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."[11] The alignment of the "Shell Green Route" which linked Ditton with Widnes South and Warrington is also protected. Liverpool City Region Mayor, Steve Rotherham, stated in an interview in July 2017 that re-opening the station was one of the several options that had been outlined in the Liverpool City Region’s Long Term Rail Strategy. The success of the plan depended heavily upon the re-opening of the Halton Curve.[12]

In February 2019 it was announced that Merseytravel and consultant company Arup had been conducting feasibility studies into the reopening of the station.[13] Initial estimates put the cost of reopening the station at an estimated £10 million.

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. ^ Fields, Gilbert & Knight 1980, Photos 247 & 248
  2. ^ Lawrence, David (2018). British Rail Architecture 1948-97. Crecy Publishing Ltd. p. 69. ISBN 9780860936855.
  3. ^ "Station soon in full operation". Liverpool Echo. England. 17 November 1961. Retrieved 2 June 2019 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  4. ^ UK Retail Price Index inflation figures are based on data from Clark, Gregory (2017). "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  5. ^ Zollo, Paul (1990). "Song Talk Interview". SongTalk Magazine. Retrieved 27 September 2012.
  6. ^ "'Paul Simon immortalised Widnes Station'". Cheshire Magazine. Cheshire, England: C.C. Publishing. Retrieved 27 September 2012.
  7. ^ Just ask Sunday Mail (Glasgow); 24 December 2006; MARGRET CAMPBELL; p. 38
  8. ^ GADFLY - Paul's fair deal for Scarborough Northern Echo (Darlington); 7 June 2006; MIKE AMOS; p. 11
  9. ^ Backtrack - BACKTRACK BRIEFS . . . Northern Echo (Darlington); 21 November 2008; Mike Amos; p. 11
  10. ^ Subterranea Britannica, "Ditton".
  11. ^ Halton Borough Council, Unitary Development Plan, Chapter 6, TP3. Archived 7 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ McDougall, John (20 July 2017). "Steve Rotheram hints Ditton station reopening could hinge on Halton Curve". liverpoolecho. Retrieved 22 July 2017.
  13. ^ Brown, Faye (28 February 2019). "You may soon be able to catch a train from this disused railway station". liverpoolecho. Retrieved 28 February 2019.


  • Fields, N; Gilbert, A C; Knight, N R (1980). Liverpool to Manchester into the Second Century. Manchester Transport Museum Society. ISBN 0 900857 19 6.

External links[edit]

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