Stanlow and Thornton railway station
|Location||Stanlow, Cheshire West and Chester|
|Managed by||Northern Trains|
|Classification||DfT category F2|
|23 December 1940||Opened|
Passenger statistics from the Office of Rail and Road
Stanlow and Thornton railway station is located within the Stanlow Refinery in Cheshire, England. It lies on the Hooton–Helsby line with services operated by Northern Trains. The station is surrounded by the refinery site, so as a result most station users are refinery employees. In 2018–19 it was the joint least-used railway station in Britain, tied with Denton in Greater Manchester.
The station was opened on 23 December 1940 jointly by the Great Western Railway and the London, Midland and Scottish Railway.[page needed] The station served the Shell Thornton Aero Engine Laboratory (AEL), which was responsible for developing fuels and oils for the aircraft of the Royal Air Force.
A short distance from the station was a signal box. This controlled all of the sidings used for freight. Shell stopped using rail as a method of transportation of goods, and subsequently, the sidings were removed. Eventually, the signal box was dismantled and donated to the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway. Today, the signals for this line and station are controlled at Helsby and Ellesmere Port signal boxes, operated by Network Rail.
The station was originally earmarked for closure under what is known today as the Beeching Axe, a report created by Dr. Beeching entitled "The Reshaping of British Railways". This was a report commissioned by the government to find out how money could be saved, as use of the railways began to decline.
Station usage statistics for 2004–05 showed 40 passengers using the station, less than one per week. Passenger numbers began to increase at the station in 2005–06, with 130 people using it in 2005–06. This rose sharply to 326 in 2006–07, despite the same rail services being operated.
In January 2020 the station was named as the joint quietest in the UK, alongside Denton Station in Greater Manchester, with just 46 entries and exits in the period 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019. Passengers increased to 82 the following year, but Stanlow and Thornton remained one of only six British stations to serve fewer than 100 annual passengers.
A gently rising footpath leads from the road to a flight of 48 steps with 2 rest landings and a handrail onto a footbridge. From the footbridge to the left, the first flight of 30 steps with rest landing and handrail leads to the Helsby platform, and the second flight of 30 steps with rest landing and handrail leads to the Ellesmere Port platform. The station is definitely not accessible for people with mobility problems.
The booking office is still extant at the Ellesmere Port platform, but has been closed for some time. It now houses the electrics for the station and is boarded up.
There is limited car parking at the entrance of the station.
Three trains per day call at the station in each direction (towards Helsby and Ellesmere Port). Two of the Helsby-bound trains (one early morning and the single service each evening) continue to Warrington Bank Quay, Manchester Victoria and Leeds whilst the first morning train of the day starts from Liverpool Lime Street and the afternoon one from Leeds.
The Saturday service is effectively the same as the Monday–Friday equivalent, except that all services begin and terminate at Helsby.
There is no service on Sundays. A normal service operates on most Bank Holidays.
The North Cheshire Rail User Group supports and actively campaigns for an improved service at this station and for this railway line.
|Preceding station||National Rail||Following station|
|Ellesmere Port||Northern Trains
|Ince & Elton|
Public transport interchange
The station is located on Oil Sites Road, a private road owned by Essar Oil. This is now closed to motor vehicles, except for access to the site. The original owner, Shell, had cited increased commercial traffic to its refinery and the number of public vehicles using the road, recklessly in some cases, as reasons for closure. The road previously also allowed quick access to the villages of Ince and Elton from Ellesmere Port and beyond.
- "Stanlow railway station map". Archived from the original on 9 July 2008. Retrieved 3 May 2008.
- "Least Used Stations". geofftech.co.uk. Archived from the original on 6 April 2018. Retrieved 5 April 2018.
- Butt 1995.
- "Archived News: Stanlow & Thornton". Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway. Archived from the original on 17 August 2008. Retrieved 9 August 2008.
- The Reshaping of British Railways (PDF). Retrieved 9 August 2008 – via RailwaysArchive.
- "Station Usage Statistics" (MS Excel). Retrieved 3 May 2008.
- "Station usage 2018-19 least used stations in 2018-19". Office of Rail and Road. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
- Gwyn Topham (1 December 2020). "Britain's least used railway station served just 42 passengers in 2019". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
- "Stanlow & Thornton: Station Facilities". National Rail. Retrieved 9 August 2008.
- "Stanlow & Thornton: Accessibility". National Rail. Retrieved 9 August 2008.
- "Stanlow & Thornton: Ticketing options available". National Rail. Retrieved 3 May 2008.
- Table 109 National Rail timetable, May 2019
- "North Cheshire Rail User Group". Retrieved 9 August 2008.
- "Road shut to public". Ellesmere Port Pioneer. icCheshireOnline. 12 March 2008. Archived from the original on 29 July 2012.
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.
- Mitchell, Vic; Smith, Keith (2012). Chester to Birkenhead. Middleton Press. figs. 104-108. ISBN 9781908174215. OCLC 811323335.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Stanlow and Thornton railway station.|
- Train times and station information for Stanlow and Thornton railway station from National Rail
- Stanlow and Thornton - Least Used Station in Cheshire 2019 YouTube video by Geoff Marshall about the station.