THE second Winsford station was called the Over & Wharton station, which was at the end of a short branch from what is now the West Coast mainline.

This line was also opened to take advantage of the heavy salt traffic on the Wharton side of the river. Lines traversed the many salt mines on what is now Wharton Common.

It was opened in 1882 by the LNWR and closed to passengers in 1947. It was closed to freight in 1982. Up to this date, lorries carried the salt from the main Winsford salt mine that is the only one still in existence, to the station.

Although it had a full station, apart from specials, it only carried passengers to Hartford station where they would change. In the 1960s, the branch served another purpose when it was used to store withdrawn steam locomotives before their dispatch for scrapping. A new road has been built on the track bed, and all signs of the station have disappeared beneath a supermarket.

The third and only remaining Winsford station is the one on the main line. This is still open and busy with local trains connecting with Crewe, Birmingham, Liverpool and shortly, London.

That is Winsford, on the surface, a sleepy little town, famous for its salt production, but in the past a veritable Mecca for steam enthusiasts. There were locomotives from three different companies traversing its busy railway network and several companies provided the rolling stock with their mixture of colours and styles. For instance, each salt mine owner had his own liveried rail wagons.

Given the number of different rail companies that traversed the town, as shown in 'Bradshaw’s Rail Directory of the period, before arriving, strangers would expect a far larger conurbation, like a city for example. Winsford may not have been a large industrial area, but its rail network was a match for any larger town.

The Winsford of today has a more diverse, industrial base, and it sits comfortably amongst the green and pleasant flatlands of Mid Cheshire with the West Coast Main Line sweeping as straight as an arrow through the lush countryside.