The Tyldesley Loopline was built by the London and North Western Railway It followed the Manchester and Wigan Railway line from Eccles to the junction west of Tyldesley station where it continued south west via Bedford Leigh and joined the Kenyon and Leigh line The Kenyon and Leigh Junction Railway (K&LJR) opened on 3 January 1831 linking the Bolton and Leigh Railway (B&LR), which terminated near the Leigh Branch of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, to the Liverpool and Manchester Railway (L&MR) at Kenyon. at Pennington where it continued to Kenyon Junction on the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. The lines opened on 1 September 1864 with stations at Worsley, EllenbrookA residential suburb of Worsley in the City of Salford in Greater Manchester, England., Tyldesley and Bedford Leigh.
The London and North Western Railway Bill received Royal Assent in July 1861 and the first sod was cut at Worsley by the Earl of Ellesmere in the September. During construction, a section of Roman road was uncovered at Worsley. The loopline was just over 16 miles (26 km) long and had 88 bridges, a sandstone cutting at Parr Brow in Tyldesley and a 22-arch viaduct that took the railway through Leigh and across the Bridgewater Canal. The work was expected to have been completed by May 1863 but lasted until mid-1864.
Stations between Tyldesley and Wigan at Chowbent, Hindley Green and Platt Bridge opened on the same day. A branch line leaving the Tyldesley to Eccles line at Roe Green Junction with stations at Walkden, Little Hulton and Plodder Lane was authorised in 1865 and opened in 1870. The line was extended to Great Moor Street in Bolton in 1874. Monton Green station between Eccles station and Worsley station opened to serve new housing in 1877. In 1876 Bedford Leigh was renamed Leigh & Bedford and in 1914 was again renamed to Leigh. Chowbent was renamed Howe Bridge in 1901.
Stations on the line became part of the London Midland and Scottish Railway in 1923, and the London Midland Region of British Railways on nationalisation in 1948.
Coal from the collieries that were developed in the area was the chief motivation for building a railway line and the railway’s supporters included local colliery owners and industrialists. They included the Earl of Ellesmere owner of the Bridgewater CollieriesA coal mining company on the Lancashire Coalfield with headquarters in Walkden near Manchester., Fletcher, Burrows and Company and millowner Caleb WrightCaleb Wright, factory owner and Liberal Member of Parliament who was born in Tyldesley, Lancashire. Collieries linked to the railway included Astley and Tyldesley Collieries’The Astley and Tyldesley Collieries Company was formed in 1900. It became part of Manchester Collieries in 1929, and some of its collieries were nationalised in 1947. St George’s St George's Colliery, known locally as Back o't' Church, was a coal mine on the Manchester Coalfield that was sunk in 1866 in Tyldesley, Lancashire, England. , Nook Nook Colliery or Nook Pit was a coal mine on the Manchester Coalfield after 1866 in Tyldesley, Lancashire, England. and Gin Pit Collieries Gin Pit was a colliery that operated on the Lancashire Coalfield from the 1840s in Tyldesley Lancashire, England. which were connected at Jackson’s sidings, Bedford Colliery in Leigh was connected at Speakman’s sidings between Leigh and Tyldesley. The Shakerley, Yew TreeYew Tree Colliery was a coal mine operating on the Manchester Coalfield after 1845 in Tyldesley, which was then in the historic county of Lancashire, England. and Cleworth Hall Collieries Cleworth Hall Colliery on the Lancashire Coalfield operated between 1880 and 1963 in Tyldesley, Lancashire, England. belonging to the Tyldesley Coal CompanyTyldesley Coal Company was formed in 1870 in Tyldesley, on the Manchester Coalfield in the historic county of Lancashire, England. had a connection at Green’s Sidings to the east of Tyldesley station and Ramsden’s Shakerley CollieriesRamsden’s Shakerley Collieries was a coal mining company operating from the mid-19th century in Shakerley, Tyldesley in Lancashire, England. had its own sidings. Mosley Common Colliery was connected at Ellenbrook and collieries on the Bridgewater Collieries system including Sandhole Colliery joined the line between Roe Green and Worsley at Sanderson’s Sidings.
Closure and guided busway
The Tyldesley Loopline closed as a result of the Beeching cuts on 5 May 1969 when Leigh, Tyldesley, Monton Green and Worsley stations closed. The former trackbed through the Metropolitan Borough of Wigan was reserved in the Unitary Development Plan in case the rail route could be reinstated. A guided bus route along the former trackbed from Leigh to Ellenbrook was proposed but was not universally popular. The Leigh-Ellenbrook guided busway The Leigh-Ellenbrook guided busway is part of the Leigh-Salford-Manchester bus rapid transit scheme in Greater Manchester, England. It provides transport connections between Leigh, Tyldesley and Ellenbrook and onwards to Manchester city centre on local roads. opened in April 2016. The 4.5-mile guided busway section from Leigh via Tyldesley to Ellenbrook operates on the route of the old rail alignment. Of Transport for Greater Manchester’s £122 million overall spending on the bus route to Manchester Central Hospitals via the city centre, £68 million was spent on the guided busway track and associated infrastructure.