The West Lancashire Railway was authorized by an Act of 14 August 1871 to construct a series of lines between Southport and Preston totaling 16 miles and 4 chains. It had an authorized capital of £155,000 in £20 shares, with powers to borrow an additional £51,666. A second Act of 3 July 1879 extended the period for construction of the line until 14 August 1883 and allowed for the construction of additional lines to be completed by 6 August 1883. The line was opened from Hesketh Park station to Hesketh Bank and Tarleton on 19 February 1878, and from Windsor Road station to Hesketh Park on 10 June 1878. The Chairman was Edward Holden of Shipley, Yorkshire, and the General Manager & Secretary was Thomas Gilbert. The Engineers were James Brunlees and Charles Douglas Fox. The West Lancashire Railway, and in particular Mr. Holden, was also for promoting the Liverpool, Southport & Preston Junction Railway, which ran from the West Lancashire Railway at Meols Cop, just north of Southport, to a junction with the Cheshire Line Committee line at Altcar. This was authorized by an Act of 1884 and was 7 miles in length. Again the Engineers were James Brunlees and Charles Douglas Fox. It was opened on 1 September 1887 and closed on 21 January 1952. The line was worked by the West Lancashire Railway, and I am therefore puzzled by the fact that it seems to have possessed at least two locomotives of its own. Both the West Lancashire Railway and the Liverpool, Southport and Preston Junction Railways were absorbed by the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway on 15 July 1897. They had the distinction of being the last companies ever taken over by the Lancashire & Yorkshire. On 22 March 1904 third rail electric service was introduced from Crossens to Southport, allowing through electric running all the way to Liverpool; this was extended to Meols Cop on 15 February 1909. Most of the line was closed in 1964. A short video of the line between Southport and Crossens may be seen here.
Map of the West Lancashire Railway
Autotrain at Moss Lane Halt on the Liverpool, Southport and Preston Junction Railway in 1907
Hundred End station, West Lancashire Railway
In 1881 Sharp, Stewart & Co. built four 0-6-0 locomotives, Works Nos. 3170-3173, for the Furness Railway, but Nos. 3172 and 3173 were sold on delivery to the Liverpool, Southport and Preston Junction Railway, becoming that lines locomotives Nos. 1 and 2. Since the LS&PJR was worked by the West Lancashire Railway, it is not clear why it needed its own locomotives