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The St. Helens and Wigan Junction Railway became the Liverpool St. Helens and South Lancashire Railway on 26.7.1889 and was in constant financial difficulty
Despite the first sod being cut on 28.1.1888 it did not open to goods traffic until 1.1.1895 and then only to St. Helens. It was to take another five years for the line to be brought up to passenger standards by which time any hope of continuing west had been abandoned.
The line remained a minor branch line that was of far more use for goods as it linked to a number of collieries in the Lancashire coalfield. Passenger services were always secondary.