Monthly Archives: Feb 2020

Lancaster Green Ayre Railway Station

Lancaster Green Ayre Station was the erstwhile Midland Railway Station in Lancaster and it provided an East-West service through the city to Morecambe in the West and Yorkshire in the East. A platform level view of Green Ayre Station which shows M29023M in the Eastbound platform. The platform signal box can be seen to good advantage in this image. The photo appears on the pjbrailwayphotos site and is marked Copyright: N/A  (Public Domain). [21]

There is a modelling thread on the RMWeb Forum which covers a model of the station built over a number of years by ‘jamie92208’. [2] The thread is worth a visit. It follows the development of the model from 2010 to today and is a saga spread over 72 forum pages. It includes many photographs of the development of the model.

The model was the centre-piece of a two day event in 2016 at Lancaster Library marking 50 years since the closure of the Green Ayre line in 1966. The event also featured unique film and audio material, showing the line on its last day of operation in 1966. Filmed by a former Lancaster curate, Rev. Bob Jackson; the footage had been preserved for 50 years and shows a complete return journey between Lancaster and Morecambe.  Artist Adam York Gregory created an interactive presentation, which enabled visitors to experience a journey on the line. [11]

The railways in Lancaster, Morecambe and Heysham in 1913. The lines shown in red were LNWR lines, those in Green were Midland lines. The ferry service from Heysham served Belfast. [3]

The railways in Lancaster and Morecambe developed over a number of decades. The first station was built by the Lancaster and Preston Junction Railway (L&PJR) and opened in 1840. It only served the city for nine years. Wikiwand states: “Some books refer to the station as “Lancaster (Greaves)” or “Lancaster (Penny Street)” to distinguish it from later stations in the city, although whilst open it was known simply as “Lancaster” as there was no other station of that name at the same time.” [4][6: p127]

The station was located near the modern-day junction between South Road and Ashton Road, just south of the Lancaster Canal and the southern end of Penny Street.

The Lancaster and Carlisle Railway (L&CR) opened Lancaster Castle railway station on 22nd September 1846. [5][7: p96] It built a line southwards from Lancaster Castle station to meet the L&PJR about 0.5 mile South of the old station. On 1 August 1849, the L&CR leased the L&PJR line in its entirety, on which date old Lancaster station was closed to passengers. [5] The Passenger Station can still be seen in Lancaster. It is now a  Grade 2 listed building and a nurses’ home. [8]Lancaster Royal Infirmary Nurses’ Home was once the station building for the first Lancaster Station (Google Streetview) [8]

The adjacent OS Map extract shows the old station site and the old passenger building is designated ‘Southfield’. The pictures below show that it is now all laid to car-park and provides for visitors and staff at the hospital. The first image is a Google Earth satellite image of the area included in the OS Map extract. The image below that is taken from Aston Road a looks North across the car-park form approximately the location of the text ‘Ashton Road’ on the OS Map Extract.

Most of the spur line leading towards the station continued to be used to access a goods station until the 1960s.The plaque above notes the status of the building in the mid-19th century.

The second picture below shows the front of the old station building taken from the A6.

Looking North along Ashton Road across the site of the Infirmary and its car-park (Google Streetview).

The old frontage of the station built by the L&PJR and used for 6 years for passengers between 1840 and 1846. [4]

As we have already noted, the second station in Lancaster was that built by the Lancaster and Carlisle Railway (L&CR) and which opened in 1846 – Lancaster Castle Station. It is Lancaster Castle Station which remains open as Lancaster Station in the 21st century and which sits on the West Coast Mainline today.

Wikiwand tells us that it was “officially opened on 21st September 1846. The first public service ran into the station on 17th December the same year. The station was built as the southern terminus of the Lancaster and Carlisle Railway after the initial planned route for the line – which would have followed the Lancaster Canal and crossing the River Lune from Ladies Walk to Skerton – was changed in favour of a cheaper route west of the city.” [9]

Wkiwand goes on to say: “The station was remodelled in 1900-1906 when additional lines and platforms were added and further station buildings constructed. The new buildings were styled mock-Elizabethan with the intention of mirroring the battlements of the nearby Lancaster Castle. Platforms 5 and 6 (on the east side of the station) were electrified in 1908 to serve the now-closed Midland Railway route to Morecambe and Heysham. This line closed in January 1966 and the overhead line equipment was removed.” [9] The link to the Midland Railway curved to the East down towards the Rive Lune and met the Midland line at Green Ayre Station.

The Wikiwand notes about Lancaster Castle Station are considerably expanded by the British Listed Buildings website, which says that the station building is now Grade 2 listed. It was, in fact, extended in both 1852 and between 1900 and 1906 and refurbished in 1990. Full details of that station building can be found on the British Listed Buildings website.

The third Station to be built in Lancaster was built by the Midland Railway and is the station on which this article is focussed. Green Ayre Station sat by the banks of the River Lune. It was at the beginning of a sharp curve which took the Midland mainline to Morecambe across the river on a multi-span bridge (Greyhound Bridge). To the Northeast there were a series of sidings alongside the line and the river beyond Skerton Bridge and to the Southwest were the goods yard and locomotive facilities along with a branch line which lead to Lancaster Castle Station. The coal yard sat to the East of the station. The OS Map extract below shows the layout of lines in the immediate vicinity of the station.Green Ayre Station on the Southern bank of the River Lune. [12]

Wikipedia tells us that the station was opened by the “Morecambe Harbour and Railway Company (MH&R) on 12th June 1848. [6: p129][7: p96] The station building was designed by Edmund Sharpe. [13: p90][14: p386] … The line originally ran from Lancaster to Morecambe Harbour. The “Little” North Western Railway (Little NWR) was building a line to the East of Lancaster from Skipton, via Ingleton to join the West Coast Line further to the North at Low Gill. CommunityRailLancashire tells us that, as construction proceeded a national recession led to a shortage of capital. Work was stopped at Ingleton, and, on the advice of George Stephenson, efforts were concentrated instead on completing the line from Clapham through Bentham to Lancaster.” [27]

The MH&R and the Little NWR formed an end-on junction at Lancaster Green Ayre  and the two companies amalgamated before construction began. A branch was built from Green Ayre to the Castle Station of the Lancaster & Carlisle Railway.” [27][6: p129][7: p96][15]

George Stephenson’s advice proved to be sound, the connection through Lancaster to what became known as Morecambe, was lucrative. The Little NWR had made the right decision. CommunityRailLancashire tells us that, “the new harbour at Morecambe attracted plenty of freight, but many more passengers than expected. They came for sailings to Ireland, and also to enjoy a sail around the bay, or across to Grange or Arnside (the main pier still stands, as the popular ‘stone jetty’). People were pouring in on excursion trains within months of the opening.” [27]

From 1st June 1852, the Little NWR and MH&R were worked by the Midland Railway. [7: p18]

Then in January 1859, both the Little NWR and the MH&R were leased to the Midland, and in July 1874 they were absorbed by the Midland Railway. [16: p95,97] The line from Skipton to Morecambe gave the Midland Railway a competitive route to the North West Coast in the heart of LNWR territory and a significant port at Heysham.

UnseenSteam comments that, “Although originally built as single track, the line from Skipton through to Morecambe was eventually doubled. The section from Hornby, to the west of Wennington, to Hellifield was doubled by 1850 and extended to Skipton in 1853. Lancaster to Morecambe was doubled in 1877 and Hornby to Lancaster 12 years later. The link between the two stations in Lancaster remained single track through until closure.” [28]

However, the harbour at Morecambe was never seen as entirely satisfactory and at around the turn of the 20th century the Midland Railway promoted  the construction of a new harbour at Heysham This decision saw a further increase in feight traffic and passenger services to Heysham started on 1st September 1904. [28]

The fantastic aerial image above was taken in 1933. It shows Green Ayre Station at the bottom right with its coal yard across the bottom of the picture. The Greyhound Bridge curves across the River Lune which is at high-water. In the centre of the image is the goods yard with the branch to Lancaster Castle Station curing first to the right along the South bank of the river and then away to the left in front of the highly visible gasometer. Lancaster Castle Station is sited to the left of the parish church beyond the castle buildings. [22]This aerial image is taken from a different direction and looks back along the line to the Northeast. I have not been able to establish copyright for this image. Skerton Bridge elegantly spans the River Lune. Green Ayre Station is in the bottom right with its coal sidings to its right. Beyond Skerton Bridge is a large expanse of exchange sidings. [23]An image from above, taken from further West, shows Castle Station in the foreground and Green Ayre Station in the left background. Greyhound Bridge can be seen curving across the River Lune in the extreme top left of the image. [24]The Southwest end of Green Ayre Station. The line to Morecambe can be seen curving away to the right over the River Lune. The goods yard and the link to Lancaster Castle Station can be seen on the left of this image. [17]The bridge seen curving to the right in the image above was called ‘Greyhound Bridge’. “A wooden bridge crossing the Lune at Green Ayre was completed in 1848.  The timber bridge at Green Ayre was replaced by a steel structure in 1864. This bridge stood until 1912 when a new bridge was built. The girders from the old bridge were used to build a new bridge across the Lune at Halton.  After the closure of the railway in 1966 the bridge was converted to road use.” [19]The ‘Greyhound’ Midland Railway Bridge in Lancaster, built in 1864. Posted to Lancaster Past & Present Facebook group by Nigel Radcliffe appears on Blacks Chippy website [18] with the following note: “In 1864 Lancaster cut the ribbon on its shiny new wrought iron railway bridge, ‘The Greyhound’ bridge. This bridge was a replacement for a previous laminated timber bridge that connected Salt Ayre to Morecambe Harbour.” This bridge was itself replaced in 1911/12 by a steel girder bridge which continues in use in the 21st Century supporting a two lane road.This image shows an overview of the station site after the demolition of the passenger facilities. A single rail-line remains. The bridge constructed in 1912 curves across the River Lune. [20]

In July 1906, the Midland Railway announced its intention to electrify the lines between Lancaster, Morecambe and Heysham. The German 6,600V AC overhead system was chosen and the Midland Railway’s Derby works built three 60’ motor coaches – two with electric equipment from Siemens in Germany and the third with electric equipment from Westinghouse in the USA.  [25]

Three driving trailers and two centre-coaches were also built at Derby. A third centre-coach was modified from existing Midland stock. These were run either as 3-car or 6-car sets. or using two together as 6-car sets. Along Midland lines the overhead lines were supported by telegraph poles of Norwegian fir. However, the LNWR insisted on the use of steel gantries over the tracks owned by them – specifically the line between Lancaster Castle station and Green Ayre Station. The Midland Railway’s generating station at Heysham, previously built for working cranes and other equipment in the docks, was used to supply the power at 6,600V AC at 25 Hz. [25]

The Heysham to Morecambe line was opened to electric trains on 13th April 1908, followed by Lancaster Green Ayre on 8 June 1908 and Lancaster Castle on 14 September 1908.” [25] The new trains were highly reliable, far more reliable than would have been expected of steam power. They achieved an availability, in their first year, well in excess of 99% and throughout their operational life were exceptionally reliable. They were withdrawn in 1951 at which time diesel traction was introduced. [25]

However, the overhead wires were converted in the early 1950s to accommodate a 6.6kV 50Hz supply and the line was used for trials to investigate the advantages of single-phase AC in railway traction. [26]

UnseenSteam comments that,”Electric services were restored on 17 August 1953 using four Class AM1 three-car EMUs; this stock had been converted from LNWR stock built by the Metropolitan Carriage, Wagon & Finance Co in 1914 for use on the four-rail DC electrification of the West London line but were stored during World War 2 as a result of bomb damage to the West London line that had led to cessation of passenger services over the route. The units were numbered: DMBSO Nos M28219M to M28222M; TSO Nos M29721M to M29724M; and, DTSO Nos M29021M to M29024M. Experience with these units converted to work at 6.6kV was important in determining BR’s decision ultimately to pursue main-line electrification at 25kV.” [28]

Michael C. Duffy in Electric Railways: 1880-1990, says that, “The success of the tests led to the replacement of the HVDC standard by the new inter-national standard of 25 kV, 50 Hz. Part of the tests were carried out with carriage-mounted mercury-arc rectifiers, in anticipation of using them on the locomotives for the West Coast Main Line electrification. In 1953, on the Lancaster-Morecambe-Heysham line, British Thomson Houston successfully tested the world’s first semiconductor rectifiers, made of germanium, in railway service. As early as 1960, the British Railways Class AL5 locomotives were built with germanium rectifiers and within ten years the solid-state rectifier, using silicon, had largely replaced the mercury-vapour unit in locomotives.” [26]

UnseenSteam tells us that, “Although a new station at Scale Hall opened on 8 June 1957, the electrified sections plus the non-electrified line from Wennington to Lancaster Green Eyre were slated for closure in the Beeching report. The complex operation of the line, which included two reversals to get from Lancaster Castle to Heysham via Morecambe, allied to the existence of the parallel ex-LNWR line to Morecambe from Hest Bank made the route vulnerable and all passenger services on the lines from Wennington via Lancaster to Morecambe ceased on 3 January 1966. The line from Wennington to Torrisholme Junction, near Heysham, closed completely on 5 June 1967.” [28]

The Morecambe to Heysham line remained open for passenger traffic, “being relocated slightly on 4 May 1970. Passenger services were withdrawn on 6 October 1975 except for occasional use. Reopened fully on 11 May 1987 the station has been operational since then, apart from a brief closure during 1994.” [28]

Green Ayre Station closed to traffic on 3rd January 1966 and was demolished in 1976. [3] The following pictures of the site of the station were all taken in January 2020 by myself.Approaching Greyhound Bridge from the West.A closer look at the modern bridge. ….. The route we have followed to reach this point followed the line of the old branch between Castle Station and Green Ayre.A view along the River Lune from the East of Greyhound Bridge. …. The bridge curves into the old station site from the Northwest.Looking from the same point in a Northeasterly direction towards Skerton Bridge at the Northeast end of the old station site.A closer view of Skerton Bridge showing the opening provided for the double track Midland line leaving Green Ayre Station to the Northeast.The old yard crane which is still standing close to the location of the old cattle-pens and the entrance to the coal yard at Green Ayre Station.The same crane looking from the East towards the river and Skerton Bridge.Looking back through the site of the station from a point close to Skerton Bridge. The board visible on the right of the picture gives visitors some idea of what the site was like at different times in its history.The railway span at Skerton Bridge. … Beyond this location railway land widened to include a series of sidings for marshalling goods traffic.The first detailed shot of the information board shows the site of the station as far back as 1610.A later engraving showing horse racing on Green Ayre in the 18th century.A little later again. … The Green Ayre was used as a shipyard in the early 19th century.1849 was the significant year for railway history at Green Ayre. … The station was opened.Around 1965 not long before the closure of the old Midland line.


  1., accessed on 28th January 2020.
  2., accessed on 9th February 2020.
  3., accessed on 9th February 2020.
  4.–1849), accessed on 9th February 2020.
  5. R.V.J. Butt; The Directory of Railway Stations, (1st ed.); Patrick Stephens Ltd., Sparkford: 1995, p138.
  6. J. Vinter; Railway Walks: LMS, Alan Sutton Publishing Ltd, Stroud, 1990.
  7. M. Bairstow; The “Little” North Western Railway, Martin Bairstow, Leeds, 2000.
  8. Nurses’ Home, Lancaster, British Listed Buildings, accessed 10th February 2020.
  9., accessed on 10th February 2020.
  10., accessed on 10th February 2020.
  11., accessed on 10th February 2020.
  12., accessed on 10th February 2020.
  13. James Price; Sharpe, Paley and Austin: A Lancaster Architectural Practice 1836–1942; Centre for North-West Regional Studies, Lancaster, 1998.
  14. Clare Hartwell & Nikolaus Pevsner; The Buildings of England. Lancashire: North; Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 1969, 2009.
  15., accessed on 10th February 2020.
  16. C. Awdry; Encyclopaedia of British Railway Companies; Patrick Stephens Ltd., Wellingborough, 1990.
  17., accessed on 14th February 2020.
  18., accessed on 14th February 2020.
  19., accessed on 15th February 2020.
  20., accessed on 15th February 2020.
  21., accessed on 15th February 2020.
  22., accessed on 15th February 2020.
  23., accessed on 15th February 2020.
  24., accessed on 15th February 2020.
  25., accessed on 24th February 2020.
  26. Michael C. Duffy; Electric Railways: 1880-1990; The Institution of Engineering and Technology; 2003.
  27., accessed on 24th February 2020.
  28., accessed on 25th February 2020.

The Garstang and Knott End Railway – Part 2

The featured image for this article is a Garstang & Knot End Railway cast iron Trespass Sign dated December 1899. GW Railwayana Auctions described it as “A Grade 1 cast iron sign that hasn’t appeared for sale or publicly before and the most significant cast iron find of this century. The sign was acquired by the vendor in the 1960’s and was from Cogie Hill Halt which was on the section between Pilling and Garstang Town which closed in July 1963. Nicely restored measures 24in x 15in.” It sold in November 2019 for £3,800. [11]

Pilling Station was the most westerly point on the Garstang and Knott End Railway from the completion of the first phase of its construction in 1870 until the eventual construction of the line through to Knott End in 1908. [1] It was actually placed in the hamlet of Stakepool around a mile from Pilling itself.

As noted in the previous article about the line, locomotives had to cross into the road junction at the West end of the station site in order to run round their trains. [2] The station site was approximately as drawn on the adapted OS Map extract below. [3]The bridge over Pilling Water, in the bottom right of the map extract, was originally of a timber construction but was already giving cause for concern in 1877 and repairs were undertaken. Good facilities at the station were limited to two sidings without any shed. All transfers between road and rail would have taken place in the open-air. The passenger facilities were limited to one platform  with a wooden shed. The covered facilities on the platform were probably not present when the line opened in 1870 but may well have been in place by 1874. Richardson tells us that the wooden structure was augmented by a brick structure in 1903, which provided “a booking hall together with waiting rooms and toilet facilities for both sexes. The contractor was Johnathan Collinson of Nateby. …. Photographic evidence suggests that the old wooden hut was retained, perhaps as a storeroom and simply moved a little further down the platform.” [2: p72]

When the line was extended to Knott End, Pilling Station was improved and extended but the station building itself, being relatively new, was left in place. The revised station plan can be seem in the unaltered OS Map extract below [3] The most southerly of the lines leaving the East end of the station yard is a head shunt for the goods yard. It was of a quite significant length. Signlas and signal cabin were installed with the extension of the line. The station yard is, in the 21st century, still essentially as it was less the sidings themselves. The site is screened for the road junction to the West of the station by a relatively modern house sitting across the old running lines. The station-house or crossing keepers cottage remains in place. My picture below the map illustrates the view from the road junction.Looking East into what was the railway station site from the old level crossing location (24th January 2020).The satellite image above shows the old station site in the 21st century. Piling Water can just be made out to the right of the image. Without transgressing into what is now a private site it is impossible to establish what, if anything, remains of the old station site. The long narrow building to the North of the yard in the satellite should not be confused with the old station building. It is on the North side of the old line.

The adjacent picture shows Pilling Station from the East end of the platforms after the loop had been lifted. [6]

The picture below comes from the early to mid-1970s and shows Pilling Station Site after closure of the railway. [5]

Pilling Station Site in the mid-1970s. (Lancaster City Museum.) [5]

Beyond the bridge over Pilling Water the running line continued in a East-Southeasterly direction to a level-crossing over Garstang Road. This length of the line is covered by the three OS Map extracts below. The Crossing Keeper’s Cottage at Garstang Road was to the South-East of the crossing.This panorama shot was taken at the Garstang Road crossing looking East. The Crossing Keeper’s Cottage is on the right. The old line ran straight ahead towards Nateby and Garstang. Garstang Road can be picked out on the far right of the image (24th January 2020).An early 21st century satellite image showing the route of the old line in red, and its Crossing at Garstang Road. The keeper’s cottage is evident on the satellite image to the South East of the crossing.Another view looking East, this time from Google Streetview,. This shows the narrow crossing keeper’s cottage to full advantage. The route of the old line was approximately as shown by the red line. There was a Railmotor Halt here in LMS days between 1923 and 1930.The view looking back to the West from the crossing at Garstang Road. The red line gives the approximate route of the old railway (also from Google Streetview).

Further east, the line continued on an East-Southeast trajectory passing South of Crawley’s Cross (North of the Farm by the same name), on through a short platform which can be picked out on the fourth map extract below. Richardson tells us that this is “Cockerham Crossing Halt or Cockerham Cross as it is recorded in some documents. This was undoubtedly the most remote spot served by the railway as there is no village or hamlet nearby, merely a scattering of farms. It was situated where the line was crossed by a farm road, which still runs from Crawley Cross Farm, northwards across, Cockerham Moss to Moss Edge Farm. However, for passengers alighting at this halt, it was only a relatively short walk to the Garstang to Pilling Road.” [2: p70]Beyond Cockerham Crossing Halt it was only a relatively short distance along the line across to the North of Cogie Hill Farm and into Cogie Hill Halt. The second and third map extracts below shoe the location of Cogie Hill Halt and the old Litter Works, both on the North side of Island Lane.This picture from Google Streetview looks West along Island Lane. The red line shows the approximate route of the Garstang to Knott End Railway. The halt would have been on the right of the picture, North of the lane. The Litter Works are clearly no more and were already disused at the time the OS Map was drawn. The Crossing Keeper’s Cottage dominates the left side of the photograph.Looking East along Island Lane towards Garstang, the Crossing Keeper’s Cottage is another typical example of these buildings on this line. It has been extended to make an effective modern dwelling (24th January 2020).This stunning picture shows Cogie Hill Crossing while still in use. The Black 5 in the picture is bringing it’s train from Pilling to the mainline tender first. The crossing cottage appears to the left of the image again. The guard is operating the gates to allow the passage of the train. (The photographer is not known: used with permission Knott End Collection: Railscot). From 1908 until the termination of passenger services in 1930 there was a request halt at this location [4]The same cottage in the early to mid-1970s. Interestingly, the fence in this image is still present in the 21st century. This image is included courtesy of Lancaster City Museum. [5]

The line continues Southeast from Cogie Hill towards Nateby Station. The next few OS Map extracts show this next length of the line. It travelled across open fields until it reached the crossing on Station Lane immediately West of Nateby Station.Google Streetview has this view back along the old line, looking North West towards Pilling.Looking South-East from Station Lane into what was the site of Nateby Station. A bungalow has been built over what were the passenger facilities. The old Station site boundary is marked by the hedges.

Nateby Station was a some distance North of the Village. In the 21st century, the site is now wholly owned and used by Brough Construction Limited. Google Streetview shows two residential properties on the site of the passenger facilities.Google Earth gives an overall impression of the site in the 21st century.Nateby Station site in the 21st century (Google Earth)

Continuing towards Garstang the old line reverted to an East-Southeast alignment.Then just before it crossed the Lancaster Canal it turned through East to an East-Northeasterly alignment. The bridge across the Canal “was a plate girder bridge with a clear span of 70 feet, with rolled steel joists, cross girders and a diagonal timber flooring. … The abutments were of brick. When the LMS surveyed the railway in 1923, the civil engineer was almost complementary in his report, remarking that additional joists had been put in and that the bridge was now up to the strength required for the engines used on the line.” [2: p67]Looking East along the alignment of the old railway line towards the remaining piers on the West side of the Lancaster Canal (Bob Jenkins). [8]The same West abutment of the old railway bridge over the Lancaster Canal (Bob Jenkins). [7]The satellite image above contrasts significantly with the OS Map above it. The area between the Canal and Nateby Crossing Lane has been developed as a Marina for the Canal.Looking West from Nateby Crossing towards the Lancaster Canal along the line of the old railway in 2009 (Google Streetview). Richardson points out that the land to the North of the line (the right side of the above picture) was at one time a brickworks with its own siding. [2: p66-67]The same view in 2020. There is now a children’s playground over the line of the old railway (24th January 2020).The Crossing Keeper’s Cottage at Nateby Crossing Lane (now Croston Road) in the early 1970s (Lancaster City Museum). [5]Looking East along the line of the old railway in 2009 (Google Streetview).Looking East from the site of Nateby Crossing in 2020. The crossing keeper’s cottage is still in place although the render visible in 2009 is now painted white. (24th January 2020).

The line continued East-Southeast from Nateby Crossing to Garstang Station. A by-pass to the town of Garstang was built in the mid-20th century (A6 – Preston Lancaster New Road) and crossed the old line at high-level on a bridge.Looking West from the A6 towards Nateby Crossing. The route of the old line can still be seen across the fields (Google Streetview). Hedging means that it is not possible to show a worthwhile view looking towards Garstang Station at this point on the A6.

Immediately before the station the old railway line crossed Back Lane (now Croston Lane) on the level. The crossing keeper’s cottage was to the South-East of the Crossing, just inside the Station site and across the running line from the engine shed. It appears on the right-hand side of the second map extract below.The Station was rebuilt in 1908 when the line was extended to Knott End. It is the rebuilt station that is shown on the OS Map extract above. The earlier station is shown in the map extract below to approximately the same scale.Garstang Station in 1890. [12]

The railway station site has all been built over. In the 21st century it is covered by a modern housing estate as the satellite image below shows. The path of the main running line is shown by the red line.Looking West along the route of the old line from Back Lane in the 21st century (Google Streetview).Looking East into the old Station site in the 21st century from Back Lane (Google Streetview). All evidence of the station has been lost.

Unsurprisingly, as Garstang was the major town on the line, its station was the major intermediate station between the LNWR/LMS main line and Knott End. There are also a significant number of pictures available on the internet of the old station and its site. The original station built for the first branch line which ran as far as Pilling was a less sophisticated affair.Garstang Town railway station taken about 1900, it was rebuilt in 1909 (Lancashire Post). [9]An old grainy photo showing the first locomotive of the Garstang & Knot End Railway at Garstang Town around 1871. (The photographer is not known: used with permission Knott End Collection: Railscot) Railscot comments, “This was Hebe, a Manning Wardle 0-4-2ST and when the line opened in December 1870 it was their only locomotive. After more than a year of continuous use it broke down, leading to financial problems for the G&KER and Hebe being repossessed. The line closed in 1872 but reopened in 1875 with two new locomotives, Manning Wardle 0-4-0ST Union and Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0ST Farmers Friend, which had a piercing whistle and became unofficially known as The Pilling Pig.” [13]Work on Garstang station nearing completion in 1909 (Lancashire Post). [9]Locomotive Blackpool which served the Garstang to Knott End line in 1909 hitched to the American style carriages built for the holiday makers (Lancashire Post). [9]Garstang Town Engine Shed. (The photographer is not known: used with permission Knott End Collection: Railscot) [13]

Interestingly, the old engine shed is still is use but was moved from the old station site in the 1970s. This fact was picked up by ‘Railscot’. Mark Bartlett comments that, “It was dismantled in the late 1970s and removed a few hundred yards from its original site for re-use by a livestock haulier. Originally a two road shed it was modified when rebuilt with a single end door seen [below] and a new side entrance (added) but uses the same frame, wall panels and roof. Photographed on private land with kind permission of the owner (who as a young man had helped with the shed removal from the old station).” [14] It should be noted that access to the land is solely at the discretion of the landowner who should be asked for permission prior to access onto the land.View of the barn (old engine shed) from the West in 2017 (Mark Bartlett). [13]A view of the barn (old engine shed) from the South close to the road entrance to the haulier’s site in 2017 (Mark Bartlett). [13]View from Croston Barn Lane (Google Streetview). The old engine shed can be seen above the black estate car in the picture. (Please note: access beyond the gate to the site requires prior permission from the landowner).Black 5 45438 undertakes some leisurely shunting at Garstang Town station, probably in the 1950s judging by the amount of traffic still being carried on this, by now, goods only line. (The photographer is not known: used with permission Knott End Collection: Railscot). Mark Bartlett comments: “This view, taken from the end of the island platform, looks east towards the WCML. The old GKER carriage sheds were still standing at this time, albeit trackless. The large house in the background, Beech Mount, is still on Lancaster Rd in Garstang today.” [13]A goods train going through Garstang station in the 1950s (Lancashire Post) (The photographer is not known: used with permission Knott End Collection: Railscot). [9][13]A view of Garstang Town station, probably from the early 1960s. (The photographer is not known: used with permission Knott End Collection: Railscot). Mark Bartlett comments: “The distinctive narrow station building with the slightly wider signal box at the far end … is on the island platform, which in passenger carrying days was accessed by a footbridge. Beyond and to the right is the old GKER engine shed, later dismantled and rebuilt nearby as a farm building. Straight ahead is the water tower with the small goods shed on the left.” [13]Black 5 45070 enters Garstang Town station on 13th August 1959 with a single brake-van. (The photographer is not known: used with permission Knott End Collection: Railscot). Mark Bartlett comments: “Taken nearly thirty years after passenger services finished, this photo clearly shows the very unusual signal box at Garstang, which was on the island platform but at right angles to the tracks. The signal box was wider than the main station building, although it shared the roof profile, allowing a view to the east for the signalman.” [13]The Good Shed at Garstang Town Station at or around closure of the line. The picture is taken facing East, reproduced with permission from ‘Apollo’ on RMWeb, (R.L. Hill).  [14]A general view of the Station from the Northwest at or around closure of the line, reproduced with permission from ‘Apollo’ on RMWeb, (R.L. Hill). [14]A view East along the main running line close to closure. The sidings serving the carriage sheds seem to have been lifted, reproduced with permission from ‘Apollo’ on RMWeb, (R.L. Hill). [14]The water tower at Garstang. The old engine shed is visible on the right-hand side of the picture. The crossing keeper’s cottage appears to have been removed but the Back Lane crossing gates are still in evidence, reproduced with permission from ‘Apollo’ on RMWeb, (R.L. Hill). [14]The view from the East into the station site at or around closure. The old carriage sheds intrude into the picture of the right. the goods shed is centre-left and the passenger facilities centre-right, reproduced with permission from ‘Apollo’ on RMWeb, (R.L. Hill). [14]The abandoned site of Garstang Station in the mid-1970s (Lancaster City Museum). [5]

The next couple of images show the East end of the station Site in the 21st century.This delightful back garden fills the full width of the station site to the West of the High Street (Google Streetview)Looking ahead to the East from Garstang High Street from the location of the erstwhile railway bridge. The house which just intrudes into the picture on the right is Beech Mount which has been mentioned above (Google Streetview).  The access road provides a private access route to water treatment and flood defence facilities.The length of the line from Garstang High Streeet to the River Wyre Bridge. I have not as yet been able to find any good quality pictures of the old plate girder bridge over Garstang High Street. [3]This aerial image from 1929 comes from the website ‘Britain From Above’ The bridge at the East end of the Station site can just be picked out at the centre-top of the photograph. The detail is not great but it is possible to make out the River Wyre Bridge on the top-right of the image as well. [28]This is a much enlarged view of the top of the aerial photograph. The bridge is at the center of the image. Beech Mount can be seen to the right of the bridge. The station access road and footpath are on the left of the bridge. Lancaster Road (now High Street) at this point dipped down under the railway to provide reasonable clearance for road vehicles. [28]Beyond the station to the East, the railway continued in an easterly direction to cross the River Wyre. This is the view back along the line from a point to the West of the river bridge towards the old station site at or around closure. The house to the left of the image is Beech Mount which still survives in the 21st century, reproduced with permission from ‘Apollo’ on RMWeb, (R.L. Hill). [14]The River Wyre Bridge in 1929. [28]

The River Wyre Bridge on the old line immediately prior to closure, reproduced with permission from ‘Apollo’ on RMWeb, (R.L. Hill). [14]The view East across the River Wyre bridge along the old line towards the LNWR/LMS mainline, reproduced with permission from ‘Apollo’ on RMWeb, (R.L. Hill). [14]The route of the old line to the East of Garstang High Street. The bridge over the Wyre was reconstructed for vehicular access for water treatment purposes (Google Earth). The image below looks back along the line towards Garstang station and shows the water defence and treatment work undertaken. (Railscot: Mark Bartlett). [13]The old line continued Eastwards from the Wyre Bridge. It was initially on embankment as it dropped at 1:125 towards the LNWR/LMS mainline. [2: p63] There was a cattle creep around 2/3rds of the way along the embanked section of track. The old line then entered a cutting passing under a public footbridge before turning to the south to run alongside the LNWR/LMS mainline close to Taylor’s Bridge.The section of cutting before the old line curved to the South (Railscot: Mark Bartlett). [13]

From Taylor’s Bridge the branch trundled alongside the mainline, under Turner’s Bridge and then under Bailton’s Bridge before eventually reaching Garstang and Catterall Station.

The first photograph below shows the point at which the Garstang and Knott End Railway converged with the mainline just to the South of Taylor’s Bridge. A red line shows the route of the line emerging from what, in the 21st century, is a heavily wooded cutting and then running parallel to the mainline. [19]

The combined railway formation was in cutting for much of the length South from Taylor’s Bridge. It was crossed at intervals by accommodation bridges (Turner’s Bridge and Bailton’s Bridges) leading between fields on each side of the line. These bridges, Richardson tells us, were extended to accommodate the branch line and their two separate spans are still visible for the M6 motorway. [2: p63]

Since the middle of the 20th Century, the M6 has run parallel to the mainline only a few tens of metres to the East. The construction of the motorway meant that the accommodation bridge crossings had to be significantly extended Eastward.

Typical of these new bridges and their slender simply-supported reinforced concrete deck and steel beam construction is Turner’s Bridge which is shown in the second colour image below. [20].

Wikipedia tells us that “Garstang and Catterall railway station served as the interchange between the Garstang and Knot-End Railway and the London and North Western Railway. … The station was in the parish of Barnacre-with-Bonds, close to the village of Catterall, adjacent to the Lancaster Canal, and opposite the Kenlis Arms Pub.

This station was on the Lancaster and Preston Junction Railway (now part of the West Coast Main Line) between Preston and Lancaster.” [18]

Wikipedia says of the Lancaster and Preston Junction Railway Company (L&PJR) that it  “was created by Act of Parliament on 5 May 1837, to link the towns of Preston and Lancaster. The company planned to build its Preston terminus at Dock Street (off Pitt Street), near the Lancaster Canal, in the expectation that the rival North Union Railway (NUR) line from Wigan would have its terminus close by. In fact, the North Union built its station 200 yards (200 m) away, just south of Fishergate, in what seems to have been a tactical move to get the L&PJR to contribute towards the cost of a short tunnel and connecting line between the two railways. This marked the start of protracted feuding between the two companies for years to come. Eventually a deal was struck for the L&PJR to use the North Union station.

The Lancaster terminus was on the modern-day South Road, just south of the Lancaster Canal and the southern end of Penny Street.

The line was twenty miles (32 km) long and built by Joseph Locke. [21] It opened on 25 June 1840, with a passenger service from the following day.” [22]

The Lancaster & Preston Junction Railway was amalgamated into the Lancaster & Carlisle Railway in 1859 and the Lancaster & Carlisle Railway was leased to the London and North Western Railway (LNWR), which later absorbed it in 1879.

So, Garstang & Catterall Station opened on 26 June 1840, [15] originally named Garstang Station. [16] Eventually, it was the last of the stations between Preston and Lancaster to close, on 3rd February 1969. [17].

The station was built on embankment above the surrounding land. It was flanked to the West by the Lancaster Canal and to the East by the Kenlis Arms Hotel. The main station buildings were at high level across Kenlis Road from the Kenlis Arms Hotel. They were quite substantial, about 125 ft long and 20 feet deep. Richardson points out that they were built in 1872-1873 as part of a general upgrading of the station facilities  following the opening of the Garstang and Knott End Railway. [2: p63]

The station buildings were separated from the stationmaster’s house by a gap of around 8ft. Rush and Price say that the stationmaster’s house was a most peculiar building It “had apparently no chimneys, and the occupants went downstairs to bed, since the living room and door were on platform level and the other rooms beneath. There was no access from the street.” [23: p43]

The Garstang & Knott End Railway had no connection to the mainline North of the Junction station. Rush and Price tell us that the “only direct connection with the LNWR was in the goods yard, a short distance South of the station, whence the line ran along the outer face of the down platform, which was an island.” [23: p39]

Locomotives were unable to run round their trains while in the platform. ” A short loop opposite the Signal Box provided the run round facilities for Knott End trains.” [23: p39]

Since the station closed in 1969, the stationmaster’s house has become a private dwelling and appears relatively little altered in appearance.Taylor’s Bridge in the 21st century looking to the Northwest, showing the old branch-line entering the cutting of the mainline just South of the Bridge and running parallel with the mainline. The old Garstang and Catterall Station was about 1 miles south of the location of Taylor’s Bridge. [19]Turner’s Bridge over the M6 in 2012 (Creative Commons Licence (Anthony Parkes)). [20]The Kenlis Arms Hotel in the 21st century with the remaining stationmaster’s house beyond. [24]A similar view from the time the branch-line and station were in use early in the 20th century. In this view, the stationmaster’s house is hidden behind the hotel. [24]A much more recent image of the stationmaster’s house in private hands (Mark Bartlett). [25]

The following images appear on the RMWeb Forum [14], on the Railscott website [25] on Flickr [26][27], and are reproduced with permission.A steam-powered (Black 5) ‘up’ goods entering Garstang and Catterall Station on the mainline. The picture is taken from the island platform (R.L. Hill). [14]A similar picture, this time on David Price’s Flickr feed and taken from the station footbridge (David Price). [26]Clan Class Steam Locomotive in charge of a northbound express on the mainline through Garstang and Catterall Station in the late 1950s or early 1960s. The two views immediately below are taken from the footbridge seen in this picture (R.L. Hill) [14]An overview of Garstang and Catterall Station looking North. The Lancaster Canal was in very close proximity to the Station on the West side of the down platform. The branch-line runs from the west side of the island platform and along the west side of the mainline to the North (R.L. Hill). [14]A similar view in diesel days probably taken at around the same time as the picture above, both being taken from the station footbridge. The locomotive in this picture carried the number D305 (R.L. Hill). [14]A Branch goods appears to have just arrived from Pilling (Railscot: Mark Bartlett). Railscot comments: “An unidentified LMS 8F 2-8-0 shunting alongside the old G&KER platform at Garstang & Catterall station. This view looks north from the station footbridge with the Lancaster Canal visible to the left of the steam plume. The main goods yard was behind the camera but the Creamery alongside the Up line also used rail for many years. The line immediately to the left of the main running lines beyond the island platform was the old link to the Knott End branch, which also later formed a long Down goods loop for the main line.” [25]A 1971 image of the Station Signal box to the south of the station (Railscot: Mark Bartlett).  Railscot comments: “The new infrastructure for colour light signalling can be seen as D431 approaches Garstang & Catterall on a service for Scotland. The cars are parked in the old goods yard, which is now occupied by a feeder station for the 25kv power supply, the first building of which can be seen in front of the bracket signal. The signal box closed in November 1972 with the commissioning of Preston power box. The station, behind the photographer, had only been closed for three years at this time but had already been demolished and cleared.”  [25]This view looks North from the goods yard opposite the station signal box (David Price). David Price says: “75048 shunts the yard.The quality is not great- I was using a very basic third-hand Halina – but there is some interest with the box and station visible. Note also the very young member of the footplate crew !! I don’t have a date for this but the slide is stamped Dec 67 so it was probably taken in Oct 1967. ” [27]

I have not had the opportunity in this article to look at operations or rolling stock on the line. I hope that I will have time to return to these matters in a future article. I have already been reminded by one reader of the first article about the line of the relatively unusual practice on the line of the pick-up goods both propelling and pulling wagons in the one train so as to make shunting much less time consuming en-route!


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