Fleetwood Branch Line

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Blackpool & Fleetwood Branch Lines
  Fleetwood
  Wyre Dock / Fleetwood
  Burn Naze Halt
  Thornton for Cleveleys
Poulton Curve Halt
Poulton-le-Fylde
Poulton-le-Fylde (old)
( WCML )
Singleton
  Preston and
Layton
( Longridge Railway )
Blackpool North
Maudlands
Preston
  Blackpool Central
Lea Road
Blackpool South
Salwick
  
Kirkham and Wesham
( WCML )
  Blackpool South Shore
Wrea Green
Blackpool Pleasure Beach
Moss Side
Airport interchange (Starr GateBlackpool tramway) Squires Gate
Lytham
  Gillett's Crossing Halt
Ansdell and Fairhaven
St Annes-on-the-Sea

The Fleetwood Branch Line consists of the railway line from Preston to Fleetwood. It passed through many smaller stations along the way (most of which are now closed). When work at Fleetwood docks was under threat in the mid-1960s, the main Fleetwood station was closed; the remainder of the branch south to Poulton followed in 1970. Proposals exist to re-open the branch to passenger services in the near future.[1]

History[edit]

The line was first opened in 1840. In 1966, Fleetwood station was closed, and Wyre Dock station became the terminus;[2] however, four years later in 1970 passenger services were curtailed as far as Poulton-le-Fylde.[3] The line continued as a freight route to access the ICI plant at Burn Naze Halt until 1999, when all traffic on the line ceased.

Current situation[edit]

Poulton-le-Fylde Junction, where the disused line joins the main line to Blackpool (pictured in 2008)

Some of the track is now clear of being overgrown as the northern track was never lifted up past Burn Naze to just beyond Jameson Road Fleetwood although the road bridge was filled in below it. On this stretch the junction is still there where goods trains used to take coal to Fleetwood Power Station. If you look over the road bridge on Jameson Road you can still see the track (to both north & south) through the undergrowth.[4] In the 1990s, the new A585 Amounderness Way bypass was built on the former trackbed, though sufficient space still exists for a reinstated railway should it be required.

Future of the Branch[edit]

The Association of Train Operating Companies has supported the re-opening of the branch line to Fleetwood in its Connecting Communities report,[5] and Lancashire County Council's (LCC) Rail Improvement Schemes draft report in March 2010 stated the case for re-opening was "compelling".[1] Network Rail has stated that a feasibility study must first take place, which would cost around £30,000.[4] As well as re-opening the branch, it is likely that a third platform would also be constructed at Poulton-le-Fylde.[4]

The cost of re-opening the branch is estimated at £5.5 million[1] as the northern track is still in situ to just past Jameson Road Fleetwood. The line will have a planned freight trip to Fleetwood Tip.

Preservation[edit]

The Poulton & Wyre Railway Society is a local organisation campaigning for the line to be re-instated and have taken a three-year lease on Thornton for Cleveleys station;[6] LCC seeks to support the society to help to deliver the scheme.[1]

The Society - having completed full restoration of Thornton-for-Cleveleys station, (as their headquarters) - have now begun work to clear vegetation & restore the disused platform at Burn Naze halt, two miles north of Thornton as part of their ambition to restore the route for heritage trains.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Todmorden and Fleetwood top Lancashire's rail list". Rail (641). pp. 16–17. 
  2. ^ Welch, MS (2004). Lancashire Steam Finale. Cheltenham: Runpast Publishing. p. 28. ISBN 1-870754-61-1. 
  3. ^ Suggitt, G (2004) [2003]. Lost Railways of Lancashire. Newbury: Countryside Books. p. 41. ISBN 1-85306-801-2. 
  4. ^ a b c "£30,000 feasibility study for Poulton to Fleetwood line could go ahead". Railway Herald (239). 2010-09-20. p. 15. Retrieved 2010-09-21. 
  5. ^ "Rail Report Makes Case For Considering New Community Links" (Press release). Association of Train Operating Companies. 2009-06-15. Retrieved 2010-04-10. 
  6. ^ "PWRS Aims and Objectives". Poulton & Wyre Railway Society. Retrieved 2010-04-10. 

External links[edit]

See also[edit]