Bromley Cross railway station

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Bromley Cross National Rail
Bromley Cross railway station in 1978.jpg
Bromley Cross railway station in 1978.
Local authorityBolton
Grid referenceSD729131
Station codeBMC
Managed byNorthern
Number of platforms2
DfT categoryE
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2013/14Increase 0.386 million
2014/15Decrease 0.371 million
2015/16Decrease 0.292 million
2016/17Increase 0.361 million
2017/18Decrease 0.311 million
Key datesOpened 1848 (1848)
National RailUK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Bromley Cross from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.

Bromley Cross railway station, situated in Bromley Cross, a suburb to the north of Bolton, England, is served by the Northern 'Ribble Valley' line 2 34 miles (4.4 km) north of Bolton. It is situated on Chapeltown Road. The station is just south of the point where the double line merges into one.


Bromley Cross Station in 1963.

Grade II-listed Bromley Cross Railway Station was established in June 1848, on a branch line authorised by an Act of 30 June 1845, initially by the Blackburn, Darwen and Bolton Railway and was originally provided with a temporary, timber station 'building', described in one local newspaper report of 1854 as a 'cold wooden shed.' This founding railway co merged to become The Bolton, Blackburn, Clitheroe and West Yorkshire Railway in 1847, which later became part of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway (L&YR) in 1858.[1] Permanent station buildings were provided along the line in 1859, constructed with locally quarried sandstone, by Joseph Greenup and Co of Manchester. The original minutes of the railway company held at National Archives, Kew, reveal that the engineers drew up the plans for the 1859 building, the estimated cost being £350, which also included building a 'detached cottage' which survives next to the signal box.[2] The dimensions of the original station building are approx. 39ft in length by 15ft wide. A minute from later that year (6th December 1859) recorded that 'permanent platforms' at the station were now 'in the course of erection.' There was a raising of the platform heights 'fully a foot the whole length' in 1886, the local newspaper reporting 'a goodly number of men being engaged on the work.'[3]

The working goods yard at the station was a crucial part of a country station's existence and two surviving memos sent in 1874 to Bromley Cross refer to the delivery of cheese and tins of lard etc. to the local Co-op stores and also that goods despatched could have problems; 'all in this truck very wet when received here.'[4]Plans were drawn up around 1891 for an extension to the warehouse, with new goods offices and other track and signalling works. Apart from the main station building, with waiting room built in, there was a 'waiting shed' recorded on both platforms in L&YR days. After the take over by the LMSR in 1923, plans were drawn up for improved General Waiting Rooms (GWRs) on both platforms, complete with internal stove heating. The free-standing timber GWR positioned along the platform from the main station building has its full specifications revealed in surviving design plans held on County Archives and its dimensions are given as approx 27ft in length by 10ft deep, which means it had approx 70 per cent of the length of the original building. It may have been at the time of adding this sizeable additional timber waiting room that the decision was taken to block off the central doorway on the main 1859 building. This originally led into a large waiting area and booking hall, complete with benches around the sides of the room and use of the second smaller internal wall clock face to aid timekeeping. After the change, this original waiting hall became the staff ticket office seen today, which swapped over from the end part of the building where the public now buy tickets. There is a boarded over rear corner fireplace just under the modern train time display screen, hence the chimney seen on the outside rear corner of the building. The GWR on the Manchester platform can be seen in late 1960s photos but must have been removed by around 1970 and by the 1980s a new waiting room extension in stone was added on to the end of the 1859 station building, in place of the gentlemen's lean-to toilets. A small waiting room provided in the station's central section was then closed and reserved for staff use (storage). There was also a detailed LMSR design plan for the proposed reconstruction of the LYR waiting shed into a GWR on the Blackburn platform, measuring approx 25ft by 7ft 6in, complete with a 'Princess May No. 1 Stove' and also several 'Littleton Lamps'. This GWR, if built, had become a small closed brick waiting shed as seen on a mid-1960s photo and by the 1970s this appeared to be replaced with the very basic open fronted brick shed (now boarded up) that exists today, alongside which is now its replacement, an open bus shelter type stand with metal swivel seating - all of which represents a substantial reduction in facilities to what had been provided in LYR and LMSR days. There was a road level crossing at the station which closed in 1966/7, with the pedestrian crossing remaining. In the early 1970s, the former goods yard with its shed, to the north of the station, whose sidings were recovered in September 1967, was redeveloped as a housing estate.

Though built as double track (and used by expresses to and from Scotland from 1880), the line to the north was singled by British Rail in 1973 as part of the East Lancashire line resignalling scheme. Some of the line southwards toward Bolton was also reduced to single track in 1985 (again due to signalling modernisation work), though the double track portion through the station was retained to act as a passing loop. The station was owned by the London Midland and Scottish Railway in 1923, and the London Midland Region of British Railways, as it was known after nationalisation in January 1948.[5] The London Midland Region ceased to be an operating unit in its own right in the 1980s and was wound up at the end of 1992.


Latest franchise operator Northern Railway announced a much enhanced all day half-hourly service Weekdays and Saturdays in both directions from Dec 2017, but still hourly on Sundays, rather than merely at morning and evening peak periods as before. The additional services however start/terminate at Blackburn, so the service through to Clitheroe remains hourly.[6]


Parking is adjacent to the station, with overflow parking opposite and neighbouring Turton Media Arts College. The station is staffed on a part-time basis (mornings & early afternoons only, Mon-Sat), with a ticket office & waiting room on the southbound platform. A ticket machine is also available for use outside opening hours and for the collection of pre-paid/advance purchase tickets.[7] The platforms are fully accessible for disabled travellers (step-free access to both, northbound via the foot crossing) and there are passenger information screens and a P.A system in place.

Station Clock[edit]

The station clock was probably installed in the early 1900s and is clearly seen on a 1912 photograph,[8] with an identical clock noted on a 1905 photograph of once nearby Turton Station. The clock has a London Midland Scottish Railway (LMSR) identity number, an oval brass disc nailed onto the clock's long case (LMS 9994), this number indicating that the clock was installed by the L&YR before the creation of the LMS in 1923.[9] In 1996 the clock was restored to working order by the Railway Heritage Trust and is a rare survivor being still hand-wound weekly.

Grade II Listing[edit]

The 1848 original low level platform, the 1859 station building, and the 1875 signal box were all Grade II listed in early 2015.[10]

Signal Box[edit]

Bromley Cross Station showing original low level platform and Signal Box

The Grade II-listed signal box at the station is a Smith and Yardley type 1 brick box opened in December 1875, almost certainly timed to service the new connections to short sidings that were opened that winter, these works being checked and then approved with minor modifications by the Board of Trade inspector Colonel Hutchinson in documentation dated February 1876.[11] One interesting requirement was that the wicket gates had to be locked by levers in the signal cabin and this basic protection can now be dated with certainty to that time.[11] The box, one of three types, was supplied by Manchester-based Emily Sophia Yardley, a widow who had taken over her late husband's ironmongery business, together with her step-brother William Smith, who was recorded in the April 1861 Census records as being an 'engineer' aged 21.[12] The extension to the goods yard at the station by the early 1900s, together with new loop lines and increased signalling, brought about an enlargement of the lever frame in the signal box. Inserting this new frame probably required the partial removal of some of the front brickwork of the 1875 cabin. This can be seen today in the distinct contrast between much older brick lower down and a quite different brick face on the upper area. The signal box has an operating floor which is 8ft 7in above the platform level, according to early LYR Engineer's Office drawings. Bromley Cross signal box formerly acted as a 'fringe' to the power boxes at Preston (which controls the line to Blackburn) and Manchester Piccadilly (which supervises the passing loop and line south towards Bolton) - their train description systems were incompatible with each other and so the box here was retained to act as a link between them.[13] Its sole use now is to supervise the adjacent pedestrian foot crossing and the protecting signals (with four working levers), since the interface between the two signalling centres has been upgraded so that they can communicate directly.[14] In circa 2004 the signal box was modernised with timber work replaced in PVC (the windows were replaced in a different pattern), and new steel steps and an oversized metal safety cage finally added.[10] In November 2016 the foot crossing was entirely renewed, also the short timber-topped former link platform running under the front of the signal box removed, so exposing the lowest brick layers of the box for the first time in many decades.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tattersall, W. David (1973). The Bolton, Blackburn, Clitheroe & West Yorkshire Railway. Oakwood Press. p. 20.
  2. ^ original railway co minutes held at National Archives, Kew on RAIL 52/4
  3. ^ The Bolton Chronicle, Saturday 16 January 1886[full citation needed]
  4. ^ L&YR (Salford Stn) and also L&NWR (Broad St.) memos, dated July and Oct 1874, sent to Bromley Cross. At file ZZ354, Bolton Central Library
  5. ^ "The Nationalised Railway: 1948 - 1992". The Railways Archive. Archived from the original on 17 September 2008. Retrieved 6 September 2008.
  6. ^ Table 94 National Rail timetable, December 2017
  7. ^ Bromley Cross station facilities National Rail Enquiries; Retrieved 9 December 2016
  8. ^ The Lens of Sutton Collection, photograph Neg. No 13642, (railway photo archive, Longridge, Birmingham)
  9. ^ Lyman, Ian (2004). Railway Clocks. Mayfield Books. p. 112.
  10. ^ a b Historic England (7 April 2015). "Bromley Cross Railway Station (including signal box and low level platform) (1422397)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
  11. ^ a b Board of Trade (Railway Dept) inspection report, Feb 1876, original File No. R1573, now at National Archives MT6/161/30
  12. ^ "Census Returns of England and Wales, 1861: Registration Sub-District 7 Cheetham". Kew, Richmond, England: National Archives. 7 April 1861. RG 9/2969. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
  13. ^ John Hinson; David Ingham. "Bromley Cross: Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway". The Signal Box. Archived from the original on 2 June 2013. Retrieved 4 October 2008.
  14. ^ Jackson, p.192


Jackson, Allen (2015),Contemporary Perspective on LMS Railway Signalling Vol 1: Semaphore Swansong, Volume 1, Crowood Press Ltd, ISBN 978 1 78500 026 3

External links[edit]

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Entwistle or
Ribble Valley Line
  Hall i' th' Wood
Disused railways
Turton and Edgworth   L&YR
Ribble Valley Line
  The Oaks

Coordinates: 53°36′51″N 2°24′39″W / 53.61411°N 2.41081°W / 53.61411; -2.41081