Thursday, 7 May 2009

Haslingden's Railway & Station

Train Entering Haslingden Station after coming through North Hag Tunnel
(Painting by the late Mr. Arthur Kirby) - Please click over painting to enlarge

This photo on the left shows Haslingden Station in the 1950s with train No. 42785 approaching the station having just come through North Hag Tunnel and you can just see the start of Donkey Row (Bridge Street) to the right. The photo on the right was taken from up near Donkey Row and is another one of the Station, but also shows clearly the Sheds and Station Yard with crane and cotton mills in background etc.

The main approach to the Station was via a wide cobbled road made up of highly polished setts, and the road swung round in a mighty arc (see photo on left). On your approach and to your right was the Station yard which was solidly enclosed with side by side timber railway sleepers stood on end with pointed tops.

I can remember the British Railways Truck in its dark red and county cream livery, it was a Scammell 3 wheeler with a flat trailer. Here on the right is a picture of one which I took at last years Tram Sunday at Fleetwood... I would see one identical to this up and down that cobbled road, on a daily basis...

I remember, all the lights on the station platforms where gas lit, there where waiting rooms and toilets on both platforms. I also remember there was always a mass of timetables for various destinations throughout Lancashire, these seemed to always be neatly set out in a timber framed mount which had lots of little shelf pockets to house these timetables.... The station was generally manned by a staff of 2 or 3, I think it was one or two porters and the Station Master..

Every weekday a shunter train would come to the Haslingden sidings, usually it would be a very old looking heavy duty train of the WD Class numbered in the 90000 ranges or it would be a 3 or 4F type... They would come up mainly to shunt the W.H. Shaw coal wagons about, bring new filled up coal wagons from the pits of Lancashire and Yorkshire and would take away the empties, they would spend up to 4 hours a day working within the sidings.

I loved it during the school holidays when occasionally I would go along to the Station and try and help out, or probably get in the way, or now and again the drivers of the shunters would shout down and ask if I wanted to climb the footplate and drive the train down the track a little, they where great times and times that have created great memories for me.

The regular service trains that came through Haslingden where coming from Manchester and going to Colne (or the other way!), and the next stop on from here was the Baxenden Station and goods yard (which was just a little further on than the Hollands Pies factory near Rising Bridge) and then it was onward and downward to Accrington, then on via Rosegrove, Burnley, etc to Colne. Usually on this route where local "stanier" class trains which where in the main shedded at Accrington or Rosegrove... but besides these regular service trains, there would also be goods trains, and special excursions, especially for the wakes weeks annual "cotton towns" holiday fortnight...

I like many others in the 50s was a train spotter armed with my Ian Allen book together with shed book which those days cost 10/6d (thats ten shillings and sixpence), and from where I lived at 110 Hud Hey Road, it was great. I could see the trains come into the Station or through North Hag Tunnel, watching from my back window and then nip out the front door and watch them from close range coming under the bridge at Hud Hey (see picture here on left). Sometimes there would be "namers" usually "Jubilee or Patriot" Classes. Sometimes you would see "double-headers" with many carraiges behind them.... they where really great times...... The fabulous photo on the upper right here was the view I would see everyday from my back window at Hud Hey. The photo was taken on 3rd July 1964 by the late Mr. Eric Bentley (copyright held by Bryan Yorke).

The Haslingden "Signal Box" was about 250 yards North of Haslingden Station on the same side and almost in line with Martincroft Farm which was to West, and also it was almost in line with Carr Mill which lie to its East. Another 100 yards further on was the level crossing which was accessed from Carr Hall Street or the Old Laundry and Martincroft on the other side... (there is still a crossing at this point for pedestrians to cross the local by-pass)

And here are two very old photos of Helmshore Station..and to the right is a more recent (1966s) photo showing a double header passing Prinny Hill. The photo taken by the late Eric Bentley...(copyright held by Bryan Yorke)

(Photo: Jean Tomlinson)

(Received Email from Joan B on 12th April 2014)
We then moved on to Rising Bridge and were friends with Alan and Margaret Birtwistle and their children who took over the butcher's. Their son is now a surgeon.
Margaret's brother,Gordon Dakin,my husband and other friends knocked down part of Haslingden railway station building and used the stones as foundations for houses that were being  built at Baxenden.
Regards, Joan B.

Yes you did have us “beat” with that one Mr. Chin - g!
And now 50 years are passing this week!
I guess you felt it right on the day for us, and other days for them,
Maybe you thought not enough folk travelled on it to Bury or Manchester,
Or maybe tuther way to Baxenden, Accrington, Burnley and Cowne.
Wakes trains were always full and steamed from under North Hag or (bonk!)
And Donkey Row was completely fogged owt!
Not Now!
And now 50 years are passing this week!
We’ve still got our “arches” down at Shore dear Sir,
And now we do have Ravens crossing its many bows,
And we’ve still got our memories of chugging (rather than buzzing!)
And the delightful (in its own way) smells of steam,
And fifteen years on in 1981 a “By Pass” shall be built,
Just where that very Stations weeps!

28th November 2016