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Accrington’s railways ” a monstrous aberration”

Accrington has had a railway since 1848. The station is now vastly smaller than at its peak in the 1930’s and direct services to Manchester did not resume until 2016.

The Current Station at Accrington Photo G Whittaker

Origins – the Manchester Bury and Rossendale Railway

After the success of The Liverpool and Manchester railway, in the 1830’s, another group of Manchester business men eyed the potential of a line from Manchester to Bury and beyond, up the Rossendale valley.

1848 and all that

R.W. Rush has described the original layout of Accrington station as a “monstrous aberration” in his book on the East Lancashire Railway. Only one platform was provided with the booking office across four tracks, on the opposite side! Trains were arranged to arrive simultaneously from three directions. This resulted in a circus of shunting and pulling to get the trains into the solitary platform.

Map from The East Lancashire Railway by R.W.Rush

The Stubbins to Accrington extension, 1845, Building commences

The contract for building the line from Stubbins to Accrington was awarded to John Brogden. It was difficult to build with huge gradients and boggy land at Baxenden summit.

The original East Lancashire Railway buildings survived into the 1970’s. The curved viaduct can be seen heading towards Burnley in this mid 1960’s image. The line to Manchester has been singled at this time. It closed completely in 1966.

The 1960’s closures

The line to Manchester closed in 1966.

Goods train on Accrington viaduct 1965