Station Name: BURY KNOWSLEY STREET

[Source: Paul Wright and Alan Young]

1970 to 2017

On 10 June 1970 Bury West box was demolished by runaway wagons that had broken loose while travelling west through the Bury Hollow. They were diverted into a siding that ran right up to the box. A temporary block post was set up in a room on the Bury Knowsley Street down platform and a two-lever ground frame was installed to control the trailing connection between the up main line and the up line of the Bury East Fork.

During June 1970 demolition of the canopies and some of the waiting rooms began. The down platform was cleared first, being devoid of shelter by July. The up platform had lost its canopy by August. Simple timber waiting shelters were erected on both platforms. Photographs of the platforms in summer 1970 suggest that the gas lamps disappeared during the dismantling of the canopies and that there were none in place on the open stretches of platform. Such a situation would be unacceptable today’s climate of ‘health and safety’, but all trains during that summer called during hours of daylight, the last departure being at 20.14.

On 7 May 1970 the Minister of Transport, Fred Mulley, approved the proposal to withdraw the passenger service between Bolton, Bury and Rochdale. Notice was given that all passenger services would be withdrawn with effect from 5 October 1970.

The last trains ran on Saturday 3 October 1970 (Sunday services having been withdrawn with the introduction of the winter 1964 timetable). The final train was the 20.14 Bolton to Rochdale service. It had to be strengthened to six coaches as many local people took the opportunity to travel over the line for the last time. Perhaps there was some form of platform lighting in place on this occasion as it was after sunset.

The ground frame that had been put in during June 1970 was closed on 4 October 1970.
Freight services continued to pass through the station operating between Castleton and a coal concentration depot at Rawtenstall via the Bury East Fork. The line between Bury West Junction and Bolton closed completely after the last passenger trains had run.

Demolition of the remaining buildings, the footbridge, the goods facilities and the up platform was carried out in spring of 1971. The line to Bolton was lifted and that to Castleton was singled (only the former down line was retained as a bi-directional single track). The down platform had been left in situ.

With the exception of the single track and the down platform the Knowsley Street site was landscaped as a public park and car park; this project was completed by the summer of 1972.

In the 1970s the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive (GMPTE) explored the idea of creating a bus/rail interchange facility at Bury as part of the Picc–Vic project. The ambitious project which would have given Manchester a metro style railway did not progress because of costs, but nevertheless a new station for Bury was authorised in 1975. A site was identified to the north of Bury Knowsley Street station where the Market Hall had been. Work started on the new station, to be known as Bury Interchange, and on a new section of line in 1977.

The new line caused alterations to be made at the Bury Knowsley Street station site. It used a section of the Bury Loop at its southern end then passed through the station site at right angles, cutting through the down platform at about its midpoint. The new double-track line crossed the single track of the Castleton – Bury line by means of a flat crossing. The new line opened on 17 March 1980 and once again regular passenger trains started to pass through Bury Knowsley Street, albeit in a north/south direction.

After the expense of installing the flat crossing and its associated signals to enable the Castleton – Rawtenstall coal trains to operate, they ceased to run on 5 December 1980. Rail tours passed through Bury Knowsley Street on 14 February 1981 after which it fell into disuse. The flat crossing was removed on 7 September 1983.

From 25 July 1987 a new East Lancashire Railway (ELR), this time a heritage organisation, began to operate trains from Bury Bolton Street to Ramsbottom. In the late 1980s plans were drawn up to convert the Bury Interchange – Manchester Victoria line to a tramway. These plans were realised and the last trains ran on 16 August 1991. Trams were introduced on 6 April 1992. This situation left the ELR isolated from the national railway network, and the company turned its attention to the Castleton line. Putting in a flat crossing was not an option this time so the solution was to raise the line and take it over the tramway on a bridge. In 2000 the bridge was completed and it obliterated all trace of the Bury Knowsley Street down platform which had survived the 1971 demolition. Regular passenger trains started to run between Bury and Heywood on 25 July 2003.

In July and August 2007 the foundations of the up platform buildings were exposed as part of advanced works for the construction of a multi-storey car park. Archaeologists were given the opportunity to explore the station site. By 2010 the car park had been constructed.

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Last updated: Monday, 25-Sep-2017 19:45:21 BST
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