Station Name: ELSLACK

[Source: Alan Young]


Date opened: By 1.1.1849
Location: Up platform and station buildings were NE of Elslack Lane; down platform was SW of the lane. Elslack Lane joins A56 about ¼-mile north of the station site.
Company on opening: Leeds & Bradford (Shipley-Colne Extension) Railway
Date closed to passengers: 3.3.1952
Date closed completely: 3.3.1952
Company on closing: British Railways (London Midland Region)
Present state: Demolished, but fragments of up platform remain
County: Yorkshire West Riding (now North Yorkshire)
OS Grid Ref: SD928497
Date of visit: April 1976, February 2017

Notes: Elslack is little more than a hamlet located about half a mile from the A56 Skipton-Colne road at the foot of Elslack Moor which rises to 1,275ft. To the north-west stretches the Craven country drained by the rivers Aire and Ribble and distinguished by the numerous, small plump hills – drumlins, a remnant of past glacial action. Whilst the Leeds & Liverpool Canal follows a serpentine path between these drumlins (known by some as the Hills of Elslack) the railway simply cuts through them. The area is only lightly populated and Elslack station was never of great importance, being the first to close on the Skipton-Colne route.

The station’s platforms were staggered either side of the bridge over Elslack Lane, the up (Skipton-bound) platform being displaced north-east of the down platform. The main facilities were towards the south-western end of the up platform. The original station building was moved here from Shipley where it had been considered inadequate; the Midland Railway traffic committee made this decision in October 1849. Binns (2008) assumes that it was of timber construction. The permanent station building in which the booking office and waiting facilities were found was of brick construction, a single-storey structure of modest dignity. The roof was hipped and the door and window openings were segmental arches. Some decoration was supplied by dentillation of the cornices. The building at Thornton-in-Craven, the next station towards Colne, was of the same style. The stationmaster’s house stood immediately north-east of the station building. This was a brick-built, two-storey affair with an overhanging steeply pitched, slate roof, broken by a gabled dormer on the platform elevation. The north-east gable end was rendered and distinguished by unusually narrow windows on both storeys. The signal box was several yards north-east of the up platform ramp.

The down platform, surprisingly, is shown neither on the Ordnance Survey 1: 2,500 map of 1894 nor on the next edition of this map dated 1909. Perhaps because it was on an embankment where a masonry structure could have been too heavy it was of timber construction. An enclosed waiting room was provided in a small timber building supported on struts at the north-eastern end of the platform. The 1952 photograph shows that an LMS ‘Hawkseye’ running in nameboard was fitted close to the building; its angle suggests that it might have been mounted on two of the three posts that the Midland Railway would have installed for its distinctive nameboards, as seen on the older view of the up platform. Oil lanterns lit the platforms.

A goods loop was on the down side facing the up platform, with a short branch at the south-western end serving a single-road goods warehouse, close to which was the weigh office. A cattle pen adjoined the loop at its north-eastern end, where there was also a headshunt. The Railway Clearing House Handbook of Stations (1904) states that Elslack handled general goods traffic with facilities for livestock and horse boxes and that a 1 ton 10 cwt capacity yard crane was installed.

Specimen timetables follow for Elslack station. Its level of train service was similar to Thornton and Foulridge stations; Earby enjoyed a greater frequency, being the largest settlement between Skipton and Colne as well as the junction for the Barnoldswick Branch.

Up trains: weekdays
February 1863

Destination

Down trains: weekdays

Destination

6.47am

Skipton

7.50am

Colne

8.52am

Skipton

11.40am

Colne

10.55am

Skipton

2.55pm

Colne

12.56pm

Skipton

5.15pm

Colne

3.50pm

Skipton

7.13pm

Colne

6.40pm

Skipton

-

-

Up trains: Sunday

Destination

Down trains: Sunday

Destination

8.25am

Skipton

9.08am

Colne

4.27pm

Skipton

5.50pm

Colne

Destinations of trains are not always clear in Bradshaw.

Up trains: weekdays
August 1887

Destination

Down trains: weekdays

Destination

6.30am

Skipton

7.18am

Colne

8.05am

Skipton

8.22am

Colne

9.10am

Skipton

10.38am

Colne

11.07am §

Skipton

1.23pm

Colne

1.17pm

Skipton

2.43pm

Colne

3.50pm §

Skipton

5.03pm

Colne

4.20pm

Skipton

6.09pm

Colne

6.40pm

Skipton

8.23pm

Colne

8.50pm

Skipton

-

-

Up trains: Sunday

Destination

Down trains: Sunday

Destination

9.45am

Skipton

10.28am

Colne

11.50am

Skipton

5.53pm

Colne

5.10pm

Skipton

-

-

Destinations of trains are not always clear in Bradshaw.
§ Approximate time. Calls by request to take up passengers travelling north of Hellifield

Up trains: weekdays
July 1922

Destination

Down trains: weekdays

Destination

8.15am

Skipton

7.02am

Colne

9.54am

Skipton

8.19am

Colne

12.49pm

Skipton

10.15am

Colne

2.45pm

Skipton

11.26am

Colne

4.17pm

Skipton

1.42pm

Colne

6.12pm

Skipton

3.56pm

Colne

7.16pm

Skipton

6.24pm Tue & Fri only

Colne

9.24pm

Skipton

6.50pm

Colne

-

-

8.12pm

Colne

Up trains: Sunday

Destination

Down trains: Sunday

Destination

9.54am

Skipton

10.57am

Colne

5.17pm

Skipton

6.28pm

Colne

9.04pm

Skipton

8.00pm

Colne

Destinations of trains are not always clear in Bradshaw.

In 1923 at the ‘Grouping’ the Midland Railway lines became part of the new London, Midland & Scottish Railway (LMS). Under this regime, as noted above, new signage was installed at Elslack.

Up trains: weekdays
July 1938

Destination

Down trains: weekdays

Destination

6.15am

Skipton

7.07am

Colne

8.12am

Skipton

8.27am

Colne

9.21am

Skipton

10.14am

Colne

12.47pm

Skipton

11.36am

Colne

2.35pm

Skipton

11.58am Sat only

Colne

3.29pm Sat only

Skipton

1.44pm

Colne

4.14pm

Skipton

3.59pm

Colne

6.02pm Sat exc

Skipton

5.15pm Sat exc

Colne

6.16pm Sat only

Skipton

5.20pm Sat only

Colne

6.57pm

Skipton

5.43pm

Colne

-

-

7.00pm

Colne

Up trains: Sunday

Destination

Down trains: Sunday

Destination

8.05am

Skipton

6.41pm

Colne

9.09am

Skipton

8.14pm

Colne

5.04pm

Skipton

-

-

At nationalisation in 1948 Elslack passed into British Railways’ London Midland Region administration. In the summer 1950 timetable, below, Elslack was the only intermediate station between Skipton and Colne to have lost its Sunday train service. Elslack and its neighbouring station of Thornton-in-Craven had a noticeably poorer service than the other two intermediate stations between Skipton and Colne but, remarkably, Thornton survived until the closure of the line in 1970. Nevertheless, the timetable enables workers, shoppers and scholars to travel to and from Skipton, but night-time revelry in the town is not catered for.
 


Up trains: weekdays
June 1950

Destination

Down trains: weekdays

Destination

8.15am

Skipton

8.27am

Colne

9.19am

Skipton

9.04am

Colne

12.57pm

Skipton

10.23am

Colne

2.35pm

Skipton

11.41am

Colne

4.14pm

Skipton

1.49pm

Colne

6.07pm

Skipton

3.59pm

Colne

-

-

5.15pm

Colne

-

-

5.55pm

Colne

Both passenger and goods traffic at this station were minimal and the station closed to all traffic on 3 March 1952. The timber down platform had been dismantled by the mid 1970s – perhaps much earlier - but the up platform was still in place in a dilapidated state in 1976. At this time the main building had been demolished but the derelict station house remained on the up platform. In 2017 Brookbank Industries, a manufacturer of textile accessories, has its factory on the down side of the old railway, north-east of the dismantled railway bridge. Fragments of the up platform remain, but the station house has gone without trace.

Tickets from Michael Stewart. Route map drawn by Alan Young.

Click here for a brief history of the Colne - Skipton line

See also: Foulridge, Earby & Thornton-in-Craven
plus Barnoldswick


The up platform at Elslack station looking north-east c1905. The platform arrangement is staggered with the down platform behind the photographer on the far side of the bridge over Elslack Lane. The single-storey brick building with the hipped roof contains the booking office and waiting rooms. Window and door and window openings have segmental arches and dentillation of the cornices provides some decoration. Beyond is the two-storey stationmaster’s house, brick-built with an overhanging steeply pitched, slate roof, broken by a gabled dormer. The signal box is several yards north-east of the platform ramp. The running-in board illustrates Midland Railway practice of providing two adjoining boards set at angles to enable the station name to be read easily from both up and down directions. Oil lighting is provided in casement lamps fixed to the building and on posts. Milk churns, empty barrows and an unceremoniously inverted advertising sign provide interest in the foreground. The goods depot is seen to the right, but the camera angle misses the goods warehouse.
Copyright photo from John Alsop Collection


1894 1: 2,500 OS map. The up platform is shown with the passenger building (internal divisions indicated) and the station house to the north-east. The signal box is north-east of the platform. The goods facilities face the up platform, consisting of a loop off the down through line serving a single-road warehouse (not named) on a short spur at the south-west end; the weigh office (W.M.=weighing machine) is adjacent to the warehouse. A cattle pen adjoins the opposite end of the loop. No down platform is shown on this or any other OS map, however its location was south-west of the bridge over Elslack Lane as seen on one of the accompanying photographs.

1909 1: 2,500 OS map. An interesting change since 1894 is that two signal boxes are now shown side by side at Elslack station: presumably the larger one has replaced the smaller one. There is still no down platform on the map although a small structure has appeared on the down side of the line beside the bridge. This is possibly the timber building seen on the 1952 photograph.

The down platform at Elslack station is seen in 1952, the year of its closure, looking south-west. It is of timber construction perhaps because it is on an embankment where a masonry structure could have been too heavy. The enclosed waiting room in a small timber building supported on struts. An LMS ‘Hawkseye’ running-in nameboard is installed at an angle enabling it to be more easily read from entering trains (by passengers facing forwards). It is possibly mounted on two of the three posts that the Midland Railway would have installed for its distinctive nameboards, as seen on the older view of the up platform. The casement oil lanterns are of a cruder style than seen on the up platform. The different style of lamps suggests that this platform was built at a different time from the up platform.
Photo from John Mann collection

The up platform of the disused Elslack station looking west in April 1976. The stationmaster’s house stands derelict, its windows and doorway boarded up, and part of the platform has collapsed. Nothing remains of the station building which formerly stood to the left of the house. The tracks through the station were removed soon after the line closed in 1970, and agricultural equipment is occupying the trackbed. At this date nothing remains of the timber down platform which was staggered south-west of the up platform.
Photo by Alan Young

The site of Elslack station’s up platform looking south-west in February 2017.
Photo by Alan Young

Looking north-west at the site of Elslack station in February 2017.  Fragments of the former up platform can be seen between the two houses.
Photo by Alan Young

The site of Elslack station’s up platform looking north in February 2017.
Photo by Alan Young

Looking south-west in February 2017 along the trackbed of the Colne Branch at Elslack. The station platforms were staggered; the up platform was behind the camera and the down was directly ahead, on the left side of the trackbed stretching as far as the stone bridge parapet. This platform was of timber construction and has been removed without trace.
Photo by Alan Young

Looking south-east along Elslack Lane in February 2017. The abutments of the Colne Branch railway bridge are ahead. The down (Colne-bound) platform was located several yards to the right of the fence seen on the truncated railway embankment.
Photo by Alan Young



 

 

 

[Source: Alan Young]




Last updated: Thursday, 20-Apr-2017 20:49:36 BST
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