Station Name: FACIT

[Source: Alan Young]


Date opened: 1.11.1870
Location: South-east of the junction of Cowm Park Way (North) and Station Road.
Company on opening: Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway
Date closed to passengers:

16.6.1947 (temporary)     14.12.1949 (permanent)

Date closed completely: 12.8.1963
Company on closing:

Passengers (temporary): London, Midland & Scottish Railway
Passengers (permanent): British Railways (London Midland Region)
Goods: British Railways (London Midland Region)

Present state: Demolished. Sheltered housing (Riddiough Court) occupies the site
County: Lancashire (now Rochdale)
OS Grid Ref: SD887191
Date of visit: June 2015

Notes: Facit is part of the linear industrial area that follows the deep and narrow valley of the River Spodden, and today its Victorian terraces still line the Rochdale–Bacup road. Its prosperity in the nineteenth century depended on its textile mills and the huge quarries on the moors to the north-west. In administrative and commercial terms it has been overshadowed by Whitworth, a mile to the south, and only local people would be able to distinguish where Facit ends and Whitworth begins. However in railway terms Facit was of greater importance, serving for 11 years (1870 to 1881) as the northern terminus of the line before it was extended to Bacup. Traditions die hard, and although no longer a true ‘branch line’ the Rochdale-Bacup route remained the Facit Branch, and LMS timetables for the line were headed ‘Rochdale–Facit–Bacup’, ignoring Whitworth.


A group of railway employees in front of Facit Goods signal box, south of the passenger station c1910. Photo from Whitworth Historical Society

The curious name Facit is of Anglo-Saxon origin and means ‘bright slope’. The village grew on a west-facing slope, benefitting from the afternoon sunlight.

At Facit Goods Yard signal box the single track became double all the way over the line’s summit to Bacup. The steeply graded single track from Whitworth (altitude 698ft) climbed for the mile to Facit at 1 in 50. After a short level stretch through Facit (775ft), most of the double track to Shawforth, where the station stood at 897ft, was at a punishing 1 in 39.
The layout of Facit station carried the imprint of its origin as a terminus with the front of the station building not being parallel to the tracks; the extension to Bacup, opened in December 1881, continued on a different alignment from the original branch, so what became the up platform in front of the station building had to be widened progressively to the north, and a second (down) platform, also with a stone building, was constructed. A Yardley signal box was provided on the platform at the

original station of 1870, but it was replaced with two boxes in connection with the extension of the line.

This station had the most ambitious set of buildings of any of the intermediate Rochdale-Bacup stations. Both buildings were single-storey and built of sandstone. The original one on the up platform had a hipped roof and a hipped verandah extended from it across the platform. On the opposite platform was a smaller building with three pitched roofs whose gables were at right angles to the platform, and their profile was echoed by a ridge-and-furrow verandah; the next station north, Shawforth, also dating from 1881, had this style of building on both of its platforms. A rather elegant covered footbridge connected the platforms north of the buildings. In 1881 the new Facit signal box opened at the north end of the station, on the up side immediately north of the new level crossing. It was a Gloucester Wagon Co structure with a brick base equipped with the same company’s 16-lever frame. Two years earlier another box – Facit Goods Yard - opened south of the station, also on the up side; this was a brick-built Saxby & Farmer Type 9 box with a 15-lever frame. A 19-lever LYR frame replaced the original one in 1899.

The goods yard was extensive and at one time included a wagon-weighing machine; few stations were provided with this device. There was also an engine shed of timber construction which was in use for just over ten years while Facit was the branch terminus; it was unusual for an LYR branch to possess a shed. The shed was replaced with one at Bacup which remained in use until 1954. One of the goods yard tracks extended beyond railway property to a stone-processing plant further up the valley and then clambered up to the moors via a zig-zag and a standard gauge incline to serve Henry Heys & Sanderson quarries. The zig-zag at the foot of the incline was to prevent accidents should a wagon run out of control down the gradient; it would not foul the running line or enter the goods yard. There were rail connections to further quarries on the moors and to inclines serving the Rossendale Valley (Bacup-Rawtenstall). At the top of the incline was a shed for quarry line locomotives. The quarries were a lucrative source of traffic for the Facit Branch, but the incline ceased to be worked in 1947 when there was a major breakdown, and thereafter stone was moved by road.


Up trains: weekdays
August 1887

Destination

Down trains: weekdays

Destination

7.28am

Rochdale

7.25am

Bacup

8.30am

Rochdale

8.25am

Bacup

9.55am

Rochdale

9.53am

Bacup

10.48am

Rochdale

11.40am

Bacup

12.32pm

Rochdale

1.25pm

Bacup

2.55pm

Rochdale

2.52pm

Bacup

5.08pm

Rochdale

4.30pm

Bacup

5.55pm

Rochdale

5.50pm

Bacup

6.50pm

Rochdale

6.45pm

Bacup

7.50pm

Rochdale

8.20pm

Bacup

9.35pm

Rochdale

9.32pm Sat only

Bacup

10.48pm Sat only

Rochdale

10.32pm

Bacup

-

-

11.58pm Sat only

Bacup

Up trains: Sunday

Destination

Down trains: Sunday

Destination

8.20am

Rochdale

9.15am

Bacup

2.38pm

Rochdale

3.59pm

Bacup

7.15pm

Rochdale

8.22pm

Bacup

9.15pm

Rochdale

10.14pm

Bacup

Facit was the scene of an accident on Saturday 29 August 1891. The details here are taken from Wray (1989). Before proceeding on its journey, a Bacup to Rochdale passenger train was waiting for a train from Rochdale to clear the long single-line section. Some ten minutes earlier a heavily-laden stone train of one empty and 24 loaded wagons had left Britannia. Shortly before breasting the summit the engineman lost control of the train which gathered speed as it careered through Shawforth station, where it should have stopped, and it ran on towards Facit. The southbound passenger train had travelled barely 150yd when the stone train crashed into its rear. The passenger train was lightly loaded and some of the passengers were able to jump clear, but a woman in one of the last two coaches was killed and another passenger died later that day because of his injuries. An inquiry established that the guard of the stone train had made an error of judgment, pinning down only 13 wagon brakes – which was insufficient for the weight of the train – instead of 19 or 20, bearing in mind that the engine was only a light tank working a steep gradient with greasy rails.


Up trains: weekdays
July 1922

Destination

Down trains: weekdays

Destination

6.53am

Rochdale

7.24am

Bacup

7.27am

Rochdale

9.42am

Bacup

8.16am

Rochdale

10.57am

Bacup

9.46am

Rochdale

12.14pm

Bacup

11.31am

Rochdale

1.44pm

Bacup

12.59pm

Rochdale

4.39pm

Bacup

2.16pm

Rochdale

5.57pm

Bacup

3.14pm

Rochdale

7.04pm

Bacup

6.01pm

Rochdale

8.34pm

Bacup

7.53pm

Rochdale

9.32pm

Bacup

10.04pm

Rochdale

10.54pm

Bacup

No Sunday trains

-

-

-

Sometime between March 1939 and December 1940 Facit station signal box closed and two ground frames replaced it, released from Facit Goods Yard box. The station box was soon demolished and a stationmaster’s house was built incorporating its site. Perhaps at the same time the covered footbridge was replaced with a utilitarian open-top model. During World War II the services between Rochdale and Bacup remained fairly frequent although at irregular intervals: a feature of the timetable since the early days of the line. In July 1943 trains left Rochdale for Bacup at the following times: 7.00 and 9.25am; 12.05pm, 1.25, 4.20, 6.30 (Saturday excepted [SX]), 6.45 (Saturday only [SO]), 8.17 and 10.40 (SO). All trains called at Facit. Trains departed from Bacup for Rochdale at 6.41, 7.17, 8.07 and 9.37am; 12.48 (SO), 1.30, 2.07, 3.13 (SO), 4.45 (SO), 5.12 (SX), 5.52, 6.25 (SO) and 7.44. No passenger trains ran on Sunday.

After the war, during which this and many other lines suffered reductions in train frequency, the service improved, as shown in the table below for 7 October 1946 to 4 May 1947:


Up trains: weekdays
October 1946

Destination

Down trains: weekdays

Destination

6.54am

Rochdale

7.24am

Bacup

7.27am

Rochdale

9.45am

Bacup

8.17am

Rochdale

12.20pm

Bacup

9.47am

Rochdale

12.57pm (Sat only)

Bacup

12.20pm (Sat only)

Rochdale

1.46pm

Bacup

12.58pm

Rochdale

3.23pm

Bacup

1.50pm (Sat only)

Rochdale

4.41pm

Bacup

2.17pm

Rochdale

5.58pm (Sat only)

Bacup

3.47pm (Sat excepted)

Rochdale

6.00pm (Sat excepted)

Bacup

3.57pm (Sat only)

Rochdale

6.50pm (Sat excepted)

Bacup

5.24pm

Rochdale

7.05pm (Sat only)

Bacup

6.02pm

Rochdale

8.35pm

Bacup

6.17pm (Sat only)

Rochdale

9.26pm

Bacup

7.54pm

Rochdale

11.00pm

Bacup

10.05pm

Rochdale

-

-

No Sunday trains

 

No Sunday trains

 

Whereas up trains were allowed 3 minutes for the journey from the next station north, Shawforth, to Facit, in the opposite direction the time was 5 minutes as they faced the punishing uphill 1 in 39 gradient for most of the 1¼ miles between the stations.

The last regular LMS passenger trains served Facit in June 1947 when they were suspended, the temporary closure being declared permanent by British Railways (London Midland Region) in December 1949. Goods traffic continued to be handled at Facit for some years, although from May 1952 the line northwards to Bacup engine shed was closed to all traffic. The route was notionally available for wagon storage after this time, but only at Facit station itself did this take place. On 10 November 1956 Facit Goods Yard signal box closed and thereafter the single line to Wardleworth was operated on a ‘One Engine in Steam’ basis.

During the 1950s the volume of freight traffic on the Facit Branch declined, particularly at its northern end; by 1958 most of the sidings and the running lines up to the platforms at Facit station were used to store wagons, and all of the points had been padlocked. On 12 August 1963 the station, sidings and the line back to Whitworth were closed and the ‘wagon storage’ section from Facit to Bacup was abandoned; the tracks were lifted between Whitworth and Bacup by the end of 1964.

In December 1969 an application was made to build 54 dwellings on the site of Facit station. By May 1972 all evidence of the station had been obliterated and the housing development was complete. Two years earlier the trackbed between Facit and Whitworth stations was occupied by a new road, Cowm Park Way. North of Station Road in Facit, part of the former area of sidings is still open space.

Click here for a brief history and bibliography of the Bacup to Rochdale line.

To see other stations on the Bacup - Rochdale line click on
the station name:
Bacup, Britannia, Shawforth, Whitworth, Broadley, Shawclough & Healey, Wardleworth & Rochdale 1st Station

See also special feature: Facit branch viaducts and the Siamese bridges

Facit Station Gallery 1: c1910 - c1910

A Rochdale-bound train is entering Facit station c1910. The main station building is on the right, a single-storey stone structure similar to the buildings at Shawclough and Whitworth stations, but given the dignity of a hipped awning in respect of its original status as the northern terminus of the ‘Facit Branch’. A reminder of its conversion to a through station in 1881, when the branch was extended to Bacup, is that the building is aligned to the original position of the platform which was built outwards at the northern end to adjoin the new ‘up’ track. When the second (down) platform was added this was also given a single-storey building but its awning was of a ridge-and-furrow design. An enclosed footbridge connected the platforms at their northern ends. It will be noted that the loco is entering bunker-first. Wray (1989) suggests that because chimney-first running was normal it was probably because of the steep gradients on the line that the reverse practice is seen here: the water in the boiler would not uncover the firebox crown plate when the summit is reached and the engine is on the downhill stretch beyond.




1935 street map.


1894 1: 10,560 OS map. From 1870 until 1881 Facit was the northern terminus of the line from Rochdale, but when the line was extended north to Bacup it swerved slightly westwards at the station, leaving the original building aligned to the old position of the track. The original platform was adjusted to reach the new track and would handle southbound (up) trains while a new down platform was added west of the tracks. The original building has been retained as the principal one. A substantial building, also with a platform awning, stands on the down platform. A footbridge is shown towards the northern end of the platforms. There is a complex arrangement of loops and sidings, and the yard includes a single-road goods warehouse. A siding to the north on the down side extends beyond the station area to serve Facit Quarries on the edge of the moors; it is entered via a reversal, at the northern edge of map extract. There are also nearby sidings for stone traffic alongside a stone processing works. A tramway also extends up the valley side from exchange sidings close to the passenger station; it is not immediately obvious what its purpose was. The almost uninhabited moors to the west contrast starkly with the abundant terraced housing and cotton mills east of the railway.


1910 1: 2,500 OS map. Facit station’s principal building, on the east (up) platform is shown with its internal divisions, and the pecked lines indicate the extent of the awning over the platform. The internal divisions of the building on the down platform are also marked. The station’s goods facilities, including a warehouse, are seen west of the running lines.  The tramway close to the station has been removed.

1929 1: 2,500 OS map. Facit station has undergone little significant change. At this time the mining and manufacturing are still of great importance, despite the economic uncertainties of the Great Depression. Three cotton mills are named, all within convenient walking distance of the station.

1947 1: 10,560 OS map. This map shows Facit station in the year when the passenger train service was suspended, never to be reinstated. From this time until 1963 Facit was retained as the northern terminus for branch goods traffic.


1964 1: 2,500 OS map. Facit station closed to all traffic in 1963 but would have still been in use for goods traffic when the map area was surveyed, thus it is still named. 'The buildings are shown on both platforms, but the only awning is a short one on added to the up (east) platform building to replace the larger, earlier one. The station still possesses a signal cabin and goods warehouse, but some sidings have been removed and the line up to Facit Quarries has been dismantled. Specific mill names and their products are no longer stated as the OS was required to remove such information during the Cold War years in the interests of national security. Click here for a larger version.


Looking north from the down platform at Facit station c1910. The station staff are standing on the up platform where the principal facilities are located. Both the building and the awning have a hipped profile in contrast to the ridge-and-furrow roof and awning on the down platform. In the background are the stately covered footbridge and the station signal box, both of which received attention under LMS management – the footbridge being replaced and the signal box abolished. Even a station of modest importance such as Facit would be expected to have numerous staff, including stationmaster, booking clerk, porter, goods clerk and signalmen; and it is likely that photos such as this one would be taken at a time of day when staff on different shifts could all be assembled.
Photo from Whitworth Historical Society

The main building on the up platform of Facit station looking south-east from the down platform c1910. The single-storey stone building is undistinguished, but it is accompanied by a hipped, glazed awning of generous proportions with gas lanterns suspended from it. The perspective looks peculiar, but this is because the building is not aligned with the platform edge.  The building was parallel to the original platform when Facit was the temporary northern terminus of the branch from Rochdale between 1870 and 1881. The extended line to Shawforth, Britannia and Bacup veered away from the building and the platform was extended towards the new position of the track. The down platform, from which this photo is taken, was added as the Bacup extension was double track throughout.

Click here for Facit Station Gallery 2:
Pre 1921 - 12 May 1956

Last updated: Thursday, 18-May-2017 10:50:04 BST
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