Station Name: FOULRIDGE

[Source: Alan Young]


Date opened: 2.10.1848
Location: At the NW end of Station Road behind Mile End Close
Company on opening: Leeds & Bradford (Shipley-Colne Extension) Railway
Date closed to passengers: 5.1.1959
Date closed completely: 5.1.1959
Company on closing: British Railways (London Midland Region)
Present state: Much degraded remains of platforms; station building dismantled and reconstructed at Ingrow West (Keighley & Worth Valley Railway)
County: Lancashire
OS Grid Ref: SD887425
Date of visit: September 1986, February 2017

Notes: The village of Foulridge is probably best known among transport enthusiasts as the location of the tunnel at the summit of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal and the associated lakes that supply it with water. Unlike the canal, completed in 1816, the railway between Skipton and Colne negotiated the low watershed between the Ribble and Aire catchments without the need for a tunnel. Foulridge station opened with the Colne Branch from Skipton in October 1848. In Bradshaw the name was given as Faulridge but the spelling was altered in 1849.

The station had two facing platforms and the principal building was on the down (south-east) side. This was a neat, self-assured structure built of sandstone. The single-storey twin-pavilion design was mildly Classical in style, the overhanging gables having something of the appearance of broken pediments. The pavilions each had triple, round-headed window openings, and the rectangular, central door opening was flanked by single round-headed windows. The signal box stood immediately south-west of the station building. On the up platform was a timber pitched-roofed waiting shed supporting a small, flat awning with a deep valance.

The goods yard at Foulridge was a short distance south-west of the passenger station on the down side of the line. A single loop was provided, with a siding into a single-road goods warehouse. The 1904 Railway Clearing House Handbook of Stations records that the goods yard possessed a 1-ton 10-cwt crane and that a limited range of goods was handled; there is no reference to facilities for dealing with livestock. As at most stations there was a weigh office to deal with incoming consignments of coal.

Passenger train services were of the same general frequency as at Thornton and Elslack, the other minor stations on the Colne Branch. Earby, where the Barnoldswick Branch left the route, enjoyed a more generous service of ‘main line’ trains. Until road motor transport offered serious competition, the station’s position close to the village proved beneficial; Thornton and Elslack stations were not so well sited to serve their local communities.

 

Up trains: weekdays
February 1863

Destination

Down trains: weekdays

Destination

6.34am

Skipton

8.05am

Colne

8.35am

Skipton

11.55am

Colne

12.44pm

Skipton

3.08pm

Colne

3.35pm

Skipton

7.27pm

Colne

6.20pm

Skipton

-

-

Up trains: Sunday

Destination

Down trains: Sunday

Destination

8.08am

Skipton

9.24am

Colne

4.10pm

Skipton

6.07pm

Colne

Destinations of trains are not always clear in Bradshaw.

Up trains: weekdays
August 1887

Destination

Down trains: weekdays

Destination

6.16am

Skipton

7.33am

Colne

8.55am

Skipton

8.37am

Colne

10.56am §

Skipton

9.10am ‡

Colne

1.01pm

Skipton

10.53am

Colne

3.39pm

Skipton

1.37pm

Colne

4.06pm

Skipton

2.58pm

Colne

6.26pm

Skipton

5.18pm

Colne

8.35pm

Skipton

6.25pm

Colne

-

-

8.38pm ¶

Colne

Up trains: Sunday

Destination

Down trains: Sunday

Destination

9.31am

Skipton

10.44am

Colne

11.36am

Skipton

6.08pm

Colne

4.56pm

Skipton

-

-

Destinations of trains are not always clear in Bradshaw.
§ Approximate time. Calls by request to take up passengers travelling north of Hellifield
‡ Calls by request Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday to set down and on Wednesday to take up
¶ Calls by request to set down passengers from Skipton and beyond

Until 1922 Foulridge station was owned by the Midland Railway. The summer 1922 timetable below shows a reasonably frequent, although irregular, weekday service enabling business and shopping trips to be made to Colne and Skipton, with three services each way on Sunday. In January 1923 the Midland became part of the new London, Midland & Scottish Railway (LMS) company.

Up trains: weekdays
July 1922

Destination

Down trains: weekdays

Destination

7.58am

Skipton

7.23am

Colne

9.38am

Skipton

8.40am

Colne

10.30am § Mon only

Skipton

10.35am

Colne

12.32pm

Skipton

11.44am

Colne

1.50pm Sat only

Skipton

12.45pm Sat only

Colne

2.30pm

Earby

1.59pm

Colne

3.17pm

Skipton

2.40pm Sat only

Colne

3.58pm

Skipton

4.14pm

Colne

4.58pm Tue & Fri only

Skipton

5.33pm

Colne

5.53pm

Skipton

6.43pm Tue & Fri only

Colne

7.00pm

Skipton

7.08pm

Colne

9.07pm

Skipton

8.33pm

Colne

10.31 § Sat only

Skipton

9.42pm § Sat only

Colne

Up trains: Sunday

Destination

Down trains: Sunday

Destination

9.36am

Skipton

11.02am

Colne

4.57pm

Skipton

6.34pm

Colne

8.46pm

Skipton

8.07pm

Colne

Destinations of trains are not always clear in Bradshaw.
§ Approximate time

In the inter-war years buses between Skipton and Colne, passing along the main road through Foulridge village, snatched traffic from the railway. Buses could convey passengers to and from the town centres whilst the railway stations were inconveniently placed; at Colne a steady uphill walk faced railway passengers bound for the town centre. A further self-inflicted weakness of the railway was that, even under unified LMS administration the traditional Midland and Lancashire & Yorkshire / London & North Western frontier at Colne persisted, with the LMS Midland and Central divisions having their interface at Colne, requiring passengers to change trains here if they intended to travel further.

In January 1948 management of Foulridge station passed to British Railways’ (BR) London Midland Region at nationalisation. Under the new administration Foulridge station received little investment; gas lighting and LMS signage remained in place, and BR totem nameplates were never installed. One of the Colne Branch stations, Elslack, closed in 1952 but Foulridge remained open. As late as 1958 the station’s weekday train service was reasonably frequent, with a noticeably better service on Saturday, and the reluctance to operate trains beyond Colne had been overcome with direct services provided to Manchester, Preston, Blackpool and Liverpool, and even a daily train to Euston.

Up trains: weekdays
June 1958

Destination

Down trains: weekdays

Destination

8.00am

Leeds via Ilkley

7.06am

Manchester Victoria

9.07am

Skipton

8.42am

Liverpool Exchange

10.24am

Skipton

9.14am

Manchester Victoria

12.43pm Sat only

Skipton

10.36am Sat only

Manchester Victoria

1.43pm Sat exc

Skipton

11.40am Sat exc

London Euston

2.15pm Sat only

Skipton

11.53am Sat only

London Euston

3.58pm Sat only

Skipton

12.44pm Sat only

Manchester Victoria

5.10pm

Skipton

2.07pm Sat only

Manchester Victoria

5.48pm Sat only

Skipton

4.20pm

Blackpool Central

5.51pm Sat exc

Skipton

5.31pm

Preston

6.44pm

Skipton

6.06pm Sat only

Manchester Victoria

8.34pm Sat exc

Skipton

7.07pm Sat exc

Blackpool Central

8.43pm Sat only

Skipton

7.13pm Sat only

Preston

9.41pm

Skipton

8.16pm Sat only

Colne

-

 

10.37pm Sat only

Accrington ‡

‡ The only daily weekday train to make a Saturday-only call at Foulridge

Foulridge station enjoyed a significantly better service than Thornton-in-Craven, the station beyond Earby; nevertheless, it was decided to close Foulridge to all traffic on 5 January 1959 while Thornton survived through the 1960s.

After closure, Foulridge station remained intact for many years although by 1970 (when the line closed) the central part of the down platform had partially collapsed. In this year the rails were removed and the building on the up platform was demolished, but the down platform building remained in place. By 1983 the building was derelict and its windows boarded, but an interesting future awaited it. The Keighley & Worth Valley Railway, closed by BR in 1962, had reopened and was thriving as a ‘heritage’ railway, and this ex-Midland line possessed fine, original buildings at Keighley, Oakworth, Haworth and Oxenhope stations. However, at Ingrow West the building was of little merit, and the elegant, but decaying, Midland building at Foulridge was thought to be well suited to a new life in Yorkshire. So it was that in 1986 this building was carefully dismantled and conveyed to Ingrow where it was rebuilt and can be enjoyed today, albeit in the wrong county; in fairness, the Lancashire / West Riding boundary was under a mile north of Foulridge, as a roadside plaque on the A56 reminds us!

In 2017 the much degraded remains of the platforms have been invaded by vegetation and a house known as ‘The Sidings’ has been constructed (c2006) on the site of the station building. Until about 2002 industrial buildings occupied the former goods yard but a development of three-storey town houses, ‘The Old Sidings’ has subsequently been constructed on the site.

A short distance north-east of the station, the viaduct that carried the railway across the Leeds & Liverpool Canal was demolished in 1996 but the abutments remain. Immediately south-west of its site a former canal warehouse has been refurbished and is now the Café Cargo within which there are historic photographs on display of the canal and the railway. About 150yd south-west of the café is the portal of the 1,640yd Foulridge canal tunnel.

Route map drawn by Alan Young. Tickets from Michael Stewart

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

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


See also Foulridge Viaduct


Foulridge Station Gallery 1: 1889 - July 1968


The down platform at Foulridge station, looking east in 1889. The single-storey sandstone building has a modest dignity, and today it can be enjoyed, rebuilt at Ingrow West station on the Worth Valley Railway. The signal box is on the right, with the signalman distracted from his duties.
Photo from late Donald Binns collection


1894 1: 2,500 OS map. The ‘Foulridge Gap’ provides the least challenging crossing of the Pennines between Lancashire and Yorkshire and was followed by road, rail and canal. Here the proximity of railway and canal can be seen, the latter emerging from its 1,640yd tunnel at ‘FB’ (footbridge). The main building and signal box are on the down (south-east) platform of Foulridge station, but at this time no building is shown on the opposite side of the line.  The goods facilities are on the down side, south-west of the passenger station, and they consist of a loop and short siding into the goods shed. ‘WM’ indicates the weighing machine in the coal yard. Station Road is a cul-de-sac, and the village lies south and east of the area shown on this map extract.

1912 1: 2,500 OS map. The village has expanded north-westwards to the station since the earlier map. A passenger shelter has been built on the up platform. In the goods yard a further siding has been added and the existing siding has been extended beyond the goods shed.

1932 1: 2,500 OS map. The railway has continued to limit the expansion of the village; in the 21st century the village still stops here. The goods facilities appear unchanged since the map of 1912.

A painting by Billy Hobson based on the 1889 photo of Foulridge station.

Station staff stand smartly attired on the down platform at Foulridge on a date before November 1904. The view is north-eastward. The series of fine Midland Railway lamp standards with their elegant gas lantern cases can be admired, as can the MR nameboard, of the distinctive double style – two boards, conjoined and set at an angle to each other to make them more readily legible from passing trains.
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection

Foulridge station looking north-east from the up platform on 5 June 1952. A three-coach stopping service is drawing into the station hauled by No.42549 2-6-4T. On the down platform the main building is seen far right, together with an LMS ‘Hawkseye’ nameboard and an LMS gas lantern mounted on what is probably an MR post. The awning of the up platform waiting shelter creeps into the photo, far left. The loco is a Stanier-designed Class 4 built in July 1936 by the North British Locomotive Company, Glasgow. She would be withdrawn in November 1961 from 26A, Newton Heath shed and cut
up at Crewe works.


The main building at Foulridge station, on the down platform, looking east in the mid 1960s. The station closed to all traffic in January 1959 but the railway remained in use until February 1970.
Photo by G Tonks from late Donald Binns collection

On the afternoon of 28 Jul 1968 the Severn Valley Railway Society and Manchester Rail Travel Society ‘Farewell to BR steam’ railtour is seen southbound between Foulridge and Colne. Originating at Birmingham New Street and travelling as far as Carnforth the tour included the Tyldesley Loop, to close to passengers in 1969 as well as the threatened Colne Branch.  On this leg of the journey the train is hauled by Nos.45073 and 45156 ‘Ayrshire Yeomanry’. No 45073 is a Stanier-designed ‘Black Five’ 4-6-0 built in June 1935 at the LMS Crewe works. She was withdrawn from 24C, Lostock Hall shed, in August 1968 and Drapers, Neptune Street Goods Yard, Hull disposed of the locomotive in March 1969. No.45156, also a ‘Black Five’, was built by Armstrong Whitworth, Newcastle upon Tyne, in July 1935. She was withdrawn from 24B, Rose Grove shed, in August 1968 and T W Ward, Beighton, Sheffield disposed of the loco the following December.
Photo by G W Morrison

Click here for Foulridge Station Gallery 2:
February 1970 - September 1986

 

 

 

[Source: Alan Young]




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