Station Name: FRIEZLAND

[Source: Alan Young]


Date opened: 1.7.1886
Location:

At the end of approach road off A635 Manchester Road, Greenfield. This was formerly Station Road but is now a private drive.

Company on opening: London & North Western Railway
Date closed to passengers: 1.1.1917
Date closed completely: 27.2.1965
Company on closing:

Passengers: London & North Western Railway
Goods: British Railways (London Midland Region)

Present state: Passenger station building is in residential use. Platforms demolished. Goods station demolished. Oldham & District Riding Club’s Friezland Arena occupies its site.
County: Yorkshire (now Oldham)
OS Grid Ref:

Passenger station SD994042
Goods station SD988039

Date of visit: May & October 2015

Notes: When Friezland passenger station opened, the established Oak View woollen mill stood opposite the approach road; some recently built short terraces, forming the hamlet of Friezland, were within a few minutes’ walk. Some larger villas and farmsteads were also in the vicinity of the station. Greenfield station, on the original Huddersfield-Manchester railway was about half a mile to the north-west on the opposite side of the River Tame valley. Friezland passenger station was on the narrow area of near- level ground between two viaducts. Immediately north-east was Greenfield Viaduct (confusingly identified as ‘Friezland Viaduct’ on OS plans), 242yd in length and with 16 arches one of which was a larger span over the brook.  Friezland Viaduct was immediately south-west of the station, with 12 arches and stretching 187yd. As with the other viaducts on the line they were constructed of blue engineering brick. The constricted site close to the mill and terraces could accommodate only the passenger station, so the goods station was ¼-mile south-west beyond Friezland Viaduct where a level site could be created by hollowing-out the valley side to the south-east and embanking it to the north-west; just south-west of this site the railway disappeared into the Royal George Tunnel under a narrow spur of higher ground. Had the passenger station been built on the goods station site it would have been poorly sited to serve the local population. All four stations on the Micklehurst Loop shared this distinct separation between passenger and goods operations for similar geographical reasons; but there was probably no real benefit in combining the two functions on one site.

The passenger station was reached by an unmetalled track known as Station Road. There were two flanking platforms connected by a footbridge. Whereas at Uppermill, Micklehurst and Staley & Millbrook the station house and offices were at road level and the platforms and waiting rooms were elevated on embankments, at Friezland the platforms and all buildings were on the same level.  Micklehurst, Uppermill and Staley & Millbrook stations had timber platforms to reduce the weight that the embankments supported, and although only part of Friezland was on a low embankment the platforms here were also of timber. The main station building and goods warehouse were of brick construction. A photograph taken by John Mann in 1970, identified as Friezland – but with a question mark – shows a single, curving brick-built platform beside an empty trackbed.

Friezland station house and office range were on the up (south-east) platform and a waiting shelter stood on the down platform, displaced north-east of, rather than facing, the main building. Awnings were provided on both platforms. The design of the station house was similar to that of the other three on the Micklehurst Loop. It was constructed of brick, probably red with string courses of blue engineering brick and pale stone lintels. The dignified two-storey structure was almost square in plan, and single-storey office / waiting room ranges extended on both sides. The roof of the station house was hipped and slated and the office range probably had similar roofing, with restrained cresting and finials. A cornice was provided using a row of bricks set at 45⁰ as dentils. The original chimneystacks were probably of blue brick. The entrance from the road to the house was centrally placed, probably sheltered by a small sloping porch, with pairs of tall rectangular windows either side. Apart from the opening above the doorway, other windows were also in pairs.

The doubt surrounding the detail of the building, such as the colour of the bricks and style of roofing of the single-storey sections, is because no photographs have come to light showing the station building clearly. The building is today a private residence, but it has been altered in several respects. The original sash windows have been replaced, most of them with upvc frames, and the paired windows either side of the central doorway on the south-east elevation have been knocked into one; multi-light windows have been installed which, though attractive, are somewhat unconventional in such a building. The bricks have also been painted in an eau-de-Nile colour. It is suspected that the ridged single-storey roofs are also not original. On the platform elevation a conservatory has been added. The garden on the station approach is immaculate. On the down platform side woodland has been allowed to colonise the site right up to the former trackbed.

Below is the timetable for Friezland just over a year after the station opened:


Up trains: weekdays
August 1887

Destination

Down trains: weekdays

Destination

8.32am

Manchester Exchange§

7.39am

Leeds

11.58am

Liverpool Lime Street§

10.43am

Diggle

1.00pm

Manchester Exchange§

12.38pm

Diggle

3.59pm

Manchester Exchange§

3.37pm

Leeds

8.08pm

Liverpool Lime Street§

7.09pm

Diggle

§ Timetable suggests that Micklehurst Loop train couples with train via Mossley at Stalybridge
In winter 1895-96 the frequency of trains had not been altered, but they were re-timed and destinations had changed:


Up trains: weekdays
December 1895

Destination

Down trains: weekdays

Destination

8.36am

Stalybridge

7.59am

Huddersfield

11.58pm

Stalybridge

10.24am

Huddersfield

2.46pm

Stalybridge

12.35pm

Leeds

4.47pm

Stockport

2.35pm

Leeds

7.52pm

Stalybridge

7.33pm

Uppermill

As the timetables for 1887 and 1895 (above) show, Friezland – together with the other three stations on the Loop- did not enjoy a generous service; there were no trains on Sunday. The purpose of the Micklehurst Loop was primarily to relieve pressure on the original line through Greenfield and Mossley, rather than provide extra passenger stations, and it is clear that the four new stations and the few stopping trains were not remunerative.


Up trains: weekdays April 1910

Destination

Down trains: weekdays

Destination

8.45am

Stockport

10.51am

Marsden

11.46am

Stalybridge

2.27pm

Leeds

2.55pm

Stalybridge

-

-

4.58pm

Stalybridge

-

-

Micklehurst closed to passengers in 1907, followed by Staley & Millbrook in 1909, but Friezland and Uppermill remained open for several years more. The April 1910 timetable, above, shows a reduced service in comparison to 1895, particularly in the down direction; no trains called on Sunday. On 1 January 1917 these two remaining stations – along with a number of Britain’s quieter stations – were closed to release staff for military service in the ‘Great War’. Some of these stations re-opened after the war was over, but Friezland and Uppermill did not. Passenger trains continued to use the Micklehurst Loop, but no record has been seen of calls being made after 1917 at any of the intermediate stations, even for excursions. After the station closed to passengers its footbridge was dismantled and a concrete footbridge was built prior to 1932 to enable pedestrians to cross the line which still carried freight and occasional passenger trains.

The goods station at Friezland remained in use for several decades after the passenger station closed. It comprised a large two-road warehouse (of similar design to the others on the Loop,) 5-ton crane, weigh office and stone-setted yard. Road vehicles reached the yard along a lengthy, unmetalled lane. There was no signal cabin at the passenger station, but one stood on the down side of the through lines at the goods station.

In January 1923 the Micklehurst Loop’s ownership was transferred from the LNWR to the new London, Midland & Scottish Railway (LMS). Early in the LMS era Mossley Gas Works became an important user of the Micklehurst Loop. Located a short distance south of the Royal George Tunnel, about ½-mile south-west of Friezland goods station the gas works was built between 1926 and 1931, on the down side of the line. Sidings were installed to serve the works, with connections to the Micklehurst Loop in both directions; access was controlled by Friezland Gas Sidings signal box on the up side of the through lines.

From January 1948 the Loop passed to British Railways (London Midland Region) administration, and it was in this administration that Friezland goods station closed, on 27 February 1965. Friezland Gas Sidings signal box had already closed, on 14 March 1962. The date of closure of the gas works has not been found.  The line through Friezland closed entirely on 3 October 1966 and the rails were removed by 1970. The concrete footbridge remained in place after track-lifting although it was clearly no longer needed. The details of the removal of the Friezland Viaduct, south-west of the station have not been found, but the 16-arch Greenfield Viaduct, north-east of the station, received attention from the Oldham Chronicle when its demolition took place in June 1975. In the words of a long-standing Saddleworth resident (reported by Wells) ‘Greenfield was better off without it’.

Unlike its neighbours at Micklehurst and Staley & Millbrook, the goods warehouse at Friezland has been demolished. Its site is now in the landscaped grounds of Oldham & District Riding Club’s Friezland Arena. As noted above, the passenger station building is in residential use, approached by a drive which was formerly Station Road.

CLICK HERE FOR A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE HUDDERSFIELD & MANCHESTER RAILWAY AND THE MICKLEHURST LOOP

Ticket Michael Stewart. Bradshaw from Nick Catford. Route map drawn by Alan Young

Other web sites: The Micklehurst Loop - Numerous archive pictures along the loop.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

To see stations on the Micklehurst Loop Line
click on the statation name:
Uppermill, Micklehurst & Staley & Millbrook

See also Diggle


Looking south-east towards Friezland station from a point close to Greenfield station c1910. Friezland station is seen between Friezland Viaduct (right) and Greenfield Viaduct (left), with the rear of the down platform shown clearly. The waiting room block and down platform are both constructed of timber. The footbridge connecting the platforms is visible in front of the station building, which adjoins the up platform. It is assumed that this platform was also of timber construction, like all others on the Micklehurst Loop. Left of the station, the large building with the chimneystack is Haybottoms bleaching mill. The desolate heights of Saddleworth Moor provide a dramatic backdrop.
Photo from Peter Fox 'Old Saddleworth' collection



1906 1: 2,500 OS map. Friezland passenger station stands at the end of the un-named Station Road. The two platforms are shown, with the station house and offices on the up (south-east) side and a waiting shed on the opposite platform. The extent of the awnings on both platforms is shown by pecked lines and shading. A footbridge connects the two platforms; the steps on the south-east side are directly in front of the station house. At the ends of each platform the land falls away, requiring short embankments, and in both directions the railway passes onto viaducts. The north-easterly one is labelled ‘Friezland Viaduct’, but is more commonly known as Greenfield Viaduct; the other viaduct is referred to in the present text as Friezland Viaduct.  The locality has a scattering of industry – a couple of mills are within easy walking distance of the station - and a mixture of terraces, cottages and more opulent houses. The goods station is several hundred yards from the passenger station, reached by a long approach track. The facilities are on the up side, south-east of the running lines and comprise four goods loops, two passing through the shed (warehouse), and there are also two dead-end sidings. The weigh office (WM=Weighing machine) is attached to the north-eastern end of the warehouse and Friezland signal box is on the down side.


1932 1: 2,500 OS map. Friezland passenger station closed in 1917 and is no longer named. The outlines of its two platforms are discontinuous suggesting that they have been partially demolished, and the down platform building is no longer shown, but the main building is still in place (and remains so in 2015). The original footbridge has been removed, but a new one to the north-east has been installed: it is not clear what is reached to the north-west of the railway by this footbridge as no pathway extends beyond it.


1932 1: 2,500 OS map.

Looking north-east circa 1906 towards Greenfield Viaduct on the Micklehurst Loop (between Uppermill and Friezland stations); the largest arch is passing over Chew Brook. The viewpoint is the path which connected the Oldham platform of Greenfield station (on the original Huddersfield-Manchester line) to Oldham Road. In the foreground is the Greenfield to Oldham branch; the main line is beyond the two LNWR carriages.
Photo from Peter Fox 'Old Saddleworth' collection

On 10 August 1909 the 9.20am up passenger express from Huddersfield to Stockport was hauled by LNWR 0-6-2 tank No.1608. When approaching Friezland Viaduct, west of the station, the engine and its three carriages were derailed, possibly because of excessive speed down the gradient from Uppermill. The whole train continued along the viaduct, coming to rest 135yd beyond the south end. The engine had fallen on its right-hand side (which was badly damaged) and then spun round after being hit by the first carriage, so the engine ended up facing the opposite way to its direction of travel, yet in an upright position. Driver William Turton and Fireman James Oates were both killed and the guard and 13 of the 40 passengers were injured. The title of the photograph captures the confusion over names. Greenfield is on the ‘old’ Diggle-Stalybridge line, and Friezland is the station serving the village of Greenfield on the Micklehurst Loop.
Photo from Peter Fox 'Old Saddleworth' collection

A local firm cashed-in on the accident, producing this postcard to commemorate the Friezland ‘Remarkable Railway Smash’. Apparently a local photographer did one better and gave a ‘magic lantern’ show of the disaster in Stalybridge on the evening of 10 August 1909, the day of the accident. The number of injured passengers is stated as 13 in a later source.
Photo from Peter Fox 'Old Saddleworth' collection


An aerial view of Mossley Gasworks circa 1951. Early in the LMS era Mossley Gas Works became an important user of the Micklehurst Loop. Located a short distance south of the 140yd Royal George Tunnel, about ½-mile south-west of Friezland goods station, the gas works was built between 1926 and 1931 on the down side of the line. Sidings were installed to serve the works, with connections to the Micklehurst Loop in both directions; access was controlled by Friezland Gas Sidings signal box on the up side of the through lines.
Photo from David Bielby collection


Looking north-east from Friezland station towards Greenfield Viaduct in November 1970; a parapet of the viaduct is visible. The concrete footbridge was installed in the inter-war years to replace the station footbridge (which was located close to where the photographer is standing) but with the rails having been recently removed it would appear now to be neither use nor ornament. The station building is off the picture to the right.
Photo by John Mann


Demolition of Greenfield Viaduct is under way near Greenbridge Lane in 1975.
Photo from Peter Fox 'Old Saddleworth' collection

Friezland passenger station building looking north-west in May 2015, almost a century after the station closed. The drive follows the course of the former Station Road. The building is of the same style as at the other three Micklehurst Loop stations. The house looks attractive but many changes have been made to its appearance since it was in railway use, including the painting of the red brick in eau-de-Nile and replacement windows. The platforms were behind the building, and nothing is visible of them.
Photo by Alan Young


Friezland passenger station building looking west in May 2015, almost a century after the station closed. The building is of the same style as at the other three Micklehurst Loop stations. The house looks attractive but many changes have been made to its appearance since it was in railway use, including the painting of the red brick in eau-de-Nile and replacement windows. The platforms were behind the building, and nothing remains of them.
Photo by Alan Young


Fiezland passenger station building looking south-west in May 2015 from the site of the former up platform. Trees are occupying the railway trackbed.
Photo by Alan Young

18 August 1909

May 2015

Click on thumbnail to enlarge

 

 

 

[Source: Alan Young]




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