Notes: Morecambe Euston Road was the western terminus of the London & North Western Railway (LNWR) Morecambe branch which connected to their Lancaster and Carlisle main line at Hest Bank. The main line formed part of the Anglo-Scottish route between London and Glasgow (and later became known as the West Coast main line). The LNWR Morecambe branch opened on 8 August 1864 and at first it did not have its own terminus. The first railway to reach Morecambe had been promoted by the Morecambe Harbour Railway, but by the time it opened in 1848 the North Western Railway (NWR) had taken over and their station was at Northumberland Street. When the LNWR branch opened the company’s trains used the NWR station.
The railways enabled Morecambe to develop quickly as a seaside resort which proved particularly attractive to holidaymakers from the West Riding of Yorkshire, gaining it the unofficial title of ‘Bradford-on-Sea’. When the railway first arrived it was a small fishing village known as Poulton-le-Sands, but the station was named after Morecambe Bay, perhaps to avoid confusion with Poulton (-le-Fylde) near Blackpool. Within three decades Morecambe station, which had been taken over by the Midland Railway (MR) in 1874, had become so busy that the LNWR was asked to make its own arrangements. The LNWR opened a station of its own at Poulton Lane on 1 November 1870.
The Poulton Lane station was inadequate for the needs of the LNWR and it was replaced with Euston Road station on 9 May 1886. At the time of opening the station was known simply as Morecambe and was referred to as Morecambe ‘LNWR station’.
The station was located on the south side of Euston Road on the eastern edge of the town. The main entrance was set back from the road and in front of it there was a large square. Facing the square the station was a lengthy, symmetrical structure, with a two-storey central block flanked by sprawling single-storey wings ending in pavilions. The central block had a hipped, slate roof and the remainder was ridged. Biddle (1973) is less than complimentary in his description of the building: he notes that ‘it was typical of the London & North Western’s ideas of going to town – a long vivid yellow-brick façade, which must have been quite startling when it was new, with a large glass-and-iron porte cochère, repeated on the platform side as an awning. It was a fairly gross piece of work, only the iron cresting and brackets displaying any delicacy’. The upper floor of the central block was distinguished by three cross-gables, the middle being slightly taller and having paired windows while its neighbours had only one. The composition was dominated by numerous segmental-arched openings, culminating with a flourish in the end pavilions where they were arranged in Venetian style. In the central block was the booking hall and flanking it were waiting rooms and an office. At the western end there was a refreshment room.
The station had one long platform used by arrivals and departures. A canopy extended from the building and covered the width of the platform. At the eastern end of the building a ground frame controlled the points and signals at the station. At the western end of the platform was a separate building that contained toilets for both sexes.
To the south the station had goods facilities which included five sidings, a loading ramp, goods shed and weighing machine.
At the time of opening Euston Road would have been served by trains that ran to and from Hest Bank. On 19 May 1888 a connection was opened that allowed trains from the Morecambe branch to reach Lancaster Castle without having to perform a reversal at Hest Bank. This allowed the LNWR to put on a passenger service between Morecambe and Lancaster that was competitive with the MR.
Although not as busy as the MR station Morecambe LNWR still handled high volumes of traffic particularly in the summer months. The single platform was inadequate and in the 1890s it was extended. Two additional platforms were added, both of which were islands; this gave Morecambe Euston Road five platform faces.
On 1 January 1923 the LNWR and the MR became part of the London, Midland & Scottish Railway (LMS) bringing both Morecambe stations under the same ownership. On 2 July 1924 ‘Euston Road’ was added to the name of the LNWR station and ‘Promenade’ to the MR. Morecambe Promenade was the larger of the two stations and was where the LMS concentrated the majority of its services, including long distance trains.
By the late 1920s Morecambe was being visited by hundreds of thousands of people every year, mostly during the summer months. The LMS summer timetable for 1932 showed Euston Road being served by trains from destinations as far away as Barrow, Crewe, Lake Side (Windermere), London Euston and Manchester Victoria. There was also a frequent service to and from Lancaster Castle.
During the Second World War holiday traffic ceased but it resumed in 1946. The LMS summer timetable for 1947 showed 16 scheduled departures and 15 arrivals on Monday-to-Friday. An extra arrival and departure were provided on Thursdays and extra trains each way on Saturdays. On Sundays there were six departures and five arrivals. The timetable showed a through service between Morecambe Euston Road and London Euston.
On 1 January 1948 Morecambe Euston Road became part of British Railways London Midland Region (BR[LM]). During the 1950s the stationmaster at Euston Road was Mr C Blackburn. The station received the region’s maroon totems of the half-flanged variety early in the BR era.
The closure of Morecambe Euston Road station was an untidy, protracted business. From 15 September 1958 all scheduled passenger services that ran to Euston Road during the winter period were diverted to Morecambe Promenade. Summer trains continued to serve Morecambe Euston Road in 1959, 1960 and 1961.
Mid-week during this period the station was very quiet but on Saturdays it was incredibly busy as thousands of holidaymakers passed through both on outward and inward journeys. Enterprising local youths would wait outside the main entrance of the station with carts which were used, for a fee, to carry the luggage of the holidaymakers to their boarding houses.
In 1959 Mr Arthur Herbert became stationmaster at Euston Road having previously held the same post at Bare Lane. Mr Herbert involved his family in the running of the station during the summer months his daughter Pat Herbert having a Saturday job as a train announcer. On Saturday 8 August 1959 Pat Herbert was on duty and she kept the sheets from which she read out the train information. There were 23 departures and 26 arrivals at Morecambe Euston Road. Departing trains ran to destinations including Birmingham New Street, Glasgow Central, Kendal, Lancaster, Manchester Exchange, Manchester Victoria, Millom, Preston, Stockport Edgeley, Uttoxeter and Windermere.
In summer 1962 Euston Road was used seven days per week. The last departure of the season was the 4.25pm service to Lancaster Castle on 8 September 1962, and this proved to be the final passenger service to use the station. Despite having been closed to regular services since 1958, and to summer services in 1962, Euston Road station was listed for closure in the Reshaping of British Railways (‘Beeching’) report of March 1963. Euston Road then made an apparently ‘active’ appearance in the summer 1963 timetable with two arrivals shown to have originated at Bare Lane and six departures, five of which were to Lancaster Castle and one to Bare Lane; however a timetable supplement overruled these arrangements and noted that these trains actually used Promenade station.
The winter 1963-4 timetable included Euston Road, but without any trains, and it was omitted from the summer 1964 edition. Hansard, in which passenger closures were reported from 1962, apparently has no reference to Morecambe Euston Road, which ceased to handle passenger trains 18 months before the publication on 11 March 1964 of the proposal to withdraw services between Lancaster Green Ayre, Morecambe Promenade and Heysham.
Prior to the Christmas period of 1961, 1962 and 1963 Morecambe Euston Road was used by parcels trains. Down services (northbound) on the West Coast main line were diverted into Euston Road where the parcels were resorted and the trains remarshaled. They then departed Euston Road and went to Carlisle and Glasgow.
In 1965 BR obtained an act to build a new railway from a point just to the east of the station to the former MR Heysham branch. The purpose of the new line was to allow the complete closure of the MR line between Lancaster and Morecambe but allow trains to run to Heysham without having to perform a reversal at Morecambe Promenade. Under the plan Morecambe Promenade station was to close and Morecambe Euston Road would have become the terminus for passenger trains. The new line required the demolition of some houses and was widely reported in the local media.
On 31 August 1965 Thomas Fraser the Minister for Transport published his decision that the services between Morecambe Promenade and Lancaster Green Ayre were to be withdrawn. Specific mention was made of Morecambe Euston Road which was cited as the station that would serve trains from Lancaster Castle via Bare Lane. The Minister stated that Promenade station should remain open until Euston Road had been rebuilt or 're-sited'. It is possible that the re-siting would have been on the new railway. In the end the new line was not built and Euston Road remained closed.
After closure to passenger services Morecambe Euston Road was used by parcels trains, and the goods yard remained in use until 9 October 1972.
The passenger station was demolished during the latter half of the 1970s prior to the building of The Cartmel Centre, Lonsdale District Careers and Tarnbrook Court (1980) and Rydal Court (1979) offering both social housing and retirement homes.
To see more detailed information about passenger train services at Morecambe Euston Road click here
Tickets from Michael Stewart, totem from Richard Furness, route map drawn by Alan Young
Special thanks also to Ron Herbert
See also: Morecambe Poulton Lane