(This station was renamed Royton in 1978 but is listed here as Royton Junction to avoid confusion with the branch terminus which was also called Royton)

[Source: Bevan Price & Paul Wright]

Date opened: 1.7.1864
Location: About ¼ mile to the east of the B6194, Shaw Road
Company on opening: Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway
Date closed to passengers: 8.5.1987
Date closed completely: 8.5.1987
Company on closing: British Rail
Present state: Demolished. Site largely wasteland, with some industrial development on, or near site of Royton branch platforms.
County: Lancashire.
OS Grid Ref: SD934065
Date of visit: 17th September 2009

Notes: Royton Junction station was situated on the 6 mile 54 chain Oldham Mumps to Rochdale line which was authorised in an Act of 1859 and built by the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway (LYR). The Act also authorised a one- mile long branch from the Oldham and Rochdale line to the town of Royton itself. The Royton line branched off from the Oldham to Rochdale line at Royton Junction. The Oldham Mumps to Rochdale line opened to goods traffic on the 12 August 1863 and to passengers on the 2nd November 1863. The Royton Branch opened on 21st March 1864.

The station which closed in 1987 (when called Royton) opened as Royton Junction on 1st of July 1864. It was built by Patrick Farrell who was awarded the contract on 3rd September 1862. Royton Junction station had four platform faces, two on the Rochdale line, numbered 1 and 2, and two more on the Royton branch, numbered 3 and 4. The
Royton branch and the Rochdale line forked at the station, which created a triangle shape to the middle platform (numbers 2 and 3). From platform 1 passengers could travel towards Manchester from the Rochdale direction. From platform 2 trains travelled towards Rochdale. Platform 3 was served by Manchester-bound Royton branch trains, and platform 4 was for trains to Royton.

There was a single-storey brick building on the Royton line down (towards Royton) platform. The main station building and offices stood on what was effectively an island platform between the Royton Branch up platform and the Rochdale line down platform, with a waiting room provided on the Rochdale line up platform. Initially there was no footbridge; passengers were expected to cross the lines between one platform and another. A signal-box, which controlled the junction, stood at the south end of the main line down platform. Royton Junction Sidings signal box to the north of the station controlled extensive sidings on both sides of the line. The station did not handle goods traffic although a private siding served the Windsor cotton mill to the west of the station,

At the time of opening Royton was served by twenty-four trains in each direction running between Rochdale and either Manchester Victoria or, in some cases, Middleton, where connections to Manchester Victoria could be made. An almost equal number of trains served the Royton branch

The line from Middleton to Oldham Werneth had a very steep incline (the Werneth Incline) of 1 in 27. Until 1854 the incline had been cable-worked. Various proposals had been put forward to create a direct line from Werneth to Manchester that avoided the incline, but it was not until the LYR obtained an Act in 1873 that anything was done. The 1873 Act authorised the LYR to build a line from Thorpes Bridge Junction - which was on the Manchester to Leeds line, but closer to Manchester - to Oldham Werneth. A contract was let on 30th June 1875, and on 17th May 1880 the new line opened.

With the opening of the new line a route had been created from Thorpes Bridge to Rochdale, via Werneth, that eventually became known as the ‘Oldham Loop Line’. Trains serving Mumps continued to run between Manchester Victoria and Rochdale, but most of them now travelled via the newly-opened line. There were fifteen in each direction. A few services continued to run via the Middleton route.

In 1884/5 the platforms at Royton Junction were linked by a footbridge at the south end of the station.

On 1st January 1922 Royton Junction station became part of the London & North Western Railway (LNWR) when that company took over the LYR. However on 1st January 1923 the LNWR was in turn absorbed into the London Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS). By 1938 Royton Junction station was still being served by fifteen local trains on the

Manchester Rochdale axis and twenty-two services, many of them shuttles between Oldham Mumps and Royton.

On 1st January 1948 Royton Junction became part of the nationalised British Railways (London Midland Region). During the last year of fully steam operated services in 1958 there were eighteen trains in each direction running between Manchester and Rochdale using the Thorpes Bridge route and three Saturdays excepted trains called that had originated from Middleton Junction and travelled onward to Rochdale.

In June 1958 British Railways introduced Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs) onto the Oldham Loop. A Cravens-built type of DMU (later known as class 104) which had twin power cars used the line as they were easily able to cope with the steep gradients. The service pattern at Oldham Mumps was a train every twenty minutes to Manchester, via the Thorpes Bridge line, and northbound trains every twenty minutes. The northbound service destinations alternated with a service to Rochdale (every 40 minutes) and a service to Royton (every 40 minutes). Two Saturdays-excepted trains continued to call on their way to Rochdale from Middleton Junction, but there was no service in the other direction. In total there were twenty-nine trains between Manchester and Rochdale and twenty five between Manchester and Royton: this was the highest-ever frequency of service enjoyed by Royton Junction.

September 1964 saw a decline in services calling at Royton Junction. Following the

The Reshaping of British Railways (Beeching Report) of March 1963 recommended the closure of the Royton branch to passengers but made no reference to the Oldham Loop or any of its stations. Nevertheless, September 1964 saw a decline in services calling at Mumps. The service between Manchester and Rochdale became irregular, with trains calling at Royton Junction about every 45 minutes in each direction. Trains between Royton and Manchester Victoria were reduced to seven on weekdays in each direction, eight on Saturdays, and there were none on Sundays. From 7th September 1964 no trains operated from Middleton Junction.

In 1966 further changes took place, including the closure of the Royton Branch on 18th April (as recommended by Beeching) but also Oldham Central station (which Beeching implied was to be retained) on the same day. The service pattern was altered so that trains ran between Manchester Victoria and Oldham Mumps, with fewer continuing onward to Rochdale.

By 1968 Royton Junction had only an hourly service in each direction.

The platforms on the Royton Branch were taken out of use. On Sundays 23rd and 30th June 1968 the section of footbridge that crossed the Royton Branch was demolished as the line had been lifted and the bridge no longer served any purpose.  By 1972 the station had lost its buildings which were replaced with simple ‘bus shelters’, and gas lamps, which were still in use in April 1974, soon gave way to electric lighting.

It escaped the attention of the Beeching Report, however the British Railways Network for Development map of March 1967, published when Stanley Raymond was Chairman of the British Railways Board and Barbara Castle the Secretary of State for Transport, showed that Oldham Mumps to Rochdale would not form part of the ‘basic railway network’. Subsequently a footnote in the May 1972 passenger timetable advised that the Secretary of State had given consent to the withdrawal of passenger services between Oldham Mumps and Rochdale. However, by this date, the South East Lancashire North East Cheshire (SELNEC) Passenger Transport Executive (Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive – GMPTE - from April 1974) had stepped in and agreed to fund the continuation of the service.

On 8th May 1978 the station was renamed Royton to reflect the fact that it was no longer a junction.

From the introduction of the May 1979 timetable the trains that previously ran only as far as Oldham Mumps were extended to run further north to Shaw and Crompton. The service through Royton became a train every thirty minutes in each direction, but a number of trains did not call at Royton. Daytime off-peak, trains called only hourly at Royton.

Royton station was not ideally located for the local inhabitants. Its location had been chosen because of the junction that had previously existed. Once there was no junction, and therefore no need to interchange between lines, the station lost many passengers. On 30th September 1985 a new station was opened half a mile to the south of Royton. It was called Derker, and
it was closer to areas of population. In the summer 1986 timetable trains called either at Royton or ‘Royton – Derker’ (as the new station was shown) with the vast majority serving the latter station, and none calling at Royton in off-peak times.

On the 8th May 1987 Royton Station was closed. It was demolished shortly afterwards.

The line through the site of Royton remained open, but in the mid-1990s the GMPTE had been looking at extending its 1992-opened Metrolink tram system. One idea that had been considered as early as 1984 was to use the Oldham Loop as a means of extending tram services to Oldham and Rochdale. By the beginning of the 21st century plans had been drawn up, and a few years later funding was in place to carry out the required works. To enable these works to go ahead the Oldham Loop closed on Saturday 3rd October 2009.

Tickets from Michael Stewart, Route map drawn by Alan Young

Other web sites: Lost lines, a selection of pictures of the Oldham Loop line taken on 30th September 2009, shortly before closure. Class 25s and Much More web site has a feature called Farewell to the Oldham Loop with 51 pictures taken in August 2009. Sam Dixon's UK National Rail, Heritage Rail & Former Rail web site with 124 pictures of the Oldham loop line take two days before closure. Tom Fenton's web site also has a feature Farewell to the Oldham Loop with 27 pictures taken in August 2009. Alan Perryman's Thistle 5 web site includes 93 pictures from the last day of the Oldham Loop.

Sources: The Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway – Volume 2 J. Marshall, David & Charles 1970. ISBN 0715349066. An Illustrated History of Oldham's Railways J. Hooper, Irwell Press 2006 ISBN 1871608198.

To see other stations on the Oldham Loop Line click on the station name:
Dean Lane, Failsworth, Hollinwood, Oldham Werneth, Oldham Central, Oldham Mumps, Derker, Shaw & Crompton, New Hey & Milnrow

See also Royton

Looking north at Royton Junction station in September 1954. The lines going to the left are the Royton branch. The lines to the right lead off to Rochdale. The junction signalbox can be seen in the foreground. The picture clearly illustrates the station layout.
Copyright photo by R M Casserley

Early 1890s Ordnance Survey map

Royton Junction station looking north east in November 1972. A Cravens DMU departs towards Manchester Victoria. The junction between the Rochdale line and the Royton branch was in the foreground. the trackbed of the Royton branch can be seen curving away to the left. The
degraded remains of the Royton branch up platform face can be seen to the
left of the footbridge which originally continued over the Royton branch.
hoto by Bevan Price

Royton Junction station looking north east in April 1974
Photo by Alan Young

A Manchester DMU pulls in to the up platform at Royton Junction station looking north east
in in November 1986. There have been improvements with new lighting, a coat of paint for the footbridge and two bus shelters.
Photo by Alan Young

The up platform at Royton Junction station looking north east in July 1988, ten months after closure.
Photo by Martin Potter

Looking south west at the site of Royton Junction station. The Rochdale branch platforms were in the centre distance, near where the line starts to curve to the left.
Photo by Bevan Price

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