Station Name: SHAWFORTH

[Source: Alan Young]


Date opened: 1.12.1881
Location: Between Market Street and Knowsley Crescent. Entrance to the passenger station was at the west end of Quarry Street
Company on opening: Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway
Date closed to passengers:

16.6.1947 (temporary)     14.12.1949 (permanent)

Date closed completely: 16.6.1947 (minerals)   14.12.1949 (permanent)
Company on closing:

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

Present state:

Buildings and platforms demolished. Subway and steps survive and are in use.

County: Lancashire
OS Grid Ref: SD891206
Date of visit: August 2010

Notes: The station opened on the extension of the Facit Branch northwards to Bacup in 1881. This section of line was double-track, and at Shawforth two flanking platforms were built. Britannia, the other roadside station on the double-track section, was provided with an island platform. At Shawforth each platform had a similar single-storey stone building, with a distinctive roofline of three pitches facing the platforms, creating a ridge-and-furrow appearance which was complemented by the verandahs which extended to the edges of the platforms. This style of roof and awning articulation was also found at Facit (down platform), some of the LYR Manchester-Whitefield-Radcliffe stations and at Hapton, between Accrington and Burnley.  The booking hall at Shawforth stood east of the up platform at a lower level, tucked into a recess in the embankment. It was stone-built with paired window openings either side of the central doorway. The roof was hipped and partially glazed. A subway from the booking hall gave access to the platforms; the presence of a siding behind the up platform made subway approach to this platform necessary. The signal box stood a short distance south of the down platform. It opened with the line in 1881 and was a Gloucester Wagon Co structure equipped with a Saxby & Farmer 21-lever frame.


Up trains: weekdays
August 1887

Destination

Down trains: weekdays

Destination

7.24am

Rochdale

7.28am

Bacup

8.26am

Rochdale

8.28am

Bacup

9.51am

Rochdale

9.56am

Bacup

10.44am

Rochdale

11.43am

Bacup

12.28pm

Rochdale

1.28pm

Bacup

2.51pm

Rochdale

2.55pm

Bacup

5.01pm

Rochdale

4.33pm

Bacup

5.51pm

Rochdale

5.53pm

Bacup

6.46pm

Rochdale

6.48pm

Bacup

7.46pm

Rochdale

8.23pm

Bacup

9.31pm

Rochdale

9.35pm Sat only

Bacup

10.41pm Sat only

Rochdale

10.35pm

Bacup

-

-

12.01am Sat only

Bacup

Up trains: Sunday

Destination

Down trains: Sunday

Destination

8.16am

Rochdale

9.18am

Bacup

2.34pm

Rochdale

4.03pm

Bacup

7.11pm

Rochdale

8.26pm

Bacup

9.11pm

Rochdale

10.18pm

Bacup

Whereas most of the intermediate stations between Rochdale and Bacup were sited on level stretches of line, on the steep climb north through Shawforth the gradient slackened to 1 in 260, but still rising. Most of the journey north from Facit (altitude 775ft) to Shawforth (897ft) was at 1 in 39, and beyond Shawforth the climb continued at 1 in 40 to the line’s summit (967ft) just before Britannia station. The exceptional gradients made goods train operations difficult, and Shawforth had a coal yard, but no general goods-handling facilities.

The railway from the south approached Shawforth through a cutting, with a loop on the up (east) side extending behind and beyond the platform to reach a four-track coal yard north of the station. Coal was supplied to the booking hall by means of a chute which was installed adjacent to the track leading to the coal yard; coal was shovelled directly from a wagon down the chute to a coal bunker on the lower level.  On the down side another loop extended from the south to north of the station passing behind the platform. At the south end of the loop a siding led to Isaac Law’s quarry; it was installed circa 1882 and taken up in 1913/14, with the connection removed in 1917. Further north was a siding to Shawforth Brick Co; the firm also owned an incline which extended from their works up the valley side to a clay pit. The brick works closed in 1910.

In 1922 the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway which had built and operated the route was absorbed by the London & North Western Railway, which itself became part of the London, Midland & Scottish Railway in the ‘Grouping’ of 1923.


Up trains: weekdays
July 1922

Destination

Down trains: weekdays

Destination

6.50am

Rochdale

7.29am

Bacup

7.24am

Rochdale

9.47am

Bacup

8.13am

Rochdale

11.02am

Bacup

9.43am

Rochdale

12.19pm

Bacup

11.28am

Rochdale

1.49pm

Bacup

12.56pm

Rochdale

4.44pm

Bacup

2.13pm

Rochdale

6.02pm

Bacup

3.11pm

Rochdale

7.09pm

Bacup

5.58pm

Rochdale

8.39pm

Bacup

7.50pm

Rochdale

9.37pm

Bacup

10.01pm

Rochdale

10.59pm

Bacup

No Sunday trains

-

-

-

During World War 2 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 Shawforth. 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.

Shawforth signal box, sited on the down side, south of the station, ceased to be a block post sometime during the 1943-44 period, although the box continued in use as a ground frame until about 1952.

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

6.51am

Rochdale

7.29am

Bacup

7.24am

Rochdale

9.50am

Bacup

8.14am

Rochdale

12.25pm

Bacup

9.44am

Rochdale

1.02pm (Sat only)

Bacup

12.17pm (Sat only)

Rochdale

1.51pm

Bacup

12.55pm

Rochdale

3.28pm

Bacup

1.47pm (Sat only)

Rochdale

4.46pm

Bacup

2.14pm

Rochdale

6.03pm (Sat only)

Bacup

3.44pm (Sat excepted)

Rochdale

6.05pm (Sat excepted)

Bacup

3.54pm (Sat only)

Rochdale

6.55pm (Sat excepted)

Bacup

5.21pm

Rochdale

7.10pm (Sat only)

Bacup

5.59pm

Rochdale

8.40pm

Bacup

6.14pm (Sat only)

Rochdale

9.31pm

Bacup

7.51pm

Rochdale

11.05pm

Bacup

10.02pm

Rochdale

-

-

No Sunday trains

 

No Sunday trains

 

Whereas up trains were allowed 3 minutes for the journey from Shawforth to Facit, the next station southward, 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.

At some stage, probably shortly after the war, a buffer stop had been installed on the south side of the subway overbridge on the siding giving access to the coal yard on the north-east side.  This effectively stopped use of the coal yard; it could have been installed after Shawforth station signal box ceased to be a block post. It is possible that defects had appeared in the bridge over the subway, making it necessary to cut off the coal yard.

 

Shawforth station lost its passenger services when they were suspended by the LMS during a ‘coal crisis’ in June 1947. By this time the coal traffic handled here had declined significantly. In this somnolent state, Shawforth passed into British Railways’ London Midland Region, under whose administration the closure was declared permanent in December 1949. Whilst the other Facit Branch stations continued to handle goods and mineral traffic after closure to passengers in 1947/49, Shawforth did not.  Because of the steepness of the gradients goods traffic worked through Shawforth and Britannia only in exceptional circumstances and goods traffic from Bacup worked via the Irwell Valley route. From June 1947 the line on which Shawforth station stood saw only light engine operations between Facit and Bacup engine shed, but it was closed to all traffic on 5 May 1952. Thereafter the track remained in place, notionally for wagon storage, but there is no record of the line ever being used for this purpose, and the rails had been lifted by the end of 1964.

Before the rails were removed a housing development called Knowsley Crescent began to advance from the north and west towards the decaying remains of Shawforth station. Once the rails disappeared and the station was demolished Knowsley Crescent spread across the station site on its high embankment. A practical solution for pedestrians wishing to reach Knowsley Crescent, at its much higher elevation, from Quarry Street was found by retaining the old station subway. The walled entrance to the subway on Knowsley Crescent makes a most unusual contribution to the townscape. A stone tablet in the subway commemorates the inauguration of ‘Shawforth Station Redevelopment Scheme’ on Tuesday 28 April 1966. The OS 1: 2,500 map of 1968 shows the housing development on the site of Shawforth station to be complete.

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, Facit, Whitworth, Broadley, Shawclough & Healey, Wardleworth & Rochdale 1st Station

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


Shawforth Station Gallery 1: Early 20th Century - 1959


The forecourt and booking hall of Shawforth station are seen in the early twentieth century, looking west. A prominent canopy with a deep, frilly valance provides shelter over the entrance to the station and the hipped roof is supported by a row of small brackets. The booking hall leads directly to the subway - which passes beneath the siding into the coal yard - and it gives access to both platforms. A church gathering is in progress, perhaps a fund-raising event or a Sunday School anniversary with a railway excursion as part of the festivities. Participants of all ages are smartly attired, all sporting headgear, and many holding hymn sheets as the band leads them in worship. The large banner in front of the building probably carries the scripture, ‘Feed My Lambs’ (John 21:15). The stone setts of the forecourt appear spotless, no doubt swept clean by the dutiful station staff in preparation for
the joyful occasion.
Photo from Whitworth Historical Society


1935 Street map. Click here for a larger version

1891 1: 10,560 OS map. Buildings of identical size are shown at Shawforth station on each side of the double-track railway, and the separate booking hall is on the roadside east of the station. A long loop is behind the west (down) platform and sidings leave it to serve quarries. Between the east platform and the booking hall a siding is provided into the coal yard (not named). Although handling minerals the station was not intended to deal with general goods traffic and thus no warehouse is provided. The village of Shawforth is east of the railway consisting of terraced houses and cotton mills.

1930 1: 2,500 OS map. Buildings of identical size are shown at Shawforth station on each side of the double-track railway; their awnings are indicated but are shaded in the same way as the buildings themselves. The separate booking hall is east of the station adjacent to Quarry Street. The 1910 1: 2,500 OS map (not reproduced here) showed a brick works immediately north-west of the passenger station, served by sidings, and a tramway has been installed to carry clay downhill from a pit on the valley side. The brick works and its associated sidings have closed and been removed by 1930. The sidings east of the passenger line leading to the coal yard are still in place. The signal box is seen at the southern edge of the map, west of railway tracks. Click here for a larger version.

1963 1: 2,500 OS map. Shawforth station is still named and its platforms and buildings are marked, but it is identified as ‘disused’, and this description has been appended to the railway too. The coal sidings east of the line are still shown, but the approach track appears to have been severed between the booking hall and the station buildings. As late as 1967 the OS 1: 10,560 map showed the double-track railway between Facit, Shawforth and Bacup as being in situ but disused; the rails had been removed in 1964. Click here for a larger version.

On 4 May 1915 four uniformed men wait for a southbound train at Shawforth station on their way to war. Their names are given as privates W Matthews, A Maden and J R Pickup and Corporal C Dearden. The seldom-photographed platform roofing can be seen as can two of the suspended lanterns.
Photo from Whitworth Historical Society

An Aspinall 0-6-0 shunts the goods yard at Shawforth circa 1910. In this northward view the signal cabin and the down platform with its awning are visible on the left.
Photo from F Collinge collection and Whitworth Historical Society

Shawforth station, looking north-east c1950s. The view is from a spoil bank on the edge of the disused quarry. Beyond the timber signal box the passenger station is seen with the distinctive triple-pitch stone buildings. The booking hall is out of sight at road level beyond the far (up) platform. Before World War 1 a loop and sidings were located on the near side of the down platform to serve a brick works and clay pit, off the picture to the left, but by the late 1920s the works had closed and the rails had been removed; there is little or no evidence of them on this photograph.
Photo from Lancashire County Council Library and Information Service

Looking north over Quarry Street towards Shawforth station in 1955. At this time, although the double-track railway is in place it has officially been closed since 1952, and the rails have been left in place should they be needed for storage of wagons. Both platforms and the distinctive stone buildings with their triple-pitched roofs remain intact, although the ridge-and-furrow awnings, which each building carried on the platform elevation and complemented the roofline, have gone. The booking hall is seen on the right at street level behind the sloping wall. The coal yard was reached by the siding behind the nearer (up) platform, but buffer stops have been placed behind the building so that the yard is no longer accessible. To the right of the buffer stop is the parapet above the subway entrance; a subway was necessary to provide access from the booking hall to both platforms because of the presence of the siding behind the up platform.
Photo by F W Shuttleworth

The signal box at Shawforth looking north-west on 30 May 1955. It opened with the line in 1881 and was a Gloucester Wagon Co brick-based size 2 structure with a 21-lever frame. In 1943/44 the box had ceased to be a block post, but it continued in use as a ground frame until about 1952, the year in which the line closed to all traffic. The windows have attracted the attention of vandals. Two re-railing ramps are seen: a necessary piece of equipment in the days of poor maintenance of goods
and mineral sidings.
Photo by F W Shuttleworth


Looking north towards Shawforth station in 1959. At this time the railway is officially closed but available for wagon storage. The two platforms and their buildings are extant but, like the signal box in the foreground, are derelict,

Click here for Shawforth Station Gallery 2:
April 1959 - January 2016



 

 

 

[Source: Alan Young]


Last updated: Friday, 26-May-2017 09:55:37 BST
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