Station Name: SUMMERSEAT

[Source: Paul Wright & Alan Young]

Date opened: 25.9.1846
Location: Junction of Rowlands Road, Miller Street and Railway Street
Company on opening: East Lancashire Railway
Date closed to passengers: 5.6.1972 The station reopened on 25.7.1987 as part of the East Lancashire Railway heritage line.
Date closed completely: The station reopened on 25.7.1987 as part of the East Lancashire Railway heritage line.
Company on closing: The station reopened on 25.7.1987 as part of the East Lancashire Railway heritage line.
Present state: Platforms are extant but northbound is out of use and overgrown. The goods shed is extant and has been restored and is in private use.
County: Lancashire
OS Grid Ref: SD793146
Date of visit: 12.4.1976, February 1983 and July 2006

Notes: Summerseat station was on the East Lancashire Railway’s (ELR) Clifton Junction to Accrington line which had opened in stages between September 1846 and August 1848. At first the idea was for a line between Clifton Junction and Rawtenstall via Bury which was discussed at a meeting on 24th September 1843, the outcome being the creation of the Manchester, Bury & Rossendale Railway (MB&RR). This company was formally incorporated on 4th July 1844. While construction was under way another company, the Blackburn, Bury, Accrington & Colne Extension Railway (BBACER), proposed to build a line between Stubbins, which lay to the north of Ramsbottom, and Accrington. The aims of the two companies were so aligned that on 21st July 1845 the companies merged as the East Lancashire Railway.

Summerseat station opened for public services on 28th September 1846 when the line between Clifton Junction and Rawtenstall had been completed. The station was just under a mile to the east of Holcombe Brook. The route at Summerseat was double-track so the station was provided with two low platforms on an embankment. The main station building was east of the

line on the southbound platform. A driveway led up to the station building and to a small goods yard that lay to the south of the station but was also on the east side of the line. The yard comprised three sidings, a large stone-built goods shed and a 1.5-ton crane. The The driveway connected to Miller Street and Rowlands Road which passed under the line to the south of the station.

The station building was single storey and contained booking and waiting facilities. A simple waiting shelter was provided on the northbound platform. Passengers wanting to access the northbound platform had to cross the lines by means of a barrow crossing which was located opposite the station building.

The goods yard was provided with a stone-built goods shed through which one line ran; the yard also had two sidings.

At the time of opening five passenger trains ran on weekdays in each direction between Manchester and Rawtenstall; there were four trains on Sundays.

On 17th August 1848 the ELR opened a route from Stubbins to Accrington. This created the main line from Clifton Junction to Accrington and reduced the Stubbins to Rawtenstall section to the status of a branch line which on 27th March 1848 was extended northwards to Waterfoot, and some four years later, on 1st October1852, to Bacup.

With the opening of the Accrington line Summerseat was also served by trains running between Colne and Manchester Victoria. By 1849 there were seven weekday trains to Colne, and six to Manchester which originated at Colne. Four services ran to Colne on Sundays and three to Manchester from Colne.

On 13th May 1859 the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway (LYR) absorbed the ELR. The LYR started to use the route through Summerseat as an alternative to its congested main line between Manchester and Leeds which brought much extra traffic. The LYR also routed much of its holiday traffic through Summerseat.

In 1860 the LYR rebuilt the main station building. It closely followed the design of its ELR predecessor. Built of sandstone, it was single-storey, with coupled round-headed windows near each end of the platform elevation. Two centrally placed doors gave access to office and waiting accommodation, flanked by tall six-light windows, with a further range of windows above them and the doors. The slate hipped roof projected a little over

the platform, to provide some shelter, and ended with a frilly valance. Adjacent, a few feet to the north, and set forward was a small signal box at platform level, again built in stone, with a ridged slate roof. On the other platform, opposite the main building, stood a wooden waiting shed, its pent roof continuing as an awning with a crenulated valance. In 1875 a wooden signal box was opened at the north end of the northbound platform, replacing the box on the southbound platform; the old box was extant into the 1960s.

During the early years of LYR ownership all of the passenger train services from Summerseat had continued to run to Manchester via Clifton Junction, but from1st September 1879 passenger services that had originated from the Bacup line were transferred south of Bury from the route via Clifton Junction to a new line via Prestwich. Accrington trains continued to run via Clifton Junction.

In 1890 the LYR constructed higher platforms at Summerseat. The higher platforms started in front of the station building and extended further north than the originals. Sections of the original platforms survived at the south end. The building had living accommodation added to it at this time.

From 11th April 1916 through passenger services to Manchester from the Bacup branch were diverted once more, this time to travel via Heywood, adding a considerable mileage to their journeys. The reason for the change was that from this date electric services began on the Bury to Manchester (via Prestwich) line. Passengers for Manchester travelling on these services

were encouraged to change onto the electric trains at Bury for a quicker onward journey, and most of them did so.

On 1st January 1922 Summerseat became part of the London & North Western Railway (LNWR) but a year later on 1st January 1923 the LNWR became part of the London Midland & Scottish Railway (LMS). During the LNWR period on 18th September 1922 a new signalbox opened at Summerseat, a little further north than the previous box which closed on the same day.

By summer 1932 the station had twenty-seven northbound services on weekdays; thirteen of them went to Accrington or beyond, one went to Stubbins and the rest went to Bacup. The first northbound service was for Stubbins, and it left Summerseat at 5:36 am. The last service which had originated from Bury Bolton Street left Summerseat for Bacup at 11:23 pm.

Thirty-one trains travelled south from Summerseat on weekdays, five to Bury Bolton Street and four terminated at Bury Knowsley Street. The other trains went to Manchester Victoria with fourteen of them following the direct route via Clifton Junction and eight going via Heywood. The first southbound departure was for Bury Bolton Street at 5:49 am. The last was
also for Bury Bolton Street, and it left at 10:41 pm.

On 1st January 1948 Summerseat became part of the nationalised British Railways (London Midland Region). In 1954 the line between Bury and Bacup was considered busy enough to warrant the introduction of modern rolling stock, and it was reported in the local press that new diesel multiple units (DMUs) were to be introduced; they entered service on the line in February 1956. Summerseat had thirty-five trains in each direction between Bury and Bacup and thirteen in each direction between Colne and Manchester Victoria, giving a half-hourly service: the most intensive that the line would see.

On 28th February 1961 a 5 year-old child was hit by a train on the barrow crossing and killed. Investigations revealed that the crossing was in daily use by numerous schoolchildren and this prompted British Railways to erect a footbridge, which was erected on Sunday 8th October 1961. It was located north of the station building.

The goods yard at Summerseat closed on 28th December 1964. The goods shed had been inoperable for rail traffic following a derailment on points leading into the yard on 5th September 1963. The last wagons left the yard on 18th October 1963 and further expenditure on it was forbidden.

The purpose of The reshaping of British Railways (Beeching Report) of March 1963 was to create an economically viable network, involving the closure of many loss-making passenger lines and stations. The report’s proposals for Lancashire and north Manchester were astonishing. The entire route from Manchester via Bury Bolton Street to Bacup and
Accrington was earmarked for closure, yet the nearby Manchester – Oldham – Rochdale and the Bolton – Bury Knowsley Street – Rochdale lines were not. Services to Colne were rationalised and cut back to Accrington. The absurdity of withdrawing passenger services on the heavily used, electrified service between Manchester and Bury was acknowledged when, on 8th February 1965, the Minister of Transport refused consent to closure. However on 14th September 1966 the Minister gave permission for the Rawtenstall to Bacup and Bury to Accrington lines to close, which they did on 5th December 1966. Thereafter northbound trains from Summerseat terminated at Rawtenstall. Summerseat was left with twelve trains to Rawtenstall and thirteen to Bury. This caused resentment and in January 1967 there was a mass protest at the station, when hundreds of people waving placards lined the southbound platform; police had to be deployed to keep order. The March 1967 timetable showed fifteen services in each direction at irregular intervals, and two extra workings on Saturdays, one in the early afternoon and another late at night. No trains ran on Sundays. On 9th April 1967 the signal box at Summerseat closed. The station had been well maintained, with floral displays in containers in front of the main building, but such attention ceased after 4th March 1968 when Summerseat became unmanned.

With effect from 19th April 1970 the line through Summerseat became a single-track branch. The northbound line through the station was lifted, and the southbound platform became bi-directional. On 28th October 1970 approval was given for the demolition of the station building, and this was completed on 26th March 1971.

In the final full year’s timetable from May 1971 weekday services had been reduced to twelve in each direction, with thirteen on Saturdays, the late night Saturday working having ceased by May 1970. The last passenger train service from Summerseat departed for Bury at 9:25 pm on Saturday 3rd June 1972. The station closed with effect from 5th June.

Freight trains serving a coal depot at Rawtenstall continued to pass through Summerseat until 1980. To mark the end of the coal services, on 14 February 1981 a railtour, The Rossendale Farewell, ran up to Rawtenstall and then back again. The line was then officially closed. However a year later, on 28th March 1982, a railtour passed through once again. This was The Rossendale Phoenix, organised by a preservation group named the East Lancashire Railway (ELR) after the original company. They had entered into negotiations with British Rail with a view to reopening the line from Bury to Rawtenstall.

Supported by the local authorities, they were successful and opened the stretch of line from Bury to Ramsbottom on 25th July 1987.

The ‘new’ ELR refurbished the station at Summerseat. The former southbound platform was improved and a waiting shelter erected. Over the years improvements continued to be made including the addition of a canopy and a footbridge. LMS-style gas lamp standards bearing reproduction maroon BR (LMR) totems lend an authentic 1950s atmosphere to this most attractive station.

On 27th April 1991 trains started to run northwards to Rawtenstall. Today the ELR is a thriving heritage railway.  

Tickets from Michael Stewart , route map drawn by Alan Young, timetables from Alan Young

Click here to see of film of a train journey between Bury and Bacup in 1966

See also the Ramsbottom Model Railway Club web site which features 106 old photographs of the East Lancashire Railway and photographs of the clubs excellent layout of Ramsbottom & Stubbins.


To see other stations on the East Lancashire Railway Clifton Junction - Bacup line click on the station name on the station name:
Clifton Junction
, Molyneux Brow, Ringley Road, Radcliffe Bridge, Withens Lane, Bury Bolton Street, Ramsbottom, Helmshore, Haslingden, Baxenden & Accrington

See also Stubbins Junction to Bacup: Stubbins, Irwell Vale (new station on the ELR), Ewood Bridge & Edenfield, Rawtenstall, Clough Fold, Waterfoot for Newchurch, Stacksteads & Bacup

Summerseat station looking north from the southern end of the southbound platform in the 1920s. At this date the station did not have a footbridge and passengers had to cross over the lines by means of a barrow crossing seen in the middle of the picture.

1910 1:2500 OS Map. Note the turntable giving rail access to the Ramsbottom Paper Mill to the east of the station. The siding seen on the bottom left served a bleaching works.

Looking north towards Summerseat station in the 1950s. The station's original low level platform can be seen at the south end of the station and beyond it the later higher level platform. To the right of the picture the station's goods yard can be seen with at the far left a glimpse of the goods shed.
Photo from John Mann collection

Looking south at Summerseat station from a nortbound train in April 1954. The station building located on the southbound platform is clearly shown. To the left of it in the middle distance the Summerseat goods shed can also be seen.
Copyright photo by H C Casserley

Looking north towards Summerseat station during the summer of 1962. A steam hauled service from Colne can be seen heading south towards Manchester. Standing at the northbound platform is a DMU bound for Bacup. At this time Summerseat station had all of its facilities and looked every inch a typical rural station of the period.
Photo by Eric Bentley

In 1966 local people organised a protest against British Rail's plans to reduce the number of passenger services on that served Summerseat and other stations on the line. In this view looking north a crowd of angry local residents can be seen standing on the southbound platform as a DMU arrives on a Bury service. Police officers can be seen standing on the northbound track. They had been deployed to Summerseat to maintain order.

Looking north at Summerseat station's southbound platform from a northbound train in the 1960s.

Looking north at Summerseat station in April 1976 nearly four years after closure. Coal trains still passed through the station at this time. They ran full up to a coal depot at Rawtenstall and then returned southwards empty.
Photo by Alan Young

Summerseat station looking south along the up platform in February 1983, 11 years after closure.
Photo by Nick Catford

Looking north at the restored Summerseat station in July 2006.
Photo by Alan Young

9F No 92214 is seen here about to leave Summerseat Station and head north for Ramsbottom. 92214 has been sold by The 9F Locomotive Charitable Trust Limited and
is now on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.
Photo by Paul Anderson. Reproduced from Geograph under Creative Commons Licence

Last updated: Friday, 26-May-2017 11:06:32 CEST
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