Preston Station - Past & Present

When the Blackburn & Preston line was built, trains used the North Union station, accessing the main line via a junction at Farington, but this only remained the case for a very short time. Just months after opening, it was taken over by the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway, who also acquired the yet-to-be-built Ormskirk & Preston Railway. When that railway was completed, it crossed the main line and joined the East Lancs line at Lostock Hall. Trains for Preston had to reverse at Lostock Hall to get to Preston - clearly an unsatisfactory situation. The Preston Extension solved that problem providing independent access to Preston via a new line and a new Ribble crossing. At Preston, several new platforms were added to the east of the existing ones, along with a separate L&YR booking hall on Butler St. On the other side of Butler St, the L&Y Goods station was also built, all of which more or less doubled the size of the station.

In many ways, the L&YR and the L&NWR were separate stations, with their own facilities - including booking halls and buffets, although the platforms were numbered in one sequence, with easy access between them.


This photo was taken in 1983 and shows the Butler Street entrance to the former L&YR station. This was also the booking hall, but by the time this photograph was taken, the East Lancs platforms had been gone for almost 10 years. In front of the building are is a nice selection of British Leyland's finest!

Photo by Martin Brown

The East Lancs side of the station is sadly no longer with us, having been closed as part of the resignaling when Preston "Power Box" was introduced in 1972.  The photos below show how it once looked, along with the same scene today.

[LEFT] The East Lancs platforms and yard as it was in the early 1960s. Black 5 45109 pilots class 4 no.75061 on a Liverpool train.
Photo by Stan Withers

The scene from the same vantage point om 2004.

Both photos were taken from Vicar's Bridge, which provides road-access to Park Hotel (laterly the Preston Council buildings). The original bridge deck was taken out many years ago and replaced with a "temporary" structure, provided by the Royal Engineers. The original bridge sides remained in-situ until March 2012, when they were finally demolished after being allowed to decay to an un-safe state.

Just beyond the station, the East Lancs Line passed over the Ribble. That bridge is still in place and was refurbished in 2011 to form part of the Guild Wheel cycle route. Today, the main deck is now accessible to the public, rather than the walkway seen here.


[LEFT] LMS tank no.42154 crosses the East Lancs bridge with a service for Coln in the early 1960s
Photo by Stan Withers

The bridge today, still in use as a footpath. 

The following five photos of the ELR Goods Station, by Keith Till, were were taken in 1974 when the East Lancs platforms had already been demolished and the goods station was disused with tracks lifted.  

(c) Keith Till -


"Black 5" no 44734 from 9D Buxton Shed passes through Whitehouse South Jn.  towards Todd Lane Jn. on the East Lancs line.

(c) Stan Withers


Photos (c) Keith Till pic8

The closure of the East Lancs platforms and Goods Yard coincided with the introduction of Preston Power Signal Box and electrification of the northern part of the WCML. They lingered on through the 1970s and 1980s until finally being demolished to make way for the Fishergate Shopping Centre.

Photos (c) Keith Till


The following three photos show demolition in progress.

Photos (c) Keith Till