For a more detailed look at the line, we recommend
David Hindle's 2010 book All Stations to Longridge.
David has kindly provided apiece for this website
too, which can be found here GRIMSARGH, CHANGE
HERE FOR WHITTINGHAM
This is the "old" page from this website
Longridge line has a complicated history, surviving early difficulties to
become a pawn in the complicated politics and rivalries which
characterised the railways of the area. The line
actually predates the main north-south line through Preston, with only the
North Union having already reached Preston from the South.
line was completed in 1839 without a junction to any other line. Its main
purpose was that of transporting the stone quarried around Longridge, to
Preston for building there, and onward shipment from the docks. A
modest passenger service was also provided, using a station at Deepdale
but at this point the line was still horse-drawn.
map to the right shows the longridge branch with spurs to Deepdale
and Whittingham Hospotal. At the south / west end of the line, the
link to the Fylde line is shown. This, was a crossing on the level
with the main line, and was removed in 1885 when the south-facing
curve was opened to provide Longridge trains with access to the
happier times, 8F no 48679 passing through Deepdale Station with
No. 63 Target (9T63) Farington Jct to Deepdale Coal Sidings.
Date: Winter 1966
Photo by Alan Castle
Eastern Portal of the "Miley Tunnel", where the line
emerges from under North Road.
Google Maps Aerial Views :
Portal (pictured above)
end (near the main line)
1846, the line was acquired by the Fleetwood, Preston & West
Riding Junction Railway as part of its grand scheme to take trains from
the Fylde Coast into Yorkshire. The planned extension of the line from
Longridge to Leeds never materialised but by 1850, the Preston end of the
line had been extended through half a mile of tunnel, to Maudlands where a
station was built as it joined the line from Blackpool. By then, the track
had been re-laid and steam trains had been introduced. The plan to
extend into Yorkshire was again being considered. Concerned about letting
the Midland Railway into Preston, the L&YR and the LNWR took joint
control; a situation which remained until both became part of the
London Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS).
1885, the L&Y and LNWR made changes to allow Longridge trains to be
routed the line into Preston Station, which remained the case until 1930
when the last regular passenger train ran. By then, the stone traffic had
also ended but the line remained open for other freight traffic which used
the line. When this too ended in 1967 the line was closed beyond the
Courtaulds mill at Red Scar which continued to receive coal trains until
the late 70s. At that point, the line was again cut back, to provide just
a head-shunt which allowed the daily coal trains to enter the coal depot
at Deepdale (the site of the original station). Coal traffic continued
until the early 1990s when the line fell into disuse.
1889, a spur from the Longridge line was built from Grimsargh to the
Whittingham Mental Hospital. The line was almost two miles long and was
primarily for the delivery of coal and other supplies. It did however have
a substancial passenger service, provided free to visitors and staff,
consisting of 9 trains a day connecting with services at Grimsargh. At the
Hospital end was a surprisingly grand terminus with glass canopy
at Deepdale on the 6P81 to Warrington Arpley yard - 14th July 1986.
Photo by Mike Plattin - (Mike
Deepdale Coal Depot in 1974.
(c) Keith Till
most of the track is still intact as far as the level crossing on
Skeffington Road, including the section which runs mainly underground
between Maudllands and North Road. Several plans have been considered for
reopening the route in some form or other, the most recent of which being
for a tram system linking the station with the Deepdale Retail Park and
level crossing on Skeffington Road has been disused for almost 30
years, but one of the tracks is still in place on both sides in
The same location in 1974, with the Deepdale Jct. signal box still
Photo (c) Keith Till
back towards the station, coal depot and the site of the original
terminus, one of the tracks remains. Coal trains used this part of
the line into the 90s, but would not, presumably, have needed to
come this far up the branch.
heading North from the Crossing, the track remains in place. The
line is fairly comprehensively fenced-off, so it's hard to know how
far that remains the case. Certainly, by the time the route crosses
Blackpool road (between the two halves of the Deepdale Retail Park),
the track is lifted and a cycle route takes its place.
remains of the Preston & Longridge line at Grimsargh
more on the Longridge line, try these excellent books :
Stations to Longridge - David Hindle (Amberley)
Railways of Lancashire - Gordon Sugget (Countryside Books)
Railways Around Preston - Gordon Biddle (Foxline)
An Introduction to Preston: Its History, Railways and Signalling -
Richard Foster (L&NWR Society)