Preston Station - Past & Present
TRAINS TO SOUTHPORT - The West Lancashire Railway

The WLR, like many smaller railways, was opened in stages, finally linking Preston and Southport in 1882 when the West Lancs' own terminus at the bottom of Fishergate Hill was opened. At the Western end of the line, the company also had its own Terminus, Southport Central.

The WLR always struggled to turn a profit - construction had just about bankrupted the company - and was swallowed up by the sprawling Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway after just ten years of operation. The L&YR wasted no time in redirecting trains at both ends into their own stations. At Southport in 1897, the L&Y's Chapel Street became the new terminus, whist at Preston, the Fishergate station was relegated to goods-only. Passenger trains were re-routed into the East Lancs side of the main station by means of a junction onto the ELR at Whitehouse. 

From Hesketh Bank, a branch ran a short distance to Tarleton Lock, where it connected with the Rufford branch of the Leeds Liverpool Canal.

The two triangular junctions which provided routes from the West Lancs line to the East Lancs station and the East Lancs line towards Blackburn are still easily visible on aerial photographs.
The following links show aerial photos of the area. The triangular junctions are easy to see, either side of the main line which runs north-to-south.
East Lancs / West Lancs junctions (Google Maps)

An unidentified 2-6-4 tank is about to pass beneath  the high 3-arch farm access bridge immediately before arriving at Penwortham Cop Lane station
Photo by Stan Withers

The old Fishergate station was pressed back into service during two Preston Guilds, but was eventually closed completely. Today there is barely a trace of the station or  trackbed north of the Ribble, although the piers which supported the line over the river are still visible. 
The crossing-point  on the Ribble is still defined by a series of bridge piers :
Google Maps Aerial Photo
Google SteetView

The line continued with a fairly healthy level of traffic until it was named in the Beeching Report and was closed in 1964.

Please click on the links below for Alan Castle's photographic portrait of the line in its final months.
Preston Fishergate Hill 6 Preston
  7 Whitehouse
River Ribble 9  
Penwortham Cop Lane 19  
Back Lane Crossing 5  
Lindle Lane Crossing 4  
New Longton & Hutton 18  
Nursery Lane Crossing 3  
Longton Bridge 17  
Hoole 16  
River Douglas 8  
  1 Tarleton
Hesketh Bank 15  
Hundred End 14  
Banks 13  
Crossens 12  
Churchtown 11  
Hesketh Park 10  
  2 Meols Cop
  21 (To Wigan
  22 St Lukes
Southport Central 20 Southport Chapel St