Preston Station - Past & Present
The WLR - Crossing the Ribble

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The West Lancashire Railway's own Ribble crossing lasted only a decade as far as regular passenger services were concerned, but continued for a number of years serving the WLR's former terminus, after it was relegated to Goods Station under L&YR ownership.

pic3Final demolition of the girders of the bridge crossing the River Ribble that provided access into the original WLR terminus at Preston [Fishergate Hill], but a couple of hundred yards distant at this point. The short branch from Penwortham Junction to Preston [West Lancs Goods] remained in use for a few further months after closure of the remainder of the route to facilitate rail access for No. 17 Target, [9T17] the daily 7-30am trip-working from Lostock Hall that brought supplies, via the Whitehouse South curve, to the sidings of R. Silcock & Sons, a local firm of provender merchants. This last-remaining section of the old line eventually closed on 25th January 1965.
(c) Alan Castle Undated

When Southport trains began using the L&YR's platforms on the east of Preston station, they used the former East Lancashire bridge over the Ribble, before heading west.

pic2Southport shed's Stanier Black 5 4-6-0 No. 44887 crosses over the River Ribble by the former East Lancashire Railway bridge at Preston at the head of a late-morning Southport - Preston service. Unusually formed of a 2-coach corridor set, this must have been a last-minute substitution for one of the more usual 3 coach non-corridor sets.
(c) Alan Castle April 1963

pic1Blackpool Central shed's Stanier Black 5 No. 44733 crosses over the River Ribble by the former East Lancashire Railway bridge at Preston with a returning half-day excursion from Blackpool to Southport. With the diversion, from 1st May 1972, of all remaining Ormskirk and East Lancs services via the alternative but steeply-graded route via the West Coast Main Line and Farington Curve Junction, this structure then became redundant and the tracks were removed. It survives into the 21st Century, but, now, all the traffic it carries consists of the occasional foot-passenger desiring to cross from one bank of the river to the other. 
(c) Alan Castle August 1963

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