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The featured image for this article is a Garstang & Knot End Railway cast iron Trespass Sign dated December 1899. GW Railwayana Auctions described it as “A Grade 1 cast iron sign that hasn’t appeared for sale or publicly before and the most significant cast iron find of this century. The sign was acquired by the vendor in the 1960’s and was from Cogie Hill Halt which was on the section between Pilling and Garstang Town which closed in July 1963. Nicely restored measures 24in x 15in.” It sold in November 2019 for £3,800. 
Pilling Station was the most westerly point on the Garstang and Knott End Railway from the completion of the first phase of its construction in 1870 until the eventual construction of the line through to Knott End in 1908.  It was actually placed in the hamlet of Stakepool around a mile from Pilling itself.
As noted in the previous article about the line, locomotives had to cross into the road junction at the West end of the station site in order to run round their trains.  The station site was approximately as drawn on the adapted OS Map extract below. The bridge over Pilling Water, in the bottom right of the map extract, was originally of a timber construction but was already giving cause for concern in 1877 and repairs were undertaken. Good facilities at the station were limited to two sidings without any shed. All transfers between road and rail would have taken place in the open-air. The passenger facilities were limited to one platform with a wooden shed. The covered facilities on the platform were probably not present when the line opened in 1870 but may well have been in place by 1874. Richardson tells us that the wooden structure was augmented by a brick structure in 1903, which provided “a booking hall together with waiting rooms and toilet facilities for both sexes. The contractor was Johnathan Collinson of Nateby. …. Photographic evidence suggests that the old wooden hut was retained, perhaps as a storeroom and simply moved a little further down the platform.” [2: p72]
When the line was extended to Knott End, Pilling Station was improved and extended but the station building itself, being relatively new, was left in place. The revised station plan can be seem in the unaltered OS Map extract below  The most southerly of the lines leaving the East end of the station yard is a head shunt for the goods yard. It was of a quite significant length. Signlas and signal cabin were installed with the extension of the line. The station yard is, in the 21st century, still essentially as it was less the sidings themselves. The site is screened for the road junction to the West of the station by a relatively modern house sitting across the old running lines. The station-house or crossing keepers cottage remains in place. My picture below the map illustrates the view from the road junction.Looking East into what was the railway station site from the old level crossing location (24th January 2020).The satellite image above shows the old station site in the 21st century. Piling Water can just be made out to the right of the image. Without transgressing into what is now a private site it is impossible to establish what, if anything, remains of the old station site. The long narrow building to the North of the yard in the satellite should not be confused with the old station building. It is on the North side of the old line.
The adjacent picture shows Pilling Station from the East end of the platforms after the loop had been lifted. 
The picture below comes from the early to mid-1970s and shows Pilling Station Site after closure of the railway. 
Pilling Station Site in the mid-1970s. (Lancaster City Museum.) Beyond the bridge over Pilling Water the running line continued in a East-Southeasterly direction to a level-crossing over Garstang Road. This length of the line is covered by the three OS Map extracts below. The Crossing Keeper’s Cottage at Garstang Road was to the South-East of the crossing. This panorama shot was taken at the Garstang Road crossing looking East. The Crossing Keeper’s Cottage is on the right. The old line ran straight ahead towards Nateby and Garstang. Garstang Road can be picked out on the far right of the image (24th January 2020). An early 21st century satellite image showing the route of the old line in red, and its Crossing at Garstang Road. The keeper’s cottage is evident on the satellite image to the South East of the crossing. Another view looking East, this time from Google Streetview,. This shows the narrow crossing keeper’s cottage to full advantage. The route of the old line was approximately as shown by the red line. There was a Railmotor Halt here in LMS days between 1923 and 1930. The view looking back to the West from the crossing at Garstang Road. The red line gives the approximate route of the old railway (also from Google Streetview).
Further east, the line continued on an East-Southeast trajectory passing South of Crawley’s Cross (North of the Farm by the same name), on through a short platform which can be picked out on the fourth map extract below. Richardson tells us that this is “Cockerham Crossing Halt or Cockerham Cross as it is recorded in some documents. This was undoubtedly the most remote spot served by the railway as there is no village or hamlet nearby, merely a scattering of farms. It was situated where the line was crossed by a farm road, which still runs from Crawley Cross Farm, northwards across, Cockerham Moss to Moss Edge Farm. However, for passengers alighting at this halt, it was only a relatively short walk to the Garstang to Pilling Road.” [2: p70]Beyond Cockerham Crossing Halt it was only a relatively short distance along the line across to the North of Cogie Hill Farm and into Cogie Hill Halt. The second and third map extracts below shoe the location of Cogie Hill Halt and the old Litter Works, both on the North side of Island Lane.This picture from Google Streetview looks West along Island Lane. The red line shows the approximate route of the Garstang to Knott End Railway. The halt would have been on the right of the picture, North of the lane. The Litter Works are clearly no more and were already disused at the time the OS Map was drawn. The Crossing Keeper’s Cottage dominates the left side of the photograph.Looking East along Island Lane towards Garstang, the Crossing Keeper’s Cottage is another typical example of these buildings on this line. It has been extended to make an effective modern dwelling (24th January 2020).This stunning picture shows Cogie Hill Crossing while still in use. The Black 5 in the picture is bringing it’s train from Pilling to the mainline tender first. The crossing cottage appears to the left of the image again. The guard is operating the gates to allow the passage of the train. (The photographer is not known: used with permission Knott End Collection: Railscot). From 1908 until the termination of passenger services in 1930 there was a request halt at this location The same cottage in the early to mid-1970s. Interestingly, the fence in this image is still present in the 21st century. This image is included courtesy of Lancaster City Museum. 
The line continues Southeast from Cogie Hill towards Nateby Station. The next few OS Map extracts show this next length of the line. It travelled across open fields until it reached the crossing on Station Lane immediately West of Nateby Station.Google Streetview has this view back along the old line, looking North Weest towards Pilling.Looking South-East from Station Lane into what was the site of Nateby Station. A bungalow has been built over what were the passenger facilties. The old Station site boundary is marked by the hedges.
Nateby Station was a some distance North of the Village. In the 21st century, the site is now used by John Cornthwaite Farm Machinery Limited. Google Streetview shows two residential properties on the site of the passenger facilties.Google Earth gives an overall impression of the site in the 21st century.Nateby Station site in the 21st century (Google Earth)
Continuing towards Garstang the old line reverted to an East-Southeast alignment.Then just before it crossed the Lancaster Canal it turned through East to an East-Northeasterly alignment. The bridge across the Canal “was a plate girder bridge with a clear span of 70 feet, with rolled steel joists, cross girders and a diagonal timber flooring. … The abutments were of brick. When the LMS surveyed the railway in 1923, the civil engineer was almost complementary in his report, remarking that additional joists had been put in and that the bridge was now up to the strength required for the engines used on the line.” [2: p67]Looking East along the alignment of the old railway line towards the remaining piers on the West side of the Lancaster Canal (Bob Jenkins). The same West abutment of the old railway bridge over the Lancaster Canal (Bob Jenkins). The satellite image above contrasts significantly with the OS Map above it. The area between the Canal and Nateby Crossing Lane has been developed as a Marina for the Canal.Looking West from Nateby Crossing towards the Lancaster Canal along the line of the old railway in 2009 (Google Streetview). Richardson points out that the land to the North of the line (the right side of the above picture) was at one time a brickworks with its own siding. ￼[2: p66-67]The same view in 2020. There is now a children’s playground over the line of the old railway (24th January 2020).The Crossing Keeper’s Cottage at Nateby Crossing Lane (now Croston Road) in the early 1970s (Lancaster City Museum). Looking East along the line of the old railway in 2009 (Google Streetview).Looking East from the site of Nateby Crossing in 2020. The crossing keeper’s cottage is still in place although the render visible in 2009 is now painted white. (24th January 2020).
The line continued East-Southeast from Nateby Crossing to Garstang Station. A by-pass to the town of Garstang was built in the mid-20th century (A6 – Preston Lancaster New Road) and crossed the old line at high-level on a bridge.Looking West from the A6 towards Nateby Crossing. The route of the old line can still be seen across the fields (Google Streetview). Hedging means that it is not possible to show a worthwhile view looking towards Garstang Station at this point on the A6.
Immediately before the station the old railway line crossed Back Lane (now Croston Lane) on the level. The crossing keeper’s cottage was to the South-East of the Crossing, just inside the Station site and across the running line from the engine shed. It appears on the right-hand side of the second map extract below.The Station was rebuilt in 1908 when the line was extended to Knott End. It is the rebuilt station that is shown on the OS Map extract above. The earlier station is shown in the map extract below to approximately the same scale.Garstang Station in 1890. 
The railway station site has all been built over. In the 21st century it is covered by a modern housing estate as the satellite image below shows. The path of the main running line is shown by the red line.Looking West along the route of the old line from Back Lane in the 21st century (Google Streetview).Looking East into the old Station site in the 21st century from Back Lane (Google Streetview). All evidence of the station has been lost.
Unsurprisingly, as Garstang was the major town on the line, its station was the major intermediate station between the LNWR/LMS main line and Knott End. There are also a significant number of pictures available on the internet of the old station and its site. The original station built for the first branch line which ran as far as Pilling was a less sophisticated affair.Garstang Town railway station taken about 1900, it was rebuilt in 1909 (Lancashire Post). An old grainy photo showing the first locomotive of the Garstang & Knot End Railway at Garstang Town around 1871. (The photographer is not known: used with permission Knott End Collection: Railscot) Railscot comments, “This was Hebe, a Manning Wardle 0-4-2ST and when the line opened in December 1870 it was their only locomotive. After more than a year of continuous use it broke down, leading to financial problems for the G&KER and Hebe being repossessed. The line closed in 1872 but reopened in 1875 with two new locomotives, Manning Wardle 0-4-0ST Union and Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0ST Farmers Friend, which had a piercing whistle and became unofficially known as The Pilling Pig.” Work on Garstang station nearing completion in 1909 (Lancashire Post). Locomotive Blackpool which served the Garstang to Knott End line in 1909 hitched to the American style carriages built for the holiday makers (Lancashire Post). Garstang Town Engine Shed. (The photographer is not known: used with permission Knott End Collection: Railscot) 
Interestingly, the old engine shed is still is use but was moved from the old station site in the 1970s. This fact was picked up by ‘Railscot’. Mark Bartlett comments that, “It was dismantled in the late 1970s and removed a few hundred yards from its original site for re-use by a livestock haulier. Originally a two road shed it was modified when rebuilt with a single end door seen [below] and a new side entrance (added) but uses the same frame, wall panels and roof. Photographed on private land with kind permission of the owner (who as a young man had helped with the shed removal from the old station).”  It should be noted that access to the land is solely at the discretion of the landowner who should be asked for permission prior to access onto the land.View of the barn (old engine shed) from the West in 2017 (Mark Bartlett). A view of the barn (old engine shed) from the South close to the road entrance to the haulier’s site in 2017 (Mark Bartlett). View from Croston Barn Lane (Google Streetview). The old engine shed can be seen above the black estate car in the picture. (Please note: access beyond the gate to the site requires prior permission from the landowner).Black 5 45438 undertakes some leisurely shunting at Garstang Town station, probably in the 1950s judging by the amount of traffic still being carried on this, by now, goods only line. (The photographer is not known: used with permission Knott End Collection: Railscot). Mark Bartlett comments: “This view, taken from the end of the island platform, looks east towards the WCML. The old GKER carriage sheds were still standing at this time, albeit trackless. The large house in the background, Beech Mount, is still on Lancaster Rd in Garstang today.” A goods train going through Garstang station in the 1950s (Lancashire Post) (The photographer is not known: used with permission Knott End Collection: Railscot). A view of Garstang Town station, probably from the early 1960s. (The photographer is not known: used with permission Knott End Collection: Railscot). Mark Bartlett comments: “The distinctive narrow station building with the slightly wider signal box at the far end … is on the island platform, which in passenger carrying days was accessed by a footbridge. Beyond and to the right is the old GKER engine shed, later dismantled and rebuilt nearby as a farm building. Straight ahead is the water tower with the small goods shed on the left.” Black 5 45070 enters Garstang Town station on 13th August 1959 with a single brake-van. (The photographer is not known: used with permission Knott End Collection: Railscot). Mark Bartlett comments: “Taken nearly thirty years after passenger services finished, this photo clearly shows the very unusual signal box at Garstang, which was on the island platform but at right angles to the tracks. The signal box was wider than the main station building, although it shared the roof profile, allowing a view to the east for the signalman.” The Good Shed at Garstang Town Station at or around closure of the line. The picture is taken facing East, reproduced with permission from ‘Apollo’ on RMWeb, (R.L. Hill). A general view of the Station from the Northwest at or around closure of the line, reproduced with permission from ‘Apollo’ on RMWeb, (R.L. Hill). A view East along the main running line close to closure. The sidings serving the carriage sheds seem to have been lifted, reproduced with permission from ‘Apollo’ on RMWeb, (R.L. Hill). The water tower at Garstang. The old engine shed is visible on the right-hand side of the picture. The crossing keeper’s cottage appears to have been removed but the Back Lane crossing gates are still in evidence, reproduced with permission from ‘Apollo’ on RMWeb, (R.L. Hill). The view from the East into the station site at or around closure. The old carriage sheds intrude into the picture of the right. the goods shed is centre-left and the passenger facilities centre-right, reproduced with permission from ‘Apollo’ on RMWeb, (R.L. Hill). The abandoned site of Garstang Station in the mid-1970s (Lancaster City Museum). 
The next couple of images show the East end of the station Site in the 21st century.This delightful back garden fills the full width of the station site to the West of the High Street (Google Streetview)Looking ahead to the East from Garstang High Street from the location of the erstwhile railway bridge. The house which just intrudes into the picture on the right is Beech Mount which has been mentioned above (Google Streetview). The access road provides a private access route to water treatment and flood defence facilities.The length of the line from Garstang High Streeet to the River Wyre Bridge. I have not as yet been able to find any good quality pictures of the old plate girder bridge over Garstang High Street. This aerial image from 1929 comes from the website ‘Britain From Above’ The bridge at the East end of the Station site can just be picked out at the centre-top of the photograph. The detail is not great but it is possible to make out the River Wyre Bridge on the top-right of the image as well. This is a much enlarged view of the top of the aerial photograph. The bridge is at the center of the image. Beech Mount can be seen to the right of the bridge. The station access road and footpath are on the left of the bridge. Lancaster Road (now High Street) at this point dipped down under the railway to provide reasonable clearance for road vehicles. Beyond the station to the East, the railway continued in an easterly direction to cross the River Wyre. This is the view back along the line from a point to the West of the river bridge towards the old station site at or around closure. The house to the left of the image is Beech Mount which still survives in the 21st century, reproduced with permission from ‘Apollo’ on RMWeb, (R.L. Hill). The River Wyre Bridge in 1929. 
The River Wyre Bridge on the old line immediately prior to closure, reproduced with permission from ‘Apollo’ on RMWeb, (R.L. Hill).  The view East across the River Wyre bridge along the old line towards the LNWR/LMS mainline, reproduced with permission from ‘Apollo’ on RMWeb, (R.L. Hill).  The route of the old line to the East of Garstang High Street. The bridge over the Wyre was reconstructed for vehicular access for water treatment purposes (Google Earth). The image below looks back along the line towards Garstang station and shows the water defence and treatment work undertaken. (Railscot: Mark Bartlett).  The old line continued Eastwards from the Wyre Bridge. It was initially on embankment as it dropped at 1:125 towards the LNWR/LMS mainline. [2: p63] There was a cattle creep around 2/3rds of the way along the embanked section of track. The old line then entered a cutting passing under a public footbridge before turning to the south to run alongside the LNWR/LMS mainline close to Taylor’s Bridge. The section of cutting before the old line curved to the South (Railscot: Mark Bartlett). 
From Taylor’s Bridge the branch trundled alongside the mainline, under Turner’s Bridge and then under Bailton’s Bridge before eventually reaching Garstang and Catterall Station.
The first photograph below shows the point at which the Garstang and Knott End Railway converged with the mainline just to the South of Taylor’s Bridge. A red line shows the route of the line emerging from what, in the 21st century, is a heavily wooded cutting and then running parallel to the mainline. 
The combined railway formation was in cutting for much of the length South from Taylor’s Bridge. It was crossed at intervals by accommodation bridges (Turner’s Bridge and Bailton’s Bridges) leading between fields on each side of the line. These bridges, Richardson tells us, were extended to accommodate the branch line and their two separate spans are still visible for the M6 motorway. [2: p63]
Since the middle of the 20th Century, the M6 has run parallel to the mainline only a few tens of metres to the East. The construction of the motorway meant that the accommodation bridge crossings had to be significantly extended Eastward.
Typical of these new bridges and their slender simply-supported reinforced concrete deck and steel beam construction is Turner’s Bridge which is shown in the second colour image below. .
Wikipedia tells us that “Garstang and Catterall railway station served as the interchange between the Garstang and Knot-End Railway and the London and North Western Railway. … The station was in the parish of Barnacre-with-Bonds, close to the village of Catterall, adjacent to the Lancaster Canal, and opposite the Kenlis Arms Pub.
This station was on the Lancaster and Preston Junction Railway (now part of the West Coast Main Line) between Preston and Lancaster.” 
Wikipedia says of the Lancaster and Preston Junction Railway Company (L&PJR) that it “was created by Act of Parliament on 5 May 1837, to link the towns of Preston and Lancaster. The company planned to build its Preston terminus at Dock Street (off Pitt Street), near the Lancaster Canal, in the expectation that the rival North Union Railway (NUR) line from Wigan would have its terminus close by. In fact, the North Union built its station 200 yards (200 m) away, just south of Fishergate, in what seems to have been a tactical move to get the L&PJR to contribute towards the cost of a short tunnel and connecting line between the two railways. This marked the start of protracted feuding between the two companies for years to come. Eventually a deal was struck for the L&PJR to use the North Union station.
The Lancaster terminus was on the modern-day South Road, just south of the Lancaster Canal and the southern end of Penny Street.
The line was twenty miles (32 km) long and built by Joseph Locke.  It opened on 25 June 1840, with a passenger service from the following day.” 
The Lancaster & Preston Junction Railway was amalgamated into the Lancaster & Carlisle Railway in 1859 and the Lancaster & Carlisle Railway was leased to the London and North Western Railway (LNWR), which later absorbed it in 1879.
So, Garstang & Catterall Station opened on 26 June 1840,  originally named Garstang Station.  Eventually, it was the last of the stations between Preston and Lancaster to close, on 3rd February 1969. .
The station was built on embankment above the surrounding land. It was flanked to the West by the Lancaster Canal and to the East by the Kenlis Arms Hotel. The main station buildings were at high level across Kenlis Road from the Kenlis Arms Hotel. They were quite substantial, about 125 ft long and 20 feet deep. Richardson points out that they were built in 1872-1873 as part of a general upgrading of the station facilities following the opening of the Garstang and Knott End Railway. [2: p63]
The station buildings were separated from the stationmaster’s house by a gap of around 8ft. Rush and Price say that the stationmaster’s house was a most peculiar building It “had apparently no chimneys, and the occupants went downstairs to bed, since the living room and door were on platform level and the other rooms beneath. There was no access from the street.” [23: p43]
The Garstang & Knott End Railway had no connection to the mainline North of the Junction station. Rush and Price tell us that the “only direct connection with the LNWR was in the goods yard, a short distance South of the station, whence the line ran along the outer face of the down platform, which was an island.” [23: p39]
Locomotives were unable to run round their trains while in the platform. ” A short loop opposite the Signal Box provided the run round facilities for Knott End trains.” [23: p39]
Since the station closed in 1969, the stationmaster’s house has become a private dwelling and appears relatively little altered in appearance.Taylor’s Bridge in the 21st century looking to the Northwest, showing the old branch-line entering the cutting of the mainline just South of the Bridge and running parallel with the mainline. The old Garstang and Catterall Station was about 1 miles south of the location of Taylor’s Bridge. Turner’s Bridge over the M6 in 2012 (Creative Commons Licence (Anthony Parkes)). The Kenlis Arms Hotel in the 21st century with the remaining stationmaster’s house beyond. A similar view from the time the branch-line and station were in use early in the 20th century. In this view, the stationmaster’s house is hidden behind the hotel. A much more recent image of the stationmaster’s house in private hands (Mark Bartlett). 
The following images appear on the RMWeb Forum , on the Railscott website  on Flickr , and are reproduced with permission.A steam-powered (Black 5) ‘up’ goods entering Garstang and Catterall Station on the mainline. The picture is taken from the island platform (R.L. Hill). A similar picture, this time on David Price’s Flickr feed and taken from the station footbridge (David Price). Clan Class Steam Locomotive in charge of a northbound express on the mainline through Garstang and Catterall Station in the late 1950s or early 1960s. The two views immediately below are taken from the footbridge seen in this picture (R.L. Hill) An overview of Garstang and Catterall Station looking North. The Lancaster Canal was in very close proximity to the Station on the West side of the down platform. The branch-line runs from the west side of the island platform and along the west side of the mainline to the North (R.L. Hill). A similar view in diesel days probably taken at around the same time as the picture above, both being taken from the station footbridge. The locomotive in this picture carried the number D305 (R.L. Hill). A Branch goods appears to have just arrived from Pilling (Railscot: Mark Bartlett). Railscot comments: “An unidentified LMS 8F 2-8-0 shunting alongside the old G&KER platform at Garstang & Catterall station. This view looks north from the station footbridge with the Lancaster Canal visible to the left of the steam plume. The main goods yard was behind the camera but the Creamery alongside the Up line also used rail for many years. The line immediately to the left of the main running lines beyond the island platform was the old link to the Knott End branch, which also later formed a long Down goods loop for the main line.” A 1971 image of the Station Signal box to the south of the station (Railscot: Mark Bartlett). Railscot comments: “The new infrastructure for colour light signalling can be seen as D431 approaches Garstang & Catterall on a service for Scotland. The cars are parked in the old goods yard, which is now occupied by a feeder station for the 25kv power supply, the first building of which can be seen in front of the bracket signal. The signal box closed in November 1972 with the commissioning of Preston power box. The station, behind the photographer, had only been closed for three years at this time but had already been demolished and cleared.” This view looks North from the goods yard opposite the station signal box (David Price). David Price says: “75048 shunts the yard.The quality is not great- I was using a very basic third-hand Halina – but there is some interest with the box and station visible. Note also the very young member of the footplate crew !! I don’t have a date for this but the slide is stamped Dec 67 so it was probably taken in Oct 1967. ” 
I have not had the opportunity in this article to look at operations or rolling stock on the line. I hope that I will have time to return to these matters in a future article. I have already been reminded by one reader of the first article about the line of the relatively unusual practice on the line of the pick-up goods both propelling and pulling wagons in the one train so as to make shunting much less time consuming en-route!
This article first appeared on rogerfarnworth.com
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