The Barnoldswick Branch Railway line.

Post Reply
User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 38151
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

The Barnoldswick Branch Railway line.

Post by Stanley » 19 Nov 2016, 07:06

The Barnoldswick Branch Railway line.
[This piece is the text of an article written by Robin Higgins of Barnoldswick for the magazine ‘Midland Record’ No. 10, 1998 and is reproduced with his permission. Robin mentions photographs in the text, it isn’t possible to do them justice in this format so I have omitted them. However, do not despair, Robin has promised us that he will make these and more available to the site so watch out for them.]

THE BARNOLDSWICK BRANCH

by ROBIN HIGGINS

BARNOLDSWICK was a small cotton-weaving town in the West Riding of Yorkshire. Nowadays it has some residual cotton manufacturing industry, and it's in Lancashire! Several railway books, mainly paperback picture albums, devoted to one or other of the Roses counties, fail to include our branch on the basis of it being in the other county. I suspect that the real reason is the authors' lack of any worthwhile information on the subject.

Barnoldswick lies on the Leeds and Liverpool canal, very near the summit, and several mills situated on the canal side benefited from good transport in pre-railway days. Nevertheless, the local mill owners decided that they needed to have railway communication. Had the Blackburn, Clitheroe and North Western Junction Railway been built as authorised in 1846 from Chatburn to Elslack, Barnoldswick would have been on a through route. Twenty years later the Fleetwood, Preston and West Riding
Junction Railway, also intended to run to Elslack, failed to materialise and the nearest railway was still in Earby, 2 ½ miles away. Perhaps spurred on by the example set in the Worth Valley, the mill owners decided to build their own line.

Authorised by, an Act of August 1867, the line opened on 8th February 1871. not contribute towards the building of the matter. Whether anyone actually took a rule and drew a straight line from the town to the Midland line, I don't know, but the line followed such a course, with a twenty chains radius curve at the junction. Earthworks abounded; the line was on embankment or in cutting for most of its length, with a substantial iron bridge over the Leeds and Liverpool canal mid-way between Barnoldswick and the village of Salterforth.

Salterforth, with its school (which I attended when we lived on 'The Ranch' at Earby), two chapels, post office, houses and substantial cotton mill, adjoins the railway. No station, or even a siding was provided. Recently I came across a reference to land having been acquired in case a siding was needed; but it remains a mystery why this potential source of traffic was never tapped. The B6383 main road between Barnoldswick and the A56 at Kelbrook, which parallels the railway, was not built until the early 1930s as unemployment relief. Until then road communication between the two towns was very poor. There was however a reasonable back lane between Salterforth and Earby, little more than a mile away and this could be the explanation.

Mention of Kelbrook, a village only ¼ of a mile away from the junction, and the even closer Sough (pronounced ‘Suff’) with its mill again prompts the question as to why no railway facilities were ever provided and during the Great War a munitions factory was apparently located in the fork between the Colne line and the branch. I was given a signal box diagram of the sidings many years ago, but recent research by, local railway author Donald Binns failed to come up with any official information whatsoever.

In the Second World War the Rover company, who were carrying out gas turbine research in the former Bankfield mill in Barnoldswick, exchanged their plant for a tank factory owned by Rolls Royce. That was how Rolls came to Barnoldswick, and my father found employment there. A new estate of detached bungalows was built for the influx of workers; they were called pre-fabs, but the estate, situated on the Salterforth Lane was known as ‘The Ranch’. My earliest train journeys were made in a pram whenever my Mother was visiting her Father in Barnoldswick. Mothers with prams represented a fair proportion of the remaining traffic at that time but no one bothered about pram tickets until some busybody reported the matter. The Barnoldswick clerk awaited the shoppers’ train and shouted out “All those with prams, stop!” At an early age I went missing and was found on the station footbridge watching trains. We moved to Barnoldswick when I was ten and I watched the branch trains and the shunting in the coal yard but I was not really a railway child. The first day at Keighley changed that.

The experience of the wider railway scene quickly made me realise that the branch was unusual in several respects: The single track with its controlling train staff and key which a patient railwayman explained; the absence of a signal box, necessitating double heading one train and then locking in one locomotive in the coal yard; and the cross-bar signal which was not interlocked with the level crossing gates. My memory is that the signal was disused when I first became aware of it. However, a porter by the name of Ezra Fish, who became a railwayman in middle age, started using it in the later 1950s. By this time I had acquired a box camera and carefully recorded the shunting process. The goods yard and shunting neck were separated from the coal-yard by the busy Wellhouse Rd. level crossing at the platform end. Shunting entailed the frequent opening and closing of these gates and, if Ezra was on duty, the operation of the signal. The gates would be opened for the railway and the signal turned to clear. The shunting move would then be made, and the gates immediately dragged back to allow the build-up of traffic to clear with the signal still turned clear for the railway. Finally, the signal would be returned to danger! All of this I described in an article published in the February 1975 Railway World. Imagine my annoyance on pub1ication when the only photograph not used was the very one showing the signal clear and the gates shut! Moreover, they took it upon themselves to describe the line as an L&Y branch!

Mention of the goods yard is a good opportunity to record that by this time it was virtually closed. Photographic evidence shows that the goods shed was still there in 1951. But I have no recollection of it in 1955, and photographs taken in the mid-1950s show the site to have been recently cleared. The short loading dock siding saw very occasional use, and the long back siding was retained. In the early 1960s this was used for storing old coaches awaiting the call to the scrap yard. I photographed a Midland arc-roofed composite M17997M, latterly of the Worth Valley branch, and probably built for the St. Pancras-Bedford service. Carted goods traffic had plummeted from a peak of 40,000 tons a year in 1915 to only 1,500 tons by 1941. The cotton trade depression, general strike, and opening of the new road can all be seen to have bled the traffic away. Photographs of the goods shed invariably show it in the background. The wooden building is unlike standard Midland structures, and can be taken as ordered by the local company. The Summary Book mentions that grain was diverted in 1897 due to insufficient warehouse accommodation. This would be grain from the local corn mill. The 1892 1:2500 map shows just the basic goods shed, whereas the 1907 diagram has the smaller extension which can be seen in Roy Anderson's photographs of 1913 featured in Midland Record No. 7. Looking at the 'not carted' figures, I would say that the latter half of 1904 points to being the construction date. This also fits in with the construction of the new goods office at the north end of the stone booking office at the passenger station. This is the date I had estimated from the postmarks of the two contemporary pictures published as postcards. One shows 0-6-0T No. 1347 and no goods office, whilst another does show the goods office.

The 1892 map, which I only saw for the first time this week at the local library, took me by surprise in several respects. I had no idea that the coal yard had originally been so small. The sidings were only about 100 ft in length, with a total capacity of about twenty wagons. At the time 9,000 tons of coal were being delivered. Eight years later, the figure had doubled. No wonder the Summary Book stated that in 1902/3 mill coal had to be diverted due to insufficient sidings. The local company had approached the Midland in March 1898 with a view to purchase, powers to do so being secured in 1899, leaving the Midland to carry out what were obviously desperately needed improvements and extensions. The 1892 map shows Skipton Road some distance to the north of the small coal yard across a field. The ground sloped down here, and a considerable embankment was required before the first extension to the yard took place, I believe in 1907. A further extension became necessary, and if the locomotive shed closed in 1902, as recorded by F.H. Clarke, this fits in well with the increase to 33,000 tons in 1913. Presumably at this time the further extension of the yard right up to Skipton Road took place. An undated plan in my possession showing proposed changes to the yard marked in red ink, includes slewing the No. 5 road by 12-18in towards the coal shoots, which rather suggests they were of recent construction. Other changes are proposed stacks for three coal merchants. These seem to fit in with a 1920 map which has various pencilled alterations over the period 1921-4. Something else to research further! Incidentally, the water tank which appears prominently in Roy Anderson's photographs (and which looks new to me), is shown on this 1920 diagram. It does not appear on either the 1892 or 1907 ones. My 1907 plan shows a water column outside the locomotive shed. This poses the question - did the loco shed have a water tank on the roof? As a teenager I was told about an old man who had been the engine cleaner at the shed. I went to see him, but gained very little information. “It were just a shed". Enquiring what material it was made of brought the response "It were brick." If it was, it would have been the only brick building in the town! But brick and stone are used synonymously. The coal shoots were disused in my time, but domestic coal traffic had kept up well at least as far as 1943 when the record book finishes. In the early 1960s I would say that perhaps 5 wagons a day, (25,000 tons/year) or even 10 some days, arrived on the daily goods. Mention in Midland Record No. 7 of chain shunting being approved at Barnoldswick prompts me to suggest that it was solely for the siding which was a continuation of the main line, i.e. the only one which a locomotive could not enter when the passenger train occupied the branch.

If there is no known photograph of the locomotive shed, there is an excellent one of the branch engine standing just outside. No. 1347 looks absolutely immaculate, with lining-out clearly visible on such details as the brake hangers and guard irons. The bunker has the original works plate 'built 1879'. When I was given the photograph, I was told the date was about 1900. This fits in with 1347's rebuilding in 1901. Notice the three-piece chimney, open cab with very respectable home-made rear spectacle plate cum bunker extension and double lamp-irons on the driver's side of the bunker. What a contrast to the picture of 1347 in the platform c1903 where the only visible lining is on the cab front, and no apparent 'M.R.' on the sidetank. The locomotive has acquired a full cab, which is not recorded in Baxter, and a one-piece chimney. Notice the single lamp back to front on the right-hand bracket on the tank by the cab door. The bunker clearly carries a 'rebuild' works-plate, which puts the date as post 1901. Is the apparent lack of lining purely down to the angle of the sun, and the orthochromatic film?

Having moved on to locomotives, it is clear that the other 'open-cab' rolling into the platform (without any lamps on the bunker, but one back-to-front just visible on the front buffer beam) is not 1347 as the top lamp bracket is lower down. I have enlarged the locomotive, but the angle is too acute to distinguish the numbers. Donald Binns states the branch was originally worked by an 0-4-2WT. The nickname for the local train was the 'Barlick Spud', or ‘spud-roaster'; my grandfather told me that the original locomotive was so small it looked like a portable contraption used by a local vendor to roast potatoes. Several photographs exist of Kirtley outside framed 0-6-0 NO. 2404 on the branch train with tender cab. 2F No. 3477 was seen in 1947, and later Skipton's 46442 and 46452 were regular performers on both passenger and coal trains. 0-4-4 No. 41904 spent a short time on the branch around 1950, and the older Johnson 0-4-4Ts were regular engines for decades. In addition to the two mentioned already in Midland Record, 1275, 1277, 1358 and 1366 were used in LMS days, and 58040, 58075 and 58077 in BR days. Ivatt 2-6-2Ts arrived brand new in 1951 and 41325/6/7 and 41273 were regular performers. Later 8401/5/7/28 took over. Less
frequent were Derby 4s, the occasional Ivatt 4 and, on successive days towards the end when the morning train had become a Holbeck working, Jubilee No. 5658 Keyes (on a foggy day and I didn't have my camera), and immaculate ex-works No. 42394 in bright sun, which I duly photographed in colour. At that time this was one of my favourites, only two Fowler 2-6-4Ts then remained, and with five well-kept compartment coaches, this was Derby's swan-song. The other was No. 42145, filthy, leaking steam with thirteen patches on the side tanks. But at least the 2-6-2Ts worked the Saturday train, and thus there was dignity with the last train on September 1965.

After nationalisation, the branch coaches were painted plain unlined carmine. Then about 1960 each of the six coaches went in turn to Derby to be fully refurbished, during which time a late LNWR motor brake 3rd was substituted. The quality of my camera lens prevents identification of this coach but I did keep a record of some of the regular coaches; driving brakes M24455 and M24427, and nine-compartment 17942. The overhauled coaches came back in fully-lined crimson lake, smelling of new moquette, fresh varnish and new leather straps, and displaying Hamilton Ellis prints in the compartments. They fired my imagination of what Derby must have turned out
in Midland days. I wish we could have preserved the whole train. Other coaches were quite rare. I noted in my diary on Friday 5th May 1961, that a school trip to Rhyl had three new Mk.1 buck-eye coaches on the back of the 8:19 am train. The party arrived back at 9.37 Pm. On 27th June 1961, the annual specials for Skipton Gala brought a
through train from Barnoldswick at 2.05 pm with nine coaches hauled by 42546. Special workings with the push-pull set returned the passengers at hourly intervals connecting with the Skipton-Colne trains. These, I noted, were three bogies and ran without a guard. 1 presume this was legitimate; I remember asking at the time and was told that because the train ran between two staffed stations, no guard was needed, the station-master giving the 'right away'. Any comment from readers?

The same motor trains without a guard ran in connection with special holiday train workings. Until 1961 Barnoldswick holidays coincided with Skipton's (second/third weeks in July). The first special was on Friday evenings at 7.00 pm from Barnoldswick to Bradford, where it connected with the through trains to Paignton and also over the S&D to Bournemouth West. Next at 8.15 pm was a through train to St. Pancras. We travelled on this one year and I found that it was a regular working from Sheffield extended to Barnoldswick. I recall that we had a Derby 4 and that the train stopped only at Earby, Skipton and Cononley, and used the Leeds avoiding line. A connection to Earby at 9.05 or 9.50 pm, with a further change at Blackburn, enabled passengers to reach Fleetwood for the IoM boat.

On Saturdays a connection at around 5.25/5.55 am to Earby enabled holidaymakers to catch a through train to North Wales, Llandudno, in 1959 and Penychain in 1961. A friend and I caught this latter train on our first holiday sans parents, a journey which took in closed mileage via Rainford, and stayed in Portmadoc. Next came a Skipton-Fleetwood train at 7.00 am with connection from Barnoldswick. Four or five further connections allowed passengers to reach Blackpool, Morecambe, Manchester, Leeds and North-East coast resorts. For one week eleven holidaymakers shuttles ran on the following Saturday afternoon from Earby, connecting with all services, and nine for the lucky ones having a fortnight.

In 1962 Barnoldswick had sensibly joined the neighbouring East Lancashire towns which took the first/second weeks in July. The long-established Midland services now took on a definite L&Y bias. On the Friday evening two West of England trains (with no connections) started at Colne, and a third one from Earby (with connection), travelling via Crewe. Bournemouth must have remained sufficiently popular, for a connection from Barnoldswick and Earby was available for the S&D service, again via Lancashire. New destinations were Portsmouth, Yarmouth and Brighton and an old favourite, Fleetwood and IoM. London was catered for via Euston but was now only a connecting service. Finally, the push-and-pull ran around midnight to connect with a Padiham to Glasgow train. As I was the only passenger I told the driver he could leave the coaches at Barnoldswick if he liked – I could travel on the footplate. He thought for a moment and regretted he had take the stock for the first working following morning. We had a Royal Scot from Padiham and a re-built Patriot after changing engines at Skipton.

On Saturday there were connections into Scarborough, Penychain, Filey Holiday Camp, and one of the four Blackpool trains. By 1964, when light refreshments, luggage in advance and guaranteed seats were offered on special trains, only the Portsmouth, Fleetwood and London (St. Pancras via Lancashire) connections remained. On Saturdays there were also still connections for Blackpool, Scarborough, Fleetwood and North Wales. I don't recall if any specials ran from Barnoldswick in 1965 Stuart Taylor reminded us in his ‘Railways of Colne’, little or no advertising was done, leaflets were few and far between, and Blackpool Central had been closed.

Road transport had captured a large slice of the market well before the war. The ‘Craven Herald’ reported on 22nd July 1932 that, contrary to the practice of recent years, Barnoldswick people had used the railway as the chief mode of transit throughout the holiday week. This had been due to cheaper rates; fares for Blackpool, Morecambe and Southport had been reduced considerably. Many people had taken advantage of the new 15/- tourist ticket extending over the full week. Road operators moaned that the traffic commissioners would not reduce their fares; they had had a very poor week. A local railway official had given the following details on Thursday - period bookings: Morecambe 250, Blackpool 300, Leeds 70, Liverpool 100, Southport 70, Douglas IoM 120, Lake District 130, Scarborough 40, Redcar 30, Llandudno 50, North East coast 100, Belfast 30, West of England 6 and Blackburn, Preston and Accrington 180. Half-day Excursions on Sunday: Morecambe 100, Blackpool 70. Monday: Manchester 114, Burnley 300, Southport 130. Tuesday; Blackpool 200, Llandudno 250, Port Sunlight 50, Southport 50. Wednesday: Liverpool and North Wales 80. Over 200 Wakes Tickets at 15/- had been sold and on Saturday 330 People had gone to Nelson and Burnley. The weather had been warm but showery. The shortage of money had been a handicap.

What is still known locally as ‘the New Road’ was inaugurated in December 1922 - parallel with the branch railway. It was expected to take two years to complete; in fact it took twelve. The first half, to the village of Salterforth, opened in December 1929, and this enabled Ezra Laycock to operate a bus service to Earby. If 1929 had been a bad year for the railway, with bookings down to 104,638 from 116,366 in 1928, then 1930 saw a catastrophic fall to 63,608. With the completion of the road through to Kelbrook, Burnley Colne and Nelson Joint Transport Committee buses took over the Earby route, leaving Ezra Laycock with the 'direct' route to Skipton. My recollection of this outfit in the 1950s and 60s with its traipse round the countryside in Bedford Duples (manned by drivers who seemed determined to depart from Skipton bus station just as the Bradford bus appeared) could have been the inspiration for the other outfit in ‘Titfield Thunderbolt’.

The LMS at last fought back in 1931 with push-pull or motor trains. The local newspaper reported that the push-pull locomotive, with its special set of carriages, would take over on Monday 2nd February commencing with the 10.45 am from Earby; and that ‘In view of the transition the two guards required under the existing system have been transferred.' This implies that the existing timetable was maintained initially, and that possibly push-pull trains ran without guards! In 1929 there had been 16 weekday departures, plus a ‘Tu and FO'. By 1934 the service had increased to 24 weekday departures. The 1934 timetable gave connections to and from virtually every train in both directions at Earby. There were a number of through services to both Skipton and Colne and certainly the 2.23 pm ran through to Burnley, but the contemporary timetables were poor in advising such through services. Saturday nights are interesting in that the train service revolved around Barnoldswick rather than Colne-Skipton. I cannot understand why there should have been nine trains on the branch on Sunday evenings and none for the rest of the day. In 1929 there had been a balanced service with through trains and good connection, allowing a day out to a wide variety of destinations. It didn't last: by 1939 the branch was weekdays only.

Some contemporary notes which I made illustrate the working of the branch in the early 1960s, and refer to the 8.19 am from Barnoldswick to Skipton except where noted. During school term, five or six coaches were needed and the locomotive ran round. On Saturdays and school holidays the train ran push-pull with up to four coaches. Maximum speeds were always reached past Elslack.

Monday, 22nd August, 1960. 84015, 4 coaches P&P, maximum speed 55.4 mph.
Tuesday 23rd August. 84015, 4 coaches P&P, maximum speed 62.0 mph.
Saturday, 3rd September. 84015, 4 coaches P&P. Maximum speed 60 mph.
Monday, 24th October. 84017, 5 coaches, slow run, only 45 mph.
Tuesday, 1st November. 84017, 5 coaches, loco bunker first, maximum speed 55 mph.
Saturday, 5th November. 41327. 5 coaches. Left slightly late, reached 40 mph on branch and 62 mph for two consecutive miles near Elslack, driver making up time.
Tuesday, 13th December. 41327. 5 coaches, maximum speed 60 mph.
Saturday, 7th January 1961. 84017. Rode in driving compartment. Left six minutes late, trouble with loco. Fair run to Elslack and then slowed down to 35 mph. Reached Skipton 8.41. Five minutes late, fireman said she just wouldn’t go.
Saturday, 28th January. Bogie corridor parcels van in coal yard, no. 2 siding.
Thursday 16th February. Several hundred empty milk churns in a bogie van in cattle dock for Dobson’s Dairy (West Marton, 3 miles away) Both of these sightings most unusual.
Saturday, 25th February. 84017. Travelled on footplate maximum speed 62 mph.
Saturday, 4th March. 84015. Driver Bean’s last steam working.
Friday, 10th March. 46452. Tender first.
Monday 13th March. 46501.
Thursday 16th March. 84015.
Friday 17th March. 41327. (Ex Derby works) 5 coaches, maximum speed 54 mph.
Wed. 22 Mar. 41327, 5 coaches. Went through the junction at over 35 mph. The driver said later ‘we were going a bit too fast'. The signalman made no attempt to take the staff, the fireman just threw it out.
Sat. 1st April. 84015, left 9 minutes late - clerk late. Travelled on 11.30 excursion to Earby in motor cab. Rain, about 30 passengers. Rode back on footplate of 11.42 (regular SO train).
Mon. 3 April. Another excursion. Rain, about 20-30 passengers.
Mon. 10th April. Key damaged between morning trains. Held up shunting, but Ezra Fish managed to straighten it.
Sat. 24th June. (Skipton Gala) Travelled in the motor cab with the driver (i.e. pushing from Earby) on the 4.15 and 5.15 pm trains. Noted that we killed a hen near Salterforth on both trips.
Sat. 22nd July. Returned from holiday at Portmadoc. (A friend and I had caught the
5.10 am special a fortnight earlier.) Arrived Earby 7.16 pm off the Manchester train. Boarded the push-pull and left immediately. Noted that the train was three coaches with only one motor brake and that there was no guard.
Saturday, 17th November 1962. 84028. Train did not arrive until 8.19 (for the 8.19 departure) and, due to defect in the loco's push-pull apparatus, it had to run round. Departure at 8.29. Junction traversed at around 30 mph the signalman conversing with the driver of an up goods, held at the signal, on the balcony. Max. speed 61 mph. Checked at Skipton station junction and taken into No. 5 platform at 8 45 (the Ilkley line) rather than platform 2, as the Up Residential from Morecambe was due, caught the front portion of the Residential to Bradford hauled by 46103.
Friday, 23rd November. 4.49 pm DMU arrival ran through the level crossing gates and hit a Firemaster Co. lorry.
Wed. 28th January 1964. 41251 (non push-pull fitted)

Being a backwater, it was often possible to ride in the push-pull brake or even on the, footplate, and many kindnesses were shown by the local railwaymen. It worked both ways for, when officialdom failed to produce a poster for the 1961 Skipton Gala specials, I made one on the back of a thick poster supplied by the station master. It seemed to do the trick, and I was told that probably half the passengers had used the train after seeing it. It was certainly pleasing to photograph a large crowd and a nine-coach train in the station.

The last station master, Mr Hodgson (after his departure the Earby station master Mr Lemmon looked after both stations), had a son who was confined to a tricycle. Frank sometimes delivered small parcels to local traders, including my mother who had a wool shop. He always met the train and rode along the platform edge as the train came in. One day a wheel went over the edge and Frank was in mortal danger on the track. A porter immediately jumped down and dragged Frank out of the way - no easy task as his feet were strapped onto the pedals. The bike was crushed by the locomotive.

My school journeys initially involved five train journeys: the 7.54 am push-pull to Earby, connecting into a Colne-Leeds via Ilkley train as far as Skipton, where we caught a Morecambe-Leeds semi-fast which preceded the Residential. Skipton pupils caught the 8.19 am through train. We would have been about ten minutes late for school on this service. We returned on the 4.02 PM from Keighley, which was the 3.45 pm all stations (except Gargrave) Bradford-Carlisle. From Skipton the 4.30 pm was a through train to Barnoldswick. In September 1956 the service of twelve or so trains was reduced to just one in and two out per day, so we then had to catch a bus to Earby in the mornings. The 4.30 pm train became a DMU in, I think, September 1959. This was a North Eastern Region unit used as a fill-in working from the Skipton-Bradford service. It probably came about as the push-pull train, like the Worth Valley one) ran through to Bradford each day to keep the batteries charged.

Unfortunately, I do not have any working timetables and cannot now be sure of all the details of working the branch. A series of photographs I took in 1961 show the carriages being stabled in the goods yard shunting neck, which was normal practice at the time. I can't remember if this was done only at weekends. Later, the working was changed and the coaches were kept at Skipton. I was told that it was due to minor vandalism, probably caused by courting couples rather than anything serious like broken windows. Certainly the mid-morning ECS working from Skipton brought in parcels for the van to deliver, and, after stabling the coaches the locomotive returned with a goods brake plus any empty wagons. Outgoing parcels were also carried in the van. I would certainly like to see working timetables for the period to clarify exactly what happened. You didn't write it down at the time, it just happened every day ... Details of train working in the earlier 1950s are recorded in Donald Binn’s book ‘The Skipton-Colne Railway and the Barnoldswick Branch’, one of several local railway histories published by the author, and available from him at 50 Long Meadow, Skipton, North Yorkshire BD23 1BW @ £8.95 + p&p.

As I finally close these reminiscences for despatch to the editor, I find that my local library has the report and accounts of the Barnoldswick Railway Company for 1897. 1 hope we have something worthwhile there for a follow-up in a future issue!

Robin Higgins.


[The following was in a separate section to the rest of the article:]
Chart of Information Contained in a Hand-Written Traffic Record Book from Barnoldswick Station, Commencing 1888. Notes on the Summary chart.

The 1941 Total Goods Tonnage is 5,936 tons more than the Carted, Non-carted, Mineral, and Coal totals. Marginal notes give the following population figures:

1891 = 4,000. 1901 = 6,382. 1911 = 9,699. 1903 = 10,000. 1923 12,250. (I think this would represent the peak). The 1907 Not-Carted figure has a note: 'Grain diverted - limited warehouse accommodation'. The 1912/13 Coal tonnages have a note: 'Mill coal diverted - insufficient sidings'. The 1908 Carted figure is a reflection of 'bad trade'. The 1952-5 figures are not from a book in my possession, but were given by the Station Master to a newspaper reporter.

The 1888 staff is listed as:- Station Master, Clerk, Guard, Checker, Porter, Assistant Porter. A Machine Clerk was appointed in May 1889. 1893 saw two further appointments, an additional Clerk in January, and another Porter in August. A Porter-Guard was appointed in January 1897, a pencilled addition noting that he was made 'Yardman' when trainman removed, and later 'Shunter'. June 1899 saw an additional Clerk appointed. A Foreman was taken on in October 1900. An additional Goods Porter was needed in April 1902, and yet another Clerk was sanctioned in March 1905. September of the same year saw a Yard Porter taken on. 1906 saw three more staff, an Assistant Porter in May, who was made up to Full Porter in January 1913, a Clerk in October, and a Drayman in July. This last appointee was written in rather as an after-thought at the edge of the page. He was withdrawn in May 1908 due to bad trade; the word 'temporarily' being added when the man was reinstated in January 1909. Two Goods Porters were appointed in September 1911, also a Porter Clerk. A Checker, Goods Porter, and Clerk were applied for in January 1913 and appointed in March. Further Goods Porters followed in January 1914 and April 1915. An additional Clerk was needed in 1919 ‘under the 8 hours movement'. A note follows which seems to indicate that Porters commenced working 8 hours in February 1919, and Clerks in March. A further Porter was taken on ‘under the 8 hours scheme' in June, and one more in November. There we reach the bottom of the page, and perhaps the high water mark of railway employment at Barnoldswick. No further information is forthcoming from the Summary Book; the next piece of information is a typed letter from the Chief General Superintendent's Office on 6th December 1925 informing tile Station Master, Mr Lewis, to dispense with Goods Porter R. Brooks' services.

In 1910 more detailed records were kept, on the District Superintendent's instructions. These record traffic month by month, and also give wages of £644 10s.7d for the year, and salaries of £553 7s.10d. The breakdown of 116,879 passengers also records the fact that 117 were season ticket holders, of whom 62 booked in January. I presume these were annual tickets: in any case, the effective number of passenger journeys is considerably more than the recorded figure. By 1923, the number of seasons had increased considerably to 295, of which 112 were booked in January. The recorded passenger totals were 161,084, plus 295 = 161,379.

An audit appears to have been carried out on 20th April 1922 by Mr Fletcher and the CGM's (Chief General Manager's) representative. Perhaps as an outcome of this, 'various new instrns' caused the November and December ‘Goods Debits Porters and Ledgers' column to have alterations made, with the explanation 'Reduction represents Ledgers collected by us & paid to bank through Porters'. Perhaps one of your readers can enlighten us on Midland Railway accounting procedures. A brief note records that the cotton trade was very depressed throughout the year.

Detailed records cease at the end of 1923, but a few details for 1932/314 have been written in. One very interesting tit-bit of information not available in the more detailed years is an apparent breakdown of the passenger receipts. In 1932 there were 57,077 passengers, of whom 341 were seasons. The amount is given as two figures bracketed together, £1,060 and £5,750. This doesn't quite add up to the figure of £6,951 given in a pre-printed Statement form included with the record book. However, it is the only indication of the relative importance of the season tickets, which were valued at just under £3.0.0. each, whereas the average ordinary passenger paid around 2/-. I was a teenager when the Barnoldswick clerk gave me this invaluable record book; tatty, with yellowed pages, many would have consigned it to the bin. I kept it safe all these years, and I hope that others derive as much interest as I have in studying the role played by the local railway in the development and prosperity of the town.

[Transcribed by Stanley Challenger Graham, 14 May 2004 from a copy of the ‘Midland record’ lent to me by Robin Higgins.]
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Whyperion
Senior Member
Posts: 1426
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 22:13
Location: Now in Burnley , After leaving Barnoldswick , except when I am in London

Re: The Barnoldswick Branch Railway line.

Post by Whyperion » 22 Nov 2016, 14:51

Were there any 'private owner' wagons used by the three coal merchants indicated in the article?

I think you had mentioned elsewhere why a Station at Salterforth was not built, something to do with land ownings, monopoly carters and the canal ? However as the article states land at Salterforth was acquired, presumably not enoough for meaningful access and use when I guess the profitably traffic was intendend as freight, not passengers.

User avatar
Whyperion
Senior Member
Posts: 1426
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 22:13
Location: Now in Burnley , After leaving Barnoldswick , except when I am in London

Re: The Barnoldswick Branch Railway line.

Post by Whyperion » 20 Mar 2017, 20:11

http://www.disused-stations.org.uk/
Is carrying out research to feature up coming the Skipton-Colne Railway, on the home page is a photo of Earby station in DMU days. I guess they might like things like scans of tickets from the stations on the line or interesting station photographs (I assume Middleton Press have featured the route and the branch in some of their books of railways of Britain

Post Reply

Return to “Local History Topics”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users