With the ongoing work of electrification of the main rail line from Preston to Blackpool by Network Rail, many items of railway equipment were due to be scrapped.
Many of theses items were of obvious interest to the numerous heritage railways operating all over the country on very low budgets.
Network Rail was therefore approached and these items were put up for auction, with any heritage railway that was interested in saving any of the equipment asked to bid for it.
The PWRS, whose aim is to one day re-open the line from Poulton to Fleetwood, decided to try and save one of these items for posterity and install it on the line we are currently clearing.
We chose one of the buffer stops from platform 8 at Blackpool North Station and our bid was successful.
The buffer stop was collected from Blackpool by A E Engineering Ltd. of Fleetwood and with the kind permission of Peter Naylor of N.P.L. Estates Ltd., was transported to our depot at N.P.L. Hillhouse industrial site at Thornton where it will be refurbished by a team of our volunteers ready to install on the line.
Without the help of N.P.L. Estates Ltd. and A E Engineering Ltd. this piece of railway history would have been lost forever.
Repairing and replacing worn and damaged rail and sleepers is one of our ongoing tasks for the Poulton & Wyre Railway Society (PWRS). Obtaining the rails is not too much of a problem for us as several lengths of rail were left alongside the track when it was replaced by welded track in the seventies before the line was closed.
Obtaining replacement sleepers is not so easy we have to purchase them. Thankfully due to our “Sponsor a Sleeper” appeal by the crew at Thornton Station and the “Bridge the Gap” appeal by the team at the Fleetwood end, we have managed to purchase a number of sleepers to enable us to push forward with restoring the track, both at Thornton Station and Jameson Road.
Thanks to a donation of some sections of rail and concrete sleepers by Mr. Matt Lodge of Fleetwood Tram Preservation Society in Fleetwood, our team at Jameson Road, led by Peter Williams, are starting to bridge the gap left in the track when the rail was severed years ago.
These sections of track were being stored at the Tram Preservation Society’s depot in Fleetwood but as they were no longer required by the Tram Society, Mr Lodge kindly gave them to the PWRS.
As the PWRS does not have the heavy equipment needed to lift and transport these items for us, help came from two local companies; A.E. Engineering of Fleetwood, and Alan J Hargreaves Ltd. of Thornton.
Mr Anthony Elwood, the owner and managing director of A.E. Engineering, who are specialists in heavy lifting and transportation kindly arranged along with one of our members, Simon Miller, to have these sections of track and sleepers lifted and transported to near the track at the rear of Alan Hargreaves’ engineering works in Red Mash.
Mr Alan Hargreaves, whose company service and repair railway equipment, has kindly agreed to assist the Society by transporting these items to Jameson Road ready for our group of trained volunteers to install the track.
The PWRS is most grateful to both of these companies for their help in our hour of need.
An attempted burglary on the PWRS line was foiled recently by a resident living close to the line.
Burglars breaking into the workman’s hut at Hillylaid Crossing were unaware that the incident was being videoed by a neighbour who was out in his garden at the time.
The neighbour managed to contact the railway police who arrived at the incident whilst the two perpetrators were still at the hut. They were subsequently detained by the railway police and taken to Preston police station where they were charged with burglary.
They have been released on bail whilst the police investigate similar break-ins that occurred some months earlier at the PWRS depot.
A few days later an officer from the British Railway Police paid a visit to the PWRS depot and delivered a cheque for £200 from the British Transport Police Federation lottery fund.
The cheque was gratefully received on behalf of the PWRS by their project manager Mr Geoff Ogden.
Our thanks to all those involved.
British Transport Police are urging walkers to steer clear of the tracks at one of the former stations on the PWRS line.
Contrary to common belief, the line at Burn Naze Station on the Wyre Power Station branch line is not disused, but is used daily to test track mounted machinery.
While passenger services ceased to run on the track in 1970, the line is still in use and as such poses a danger to anyone who strays near to the railway. Walking along the track is trespass, an offence punishable by a fine of up to £1000.
Following reports that families have been using the line as a public footpath for walks, BTP officers have issued an urgent warning. Sgt John Phillips said:
“It has come to our attention that many walkers are using the tracks, believing it is now disused and practically a public footpath. We want to make it very clear that this is not the case. Looks can be very deceiving – while it may seem that the line is no longer used this isn’t the case. Anyone trespassing on the line runs the risk of serious injury and a criminal record. Please stay away from the railway line.
“There are plenty of picturesque walks in the area that don’t risk your safety.
“Children should always be taught to stay away from the railway. By normalising walking on or playing near tracks at a young age inevitably it means they will grow up believing that playing on the railway is acceptable and safe – something we work so hard to change. Once the idea that it’s safe is ingrained in a young mind it takes a lot to change that mindset and convince them of the dangers. We’ve seen too many cases of children killed or horrifically injured because they’ve strayed too close to the line.”
British Transport Police are increasing patrols in the area to deter walkers from trespassing and is working with Network Rail to ensure that appropriate signage warning of the dangers of trespass are erected at the site.
We are now able to share the latest photographs of the restoration work carried out on our Class 108 DMU during April at the Midland Railway Centre at Butterley.
Discussions had taken place over the winter months with the people at Butterley, about what work to carry out first, and to fit in with their workshops busy schedule of work. A convenient slot came up during April and May allowing the welding work to be carried out on the Driving Trailer Lavatory Composite (DTLC) M56484.
What work has taken place?
The main body shell of a Class 108 DMU is aluminium, but both the cab front ends and rear corridor area are fabricated in steel and were badly corroded in places. The wasted metal work has been cut away above the buffer beam ready for new steel plate to be welded in place. In addition, some steel work needed replacing around the windows and head code box.
This photograph shows the new steel plate now welded in place above the buffer beam and trimmed down to the required profile.
The final photo shows the areas repaired around the cab windows and now painted in red primer. At the same time the glass has been reinstated in the head code box replacing the steel plate substituted during the mid-life refurbishment by British Rail.
We still need to raise further funds.
Unfortunately, the overall projected costs of restoring the DMU have increased. This is partly due to some items now costing more than originally expected, and, additionally some new work has been identified. This was always a possibility when you start work on a DMU which is now 57 years old.
If you would like to help us restore our DMU, donations can be made using the following methods:
- By completing the Rolling Stock Fund (Donation Form) available through the website and enclose a cheque or cash.
- By PayPal or Credit Card using the Donate link below the right-hand menu opposite.
- Or donations can be made electronically direct to the Society’s bank account:
– Bank: Santander
– Account Name: Poulton & Wyre Railway Society
– Account Number: 89012757
– Sort Code: 09-01-28
On behalf of the Rolling Stock Fund
Following the sudden death of our chairman Jeff Banks, his family requested that donations be made to the Society in his name.
Anne Banks (Jeff’s sister) handed over the amazing sum of £580 and I thanked Anne on behalf of the PWRS.
The committee will decide how best to spend this generous gift which will a include a permanent memorial to Jeff, one of our founder members.
At the Fleetwood Back on Track meeting held at Fleetwood Town Football Club on 14/12, a cheque for £1,000 towards the restoration of the DMU was presented to the PWRS by the Masons.
It is a Masonic Mark Lodges grant and was suggested by Mason and PWRS member Jimmy Rodgers.
Also in attendance from the PWRS were Pete Williams (receiving the cheque) and Eddie Fisher.
On behalf of the PWRS I should very much like to thank Jimmy and the Lodges for this wonderful gesture.
We’re proud to announce that the Royal Horticultural Society and North West in Bloom recently awarded PWRS Thornton Station with a certifcate of achievement (pictured below) for our 2016 entry.
Congratulations to all those involved and many thanks for helping to make the station an attractive site of local interest and a pleasure for all those who pass by it.
Following a series of meetings with Network Rail (NR), the future layout of the railway at Poulton has been agreed. The pictured Alternative Plan B, a short term fix for car parking and new Fleetwood branch terminus, is the preferred option.
While some will be disappointed that the junction is to be removed, NR have offered to help us set up two steering groups. One will look to develop a new step free interchange between the Fleetwood branch and Poulton station, while another will look to develop a decent car park.
Our alternative option will be just one of a number of plans that will be looked at by the new group. We are also hopeful of electrification project gifts and will keep you updated.
The electrification masts will be placed to ensure a full reconnection would be relatively straight forward and the signalling system will allow for plug in additions when required.
Network Rail are hopeful that the funding for the extra 22 car park spaces will be found in the project budget. They have also offered to help us identify funding to design the new step free PWRS interchange.
The NR electrification project team have offered to come and volunteer on a number of days through next year and 2018 and we look forward to meeting them all.
All in all there are exciting times ahead and we look forward to building an excellent relationship with the electrification project team.
The Society has had another railway library donated.
This was from Brian Fare of Wesham and consists of over 300 titles to be used to raise funds for the refurbishment of the DMU.
Brian, whose son is a Society member, worked as a locomotive fireman based in Preston in the last days of steam and was subsequently trained to drive diesels.
He particularly enjoyed the Fleetwood run when he could purchase a stone of fresh fish for a half a crown.
I thanked Brian on the Society’s behalf.