Barnoldswick in Bloom to mark 150th anniversary of railway

Barnoldswick in Bloom launched celebrations this week of the 150th anniversary of the opening of the railway in Barnoldswick.
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To commemorate this milestone, Barnoldswick in Bloom and the town council are planning some new features and activities linked with the railway.

The town's branch line opened on February 8th, 1871.

"All being well, a feature based on a loco or train will be installed on Fernlea Avenue in place of the commemorative canal boat," said bloom spokesman, Coun. David Whipp. "Another possibility in the early stages of planning is a small scheme on the Town Green referencing its former use as the coal yard sidings."

Barnoldswick railway stationBarnoldswick railway station
Barnoldswick railway station
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To help celebrate the anniversary, bloom volunteers are working with a new character named after the locomotive affectionately called 'Spud' used on the Barnoldswick branch line. Spud will be joining in with bloom activities throughout the year. In future years, it's intended that the town council and bloom group will hold an annual 'Spud Day' at this time of year.

Barnoldswick's railway station stood on the present day Wellhouse Road car park and Co-op store. Limestone retaining walls built at both sides of the station cutting can be seen to this day.

The line was constructed by a consortium of Barnoldswick businesspeople headed by mill owner Billycock Bracewell. Just short of two miles long, the line joined the Skipton to Colne line between Kelbrook and Earby.

At its peak, the line carried well over 100,000 passengers a year, but the opening of the 'New Road' to the A56 at Kelbrook in December 1929 saw passenger numbers drop to around 64,000 in 1930.

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Up to the mid 1960s, the line took pupils to the grammar and high schools at Skipton, but the last passenger service was on 25th September 1965. The final coal train ran the following year in July 1966, five years short of 100 years since the first train ran along the line.

Following the closure of the railway, much of the spoil used to create the sidings was returned to the cuttings where it had come from originally. Fernlea Avenue was extended below Station Road and the railway station site became the town centre car park. In the late 1980s, the co-op store relocated from Albert Road to part of the old station site.

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