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Loking to Accrington

29066 RISHTON NORTH WESTERN TRAINS, is Rishton stations TOPS code. TOPS code are used by the railway company to mange their rolling stock.

TOPS Total Operations Processing System (the computer database of rolling stock), is a set of programs originally written by the Southern Pacific railroad in the 1960s for complete control on their operations. It covers all aspects of railway operation including stock location and maintenance records, train consists and real-time train running reports.

Each train is entered into a database with various details such as start point and end point duration times etc. Other Local Codes include;

The station booking office shortly before demolition in the 1980's.

An example of the TOPS codes in use would look something like this - 29066 29050  2200 06/03.

The first five digits (29066) relates to RISHTON which would have made the decision, the second set of five digits is the location that the engine is allocated to move to ROSE GROVE. The time and date is when the move is planned to happen. Other TOPS codes include maintenance, stationary stock, full or empty loads, etc.

The Code for Rishton Station is RIS. I assume this station code to be used on tickets or something. All the codes are 3 characters long, for any station.

First opened in 1848 on the 19th June, with only a wooden platform built near Blackburn road where the road crosses the railway, it wasn’t until 1852 that the new station was built at the end of Station Road.

Towards Blackburn 1981

Work commenced on the section between Blackburn and Preston in 1844, and on Whit-Monday two years later this line was opened for traffic. The section from Blackburn to Accrington was begun immediately.

The East Lancashire Railway remained an independent company until 1859 when it amalgamated with the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway. The railway station in Rishton was built originally at the reservoir bridge, but in 1852 this inconvenient position was changed for the present site. Rishton was also the station for people from Great Harwood until the loop line to Burnley from Blackburn was opened in 1877. The Great Harwood line was closed to passenger traffic before the Beeching ‘axe’ but has since been closed to goods traffic as well, and eventually the track has now been totally removed.

In 1880, on the 6th February, William Hindle was killed by an express train at Rishton station. The Times newspaper reported on Saturday November 6th 1880, the wife of Mr. Hindle had claimed against the railway company, for negligence, and had been awarded 4,500. Mr. Gully Q. C., defending the company moved for a new trail on the grounds that the verdict was against the weight of evidence and the damages were excessive.

On the 10th February Mr. Hindle had been waiting at the station for the Blackburn train, but was in the waiting room on the opposite platform. The stationmaster had announced that the Blackburn train was coming and passengers "Had better get across". Mr. Hindle and several other waiting passengers started to cross the line to the opposite platform, when it was realised that the approaching train was the late express train and not the Blackburn train. Everybody else with the exception of Mr. Hindle realised this and stopped, one passenger alerting Mr. Hindle to the express by shouting to him. Mr. Hindle chose to ignore this and ran across in front of the engine and attempted to jump onto the platform, but was struck on the head and killed. Mr. Hindle was in the employ of his father at the time as a cotton spinner, on 7 10s per week, and was about to be made a partner on 1,500 a year, and the jury had used this figure over 3 years to obtain the compensation amount, which in effect was money never received, and Mr. Gully Q. C. argued that this figure was to great. The Court was to refer the matter to Judge Coleridge before whom the case was first heard.

On Thursday September 4th 1884, a train accident occurred at Rishton station according to the times newspaper. A goods train was being shunted at Rishton when a portion of it was pushed onto the main line when a heavily laden goods train came through. The engine of the latter smashed into the shunted train smashing three wagons to matchwood, and scattering the contents far and wide. Work gangs were obtained from Accrington and Blackburn, and within 3 hours the line was cleared with only goods traffic having been affected during this period.

Sunday the 14th December 1886 saw yet another fatal accident at Rishton. Reported in The Times newspaper the following day, as a man who had met his death through an unhappy act of "imprudent rashness", "at a little country station". The man and his companion had been out drinking, and was catching the Blackburn train from the opposite platform. They had to cross over the goods lines to get their tickets, but the siding was in use with goods vehicles, the mans friend ducked under the vehicles, and went across, when he heard a cry from behind him. He went back back to find his friend trapped between the buffers after he had tried to follow him, but the trucks had moved and killed him.

He left a widow and 3 children, and had been earning 30s a week. The widow was awarded 800 compensation for the loss of her husband, although the hearing resulted in a new trial to be set.

Plate Layers

In 1893 the booking office and footbridge was added, and a covered roof supplied in 1896, but this was removed after the Second World War.

From the Times, February 8th, 1893. THE RISHTON LOCAL BOARD AND THE LANCASHIRE AND YORKSHIRE Railway COMPANY. Mr. Gully, Q. C., and Mr. Danckwerts were for the applicants; hlr. Littler, Q. C., and Mr. C. A. Russell for the railway company. This was an application by a local authority complaining that proper facilities were not afforded at the Rishton Station for the receipt of coal traffic. gBy their defence the railway company stated that the land upon which the station was situated was purchased by agreement, and not under the compulsory powers of any special ct, from the late Sir EL Petre, and that the only terms upon which it could be acquired included a covenant that no coal or coke should be received at or delivered from the Rishton Station except that raised or manufactured on the Petre estate. They objected further that no substantial grievance resulted to the inhabitants of the district, since traffic was delivered from other stations near, and that a sufficient supply of coal was brought to the district by the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. Evidence having been given to the effect that the price of coal in the district was actually increased in consequence of the restriction by amounts ranging from 5d. to la. Sd. per ton, the judgment of the Court was delivered by MB. Justice Wills, who pointed out that although the minutes of the agreement alleged were drawn up in 1852, the formal conveyance was not executed until the year 1868. By this time the Regulation of Railways Act, 1854, had become law, and under its provisions such an agreement as that discussed would be invalid and could not be set up. It was argued that this Act required railway companies to give facilities " according to their respective powers," and that the defendants had not the " power " to afford equal traffic facilities for coal at Rishton Station; but the Court could not take the view that a railway company, even in 1854, might limit its general powers by private agreements. Still less would they hold that a similar argument would apply to section 11 of the Act of 1888. That section was passed for; the very Sups frmvn any such doubts if they existed, admdit perfectly clear that no such agreement as the one set up could prevent the Commission from making and enforcing orders for due and proper facilities in such a case as the present. The order asked by the applicants would be granted, and with costs.

The entrance to Rishton by train from Accrington and the East was by way of a 1 in 132 gradient past the golf links, the bridge carrying the track to the club house signifying the entrance to Rishton station for many people. Once under the bridge the goods sidings opened up on the right hand side, as the track curved round to the left. It was at this bridge that the steam engine drivers would knock off steam to the engine for the train to glide gracefully into the station.

At one point Rishton had it own sidings, one particular track was used on the back of the station building shown here for the loading and unloading of goods. Milk and cattle were regular sites at the station along with the post.

Rishton Station

A long metal lattice footbridge spanned all the goods yard and both main lines, giving access to the platforms. The booking office was situated at the main gate, some distance away from the platforms, next to the railway hotel. Beneath the footbridge a cobbled road existed until around 1995 (some still do in 2003) which lead into the goods yard. This was piled high with coal, due to a number of coal merchants operating from the sidings. They could once be seen bagging up their "nutty slacks" in their leather waistcoats with metal studs in them, once described as looking "like Roman gladiators in flat caps".

The ticket office was built alongside the station pub (still standing) and the footbridge spanned the sidings. To cross the track people preferred to use the barrow track over the rails rather than use the bridge. The barrow track was built with old railway sleepers laid between the rails.

Signal box on Rishton Station

The station buildings have often been described as looking like a farm house with the random stone building with the cow sheds. The waiting room on the Up platform was built of red brick.

The sidings were eventually shut and the bridge moved over the main lines.

The goods warehouse, again a large random stone built building, was attached to the rear of the main station buildings. This looked for all the world like a barn attached to the farm buildings!

Steam engines were a regular site in the sidings hence the signal box in the above picture. This particular photo was taken off the bridge by amateur train buff Geoff Robinson on the 20th June 1964. A big 8 steam loco number 48 080 returning empty coal trucks to the collieries at either Burnley or West Yorkshire.

In the Station

As seen above the station had a signal box, originally this was at the side of the golf club bridge, before being knocked down. The new location gave it a good view towards Accrington as well as down the line through the station towards Blackburn. It was ideally situated for the goods sidings as well.

The original signal box next to the golf club bridge was built in 1878, and contained a 12 lever Saxby and Farmer frame. In the picture below, taken in 1914, the signal box is already shored up awaiting repair. The box was eventually knocked down because of movement on the foundations. It was a tall red brick building. The blackened brick base was visible for many years after demolition at the side of the bridge.

East Signal Box

On the UP platform (trains to Blackburn), the buildings were of red brick with the traditional blue slate roof. They comprised a waiting and ladies room together with the gents toilets which were positioned further along the platform towards Blackburn. These toilets, however, were constructed from random stone rather than red brick.

The Council Surveyor read a letter received regarding the condition of the Level Crossing in Whitebirk Drive, on the 2nd January 1936, and stated that the matter had had his attention.

The Council Chairman reported that complaints had been made on the 9th July 1936, that several passengers who had booked by the advertised excursions from Rishton had found that they had had to change at Blackburn on their return journey and either wait a long time for the ordinary train which stops at Rishton, or take a bus from Blackburn Station. It was resolved that the L. M. & S. Railway Co. be written to and asked if arrangements cannot be made that where the excursion was advertised from Rishton, such excursion train should be timed to stop at Rishton on the return journey.

Railway Sidings

For many, many years, neat little flower beds with white painted brick surrounds adorned both platforms. These were tended to by the station master until the station became unmanned in the 1980's. These made Rishton station into a very pretty sight on a bright summers day.

On the 1st October 1936, A letter was read from the L. M. S. Railway Co., with regard to the passenger service in the East Lancashire Area, stating that the points raised in regard to our facilities during the Town's Holidays had been noted and would receive consideration when next years programme was formulated.

At the Blackburn end of the station was a small cattle dock. This stood at the side of the loop which was formed by the line passing through the goods yard. This loop continued for some distance out of the station towards Blackburn until it came to a bridge.

Beyond the bridge was Rishton Tunnel. Although only a short tunnel, it was made longer by the fact that the main road ran over the bridge at an angle to the railway line, thus increasing its distance. Heading towards this tunnel from the station saw the gradient of the line drop, as it was downhill now all the way to Blackburn.

Station Name and at Night

In June 1937, A letter was sent to the London Midland and Scottish Railway Company by the Rishton Urban District Council, with reference to the times of departure of trains from Accrington and Blackburn between the hours of 5 and 6 pm on weekdays and between 11 and 12 noon on Saturdays, requesting to effect the necessary alterations to enable these trains to be of greater service to workers travelling from their employment.

Approaching Whitebirk there were once ample sidings on the opposite side of the canal from the power station for the supply of coal and coke. The coal was transferred across the canal by covered conveyor belts, and even as recently as the 1960's coal was still brought to the power station by barge. Special grab cranes were situated along the canal bank which hoisted coal into a dock area, from which it was moved onto the conveyor. The goods loops where the coal trains were shunted continued towards Blackburn down towards the site of Whitebirk West Signal box.

View from Accrington

A letter was received from the L. M. & S. Railway Company, to the Rishton Urban District Council, regarding defacement of the Arterial Road railway Bridge. and the matter was referred to the Police. (This railway bridge is currently defaced May 2003)

On the 13th April 1939, the Rishton Urban District Council wrote a letter to the L. M. & S. Railway Co. drawing their attention to the danger to passengers caused by the present height of the platform at Rishton station, and requesting that steps be taken to minimise this danger by raising the height of the platform.

It took until the early 1990's to rectify this problem and was a long running (50 odd years!) dispute between local members of parliament and railway company officials over the years.

Councillor Trengrove of the Rishton Urban District Council, referred to the inconvenience caused to the travelling public owing to trains not stopping at Rishton Station. The Council resolved that the clerk should be instructed to take the matter up with the railway company on the 20th July 1939.

Whitebirk

Representations were made to the L. M. & S. Railway Company on the 20th February 1941 by Rishton urban District Council, regarding the train service between Accrington and Rishton in the evenings. The matter was also brought to the attention of Councillor G. Thomlinson, M. P., and Major Proctor M. P. Correspondence was read from the L. M. & S. Railway Company received on the 3rd April, concerning the Accrington to Rishton train service intimating that a relief train had been arranged from Accrington at 8pm each week day evening. Thanks were expressed to Major Proctor from the Council, for his efforts in the matter.

On the 10th August 1944, the Council re-rated the land owned by the Railway Company, and proposed the following;

Present. Proposed
    R. V. R. V.
   
Land used only as railway   148 170
Land and structures not being land used only as railway   9 11
Footbridge from booking office.

During the 1960’s Rishton employed 5 men; the station master, a signalman, and 3 porters. The porters also acted as ticket office personnel and worked a split shift. Since 1964, the station has been closed on Sundays.

The disused station warehouse rapidly became derelict. Before road improvements, all the Rishton firms used the railway for transporting raw materials and finished goods. The two sidings were used regularly by coal wagons, and the local coal merchants unloaded coal daily by hand and shovel.

Today no use of the station is made by local industry possibly because of the outlying position of the station and a great improvement of roads and efficient road services.

Times paper

On Monday, 20th March, 1967, it was announced in the Times newspaper that Rishton railway station was to be closed for good. An advert placed in the said newspaper, and shown here gave the grave announcement, as to why it wasn't closed I have yet to discover, but one can assume protests by residents, users, and politicians saved the day. It would seem that half of the stations on the East Lancashire Line were targeted, most still in existence, these were Bamber Bridge, Brierfield, Burnley Barracks, Cherry Tree, Church & Oswaldtwistle, Hapton, and Huncoat. It would be interesting to know if any of these stations or routes were closed down at this time.... Was this part of the Beeching Report?

A COUPLE attacked rail bosses after their 20 minute train journey turned into a "three hour fiasco" during March 1998. This was showing how run down the railway had become.

Whitebirk Power Station

Eric Bellas, 67, and his wife Maureen, 63, of Somerset Road, Rishton, were on a shopping trip from Blackburn to Bolton when the comedy of errors began. They said they were sick of hearing the Government telling people to use public transport. They were told to get off two trains, taken to Preston, promised a bus and then taxied to Bolton via Chorley.

The retired couple had already caught a bus to Blackburn as they do not like to rely on the trains from Rishton. They got on the 9.48am train to Bolton but were told to get off because a signal fault near Bolton meant the train would not be able to set off.

They were then put on a train to Preston, where they were put aboard the Manchester Airport service, but then told to get off because it, too, was affected by the fault. They were then told a bus would be provided, but they were eventually put in a taxi with other passengers.

From the East Station 1980
Excursion Poster

Mr Bellas said at the time: "I'm sick of hearing the Government telling people to leave their cars at home. It was ridiculous, the way they messed us about. By the time the taxi got to Bolton the meter was up to 28. We missed our morning's shopping, and by the time we got there it was time for lunch. We were absolutely shattered by the time we got home."

A spokeswoman for North Western Trains, who run the North East rail services, said: "There was a problem on the line which affected Tuesday morning services including those from Blackburn and Chorley. We always do our best for customers and in this case we provided road transport. Taxis are sometimes used at busy times, like mid morning when buses are not readily available because of school runs. Customers who were affected by this should write in to us with details of what happened and a copy of their ticket, and we will do what we can to put things right."

During 2005, the Rishton Prospects panel adopted the railway station, with Lancashire County Council and Railtrack funding some improvements to the platforms. New shelters were fitted on both platforms, and seating transferred to external sites. New signage's were erected, and, for the benefit of the prospects panel, four new plastic flower boxes were placed on the station, and a stone built flower bed erected out of loose stone.

The panel regularly inspect the station, reporting faults, and maintaining the flower beds.

In November 2009, a refurbishment of the station car park was completed at a cost of over 50,000. Solar powered lights, tarmac surface, and landscaping was provided for users of the station.

DMU 1964 and at Night 2001 Accident 80s

Features:

As at 1980, platforms of Rishton station, booking office with hipped roof, and iron footbridge of 1893. Notice the Rishton Arms (1878) at the station entrance. The Queens Brickworks and Whitebirk Electricity Station also had their own sidings.

Great Harwood Loop is a branch of the railway linking Great Harwood to the system.

railway network in 2001.

Work commenced 1870, line opened 1877, closed 1957. Features include the Norden cutting that proved extremely difficult to engineer owing to the unstable nature of the terrain.

Here's an up to date map of the Railway system round East Lancashire.

References

Industrial Rishton by Kathleen Broderick.

Council minutes 1937 - 38.

A Chronology of Accrington and Men of Mark, by R. S. Crossley, Published 1924.

Journeys by Excursion Train from East Lancashire, Part One, Colne, Nelson, Burnley, Accrington & Blackburn, (Journey Through East Lancashire) by Stuart Taylor. Published by Fox line Publishing 1995. ISBN 1 870119 35 5.

The Times, Saturday, Nov 06, 1880; pg. 4; Issue 30032; col C.

The Times, Friday, Sep 05, 1884; pg. 8; Issue 31231; col E.

The Times, Monday, December 15, 1886.

The Times, Monday, Mar 20, 1967; pg. 20; Issue 56894; col F.

Accident in 80s Accident Pictures
Accident Accident
From Blackburn Road Laying new track
Rishton at Night