East Lancashire line

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East Lancashire line
04.04.12 Colne 142.048 (7046198941).jpg
System National Rail
Locale Lancashire
North West England
Termini Preston
Opened 1849
Owner Network Rail
Operator(s) Northern Rail
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge

East Lancashire line
West Coast Main Line north UpperRight arrow
Left arrow
Blackpool branch lines
to Blackpool
River Ribble
Whitehouse Junction
Left arrow West Lancashire Railway
Left arrow
Ormskirk branch line
to Ormskirk
Lostock Hall
LowerLeft arrow West Coast Main Line south
Todd Lane Junction
Bamber Bridge
Gregson Lane Halt
workmen’s halt; closed 1946
Hoghton Tower(1847–1848)
Left arrow
Lancashire Union Railway
to Chorley
Cherry Tree
Mill Hill
Left arrow
Ribble Valley line
to Bolton
Blackburn Tunnel
Ribble Valley line
to Clitheroe
Right arrow
Rishton Tunnel
Church and Oswaldtwistle
Great Harwood
AccringtonLeft arrow
E Lancashire Rly
to Bury
Rose Grove
Burnley Manchester Road
LowerLeft arrow
Calder Valley line
to Hebden Bridge & Todmorden
Burnley Barracks
Burnley Central
New Hall Bridge Halt
Reedley Hallows Halt
Brierfield Tunnel
Bott Lane Halt
Down arrow
Leeds & Bradford Extn Rly
to Skipton

The East Lancashire line is a railway line in the Lancashire region of England, which runs between Preston and Colne, through Blackburn, Accrington and Burnley (Central) and (Barracks).

It is operated by Northern Rail. Services on this line stop at every station on the line, although Pleasington, Hapton and Burnley Barracks are now request stops only.[1] It was designated by the Department for Transport as a community rail line in November 2006.[2]

Network Rail refers to the main part of this line, from Preston to Gannow Junction (where the single-line branch to Burnley Central and Colne diverges) and onwards to Burnley Manchester Road and Hall Royd Junction, as the Roses line.[3]


The line was built by the Blackburn and Preston Railway and the Blackburn, Burnley, Accrington and Colne Extension Railway. Both companies were absorbed by the East Lancashire Railway on 3 August 1846 and 21 July 1845 respectively. The East Lancashire Railway was, in turn, absorbed by the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway on 13 May 1859.

The line connected end-on at Colne with the Leeds and Bradford Extension Railway's line to Skipton and Bradford. This 11 12-mile (18.5 km) link closed in 1970.[4] The Skipton–East Lancashire Rail Action Partnership campaigns to reinstate it. The section from Colne to Nelson was singled the following year, with the rest of the line to Gannow Junction being so treated in December 1986.

In the 1870s the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway built the North Lancashire Loop (also known as the Great Harwood Loop), a 9-mile (14 km) route through Great Harwood, Simonstone and Padiham, which bypassed Accrington. The line between Padiham and Rose Grove opened in 1875; west of Padiham it opened two years later as a result of difficulties in constructing the embankments between Great Harwood and Simonstone. Regular use of the North Lancashire Loop ceased in 1957; the route closed completely in 1964, with only the section from Rose Grove to Padiham Power Station remaining until 1993.[5]


Trains from Preston to Colne usually begin at Blackpool South, on the Blackpool branch line, which makes the whole length of the line a total of 50 miles (80 km).

Services via the Roses line routing encompass the Calder Valley line semi-fast trains from Blackpool North stopping at Preston, Blackburn, Accrington and Burnley Manchester Road, heading towards West Yorkshire, currently terminating at York. Since May 2015, trains from Blackburn to Manchester Victoria via Todmorden also uses this route, providing a direct link from Accrington & Burnley to Manchester via Rochdale.


  1. ^ East Lancs Stations to become 'Request Only' from today Magill, PeterLancashire Telegraph article 14 May 2012
  2. ^ Lancs. County Council description of East Lancs CRP Archived 2011-06-13 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ NR Route 23, p2
  4. ^ Young, Alan (2015). Lost Stations of West Yorkshire The West Riding. Kettering: Silver Link. p. 37. ISBN 978-1-85794-438-9. 
  5. ^ Suggitt, Gordon (2003). Lost Railways of Lancashire. Newbury, Berkshire: Countryside Books. pp. 80–82. ISBN 978-1-85306-801-0. OCLC 52565677. 

External links

  • Community Rail Lancashire – The East Lancashire Line
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