On this day … 18 March 1885

The Preston Guardian reported local opposition to the intended closure of the Maudland Bridge Railway Station. According to the rival Preston Chronicle, residents met with councillors at the Bridge Inn to discuss what they could do to induce the two railway companies that jointly owned the line to keep their station open. They decided to send a deputation to the companies to plead their case.

Their efforts were in vain, for the station closed later that year. It was a double blow for the residents, for the railway line that ran from Longridge to Fleetwood via Preston had only recently been connected by a spur to the main Preston railway station.

The rail network at Maudland Preston

To understand their dismay it is necessary to trace the development of the cat’s cradle of railway lines that encircled Preston (the diagram above helps: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maudland_Bridge_railway_station). It started earlier in the century when railway mania led to rival companies rapidly establishing rail lines without any thought for connecting to a network.

In the Maudland district this resulted in not one but two railway stations. The first Maudland Station, not the one the imminent closure of which was upsetting Maudland residents, was the original Preston terminus of a line from Preston to Fleetwood. The line and its station opened in 1840, with the line having a hazardous and inconvenient crossing of the main line north from Preston. Sense prevailed four years later when the Preston to Fleetwood line was joined to the main line, with a new terminus at the main Preston station.

Maudland Station was relegated to simply a goods station until it too was closed in 1885. The other station, named Maudland Bridge Station, to distinguish the two stations, opened in 1856.

The history of the second station goes back to 1836 when the Preston and Longridge Railway Company was formed to bring ashlar sandstone from the newly opened Tootle Heights quarry in Longridge to Preston.

A tramway was opened in 1840 with horse-drawn carriages carrying the stone to the original terminus behind Stephenson Terrace, rather like the one that linked the two ends of the Lancaster Canal, crossing the soon to be restored Tram Bridge.

There were what were described as ‘crude passenger facilities’, with stations at Longridge, Grimsargh, Ribbleton and Deepdale.

Steam didn’t arrive until 1848, when a new company was formed, which linked the Preston to Longridge line with the Preston to Fleetwood line by building the Miley tunnel for half mile under Preston to join the two lines at Maudland.

A passenger services began operating on the line in 1856, when the Maudland Bridge station and a new station on Deepdale Road were opened. The service continued until 1885.

Its end provoked the ire of the Preston Chronicle, which complained:

Giving with one hand and taking away with the other is an old peculiarity of railway people … The London and North-Western and Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Companies … have just made an excellent and long needed improvement at the Maudland end of the Preston and Longridge line.

Hitherto, there has been no regular travelling connection between the Maudland terminus and the central or principal station at Preston; and the consequence has, therefore, been that persons from Longridge and adjoining a districts, anxious to go north or south of Preston by train, and those from the north and south desirous of proceeding from Preston to Longridge, or any of the intermediate places, have had to ramble and wander through long lengths of our streets, in order to secure the necessary railway s connection.

The construction, at last, of a short track, between the Maudland terminus and the main line south thereof, has done away with all the old, ridiculously-inconvenient pedestrianism through Preston; and that will, certainly, be a boon to numerous persons.

But the railway people, so it is said, think of closing the station at Maudland; and, if they do that, they will inconvenience a considerable number of people who have been in the habit of riding on the railway, and getting on and off trains at that station.

Why should “Peter” be nobbled for the sake of obliging “Paul” in this manner? The old station should, certainly, be kept open: its discontinuance can only cause public annoyance and inconvenience.

A similar ramble is needed in Preston today to get from the bus station to the railway station.





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