I wrote about the truncating of the terminus at Morecambe a couple of months back as part of my Tinpot Railways series. That was a great disappointment for me because at the time – which was 1994 when the change-over was done – I was surprised to find upon arriving at the town we were deposited at a most unsuitable station sited some way off from the original – and the that other station could still be seen in the distance! Thumbing through some old RAIL magazines of mine recently I discovered this article on the work to truncate that line and bring about what is in my view a most unsuitable terminus. Those two pages are reproduced in full here.
There is still a one train a day to Heysham – as has been the case for a long time – and that is the only time the main platform at Morecambe gets used by a passenger train! The other, being Morecambe’s bay platform, is invariably the one in use practically the whole time – typical of some of that contrived set-up we have become accustomed to on Britain’s railways.
It must be said the signal cabin at Bare Lane (mentioned in the article) is no longer extant. This was closed in December 2012 and control transferred to Preston.
I cant decide if the author had any lament for the old station at Morecambe Promenade. I think what has been written here is merely a straightforward article without expressing any preference. However as I mentioned in the previous article on Morecambe, a rather convenient mode of railway operation had now been reduced to a rather contrived one, and let’s face it, if freight traffic were to be reintroduced to Heysham (as well as additional passenger trains) there would be difficulties in achieving this because, well the old order has been thrown away completely – and if Britain’s railways do want to grow then both flexibility and spare capacity are two very important elements.
Invariably the somewhat deliberate run-down of Morecambe’s main station was cause enough for British Railways to seek to get rid of it and procure a much simpler replacement – and in some cases (as I have highlighted elsewhere) an excuse to get rid of the line altogether. Some of the stations were so terribly run down its quite certain passengers in fact sought refuge by way of purchasing a car!
As will be seen on the second page of the article, in the older days Heysham port at least had the capability to step in when the main North Wales route was truncated because of the Britannia bridge fire. With all this rationalisation there is simply very little opportunity for expansion or even an introduction of piecemeal services. I mean, if there isn’t a railhead at a strategic and important location, how can the railway be expected to compete with the roads – if not at least supplement roads traffic by taking a fair amount off that and reducing the number of lorries needed – a move that would be applauded in these environment conscious days!
On my visit to Morecambe in the summer of 1994 (as part of a weeks touring on the UK’s railways with one of those rail passes) I had by that time forgotten the contents of RAIL! In fact that railtour wasn’t planned until the last minute when I had some time in lieu given off work thus most of it was ad hoc travelling – mainly aiming for some of the far flung extremities of the system I had not visited (eg Wick, Kyle, Whitby) and then fitting in what else I could.
The article was sourced from RAIL no. 222 dated March 16-29 1994.
Detail on the closed Morecambe Promenade station can be read at Wikipedia.
Morecambe’s other station at Euston Road on Wikipedia.
The current Morecambe station on Wikipedia.