- Leeds to Morecambe Line
The Leeds to Morecambe Line is a railway line running between
Leeds, Skipton, Lancaster and Morecambein northern England. The service is operated by Northern Rail. The route covered by the service was part of the Midland Railway(Midland) system. The line is electrified at 25 kV AC overhead between Leedsand Skipton. This section is known as the Airedale Line.
The route & its history
Airedale Line (Leeds - Skipton)
The first section, between Leeds and stnlnk|Shipley was opened by the
Leeds and Bradford Railwayon 1 July 1846, and extended to Skipton by the Leeds and Bradford Extension Railway.
kipton - Settle
The line from here, known as the
"Little" North Western Railway, opened as far as Clapham on 30 July 1849 [Binns, D (1982) "The 'Little' North Western Railway", Wyvern Publishing, Skipton. ISBN 0 907941 01 X, p.9] and through to stnlnk|Lancaster on 1 June 1850. Here were junctions for the following lines:
Yorkshire Dales Railway, opened 30 July 1902, closed 22 September 1930, and which linked to the Skipton to Ilkley Line
* the continuation of
Leeds and Bradford Extension Railwayto stnlnk|Colne, linking to the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway(L&YR) to stnlnk|Preston The main line continues:
* Bell Busk, for
** here is the junction for the L&YR line to stnlnk|Blackburn
* Hellifield: here was a locomotive shed
* stnlnk|Long Preston
** "Settle Junction" - here the
Settle-Carlisle Line, opened for freight 1875, passengers 1 May 1876, continues.
ettle Junction - Lancaster
The original main line to Lancaster had the following stations:
* Clapham - here was the junction for Ingleton and an end-on junction via
Sedberghto Low Gillon the London and North Western Railway(LNW) West Coast Main Line(WCML). The line was frequently used as an alternative through route when the Settle-Carlisle main line was blocked. It was opened from Ingleton by the Lancaster and Carlisle Railwayin 1861: the route was closed to passenger traffic on 1 February 1954and completely in 1966.
* Wennington - here the route divided, with the
Furness and Midland Joint Railwayconnecting with the original NWR/Midland line. The latter continued to:
** Hornby (closed 1957)
** Caton (closed 1961)
** Halton (closed 1966)
** stnlnk|Lancaster Green Ayre
** At Morecambe, the line divides: a triangular junction for the two lines:
*** Morecambe Harbour, opened
12 June 1848(later replaced by "Morecambe Northumberland St") - and the branch to
*** Heysham Harbour, including a station for Middleton Road
Heysham(there are no through trains to Heysham from Leeds).
** the line was electrified, as Britain's first overhead high tension AC electrification, in 1908.
Trains now continue via
Carnforth, with stations at:
* Melling (closed 1952)
* Arkholme (closed 1960)
* Borwick (closed 1960)
*Carnforth - here the line joins the
Furness Lineand then the WCML.
A recent report by Modern Railways claimed that a solid hourly service would operate on the line as far as Long Preston, but would serve
Carlisleand Lancaster alternately. It may also become a freight artery to improve capacity on the West Coast Main Line. Network Rail's own latest plans involve new signalling and other improvements for the sections of the line beyond Skipton. Carlisle services will be increased to a basic two hour pattern with extra services to 'fill in the gaps' at peak times during the day to give a 1 train/h frequency.cite news|url=http://www.networkrail.co.uk/browse%20documents/rus%20documents/route%20utilisation%20strategies/lancashire%20and%20cumbria/lancashire%20and%20cumbria%20rus.pdf|title=Lancashire and Cumbria RUS] Lancaster services will also be made more frequent, however it has been suggested they will be terminated at Skipton in future, rather than continuing through to Leeds as at present. This suggestion drew criticism from various bodies during the RUS consultation period however and is unlikely to be proceeded with.
*Other services partly sharing this route's tracks:
West Coast Main Line"(Carnforth–Lancaster)"
Morecambe Branch Line"(Lancaster–Morecambe)"
*Original railway companies:
Leeds and Bradford Railway"(Leeds–Shipley)"
Leeds and Bradford Extension Railway"(Shipley–Skipton)"
"Little" North Western Railway"(Skipton–Wennington — and dismantled Lunesdale line)"
Furness and Midland Joint Railway"(Wennington–Carnforth)"
Lancaster and Carlisle Railway"(Carnforth–Morecambe)"
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