Before we start with Brock Station, as with many stations up and down the country there was a predecessor.
Here on the West Coast mainline between Preston to the South and Lancaster off to the North Brock Station’s previous location was called Roebuck.
It was built in 1840 and lasted nine years before it was de commissioned. This station was just East off Billsborrow lane in a little area known locally called Duncombe.
The original station was named because of the nearest house or Inn then called Roebuck Inn. Now known as the Roebuck hotel.
The bridge over the river was also called Roebuck bridge, a structure more impressive than the station. Why? well the station probably had no platform, or station buildings, it’s mentioned it was only a small little box or sentry box beside the track.
This area has always been an area for long distance travel. From Preston to Cumbria some form of path or way has been here. Parts of the A6 road follows a Roman road especially the further north you get near Penrith.
Canal’s roam along the area also and then so did the railway.
This stretch we now know as the West Coast Mainline was completed when the Lancaster and Preston Junction Railway opened in it 1840.
Brock station was built about half a mile north of Roebuck which survived until 1939. The goods station remained here for a further 15 years.
Above: Same spot as the Pendolino (Previous image above) Peter Fitton Aug 1971
Above: Image of crossing and homes prior to electrification.
This stretch was a vital line to get passengers and goods up and down the country and today It is one of the busiest freight routes in Europe, carrying 40% of all UK rail freight traffic.
In Brock station lasted 90 years! Can you imagine that - compared to the what 69 years it been closed, you can only imagine how busy and popular this station had become.
90 years is longer than the average life expectancy of most Britain’s toady. Children growing up with a familiar scene of rail traffic to what is now - very little if any evidence it ever existed.
One life taken by this line was in June 1874, Anne Baines, aged 75, the widow of the late Matthew Talbot Baines, former MP for Leeds, caught the train from Lancaster to Brock railway station.
There was no walk over bridge or subway here, to get to the other platform you had to walk across the tracks. This is what Anne Baines did to connect here onward journey. After sitting in the waiting room she had noticed an oncoming train, thinking this was her connection she dashed across the tracks to catch that train.
Above: Reverted back to nature, claimed by the environment it was born in to.
Thomas Martin the son of the station master of Broughton witness the tragic event and has said he cried out to the lady that not only was it a ‘though’ train, but if she was to continue to cross she’s be struck.
The driver of the passing express train from Preston blew his whistle and slammed on the breaks but nothing could have been done to save Anne Baines.
She was killed instantly as others had seen her collide with the locomotive and was torn in two.
Her remains were collected from along the line and taken to the Green Man Inn at Myersough.
Above: Previous pathway to homes.
One thing I’ve learned on these adventures is for the time these stations existed and the amount of activity they would of witnessed if it wasn’t for the dedication of rail enthusiasts and historians no one would know any difference.
Obviously the line still exists, and will do for many years to come. Originally built by by different companies between the 1830s and the 1880s. After the completion of the successful Liverpool and Manchester Railway in 1830.
This part was built by the Lancaster and Preston Junction Railway and the Lancaster and Carlisle Railway, later the whole section was absorbed by the LNWR.
The route came under the sole control of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) on 1 January 1923 when the different railway companies were grouped, under the Railways Act 1921.
A lot of history over the years especially since the 1955 modernisation plan, when the line was modernised and electrified in stages between 1959 and 1974.
Above: Peter Fitton 1960
Today is just a public footpath area beside the river. A popular spot for rail enthusiast. A picnic area beside a pond, wedged neatly between the M6 and A6 roadway.
So 90’s years of being a railway station involving many lives for work and pleasure, It’s ironic to think how to modernised roman road, and canal way superseded the station twice over taking a life with it.
But the railway line is still firmly here. Who knows what the next chapter in this section of rail travel will hold.
Blog page accompanying the videos with extra content and script notes.