Over 130 closed railway stations in Lancashire since 1840. The dream started in December 1863, a prospectus was produced naming six directors of the Garstang and Knot-End Railway. Two years after the line was opened the only steam locomotive broke down.
Summary: Last stations to close were in 1970 along the Wyre Line to Fleetwood. The Garstang and Knot-End Railway was a railway line from Garstang via Pilling, in the Fylde of Lancashire.
It was originally only built to the village of Pilling 2/3rds along the way to Knott End but the local company ran out of money. Eventually opened in 1870 to Pilling later open to Knott End 1908.
Salt extraction near Preesall became a dominant industry from 1890.
Railway carried a lot of Salt from the march owtwards and plenty of coal inwards.
Passenger traffic stopped in 1930 - Line closed 1965
Below image: The Pilling Pig
The railway company did not have enough funds to repair the engine so they had to suspend the service and for the next few years you were carted by horse along this section. Huge losses of income overshadowed the railway causing it to be in arrears however, goods services resumed on 23 February 1875 using a new engine, called Union. Passenger services followed on 17 April 1875.
Learning from the failures a replacement engine, called Farmer's Friend, was bought in December same year. This engine adopted the name locally as the Pilling Pig on account of the squeal made by its whistle. In railway terms Knot End was a tad late for the party before they saw a station being built 1898, when the separate Knott End Railway (KER) Company was incorporated, to extend the line 4 & half a miles from Pilling to Knott End opening on 29 July 1908.
KER took over the Garstang and Knot-End Railway in 1923 grouping, the KER being the smallest constituent of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway.
Hidden in the under growth remains part of Pressall railway station platform.
Just south of Knot End station a small section in 1908 connected to a 1 1⁄2-mile siding to salt mines near Preesall boosting the viability of the company. This made a large contribution to the financial success of the railway mainly funding the line to remain open but the death nail was looming.
In 1920 nearly 54k tonnes of salt was moved on the line but KER had a dispute over haulage rates with the mine owners, the United Alkali Company built a brine pipeline under the River Wyre to United Alkali's Burn Naze plant. This was a severe blow to the railway causing it to close to passengers on 29 March 1930.
The line continued to be used for general goods until 13 November 1950 and the whole section eventually closed to Garstang Town until 16 August 1965. Today the main café in Knott End is on the original site of the station, some of the line is a footpath, about a mile of it near Knott End Several crossing keepers' cottages along the line survive as private homes and apart from a few bridges and hedge rows you’d never know it was here.
Whats the status of this line, is it totally forgotten?
Well no, a team of transport enthusiasts was to see parts of the route of the former Garstang to Knott End Railway being re-tracked and used by local passengers and tourists.
Knott End Cafe now stands where the railway station once stood.
Blog page accompanying the videos with extra content and script notes.