[Source: Bevan Price & Paul Wright]

Date opened: 1.4.1881
Location: On the North East side of Hardman Lane
Company on opening: Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway
Date closed to passengers: 3.10.2009
Date closed completely: 3.10.2009
Company on closing: Network Rail
Present state: Demolished
County: Lancashire.
OS Grid Ref: SD893016
Date of visit: 27th Sept. 2009, 13th May 2010 & 21st August 2010

Notes: Failsworth station was opened by the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway (LYR) on 1st April 1881 as part of the Thorpes Bridge Junction to Oldham Werneth line. The purpose of the line was to provide a direct route from Manchester to Oldham avoiding the steep incline on the existing LYR line that provided a route to Oldham via Middleton. 

The Thorpes Bridge to Oldham Werneth line had originally been proposed in 1848. It was re-surveyed ten years later in 1858, but it was not until 13th January 1875 that the LYR authorised the funding of its construction. On 30th June 1875 a contract was let to a Mr Evans, and work commenced on 2nd of August 1876. Evans employed 450 men to construct the line which was completed by 1880. It created a through route to Rochdale via Oldham which became known as the Oldham Loop.

Failsworth station was 3 ¾ miles from Manchester Victoria. It was built by contractors Robert Neill & Sons for a cost of £8,244 and was located on the northeast side of Hardman Lane on an embankment. As the line was double-track the station was provided with two platforms. The booking office was located at street level on the south side of the line in a
single-storey brick building. It had several layers of blue engineering brick at its base, above which the yellow glazed brick, much favoured by the LYR., was used. Inside the booking office was a ‘Benn and Cronin Traffic Indicator’ that occupied a complete wall; this showed passengers what services were running by means of slots into which times and destinations could be fitted. At the rear of the booking office building steps led up to the Manchester platform.  A subway gave access, again by means of steps, to the platform for Oldham, where there were brick-built waiting facilities and toilets. The platforms themselves were constructed from timber.

At the time of its opening Failsworth was served by fifteen trains towards Oldham and the same number to Manchester Victoria. On 1st January 1922 the station became part of the London & North Western Railway (LNWR) when that company took over the LYR. However on 1st January 1923 the LNWR was in turn absorbed by the London Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS). By 1938 Failsworth was still being served by fifteen local trains. On Friday evenings a train to Glasgow and Edinburgh via Rochdale called at the station. On Sundays-only a train that originated at Royton and ran on to Blackpool Central via Manchester Victoria served Failsworth, as did another that started at Milnrow and ran to Southport via Manchester Victoria. 

On 1st January 1948 Failsworth became part of the nationalised British Railways (London Midland Region). During the last year of fully steam-operated services in 1958 there were eighteen trains in each direction between Manchester and Rochdale. In June 1958 British Railways introduced Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs) on the Oldham Loop. A Cravens-built type
of DMU (later known as class 104) which had twin power cars was used on the line as they were easily able to cope with the steep gradients. In both directions trains called at Failsworth every twenty minutes. The northbound service destinations alternated between Rochdale and a Royton. In total there were twenty-nine trains running between Manchester and Rochdale and twenty-five between Manchester and Royton: this was Failsworth’s highest-ever frequency of service.

The Reshaping of British Railways (Beeching Report) of March 1963 recommended the closure of the Royton branch to passengers but made no reference to the Oldham Loop or any of its stations. Nevertheless, September 1964 saw a decline in services calling at Failsworth. The service between Manchester and Rochdale became irregular, with trains calling at Failsworth about every 45 minutes in each direction. Trains between Royton and Manchester Victoria were reduced to seven on weekdays in each direction, eight on Saturdays, and there were none on Sundays.

From April 1966 further changes took place, including the closure of the Royton Branch (as recommended by Beeching) but also Oldham Central station (which Beeching implied was to be retained). The service pattern was altered so that most trains serving Failsworth ran between Manchester Victoria and Oldham Mumps, with fewer continuing onward to

Rochdale. By 1968 the Failsworth service had settled into a thirty minute frequency in each direction. Only alternate northbound trains continued beyond Oldham Mumps to Rochdale giving only an hourly frequency to that town (although services were also provided to and from Manchester Victoria via Castleton). 

It escaped the attention of the Beeching Report. However the British Railways Network for Development map of March 1967, published when Stanley Raymond was Chairman of the British Railways Board and Barbara Castle the Secretary of State for Transport, showed that Oldham Mumps to Rochdale would not form part of the ‘basic railway network’. Subsequently a footnote in the May 1972 passenger timetable advised that the Secretary of State had given consent to the withdrawal of passenger services between Oldham Mumps and Rochdale. However, by this date, the South East Lancashire North East Cheshire (SELNEC) Passenger Transport Executive (Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive – GMPTE - from April 1974) had stepped in and agreed to fund the continuation of the service.

During the 1970s Failsworth lost its buildings and simple ‘bus shelters’ were provided; the station also became an unstaffed.

From the introduction of the May 1979 timetable trains that ran only as far as Oldham Mumps were extended to run further north to Shaw & Crompton. The thirty-minute interval service at Failsworth was retained. In the May 1989 timetable a half-hourly service to Rochdale was introduced, with extra services at peak hours running to Shaw & Crompton.

From May 1995 Failsworth was served by half-hourly Manchester Victoria - Shaw & Crompton trains in each direction; Rochdale trains continued to run at a half-hour frequency, but they passed through Failsworth without stopping. This was the last alteration to the train services that called at Failsworth.

In the mid-1990s the GMPTE had been looking at extending its 1992-opened Metrolink tram system. One idea that had been considered as early as 1984 was to use the Oldham Loop as a means of extending tram services to Oldham and Rochdale. By the beginning of the 21st century plans had been drawn up, and a few years later funding was in place to carry out

the required works. To enable these works to go ahead the Oldham Loop had to close. Failsworth, along with all other stations on the line, closed on Saturday 3rd October 2009. A number of special services, including steam-hauled trains, ran on the last day to celebrate the line and its history. Many local people turned out to watch the last trains run. The final train to depart from Failsworth was the 23:25 Manchester Victoria to Rochdale service. Demolition of the station began almost immediately, and by May 2010 there was nothing left of it.

On the 13th of June 2012 a Metrolink tram stop opened on the site of the station. Also called Failsworth the stop was served by trams running between Manchester and Oldham.

Tickets from Michael Stewart, Route map drawn by Alan Young

Other web sites: Lost lines, a selection of pictures of the Oldham Loop line taken on 30th September 2009, shortly before closure. Class 25s and Much More web site has a feature called Farewell to the Oldham Loop with 51 pictures taken in August 2009. Sam Dixon's UK National Rail, Heritage Rail & Former Rail web site with 124 pictures of the Oldham loop line take two days before closure. Tom Fenton's web site also has a feature Farewell to the Oldham Loop with 27 pictures taken in August 2009. Alan Perryman's Thistle 5 web site includes 93 pictures from the last day of the Oldham Loop.

Sources: The Oldham Loop – Part One – Manchester Victoria to Shaw & Crompton, Jeffery Wells, Foxline Publishing ISBN 1870119681 and The Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Volume 2, John Marshall, David & Charles. ISBN 0715349066. Additional source Alan Young.

To see other stations on the Oldham Loop Line click on the station name:
Dean Lane, Hollinwood, Oldham Werneth, Oldham Central, Oldham Mumps, Derker, Royton Junction, Shaw & Crompton, New Hey & Milnrow.
See also Royton

Looking north west along Hardman Lane in January 1910. To the right of the picture is the Failsworth Station booking office. The stations Manchester direction platform
can be seen above the booking office.

1895 Ordnance Survey map

looking north west along the Oldham direction platform at Failsworth Station in the 1960s.
Photo by Eric Blakey

Failsworth station looking north at the southbound platform from a northbound train.
Photo by Alan Young

A Manchester train waits at Failsworth station in April 1989.
Photo by Whatlep from Geograph. Reproduced under creative commons licence.

Looking north east along the southbound (to Manchester) platform in September 2009. Although sections of brick work still survived at this date the station had been without any buildings since the 1970s. Passengers had only simple bus shelter style protection from the elements. the timber built platforms had never been replaced with anything more substantial.
hoto by Bevan Price

A Manchester Pacer DMU railbus waits at Failsworth station in September 2009.
Photo by David Warby from his Lost Lines web site

Looking northeast towards the site of the former Oldham direction platform at Failsworth Station in August 2010 during the construction of a Metrolink Tram stop on the site of the station.
Photo by Bevan Price

Looking south-west on 14 June 2012 at the site of Failsworth station after a Metrolink tram stop had opened on the station site.
Photo by Bevan Price

Looking north-east on 14 June 2012 at the site of Failsworth station after a Metrolink tram stop had opened on the station site.
hoto by Bevan Price

Last updated: Thursday, 18-May-2017 11:50:12 CEST
© 1998-2012 Disused Stations