[Source: Paul Wright & Alan Young]

Date opened: 1.10.1852
Location: West side of Blackwood Road near its junction with Newchurch
Road (A681).
Company on opening: East Lancashire Railway
Date closed to passengers: 5.12.1966
Date closed completely: 5.12.1966
Company on closing: British Rail (London Midland Region)
Present state: Demolished. A small section of glazed brick internal wall from the north side subway entrance was extant in August 2010.
County: Lancashire
OS Grid Ref: SD853216
Date of visit: 28.8.2010

Stackstead station is located in the Rossendale valley. Rossendale is a deep, narrow valley in the Lancashire Pennines. Encouraged by the construction of the Haslingden to Bacup turnpike road in 1826-8 the five miles between Bacup and Rawtenstall, along the headwaters of the River Irwell, became packed with terraced housing and mills, wherever the valley was wide enough or the slopes gentle enough to accommodate them. Because of the west-to-east alignment and steep slopes, the valley floor of Rossendale is permanently in shadow in late autumn and winter, and this is particularly noticeable in the gorge at Thrutch, where there was simply no space for housing and industry. As elsewhere in the Lancashire Pennines, textile mills lined the swift-flowing river, but Rossendale developed a curious industrial economy with woollen as well as cotton mills, and a particular speciality in manufacturing felt and (from the 1870s) carpet slippers.

Centred at Waterfoot and Newchurch the slipper industry was an offshoot of wool and felt manufacture, and of the custom of millworkers to wrap waste felt around their clogs. To this day the footwear outlets in Rossendale are reminders of slipper manufacture which, like so much of the Lancashire textile industry, has largely moved to overseas where labour is cheaper. In the 1840s the expanding industry and population of Rossendale promised to reward any railway company that could serve this valley, and once a railway had reached Bacup it enabled the local economy to prosper well into the 20th century.

Stacksteads station opened on 1st October 1852 when the final extension of the line to Bacup was complete. The line was single-track so the station was provided with only one platform west of the Stacksteads to Blackwood road level crossing.

Train services operated to Bacup and to Manchester via Clifton Junction. The line proved popular, and passenger numbers built up rapidly.

On 13th May 1859 the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway (LYR) absorbed the ELR, and by the 1870s traffic levels had reached such a level that the LYR decided to double the line between Rawtenstall and Bacup. Authorisation for the works was given on 24th July 1876. In addition to formidable obstacles to the works requiring large scale engineering tasks - such as
the creation of a new parallel tunnel at Newchurch - Stacksteads station could not accommodate two lines and had to be completely rebuilt.

An island platform was constructed further west of the original platform; the site was unusual in that it straddled a bridge over the River Irwell. The station’s facilities were located on the island platform. They consisted of a wooden single-storey building which contained a booking office, staff accommodation, waiting facilities and toilets. The building had canopies
to protect passengers from the elements. Access to the station was by two covered stairways on the west side of the Stacksteads to Blackwood Road, one on the north side of the line and the other on the south. These led down to a subway which passed beneath the line and linked into a further covered stairway which led up between the two tracks to the island platform at its eastern end. The arrangement meant that passengers could access the station without having to cross the line. Pedestrians could also pass beneath the line when the crossing gates were closed to road traffic.

The new station facilities at Stacksteads opened on 23rd July 1880. However full double-track working on the line did not start until17th March 1881. On this date a signal box bearing the station’s name opened at Stacksteads, south of the line, and west of the level crossing.

The station had basic goods facilities but didn't handle livestock. There were private sidings on both side of the line to the west of the station, that on the down side was latterly known as Stacksteads Coal Siding. To the east of the station, a short branch ran south to the Stacksteads Brick Works and Frost Holes Quarry with Siddalls Stone siding located at the junction. The quarry line and stone siding had gone by 1930.

From 1st September 1879 Stacksteads’ passenger services to and from Manchester were transferred south of Bury from the route via Clifton Junction to a new line via Prestwich.
In 1914 the LYR introduced a ‘Rail-motor’ service – known affectionately as ‘Little Billie’ - between Ramsbottom and Bacup; this called at all stations, including Stacksteads, and supplemented trains that ran through to Manchester. From 11th April 1916 through passenger services to Manchester were diverted once more, this time to travel via Heywood, adding a considerable mileage to their journeys. The reason for the change was that from this date electric services began on the Bury to Manchester (via Prestwich) line.

Passengers for Manchester from Stacksteads were encouraged to change onto the electric trains at Bury for a quicker onward journey, and most of them did so. Within a few years many southbound services terminated at Bury Bolton Street.

On 1st January 1922 Stacksteads became part of the London & North Western Railway (LNWR) when that company absorbed the LYR. However only one year later, on 1st January 1923, the LNWR became part of the London Midland & Scottish Railway (LMS). By summer 1932 the station had thirty services travelling northbound to Bacup on weekdays. The first service
which had originated from Ramsbottom left at 6:33 am. The last service which had originated from Bury Bolton Street left Stacksteads for Bacup at 11:52 pm. Of the thirty services most trains had started from Bury Bolton Street or from Manchester Victoria., but one train had commenced its journey from Bury Knowsley Street and one from Bolton. Some services had started from Ramsbottom and two trains started from Rawtenstall. On Tuesday and Fridays only there was an additional service to Bacup at 5:44 pm which originated at Ramsbottom.

In the southbound direction there were twenty-eight weekday departures, the first being for Middleton Junction at 05:23 am. The last train was for Bury Bolton Street and it left Stacksteads at 10:15pm. The rest of the services tended to travel either to Bury Bolton Street or Manchester Victoria, but there were trains at 09:03am, 10:23am and 2:58pm which went
to Bury Knowsley Street, as well as shorter workings to Ramsbottom. There were also two services from Stacksteads that terminated at Rawtenstall.   
Stacksteads had never handled much goods traffic and its goods service was withdrawn from 1st December 1947. On 1st January 1948 Stacksteads became part of the nationalised British Railways (London Midland Region). In 1954 the line between Bury and Bacup was considered busy enough to warrant the introduction of modern rolling stock, and it was reported in the local press that new diesel multiple units (DMUs) were to be introduced; they entered service on the line in February 1956. Stacksteads had thirty-five trains in each direction, giving a half-hourly service: the most intensive that the line would see.

The purpose of The Reshaping of British Railways (Beeching Report) of March 1963 was to create an economically viable network, involving the closure of many loss-making passenger lines and stations. The report’s proposals for Lancashire and north Manchester were astonishing. The entire route from Manchester via Bury Bolton Street to Bacup and
Accrington was earmarked for closure, yet the nearby Manchester – Oldham – Rochdale and the Bolton – Bury Knowsley Street – Rochdale lines were not. The absurdity of withdrawing passenger services on the heavily used, electrified service between Manchester and Bury was acknowledged when, on 8th February 1965, the Minister of Transport refused consent to closure. However on 14th September 1966 the Minister gave permission for the Rawtenstall to Bacup and Bury to Accrington lines to close, which they did on 5th December 1966. The final passenger train left Stacksteads on Saturday 3rd December 1966; the signal box also closed in that month. Goods services continued to pass through Stacksteads for a short period up to 1968, after which the line closed completely. By February 1969 the tracks through the station had been lifted.

In 1976 all that remained at Stacksteads was the island platform. In August 2010 buildings were being erected on the track-bed west of Blackwood Road, but a section of glazed brick wall from the access steps on the north side of the line could still be seen.

Tickets from Michael Stewart , route map drawn by Alan Young
Other web sites:, includes further history and pictures of the Bacup line.

Click here to see of film of a train journey between Bury and Bacup in 1966

See also the Ramsbottom Model Railway Club web site which features 106 old photographs of the East Lancashire Railway and photographs of the clubs excellent layout of Ramsbottom & Stubbins.


To see other stations on the East Lancashire Railway Clifton Junction - Bacup line click on the station name on the station name: Clifton Junction, Molyneux Brow, Ringley Road, Radcliffe Bridge, Withens Lane, Bury Bolton Street, Summerseat, Ramsbottom, Stubbins, Irwell Vale (new station on the ELR), Ewood Bridge & Edenfield, Rawtenstall, Clough Fold, Waterfoot for Newchurch & Bacup

See also Stubbins Junction to Accrington:
Helmshore, Haslingden, Baxenden & Accrington

Looking east along the down (towards Bacup) platform face at Stacksteads station in 1952. The station's main building which was situated on the platform dominates the view. The station stood on a bridge over the river Irwell and the it can be seen to the left of the picture.
Photo from John Mann collection

1909 1:2500 OS Map

Looking northwest along the River Irwell in the 1960s. Stacksteads station which can be seen in the middle distance sat astride the river on a bridge.

Looking east from the east end of Stacksteads station in 1964. The picture shows the public access arrangements at the station. At the end of the platform a set of steps lead down to a subway that leads to both the north and south sides of the line. The south side street entrance can be seen behind the signalbox on the right of the picture. The north side street entrance can be
seen to the left of the picture.
Photo from RM Nostalgic Railway Images

Looking west towards Stacksteads station in 1968/69 after closure but before the track was lifted. The view was taken from the Stacksteads signalbox. To the right of the picture can be seen the covered stairway that gave access to the platform from the subway. The station's main facilities had been located in the timber building on the platform.
Photo from John Mann collection

Stacksteads station looking west in April 1976.
Photo by Alan Young

Space was always at a premium in the upper Rossendale Valley and Stacksteads station, last stop before the terminus at Bacup, was built over this bridge on the River Irwell. In this view looking towards the northwest in April 2009 the bridge on which the platform stood can be seen in the centre of the picture. The grass mound is part of the remains of the island platform.
Photo by Mark Bartlett

Looking west at the site of the island platform at Stacksteads station in August 2010. Beyond the sandstone wall to the left of the picture is the River Irwell. The line crossed the Irwell by a bridge which is directly in front of the photographer. The station's building stood at a point directly over the river
Photo by Paul Wright

A surviving section of the former north entrance subway in August 2010. The subway had been filled in by this date but part of the glazed brickwork from the subway wall could still be seen.
Photo Paul Wright

Click on thumbnail to enlarge




[Source: Paul Wright & Alan Young]

Last updated: Friday, 26-May-2017 11:01:34 CEST
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