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Green Ayre Rises

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8 Oct 2015
Morecambe, Lancashire



Two day event at Lancaster Library marks 50 years since the closure of Green Ayre line

A model railway layout of the ‘lost’ Lancaster Green Ayre station will be the centre-piece at a special event to commemorate 50 years since its closure.

Green Ayre (opened in 1848) was part of the line providing rail services between Wennington and Morecambe, linking the district to Skipton, Leeds and Bradford. The line passed through the Lune Valley villages of Hornby, Caton and Halton before arriving at Green Ayre, next to Skerton Bridge, on the south bank of Lune. There was a connecting branch to Lancaster ‘Castle’ station and trains to Morecambe and Heysham crossed the river via the Greyhound Bridge.

So many visitors came from Yorkshire to take their holidays on the Lancashire coast, that Morecambe was nicknamed ‘Bradford by the sea’. There was also a commuter service (the ‘residential’ or ‘resi’) between Lancaster and Leeds. The line closed in 1966, following the infamous Beeching Report, which rationalised Britain’s railways.

‘Green Ayre Rises’ presented by The Friends of Lancaster Library, will take place at the Central Library in Market Square, Lancaster LA1 1HY on 1st-2nd May 2016 (10:00am – 4:00pm.) The 40’ x 20’ model railway is the work of Jamie Guest, a member of the Wakefield Railway Modellers’ Society and has been a labour of love for the last 10 years.

Jamie is hoping that visitors will come along and help with the ongoing project; “we’re looking for people to come down with memories of Green Ayre and the surrounding area” he says, “we’d like to know what we’ve got right, what we’ve got wrong and gather information to improve the model.”

The event also features unique film and audio material, showing the line on its last day of operation in 1966. Filmed by a former Lancaster curate, Rev. Bob Jackson; the footage has been preserved for 50 years and shows a complete return journey between Lancaster and Morecambe. Artist Adam York Gregory has created an interactive presentation, which enables visitors to experience a journey on the line.

There will also be a reunion of some of the railwaymen who worked on the line. Local film-makers from Morecambe Bay Movie Makers have recorded interviews which can be viewed at the event and many of the railwaymen will be in attendance over the two days.

Railway memorabilia will be displayed within the library, curated by railway historian Rob Daniels and there will be a number of exhibitors related to local heritage. Visitors are encouraged to bring along their own local railway mementos and photographs and there will be experts on hand to help identify any treasures.

A guided walk with local historian Peter Wade will take visitors from the library to the site of Green Ayre station, where they will be able to learn of its history and see how much has changed over the last half century.

There will also be opportunity to see behind-the-scenes at Lancaster station, courtesy of Virgin Trains. Expert guides will take visitors through the history of the station, looking at some of its hidden areas and explaining the link to Green Ayre.

And to cater for young visitors, local artists Sue and Shane Johnstone have come up with railway-related activities for children.

Admission is £2.00 for adults and £1.00 for children/concessions. All proceeds from Green Ayre Rises are being donated to St. John’s Hospice, Lancaster. The hospice is celebrating its own anniversary this year, marking thirty years of care since it opened in 1986.

A raffle will also raise funds for the Hospice and gives visitors the chance to win prizes including a pair of First Class return tickets to anywhere on the Virgin West Coast network, donated by Virgin Trains.

Local historian David Chandler is organising the event on behalf of The Friends of Lancaster Library. David says “Green Ayre Rises is a unique opportunity to see the fantastic model of Lancaster Green Ayre in its home city. More than that, it’s about sharing memories and stories of the local railways. The line may be gone, but the memories live on – it has a special place in people’s hearts.”

Further details: http://www.friendsoflancasterlibrary.org.uk/
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