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Andy873

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Hi,

A question about lifting a railway line & demolition of stations in the 1960's.

I've been told in the past that when BR finally decided to "dispose" of a railway line they used mainly a combination of internal staff & outside contractors to do the work.

If they used outside contractors would they be mainly from outside the area where the line was?

I ask this because I have seen photos / been told there were many occasions where demolition equipment was "damaged" over night, and that the people who were doing this were "unpopular" as feelings were running high at the time.

I'm trying to find out (and it's probably an impossible job) who pulled up / demolished a particular line in 1967.

Thanks,
Andy.
 
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Mcr Warrior

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Did private demolition contractors sometimes get the job by submitting a written bid to BR; the cost of which was then recouped by the sale proceeds of whatever was lifted from the closed line (lengths of rail, old sleepers, etc.)?

Presumably price sometimes determined whether the demolition job was done internally by BR or externally by a private demolition contractor.
 

Andy873

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Did private demolition contractors sometimes get the job by submitting a written bid to BR; the cost of which was then recouped by the sale proceeds of whatever was lifted from the closed line (lengths of rail, old sleepers, etc.)?

Presumably price sometimes determined whether the demolition job was done internally by BR or externally by a private demolition contractor.
Thanks Mcr,

Yes it's interesting, if only we could find out just who might have BR notes etc, e.g. tender advertisements, quotes and so on.

I have tried the usual places online e.g. National archives, Nation railway museum, newspaper archives but they just return nothing, no clues.

Andy.
 

Andy873

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What was the particular closed line that you're interested in?
It was the Great Harwood loop line also known as the North Lancs loop line in Lancashire.
It was an alternative route from Rose Grove (Burnley) to Blackburn which bypassed the busy Accrington station, it would have come over I think BR's London Midland (North West) region.
 

Mcr Warrior

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"Lost Railways of Lancashire" by Gordon Suggitt (2003) includes an undated but rather sorry looking photo of Great Harwood station post closure, with the overbridge having tumbled down and no roof on the island platform building.

Unfortunately, no details in the book of who the demolition contractors might have been.
 

30907

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ISTR you are in touch with the L&Y Society and similar.

I don't recall hearing or reading about the demolition being unpopular (7-8 years after closure to regular passengers), and I can't think where a contractor local to the line would have been based* - I still have can enthusiast FB contact in the town and would be happy to message him if you wish.

(*ignoring the more recent and notorious scrap dealer who, I believe, is currently enjoying HM's hospitality....)
 

Mcr Warrior

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Andy873

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ISTR you are in touch with the L&Y Society and similar.

I don't recall hearing or reading about the demolition being unpopular (7-8 years after closure to regular passengers), and I can't think where a contractor local to the line would have been based* - I still have can enthusiast FB contact in the town and would be happy to message him if you wish.

(*ignoring the more recent and notorious scrap dealer who, I believe, is currently enjoying HM's hospitality....)
Thanks,

The L&Y Society have been great, I even purchased a back copy which goes into great details about the line.
It doesn't really cover much (and many don't) the who did what, when on the subject of removal / disposal of the line.

The facts I have got now are based on 5 years work covering the gaps. It's a sad episode of any rail line but i would like to fill those gaps.

Yes, when you have a little time please could you contact your friend, I'm very happy to share with anyone what I have discovered!

Andy.

The SteamingNorth website appears to have some photos of demolition of the line in progress.

Various pages, of which pages 5 and 6 may be of particular interest to the OP.

Mcr,

Thanks, there are some precious photos there, and one of 48218 taken of the demolition train I saw.
They where taken by Geoffrey Robinson (sadly now passed) who lived near the line.
 

Mcr Warrior

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Yes, the (late) G. Robinson was given the relevant photo credit(s) in the Gordon Suggitt book mentioned upthread.
 

Dr Hoo

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Wasn't one of the issues about closure that BR actually did very little to 'demolish' former assets? So buildings that couldn't readily be sold (such as staff housing) were often just left to rot/be vandalised.

Some of the actual railway kit, most obviously the track but also things like metal station footbridges or signal posts, could be removed by scrap merchants. Often very little of the kit was suitable for further use (rotten sleepers, light sections of rail and so forth).

In particular locations things like awkward low bridges or difficult level crossing approaches might be removed, often as part of minor road improvement schemes.

Quite often the purchaser of a former station or goods yard site would decide what they wanted to demolish or keep having bought their patch 'as seen/found'.
 

steamybrian

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As far as I know demolition was put out to tender to local demolition contractors. Track would often be taken away by BR engineering dept. trains as track could either be used elsewhere or broken up for scrap and sold. There are many photos of BR demolition trains. Infrastructure such as footbridge, signalling, etc could be taken away and used elsewhere or sold.

There are few examples of demolition staff being unpopular such as at Bridgnorth where Severn Valley Rly members managed to stop demolition work. I believe also at Cheddleston on the Churnet Valley Rly where demolition work had started but was aborted. Others can comment.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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There were cases of closed stations being dismantled by thieves without BR noticing - the LNWR Spen Valley line I think.
 

UrieS15

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Certainly one of our local lads and his gang ended up in front of the beak for the theft of a Goods Shed. The case foundered when it transpired that they had paid for one, and they claimed mistaken identity of a building.
 

Andy873

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"Steaming North" is run by his son John who is the person I mentioned - you might as well contact him via the website and short-circuit the process.
Thanks every one for the interesting replies.

I have contacted John about the photos a few times and he was very kind in allowing me to download them.

Also, I just found out when Padiham railway station was demolished, no one in the know who knew about the line could tell me so I kept on digging and after 3 years (yes 3 years) I found an article about the 40th anniversary of the demolition, which places it exactly to 19/8/1967.

Thanks all!
Andy.
 
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