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Preston Docks Reflections of a once busy Lancashire Port Compiled by C.S.Mills

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Preston Dock 1966 Aerial image

The town of Preston is sixteen miles from the mouth of the River Ribble and is the lowest bridging point of that river. Maritime access to Preston has not always been straightforward as the Ribble has a wide, funnel-shaped estuary and abounds with sand banks, and the navigable channel between the sand banks was at one time rather crooked. Indeed, when commenting on Preston in 1682, the surveyor, Dr. Kuerden, remarked that a vessel of reasonable burden could be brought up river, but only if it were under the direction of 'a knowing and well-skilled pilot'. A similar situation was reported in Mackenzie's survey of the area in 1761 and it was added that, at the time, the vessels using the port were 'small and few in number'. Eventually, thoughts turned to improving the navigation of the river so as to enable larger vessels to reach Preston, and in 1806 a company was formed with that aim in mind. Nothing came of it. The next scheme materialized in 1833 when a committee was formed to investigate the feasibility of constructing a canal from Preston to Lytham but, once again, that came to naught. A few years later, things did start to happen. In 1838 the Ribble Navigation Company was formed and soon started work on deepening the river bed at Preston, dredging the channel towards the sea, and building 'training' walls to regulate the course of the river. The company also reclaimed large areas of land on the banks of the river - some of this land was later used for commercial development, including the 550-acre site of Freckleton Farm which was used for a sewage works. A considerable number of the shares of the Ribble Navigation Co had been taken up by Preston Corporation which itself constructed the New Victoria Quays in the town in the early 1840's.

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The quays on the River Ribble were rail connected in 1846 when the North Union Railway (which was later jointly owned by the L&NWR and the L&YR) opened what was inevitably referred to as its 'Ribble Branch'. The branch, which was single track, left the main line just to the south of Preston station and descended on gradients of up to 1 in 29; on its descent towards the river it passed through a 342-yard tunnel under Fishergate Hill to the quays. Shortly after emerging from the northern end of the tunnel, the branch crossed Strand Road on the level; a 7-lever open ground frame - usually referred to, somewhat grandiosely, as Strand Road Signal Box - was provided to control the crossing and also, in later years, the junction of the dock lines. The Ribble branch was worked by token and, in deference to the ferocious gradient and tight curves, was subject to special working regulations. In 1882 Preston Corporation took over the Ribble Navigation Company and, the following year, started work on the construction of a new non-tidal dock. The first sod was cut in October 1884, and the first stone was laid in July 1885 by The Prince of Wales - in his honour, the dock was titled the Albert Edward Dock. The construction of the dock required the River Ribble to be diverted to the south, as the dock itself was built on the original course of the river; the banks of the 'new' (i.e. diverted) river were equipped with quays. The works were completed in 1892, and the Albert Edward Dock was ceremonially opened by the Duke of Edinburgh. With a water area of some 40 acres it was, at the time, the largest dock in Britain.

At its greatest extent, the dock had a total of 8,478ft of quays. The entrance lock at its western end was 550ft long, 66ft wide and 29ft 6in deep. Between the main dock and the river was a basin; the main dock was connected to the basin by means of a junction cut which had three sets of mitre lock gates, while there was one set of mitre gates between the basin and the river. The basin was itself used as a large lock for outward-bound shipping when the outgoing shipping was assembled in the basin, the water level was lowered to that of the river. Given that it was some fifteen miles to the open sea, the usual practice was for outgoing vessels to depart about 90 minutes before high water.

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The Royal Visit 1885

The Royal visit to Preston by HRH Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (Later King Edward VII) occurred on Friday 17th of July 1885. This date was selected because HRH was in Preston to attend a meeting of the Royal Agricultural Society of England on Moor Park. A special bridge over the old river bed had to be erected at the bottom of Pedder lane to allow the spectators access to the Site. HRH left the town hall at 3pm and accompanied by the Mayor, Aldeman John Forshaw, proceeded to Strand Road to board a special train waiting on the Ribble branch railway. The train then conveyed the Royal party to the site seen in the above photograph. The red granite foundation stone, dressed and inscribed cost the taxpayers 138 pounds 4 shillings and 11 pence. The silver trowel, mallet and level cost a further 79 pounds 3 shillings and 6 pence. Seven years later on the 25th of June 1892 the docks were officially opened by Prince Albert, the Duke of Edinburgh. On that Saturday morning, HRH boarded the steam yacht 'Aline' at the bull nose. The vessel proceeded through the lock gates and with the Duke standing on the open bridge he then declared the new dock open by sailing through a blue ribbon that had been placed across entrance to the main basin. One local newspaper had something negative to report about the proceedings, in that it was observed that although their was lots of patriotic cheering and flag waiving on the streets en route to the dock, their was little in the way of sustained enthusiasm as the 'Aline' sailed around the dock with HRH at the helm. This was attributed to "The aristocratic languor that permeates everyone in Preston, from the merchant prince to the mill hand"

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Internal railways It is uncertain whether the dock was connected to the L&NWR/L&YR Ribble Branch from the very outset - if it were internal shunting was presumably initially undertaken for the first year or so by horse as the dock did not get its first locomotive until 1893. This was a Hawthorne Leslie 0-6-OST (W/No2245) which was named EDINBURGH, presumably in honour of the Duke of Edinburgh who had opened the dock.

A second locomotive, Manning Wardle 0-6-OST W/No.1295, was purchased in 1895 this was named YORK. The dock's locomotive fleet was further augmented between 1901 and 1927 by the purchase of three more 0-6-0ST's; these were name KING,- QUEEN and PRINCE.

Preston Dock Locomotive 'Queen' c.1947 - Built in 1906 by Peckett & Co. Sold out of service in 1950 to E. Hind, Yorkshire. Note the spark arrester fitted to the chimney. This was a preventative device used while working in the vicinity of the timber storage area.

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In 1927 a fireless 0-6-0 (named DUKE was purchased specifically for use at the petrol depot: its reservoir was charged from a stationary boiler near the depot. In 1935 the port authority purchased a Armstrong Whitworth jackshaft-drive 0-6-0 diesel which had been built for demonstration purposes in 1932; it continued the Preston naming theme by being christened DUCHESS.

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Fireless Locomotive 'Duke' Preston Docks 1951 - This engine was charged with high pressure steam supplied by the powerhouse on the north side of the main basin. Supplied new to the port in 1938. Built by Andrew Barclay & Co. Ltd, Kilmarnock. It was primarily used, to obvious advantage, in moving and marshalling oil and petrol wagons adjacent to the oil storage area north of the tidal basin. It's operating time was somewhat limited by the amount of saturated steam that it could store in it's on board reservoir. Operating time was said to be 3-4 hours dependant on loading.

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‘The Duchess’ On Preston Dock This locomotive entered service during July 1932 and was fitted with the same equipment that went into the three heavyweight railcars – a 250hp 6LV22 engine & GEC electrical equipment, the locomotive did not immediately have a buyer, and spent much of 1932-1933 working several LNER goods yards in the Newcastle area. Initial service was in the Forth marshalling yard, spending most of its time there apart from a short stint at Blaydon. Loads at the Forth Yard were up to forty wagons totalling 600 tons, whilst the Blaydon Yard with its gradients permitted a maximum load of 750 tons.

After a month at Blaydon it moved to Heaton Yard. Here it was challenged by taking 800 ton loads up the 1 in 150 Benton Bank. Fuel consumption with this type of working was about 2.5 gallons per hour. This locomotive also spent a brief period under trial on the Southern Region. This machine would soon be bought by the Preston Corporation for use in the Ribble Docks. Its works number was D8, it later gained the name ‘Duchess’ and was still in operation during 1960, and was noted withdrawn as late as the winter of 1968. A second machine similar to D8 was built during 1933, to be tested along with a number of other shunters by the LMSR authorities. This machine carried the numbers 7408 & 7058 on the LMSR and was allocated the British Railways number 13000 in the post nationalisation re-numbering scheme, although it was broken up prior to carrying this number. Allocated Works number D20 of 1933 it was fitted with a Armstrong Sulzer 6LV22 diesel engine, powering a Laurence Scott & Electromotors generator and single traction motor. With the engine rated at 250hp @ 775rpm with a maximum tractive effort of 24,000lb and a maximum speed of 30mph, this shunting locomotive clearly had the best characteristics that the LMSR was seeking when compared to the other locomotives tested. Most significant were its electric transmission, its heavier weight and a fuel capacity that would allow a week of shunting prior to refuelling.

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On occasions when the fireless locomotive, DUKE, was unavailable, DUCHESS was the obvious alternative for shunting at the oil depot. However, on these duties DUCHESS had to have five empty wagons placed between it and the tank wagons so that it didn't have to go right in among the oil tanks. If a steam locomotive ever had to shunt at the oil depot, there had to be fifteen empties immediately in front of the locomotive - this, of course, hampered the engine crew's visibility as well as adding to the train weight. A visitor to the dock in the late 1930's reported that the locomotives were '...housed in a very fine shed near the docks'. This 'fine shed' was actually a three-road timber-built structure which, in later years, actually looked rather primitive.

In 1942 a new W.G. Bagnall 0-6-OST was purchased; it was named PRINCESS. Three more Bagnall 0-6-0STs were purchased in 1946 (these were named ENERGY, PERSERVERENCE and ENTERPRISE), partly to replace the three oldest locomotives (EDINBURGH, YORK and KING); the latter trio was scrapped on site in June the following year by Messrs. Mitchell & Sons. Another three Bagnalls were purchased in 1948. A visitor to Preston in early Spring 1949 noted that the Peckett 0-6-OST of 1906 (named QUEEN) was up for sale - a sale was secured the following year, the locomotive going to Messrs. E. Hind (South Bank) Ltd in Yorkshire. The Bagnalls at Preston represented a type of which only eighteen were built. They had a solid almost Barclay-like - appearance and with their flat-sided tanks and sturdy rods, they looked chunky and robust. The first of this design had been built for the Birchenwood Coking Plant in 1934, while nine later went to the NCB Staffordshire Area (three of these were eventually fitted with Giesl ejectors). Another went to Measham Colliery in the NCB's Leicester Area, but later moved to Cadley Hill Colliery; after finishing its colliery life, it was saved for preservation and now lives at Mangapps Farm Railway Museum in Essex where it is named DEMELZA.

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Preston's Bagnalls were popular with the crews as they could be worked very hard, yet were extremely reliable. They coped well with trains of twenty or so wagons between the exchange sidings and the coal tip, and on one occasion, a Bagnall took a train of fifty-two 16-ton wagons (empties!) from the tip to the sidings. All locomotive repairs, from tyre fitting to fire-box replacement. were undertaken by the dock authority's own staff; there were usually three or four fitters employed at the dock workshops. During the 1950s there were thirteen drivers, thirteen shunters, three foremen and an inspector employed on the dock railway. Six locomotives were usually at work each weekday and two on Sundays. The first shift of the new working week started at five minutes past midnight on Monday - this saved the dock authority from having to pay the first shift' men double time for Sunday working. Each driver spent every tenth week on shed duties; these included drying the river sand which had been brought in for the engines' sandboxes the drying was performed on a large 'billiard table' affair which had a fire underneath it. When the sand was dry, it was shovelled onto a riddle which lay at a 45 degree angle this allowed the sand to pass through while stones and other debris were held back. The locomotives were washed out every six weeks. The locomotives were fired on local household coal but, in later years, when environmental matters had to be considered, smokeless fuel was introduced. This was Welsh 'blind' coal, which was so soft it could crumble in the hand - it was Fine for making steam, but it was virtually impossible to get it to light on its own. The solution was to keep a wagon of ordinary house coal at the shed; when a locomotive finished work, a couple of hundredweight of house coal was put into its bunker so that the fire could be easily lit the following day.

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Traffic The up-river location of Preston Dock was something of a hindrance as, due to the continual problems with silting in the channel, larger ships could not navigate the river when fully laden. Under normal circumstances, the largest vessels to enter Preston Dock were the American -built 'Liberty' ships of around 8,000 tons grt but these, and other vessels of similar size had to offload part of their cargoes and continue to Preston with a maximum of about 4-5,000 tons left on board. In the case of ships carrying timber, the partial offloading was usually undertaken at Garston or, in the case of wood pulp, at Ellesmere Port. At Preston Dock, the wood pulp (usually from Scandinavia) was offloaded from the ships at the quayside. Some was loaded into the dock company's internal-user wagons to be taken to the storage sheds a locomotive was usually in attendance at the quay to manoeuvre and then remove each rake of wagons. Other cargoes of pulp were loaded into sheeted HiFits to be taken directly to mills in East Lancashire. One company which imported its pulp via Preston was Yates Duxbury others were at Darwen, Heapey near Chorley, and Feniscowles near Blackburn. In the early and mid 196os an average of 440,000 tons of pulp was handled at the dock annually. Other regular traffic at Preston Dock was coal, some of which was exported to Northern Ireland or, less frequently, to the Isle of Man and, for a time, to East Yelland power station near Barnstaple in North Devon. There were also occasional cargoes of coke. The coal traffic was, however, sometimes spasmodic - this was because ports such as Ayr, Whitehaven, Garston and Partington on the Manchester Ship Canal had better facilities. The coal was dealt with on the north side of Preston Dock where there were two rail-connected coaling hoists. The coal for the Ribble power station, on the opposite side of the River Ribble in Penwortham, was dealt with at the river quays near the dock. The coal was emptied from the railway wagons by means of a rotary tippler on to a conveyor which traversed the river on a very impressive bow-shaped bridge to the power station and its stocking yard. It is known that some of this coal came from Bickershaw Colliery at Leigh, invariably in 16-ton wagons. Incoming coal destined for the power station was shifted from the exchange sidings by the dock engines to loop sidings near the tippler. The wagons were moved by capstan, tipped and then went into a short dead end spur where they ricocheted off specially designed buffers to roll into another set of loops to await collection by a dock engine.

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Preston Dock also handled banana traffic. The importers were Geest's, whose ships arrived from the Windward Islands - the banana traffic was dealt with at the south side of the dock. The bananas were off loaded from side doors in the ships by means of an overhead gantry and conveyor, and were then man-handled into white-painted vacuum-fitted vans. Five vans were loaded simultaneously, and when they were full, the train moved along so that the next five vans were positioned. The banana vans were steam-heated to help the ripening process; most, if not all, of the dock engines were equipped for steam heating. The usual procedure with the banana boats was for two locomotives to be employed at the quayside, heating the vans, moving them along the quay and going to the exchange sidings, with a third locomotive bringing in the empties for loading. Other traffic handled at Preston Dock included stone from North Wales, which was dealt with on the south side of the basin; the quay at the basin was rail-connected, but this was only to provide access for a diesel rail crane - the stone was taken away by road. There were also oil and fuel imports; these were handled on the north quay of the basin. In later years there was also a container quay in the north -east end of the dock - most of the container traffic was on the Northern Ireland service to and from Lame. China clay was imported from Cornwall; there were some china clay vans which, to the best of this writer's memory, seemed to continually languish by the clay shed, covered in dust and never moved. Grain was also dealt with at Preston Dock; for this traffic, a silo with a pneumatic discharge elevator was provided - the elevator had a capacity of 250 tons per hour. The dock handled other bulk cargoes such as sulphur and, occasionally, fertiliser and chemicals, but by the l960s these commodities were usually dispatched by road. Three rail-mounted diesel cranes were provided to offload the bulk merchandise.

Cargo of Paper for the Lancashire Daily Post, Preston Dock c.1935 The lorry is owned by local haulage firm H. Viney & Co. The vessel seen berthed in the background is the corporation tug Perseverence 1896-1936 Image courtesy and copyright of The Lancashire Evening Post Š www.lep.co.uk

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To transport the general goods around the dock area, there was a fleet of internal user wagons. These were wooden-framed and wooden-bodied, and were painted black with white lettering 'P C' and their number on the drop-side doors. In the late 196os several wagons were purchased second-hand from ICI - - these had steel frames and were painted blue.

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Much of the traffic at Preston Dock came and went by rail, in the mid-19Sos, something in the region of 1 million tons of exports and imports came in or out via the on Ribble Branch. At this period, 150 wagons of coal were brought in for the power station each weekday. The branch trains were usually handled by 'Super D' 0-8-0s, though on one occasion BR Standard Class 2 2-6-0 No.78022 was observed. Banking assistance was often required by loaded trains ascending the steeply graded branch; even in diesel days, it was not unknown for a train to stall on the branch and for the station pilot (a Class 08 shunter) to be called onto help drag the train up the slope. During much of the 1950s some 2,500 wagons came to or from the dock each week; they were exchanged in the sidings just inside the dock boundary near Strand Road. The wagons travelled in train formations - at this period there were usually twelve trains each day to/from Bamber Bridge Yard where they were sorted.

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At the docks At its fullest extent, the railway system at the dock comprised 28 miles of track. In the 1960s, there were nine locomotives on site; these were the seven Bagnalls, the Armstrong Whitworth diesel and the Barclay fireless. (The Barclay 0-6-OST, PRINCE, had been scrapped on site by Cox & Danks in August 1960). There was also a locomotive at Ward's scrapyard at New Diversion Quay, one of the two quays which had been built when the river had been diverted in the late 18805/early 18905 (more of Ward's later). The dock locomotives were usually fairly dirty, but underneath the grime the paintwork was an attractive apple green with red rods and buffer beams. Spark arresters were fitted to most of the locomotives as their duties included working with wood pulp and timber. The locomotives never actually seemed to do very much; even when in action, their duties were rarely taxing - the dock railway system was, after all, on the level. The only time there was any real evidence of hard work was at the coal hoists; the long parallel loops serving these were curved, and it was possible to see one of the locomotives sandwiched between a rake of empties on one end and a rake of fulls on the other, performing a shunt. Three of the nine locomotives were usually in steam at any one time, and they could often be seen by the Strand Road entrance (the main through route to Blackpool from the A59 and near the English Electric works) where there was an enginemen's bothy. In the early 1960s - a few years before the shipping industry underwent massive changes - Preston Dock was dealing with an average of 2,500 ships each year and handling over 1,800,000 tons of cargo. On the railway front, steam traction was eventually ousted from the Ribble Branch - the connection between the main line network and the exchange sidings; by the mid 1960s the branch was usually worked by a Class 08 diesel.

"Energy" Preston Docks, September 1961

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Dieselisation did not only affect BR. At Preston Dock, the steam locomotives were displaced by diesels in June 1968 when three Rolls Royce 4-wheeled diesel hydraulics arrived. These were W/Nos. 10281, 10282 and 10283; they took the names from three of the locomotives they had displaced - ENERGY, ENTERPRISE and PROGRESS respectively. For a short while, it was possible to see the old steam locomotives and the new diesels working alongside each other; for example, a visit to the docks on 17 June 1968 saw ENTERPRISE and Bagnall 0-6-0 ST PRINCESS on shunting duties (they finished their day's work at 7.20pm), while on 27 July that year, at 8.00am ENTERPRISE and 0-6-OST COURAGEOUS were at work, although notes reveal that 'no real hard work was done by the engines'. It was stated by the Port of Preston Authority that the three new diesels performed their duties in '...a far more efficient and quiet manner', but those who witnessed the locomotives in action often saw things in a different light. The diesels were certainly powerful and could pull heavy loads - former driver Harry McCabe recalls moving a complete oil train weighing some 1,400 tons - but they were very light on their feet. This proved to be a problem, as the rails on the quays were set in concrete with flangeways - with a collection of bits of pulp, twine rope and wood, a rain shower turned the accumulated debris into a dirty goo. Under these conditions, when attempting to pull away with a loaded pulp train, the diesels demanded much patience on the part of the driver, a generous helping of sand on the rails, and not a little tyre metal. The old Bagnall saddle tanks had seemed to do it all quite effortlessly, just gently puffing away. In the case of coal trains, these sometimes seemed to overpower the new diesels - when it came to shunting movements the weight of the wagons could actually drag one of the new diesels into the siding, their wheels locked and sander on, but little deceleration! In one incident, a diesel had problems stopping when it was in charge of an oil tank train, and a tank wagon over turned. Following this potentially calamitous incident, the diesels were fitted with air brakes driven by a separate donkey engine. The diesels were accommodated in the Port Authority's large workshop building. Although some of the older locomotives initially worked in conjunction with the new diesels, it was only a matter of months before all nine of the older locomotives were taken out of service and dumped at the shed. At one time there had been plans to keep one of the Bagnall 0-6-0ST as a spare for the diesels, but that came to naught. The last of the 'old guard' to remain in regular use was Bagnall 0-6-OST PRINCESS, which was active until September 1968. Eight of the older locomotives were scrapped in 1969 - the last to go was the fireless 0-6-0 DUKE, which was still extant, albeit long since out of use, in late 1969. One member of the 'old guard' was saved for preservation; this was PRINCESS, which was sold to Jim Morris of Helical Springs Ltd at Lytham, repainted in a form of GER livery and placed in the adjacent railway museum. It subsequently went to the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway where it has been a great success. It is unfortunate that none of Preston's steam engines was saved for preservation; they had been well maintained, well driven and, on the whole, had not been over-worked, and so they were in far better condition than many former industrial locomotives that were saved.

Preston Dock Exchange Sidings, Strand Road, c.1920 An unidentified L.N.W.R 0-8-0 freight locomotive lifts her safety valves in readiness for the short climb up the Ribble branch to Preston Station.

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One of the port owned Bagnall 0-6-0 tanks 'Enterprise' hauling Geest banana wagons in 1967

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0-6-0ST 'Prince' at Preston Docks, September 1957

There were other locomotives in and around Preston Dock. There was also a four-wheeled Planet' diesel (W/No.3906 of 1959) in use by Lancashire Tar Distillers at their plant at the tank farm. During the early 1970s this locomotive broke a crankshaft and was replaced by one of the Port Authority's Rolls Royce diesels on hire. The hired locomotive was crewed by LTD staff and was stabled at their site. The incapacitated 'Planet' was not repaired by its owners, but it was later saved for preservation and eventually went to Steamtown at Carnforth. The well-known scrap merchant, T.W. Ward, had a shipbreaking business at New Diversion Quay, and for shunting purposes had an RSH 0-4-OST (W/No..7047 of 1941) and, later, a Fowler 0-4-0 diesel mechanical, W/No.4210109. The Fowler diesel sported a lined red livery and was named PRESIDENT; it was an attractive little machine. Its duties included taking loaded wagons - usually a rake of four 16-ton wagons - onto the weighbridge and then to a nearby set of sidings, from where a dock engine took over for the short run to the BR exchange sidings. Ward's occasionally scrapped industrial locomotives at their Preston site; although the old Preston Dock locomotives were nominally scrapped by Maudland Metals, three of the Bagnalls were seen at Ward's in 1969. It is, however, not known whether they were cut up there by Maudland's or whether they had been re sold to Ward's. A few other locomotives sold to Ward's were, in fact, repaired and re sold. Given that Ward's yard had high capacity overhead cranes, heavy lifting jobs such as tank or cab removals could be undertaken so that, in certain instances, a seemingly extinct locomotive could be given a new lease of life. Other locomotives were actually used by Ward's for shunting duties. Several visits to Ward's yard were made in the late 1950s providing the following details of locomotives at the yard : - 19 July 1958: HILDA (Peckett 0-4-oST W/No.865 of 1901); HORROCKSFORD No.2 (Hudswell Clarke W/No,1504 of 1923) - rods removed; came from Horrocksford Cement Works at Clitheroe circa April 1958; HOWE (Hawthorn Leslie W/No.2597 of 1904) - in use by Ward's

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T.W. Wards R.S.H. Tank Loco, Preston Dock, February 1961

- 28 February 1959: HOWE and HORROCKSFORD No.2 (see above) were still there by this time HORROCKSFORD No.2 was the working locomotive; also three 0-4-0STs from the Royal Ordnance Depot at Euxton - No.4 MARLBOROUGH (Barclay W/No.2081 of 1940), ROF 16 No.3 (Bagnall W/No.2649 of 1941), and RSH W/No.7047 of 1941 - 23 May 1959: HOWE and HORROCKSFORD No.2 (the latter was still the 'working' locomotive); also No.4 MARLBOROUGH and RSH W/No.7047 (the latter took over as the 'working' locomotive in December 1959). No.4 MARLBOROUGH was overhauled by Wards at Preston in 1961 and subsequently sent to the firm's premises at Glasgow to act as the yard shunter. The replacement of the nine older Port Authority locomotives by just three diesels in 1969 reflected the general decline in trade at Preston Dock. This was partly due to the problem of maintaining a navigable channel between Preston and the sea; the problem had been a perennial one but, as the size of ships increased, it became even more acute and ship owners and agents diverted their vessels to other ports which had better access. Preston Corporation tried valiantly to keep the Ribble navigable, employing a fleet of five suction dredgers and a small grab dredger, but it was a losing battle. Preston Corporation suction dredger 'Margerison' Margerison (1915 - 1955) Suction Hopper Dredger. Built in 1915 by Lobnitz and Co., Ltd., Renfrew for ÂŁ19,036 Sold in 1955 to T.W. Wards (Preston) for ÂŁ8,000 and broken up.

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The Ribble Pilot

Another factor affecting trade at Preston was the decline of the paper industry in Lancashire - this meant less requirement for imported wood pulp. Also, the export coal trade to Ireland and the Isle of Man was lost to Garston Dock. Of the remaining traffic, less and less required movement by rail. At many ports throughout Britain road transport had, by this time, taken a goodly slice of traffic- Preston Dock was particularly susceptible in this respect as the M6 was just three miles away. By the mid-1970s traffic on the dock railway was in serious decline; there was a little pulp traffic, but the other traditional mainstay - the coal shipments - were a positive rarity, and one coal hoist was already out of use. There was, however, still some coal traffic for the power station, but that ceased when the power station was closed, having been replaced by the new Fiddlers Ferry Power Station, near Warrington. Two of the diesel locomotives were usually available each day, but had precious little to do. One of the few regular duties which remained was an early afternoon train (though not every afternoon) from the exchange sidings to the tank farm. The dock locomotives took over a complete train - one locomotive at each end - at the exchange sidings; the train was divided at the tank farm, the wagons being shunted into the appropriate tenant's premises. By the latter part of the 1970s the Ro-Ro container traffic to and from Northern Ireland accounted for virtually all of Preston's remaining trade, and when that traffic was diverted to an 'all day' berth at Fleetwood, the future of Preston Dock looked very bleak. It came as little surprise when, in 1979, an announcement was made that the dock would close; closure was effected two years later, the last ship sailing at midnight on 31 October 1981. The dock railway was retained to serve two tenants at the tank farm - Fina Petroleum and the bitumen works of Lancashire Tar Distilleries (later Lanfina Bitumen Ltd.). These two firms each had their own trains, brought to the exchange sidings by BR; later, the two trains were amalgamated to arrive at Preston as one.

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The redevelopment of the dock started soon after closure. The North Side of the dock was developed for retail and other commercial use, and this required the realignment of the railway line to the tank farm. The railway was resited on a completely new alignment near to the course of the River Ribble, passing through the site where Ward's scrapyard used to be, and crossing the 66oft-long lock between the basin and main dock on a skew swingbridge. A new, rather grandiose, engine shed was built in 1986; it is situated at the western end of the site, well away from the former workshops. This new shed, with its curved ends and high roof, won an award from the Brick Development Association. The new railway line was built to a high standard and could accommodate 100-tonne tanker wagons. Before long, there were plans to upgrade the dock railway line and install track circuiting to enable main -Iine locomotives to work through to the tank farm (with a dock locomotive merely positioning the wagons), but those plans were overtaken by events as, in 1995, the oil distribution depot closed. It was considered that the maintenance of the dock railway solely for the small amount of traffic to the Tar Distillers was not a viable proposition, and so it was mothballed. One of the Rolls Royce diesels - W/No. 10281 ENERGY - was sold to Ron Cadman of Shropshire and now works at the Telford Horsehay Steam Trust in Shropshire. However, Preston was to see the reinstating of main line traffic into the docks, with Ribble Rail's service to LANFINA (LTD). Due to the increase in government support to move freight traffic from the road to rail, a scheme to deliver the raw product to the site on Chain Caul Way was devised in 2000, and the first train rn in 2004. During the intervening period, many upgrades were carried out by our staff & volunteers to the track, signalling infrastructure and locomotives. Fittingly, this traffic has been operated by ENTERPRISE and PROGRESS, two of the original Sentinel Diesels purchased from the council with a view to their use on this service. They were also joined by a Yorkshire "Janus" locomotive, and another similar Sentinel Locomotive which used to work on the Manchester Ship Canal, which was re-named "ENERGY", to bring the old team back together again.

Acknowledgements: The Story of Preston and An introduction to Preston - its History, Railways and Signalling by Richard Foster (L&NWR Society). Thanks are also due to the Industrial Railway Society.

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Preston Docks


Going Bananas in Preston! Preston Docks moved tons of freight by train having been unloaded from visiting ships at the quayside. Limestone, Timber, Coal, Cattle and Bananas were amongst the goods traffic of the day. Bananas in particular were a big import through Preston Docks and lines of Banana Boats could be seen off the coast awaiting the right tides on which to enter along the River Ribble to the dock for unloading. One of the biggest and best known Banana importers was Geest. Until the 1950s, imports of bananas to the United Kingdom had been almost entirely under Ireland based Fyffes’ control. Geest, however, decided to challenge that company’s dominance of the banana trade, as the fruit swiftly gained popularity among British consumers. Geest started its own banana import operations in the early 1950s, turning specifically to the countries in the Windward Islands chain –St. Lucia, St. Vincent, the Grenadines, Grenada, and Dominica–for their banana production. The company also played a major role in developing the banana industry on these islands and elsewhere in the Caribbean. Through its banana imports and its other produce interests, the company also was able to attract a number of the United Kingdom’s largest supermarket chains to its growing customer lists. In the late 1950s, the company’s banana imports had flourished, and the company even started its own shipping line, offering vacation cruises as well as cargo space for its banana imports. By the 1960s, Geest had successfully captured 50 percent of the U.K. banana market from Fyffes.

The banana boat Windward Islands together with her sister ship The Leeward Islands were both regular visitors to the port in the 1960's. The proximity of the West Coast mainline railway, giving access to destinations North and South and other good links to Yorkshire no doubt were factors in Geest’s decision to use Preston as their base. Rail distribution was the norm throughout the 1950's and well into the 1960's. To give a flavour – a round voyage to the Windwards took close on 4 weeks. Very little cargo was carried outward but on the return holds were full of bananas as well as much smaller quantities of what were then regarded as “exotic fruits”. As an example the “Geestland” arrived Preston 13th August 1963 and departed after completing cargo on the afternoon of the 15th. She discharged over 75000 stems of bananas (897 tons).

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Preston Docks


With the exception of 75 stems to lorry and 10000 stems conveyored into dock store, the balance was loaded to rail truck in what was quite a slick operation. Geest had strategic ripening stores near Airdrie, Bradford, Preston and at their headquarters in Spalding. In addition rail trucks were despatched direct to customers who had their own ripening rooms, usually adjacent to rail. Having commenced discharge at around 0800,13 rail trucks were on their way by lunchtime. 28 wagons departed at 1500hrs for customers in Penrith, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Kilmarnock, Galashiels, Newcastle, North Shields, and West Hartlepool closely followed by a further 28 wagons at 1700hrs for Derby, Nottingham, Mansfield, Crewe, and various destinations in West Yorkshire as well as Hull and Darlington. Later in the day at 1930hrs and 2230hrs further despatches were made. In total 197 rail trucks were loaded to complete this one cargo.

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Preston Docks


Port Of Preston - From Closure A report to the then Preston Borough Council in September 1979 advised that there was no prospect for operating the Port at a profit; it was resolved that the Port should be closed and the area redeveloped. The Port formally closed on 31st October 1981. The Central Lancashire Development Corporation carried out a preliminary study into the potential of the land. Their study “Preston Dock Redevelopment – Summary Reports” (1980) proposed a mixed redevelopment strategy in broad terms, and identified the principle constraints to the project – pollution of water and land, old landfill sites, inadequacy of flood defences, exposure and lack of infrastructure. The resulting high costs of clearance and reclamation necessitated a partnership approach between the Local Authority and private enterprise, backed by central government funds in terms of Derelict Land Grants. The process thus began with Council inviting bids from consortia of design and development consultants to produce detailed proposals for the redevelopment. Due to the complexity of the problem, this course of action was protracted and it was not until 1985 that the chosen plan, by Holder Mathias (Architects) and Balfour Beatty developments, was accepted by the Council. The general principle of the development strategy was that the clearance, reclamation and infrastructure works would proceed immediately (with the assistance of Derelict Land Grant funding), to open up the former Docklands and attract investment from the private sector in terms of individual site redevelopment. As part of their agreement Balfour Beatty retained the development rights on the prime waterfront area north and east of the dock basin, in return for the funding of road infrastructure projects. Certain major elements of infrastructure were required regardless of the detail of the chosen Development Plan. The railway system serving the Docks ran along the north side of the basin, effectively disrupting valuable development sites: a new line was therefore constructed along the bank of the Ribble, on the edge of the development. The alignment required a swing bridge crossing to the entrance channel, which was combined with the roadway to minimise costs and land-take, after which the new route joined up with the existing sidings serving Lancashire Tar and Petrofina (who still relied on rail transport for raw materials).

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Preston Docks


Further sidings were constructed to cater for a projected expansion of traffic, together with a new Engine Shed and Workshops for the storage of equipment and engines; these railway works were completed in four contracts between 1982 and 1987. A new Control Building, sited adjacent to the Swing Bridge was completed in 1985; the building is the operations centre for the Dock Railway and the lock gate/entrance system, and contains offices of the Docklands Manager, replacing the former Dock Office on Watery Lane. Almost as if to emphasise the dangers of construction in such a low-lying area the Dock estate was flooded in 1977 by a combination of high river levels and westerly winds blowing a high tide in to the estuary. To protect the development from further occurrences flood banks were built along the river edge to a level of 8m AOD. At the river entrance a pair of former lock gates, removed from the swing bridge area were repositioned outside the lock gates at a higher level, to be closed against the river flood as a storm gate to continue the protection across the channel. This work was completed in two stages between 1982 and 1985, and involved the refurbishment of all the gates and the installation of a new operating system. During this time redundant buildings and machinery were demolished gradually removing the Port functions and leaving the area open for redevelopment. Four buildings were retained for re-use, – Shed No.3 on the south side (redeveloped for residential use as “Victoria Mansions”), the Customs House on the Dock Road, the office of Transport Ferry Service at Pedders Way and the original Pump House building adjacent to the Tidal Basin: the last two were subsequently demolished to make way for more modern office developments. To suit the new image the area was renamed “Riversway” in 1985; the name arising from the fact that most of the development occupies the former course of the River prior to diversion to create the Dock in 1884. A further essential element of work in this early phase of reclamation was the removal of land contaminated by former industrial use. The most cost-effective solution was to create a purpose-made disposal area, licensed by the Waste Disposal Authority, sited on the riverbank west of the main development. The contaminated soils are sealed in clay lined cells, with the site scheduled for future development as playing fields or parkland. Development of the infrastructure works continued 19851992 with the construction of the new road system and services to open up the development sites: this was generally done working from east to west, allowing the eastern sites to be developed first along with the Morrisons Superstore on the north side of the Dock Basin. The last major infrastructure project was the Chain Caul Way Contract, completed in 1992 and opening up the industrial zone in the west. Whilst development of land steadily continued, development of water activity was restricted to the construction of the Marina pontoons to allow the mooring of pleasure boats. Further development of the marina is the responsibility of Preston Marine Services, which operates independently of the City Council. A Marina Building was constructed in 1989 opposite the Dock Control Building. General use of the dock basin, however, is restricted by the lack of investment in a Water Sports Centre, this being an expensive item to construct in view of the high dock walls and the consequent difficulty of providing appropriate launching facilities: there is also a degree of concern over the quality of the dock water. From October 1982 the former Isle of Man passenger vessel “Manxman” was moored at the East End of the Dock and developed as a floating nightclub and restaurant. When the lease on the berth expired in 1990 the vessel was towed down to Liverpool in November of that year. Various trawlers, tug “Whisky Warrior” and the Scottish “Puffer” VIC 80 were berthed in the half tide basin adjacent to the boatyard.

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Preston Docks


An early study in 1986 by Sir William Halcrow & Partners has considered the feasibility of construction a weir across the Ribble to raise water levels for amenity and recreation purposes. The chos en site was just upstream of the Bullnose, with the possibility of a connecting waterway into the Tidal Basins. The high cost (7.4m) and the limited financial returns made the project un-viable and the idea was shelved. One further partnership with the private sector began in 1989 when the Council organized a limited competition for the architect/developer teams to construct the residential areas on the south side of the Dock. The competition was won by the team of Brock Carmichael Associated, local architects, with the firm Lovell Urban Renewal and Salford Quays. Construction of the distinctive housing began in 1990, but after completion of the first phase the project was shelved due to the general recession in the housing market. The work was finally completed in 1995 by a subsidiary company, Lovell Housing, working to a much modified version of the original concept to suit the relevant market. Conversion of the former Shed No. 3 into Victoria Mansions was carried out by a Preston Company Tustin Developments, who also constructed the houses and flats immediately adjacent. Residential development recommenced in 1997 with Wainhomes constructing 72 houses at the land south of the half tide basin and Newfield Jones building flats and houses on the last piece of land on the south side of the main dock basin east of Victoria Mansions.. During the course of the redevelopment the Dock Railway, which had been in continuous operation since 1846, continued to receive up to nine trains a week, delivering petrol to Petrofina on Chain Caul Road, and tar to Lancashire Tar Distillers on Chain Caul Way. However, in 1992 the traffic to Petrofina ceased and the storage tanks were demolished, leaving three trains per week to serve Lancashire Tar Distillers. This traffic ceased in 1995 when the company switched to road transport as part of a reorganisation, which also saw the construction of new offices and facilities to improve the image of the last remaining Port of Preston industry. Attempts to attract rail-based industries to vacant sites did not immediately meet with success. However, interest in using the line for leisure which had been shown by the Steamport Railway Society, formerly based in Southport, has culminated in a major land purchase and re-location of the Railway Society to Riversway. Renamed the Ribble Steam Railway the Society have built a new rail-connected museum, running shed, and repair shop on land off Chain Caul Road. Passengers are able to ride on Steam or Diesel powered trains on a 1½ mile long stretch of track. The industrial Heritage Railway opened to the public in September 2007. The re-commencement of Bitumen tanker traffic began late in 2005. In the period since the Port Closure in 1981 the Riversway development has progressed steadily during varying national economic conditions. The pleasant waterside environment, ease of access and parking have been major factors in attracting new firms and seeing re-location of established local business. Well over 2000 jobs have been created. This success story means that most sites are now occupied. Riversway with its varying modern waterfront architecture is now established as a distinctive quarter of Preston. During the 1992 Guild celebrations, Riversway played a major role. From 1995 – 1999 Riversway has hosted its own annual Maritime Festival bringing thousands of visitors to the area, in turn raising the profile and public awareness of the development. Further development opportunities remain, particularly to the west of Riversway, where the area known as “Riversway West” lies on land owed partly by the Borough Council and by the Government Agency, English Partnerships. Work started on this section of the development in 1997 with the demolition of a former wartime fuel storage facility. Following the demolition, construction of the Riversway Motor Park, a complex of five motor trade showrooms was commenced in 1998 by Marcus Worthington & Co. The development scheme included for a walkway around the dock basin with links to a footpath running along the riverbank. Nautical features linking with the Docks Maritime History are placed at strategic locations adjacent to the walkway and at other locations within the estate. The former port’s ‘Nelson’ safe water landfall buoys previously moored where the Ribble Estuary met the Irish Sea off St. Annes provide the centrepiece of large features at the Portway and Pedders Way entrances to the estate. In their current locations they mark the original course of the river Ribble prior to its diversion to allow for the construction of the Docks.

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Preston Docks


A Dock Too Far! The first attempts to have a Port of Preston were started in 1806 when a company was formed for this purpose and to improve the navigation of the River Ribble. They had £2,000 capital and achieved very little. In 1837 the Ribble Navigation Company was formed with £50,000 capital and in 1845 they obtained powers to make quays and constructed a branch line to connect them with the ever growing railway system. They were also given powers to reclaim land on the margins of the Ribble. From these quays on the river the company failed to attract much business and in 1866 a survey of the river took place. A year later it was suggested spending up to £130,000 on improving navigation, the construction of a dock, increasing facilities for loading and discharge of vessels and the formation of a Dock Board. The problem with navigating the Ribble was an immense problem. Although the company improved the channel for eight miles from Preston in the direction of the sea, from that point for a similar distance it was a winding course with ever shifting sandbanks at its mouth. This meant that only small vessels used in the coasting trade could use the navigation and even they had to wait for the high tides to float them up to the port. Even then they had to stay over the neap tides unless they could be unloaded in time. When they did reach their destination in the absence of a dock, they could not float and were stranded in the bed of the river by the quayside, which led to the straining of vessels laden with cargo. Preston had advantages over Liverpool and Fleetwood as being the nearest and most convenient port for the large manufacturing and coal mining district of East Lancashire and the West Riding of Yorkshire. In 1884 Alderman James Hibbert spoke against the dock scheme as “an adventure beyond our proper province – never likely to pay – one the corporation should never have embarked into -” In spite of ratepayers protests the scheme went ahead…… The Preston Dock opened in 1892 and only made a profit in the first two years! Investigations, enquiries and surveys were undertaken into how to improve the navigation of the Ribble including obtaining a satisfactory channel through the maze of tortuous sandbanks between Southport and Lytham. The Ribble Act of 1905 enabled construction of training walls to fourteen and a half miles from Preston. The main opposition to work came from St Annes-On-Sea council who ensured that all dredged material was carried out to sea so as not to affect their foreshore. This improved condition of the river brought increased trade and with improved handling and warehousing the increase would continue. The chief articles imported were wood pulp, timber, petroleum, macadam, grain, china clay and iron whilst coal was easily the largest of the exports. It is noteworthy that many vessels which arrived with cargoes were compelled to leave light as Preston did not become a large exporting centre. In 1911, the dock income was £73,945.12s7d whilst the working expenses were £52,530.12s9d. The improvement of the waterway and the making of Preston into a port for ocean going traffic had a great strain on the town and the council had no choice but to impose a Ribble Rate on its population. It was worked out that a total of £1,386,323.19s2d was expended on the project which resulted in a rate of 1/10 in the pound. It was stated that ‘future generations of Prestonians would reap the advantages of this long struggle with the forces of nature’. It is more likely that those who have lived in Preston have often reviled rather than blessed the stream that flowed at their feet. As already mentioned the port only made a profit in its first two years although it did become a busy concern. The Dock Offices were opened in 1936 and new dock gear was purchased. Despite pioneering the ‘Roll-On / Roll-Off’ road traffic service profits proved elusive. Alderman Hibbert had been right as the dock closed in 1981. We are indebted to many individuals and organisations too numerous to credit for one small publication but you know who you are and obviously live personally with the City Motto: Proud Preston. We must thank the Preston Digital Archive for collecting such marvellous images that we may enjoy reliving the past in such vivid detail and making memories live forever in our minds-eye. Chris Mills (on behalf of the Ribble Steam Railway, Preston Docklands) Thankyou!

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Preston Docks


The Bitumen Trail The regular delivery of bitumen by train to Preston Docks provides a steady income for Ribble Rail, the commercial arm of Ribble Steam Railway, yet most knowledge of these workings is centred on the local delivery only. We look at the background to these trains from loading at Lindsey Refinery to final use on the roads of Britain. The bitumen is loaded at Lindsey oil refinery in Lincolnshire where special equipment maintains the heat at 160 degrees Centigrade to ease loading; the temperature is maintained during transit by the insulated bodyshell of the tanks. To many, the bitumen train is noted because it arrives by train, is handled by Ribble Rail between the Interchange Siding and Total’s unloading point and provides a sight of commercial activity in the docks at Preston. There is little appreciation of the importance of Preston as a commercial point for bitumen or for its contribution to the sales of bitumen throughout Britain. Bitumen is one of 35 products, representing 15% of the total output, produced at the Lindsey Refinery in North Lincolnshire which is now part of the industrial complex in the hinterland of Immingham Docks. The refinery was opened in 1968 and has built up its processing capacity to the present day level of approximately 10,000,000 tons of crude oil per year, or 200,000 barrells per day via two pipelines which connects the refinery to the 1,000-metre jetty five miles away at Immingham Dock. Bitumen is a product derived from distillation of crude oil, using the residue left over after gas oil has been drawn off, which is subject to further processing to produce different grades of bitumen for use mainly for road surfaces or roofing. The basic product is produced at Lindsey but the site at Preston is responsible for the production of all the specialist products for markets throughout the UK. This need to move the bitumen between the production centre at Lindsey and the sales centre at Preston may sound simple but is complicated by the need to keep the temperature of the material higher than 120 degrees Centigrade in order that it can be moved and retain its viscosity – under that temperature the material begins to solidify. The transport of the bitumen therefore requires the use of specialist wagons; the current fleet of 30 was introduced into service during November 2010 and now operates as a pair of 15-wagon trainsets. Each wagon is loaded with 74 tonnes of bitumen at a temperature of 180 degrees centigrade to maintain liquidity; this is maintained throughout the journey by thicker insulation to reduce heat loss during transport supported by a system of external heating coils which aids cleaning tank interiors and avoids potential steam leaks into hot bitumen. In November 2010 the wagon fleet was replaced with a dedicated fleet of 30 specially designed wagons which operate in 15-wagon consists. The design of the new wagons included improved insulation to maintain high temperatures during transit and a new bogie design to reduce track wear and access charges.

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Preston Docks


A typical trainset begins its journey from Lindsey in the early hours after being loaded during the night. Initially diagrammed for a heavy haulage Class 60 locomotive, the train is now hauled by a ubiquitous Class 66 locomotive as it leaves the refinery at 02:42 on its Trans-Pennine journey. The train leaves the industrial complex via Ulceby to join the main Great Northern Rly Cleethorpes – Doncaster route at Brocklesbury where it continues via Barnetby [pass 03:14], Scunthorpe [pass 03:37] to Stainforth [pass 04:04]. Here it forks right onto the West Riding and Grimsby Joint Rly [later Great Central / Great Northern Joint] line to Hare Park [pass 04:59] where it takes the right hand fork to Wakefield Kirkgate where it passes at 05:09. The train now uses the old Lancashire & Yorkshire Rly [L&YR] route westwards through Healey Mills and Mirfield [pass 05:53] onto the Calder Valley route to Hallroyd Junction [pass 06:27] where it diverges right onto the L&YR Copy Pit route. After passing the summit of Copy Pit at 06:41 the train descends to Gannow Junction [pass 06:54] where it joins the one-time L&YR Blackburn – Colne route. At one time this line made an end on connection with the Midland Railway Skipton – Colne line to provide a through Blackburn – Skipton transit but Beeching closures have now truncated the line at Colne. The bitumen now continues westwards through Rose Grove (one of the last steam locomotive depots to operate at the end of steam in 1968) [pass 06:56], Accrington [pass 07:02] and Blackburn [calls 07:12 - 07:21 to collect a shunter to uncouple / couple trains] before arriving at Preston Ribble Sidings at 07:46. At this point the train descends to Strand Road level crossing, where Ribble Rail staff wait to pilot / accompany the driver to the Interchange Sidings, and the train comes to a halt at 08:08. At this point the train becomes the responsibility of the Ribble Rail staff to handle, thus the Class 66 now detaches from its trainset to run round and couple onto the second 15-wagon trainset which is now waiting to be returned to Lindsey for re-loading and return to Preston. When the train of empties has been released from Ribble Rail and returned to the national network [usually accomplished within 45 minutes], it returns to Lindsey via the same route, stopping at Blackburn to drop off the shunter collected on the inward journey. The current train timetable shows this train to operate as and when required. Each train load consists of 15 wagons, each carrying 74 tonnes of bitumen, thus delivering a full load of 1110 tons of bitumen and this successful service is reported to save 100,000 road journeys per year. Unseen it may be by many but this service is not only a vital source of income to Ribble Rail but has a vital role to play in the operation and maintenance of the UK’s road network.

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Preston Docks


Many visitors to the Ribble Steam Railway will admit that their love of steam began with journeys by train to the seaside. There was always something magical in boarding a train hauled by a big express locomotive which would whisk you away for a week at your family’s chosen destination. Were those not happy days! Many steam excursions came through Preston on the way to exotic places such as Blackpool, Windermere, Grange-Over-Sands or Morecambe. There really is nothing to compare with a day out by steam train.

The Ribble Steam Railway based on Preston’s Docklands mixes those heady days of steam travel with a look back at England’s Industrial Heritage, when not only passengers travelled by train but all our goods trade was moved by the railways rather than by modern day road traffic. The History of the Dock is a permanent exhibition for visitors to the railways museum. No longer Preston’s best kept secret the heritage line has now taken its own part in the landscape and is enjoyed by visitors from far and wide. The Ribble Steam Railway on Chain Caul Road, Preston, is a family day out in the heart of Lancashire. The railway has been open to the public since September 2005. A visit to the site will not only give you the opportunity to travel along our 1½ mile dock and riverside line, but also access our newly built museum and workshop. The line itself crosses the Preston Marina entrance via a swing bridge, and runs alongside the diverted River Ribble on the site of the former sprawling docklands. Trains leave on the hour from the museum Platform (Preston Riverside) for the 3 mile round trip. Our first train of the day is at 11am and the last at 4pm, total journey time around 35 minutes. The end of the line is adjacent to Strand Road Crossing where Ribble Rail is connected to the national network. The journey (unless a ‘top-and-tail’ service is in operation) includes a run-round by the locomotive of the day at Odeon Sidings. The Ribble Steam Railway is run entirely by volunteers and you can visit the workshops to see out latest projects. Please visit the website www.ribblesteam.org.uk

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Preston Docks


Do NOT PRINT See “Cover” attachment

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Preston Docks


Do NOT PRINT See “Cover” attachment

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Preston Docks

Profile for Chris Mills

Preston Docks - A Reflection of a once busy port  

A Reflection of a once busy port at Preston, Lancashire

Preston Docks - A Reflection of a once busy port  

A Reflection of a once busy port at Preston, Lancashire

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