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Burnley, Clitheroe & Sabden Railway application for shares for this unbuilt railway dated 1886 | by ian.dinmore
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Burnley, Clitheroe & Sabden Railway application for shares for this unbuilt railway dated 1886

From The Line That Never Was by Brian Haworth:


This company was incorporated for the purpose of constructing a railway from the North Lancashire Loop Line of the LYR at Read to the Blackburn and Hellifield line of the same company, between Whalley and Clitheroe, and a branch line from Read to the town of Sabden, which at present has no railway facilities whatsoever. The length of the through line, including a southern junction, or Blackburn fork with the loop line is nearly four miles, and the length of the Sabden branch is a little over two and a half miles, the total length of new railway to be constructed being six miles four furlongs and two chains.


The want of these railways has long been experienced by the public, and the accompanying map of the locality shows the great saving that will be effected over the extremely circuitous and inconvenient existing railway communication between Burnley and Clitheroe.


The through line will connect two of the most important railways of the LYR’s system, and will enable traffic to pass direct from one to the other without it first having to make, as at present, a long detour through the crowded station at Blackburn, involving changing of passengers and shunting and marshalling of goods and mineral trains with all the attendant delays, expense and inconvenience.


The proposed line will reduce the distance in the railway journey from Burnley, and places East thereof, to Clitheroe and the North by ten and a half miles, the new line from Burnley to Clitheroe being a little under eleven and a half miles, as against the present route of twenty two miles.


One result of this great shortening of distance will be to establish a new main route between the important manufacturing town of Burnley and its rich surrounding coalfield on the one hand, and the manufacturing town of Clitheroe with its adjacent extensive lime quarries and the increasingly important junction of Hellifield on the other hand.


It will be seen from the accompanying map, which is copied from the LYR companies public timetable, that the new line will form part of the shortest through route between the Eastern stations of that company and Scotland.


The Burnley coalfield is rapidly becoming one of the most important in the North of England. The present annual output is about 1,000,000 tons of coal and 150,000 tons of coke. On account of its geographical position this coalfield is of the utmost importance to the iron and steel manufacturing districts of Barrow In Furness, Westmoreland and Cumberland, and large quantities of both coal and coke are annually sent from the Burnley collieries to the works in these districts. Over 90,000 tons of coke alone are annually sent from Burnley to Barrow-in-Furness. The new through line is designed to accommodate this considerable traffic.


A heavy passenger traffic is assured by the density of the surrounding population, there being 300,000 inhabitants within a radius of six miles from the centre of the line. Further, this population is rapidly growing, and in Burnley it is estimated to have increased by 30% since the date of the last census.


To the North of Clitheroe there are inexhaustible supplies of limestone, which are extensively worked between Clitheroe and Chatburn, and from whence large quantities of lime and road materials are annually sent into the Burnley and Yorkshire districts.


There does already exist a large through traffic for which this line will be the shortest route in one of the busiest districts of Lancashire, the saving in distance being ten miles. This railway, which, providing as it does, increased facilities, must rapidly increase and greatly develop the present traffic.


The local traffic proper to the new main line will be of considerable value and capable of great expansion. The railway passes through and will open up to the inhabitants of Padiham and Burnley the picturesque district of Whalley Abbey and the Ribble and Sabden Valleys.


The local traffic proper to the new main line will be of considerable value and capable of great expansion.


The railway proposses to pass through and will open up to the inhabitants of Padiham and Burnley the picturesque district of Whalley Abbey and the Ribble and Sabden Valleys.


During the summer season excursionists from all parts of Lancashire flock to Whalley and the district, not withstanding its present inaccessibility by railway from Burnley and East Lancashire. It may be safely estimated, therefore, that the new line, by placing Whalley and Pendle Hill and the surrounding district within easy reach of the manufacturers and workpeople of East Lancashire, will secure for itself a valuable residential and excursion passenger traffic.


Near to the commencement of the main line at Read there are large mills employing a number of workpeople. It is proposed to build a station at this point to accommodate the inhabitants of Read and the traffic of these mills, and to facilitate the interchange of traffic between the new line and the LYR. It is also proposed to construct a station at Whalley. This station will accommodate the inhabitants of Wiswell and Barrow.


At Barrow, there are very extensive Calico printing works, recently enlarged, from which there is an annual traffic inwards and outwards of over 25,000 tons. This is at present carted either from the existing Whalley station or from Burnley and district. The new line will give siding accommodation at these works, and thus secure this important local traffic.


The town of Sabden, at which the Sabden branch terminates, is four and a half miles from the present Whalley station The weight of goods and coal carted this distance during a year has been ascertained to be 13,853 tons for the mills at Sabden alone. This is exclusive of the wants of the population, agricultural and excursion traffic.


There are extensive stone quarries in the vincinity, and the place is noted for its excellent supply of water for calico printing and other manufacturing processes With railway facilities there can be no doubt that Sabden will develop into a still more important manufacturing centre.


An agreement of a very satisfactory character dated 10th June 1886, scheduled to and confirmed by the Act of Parliament, has been entered into with the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company by which that company undertakes the working of the new lines at five and a half per cent of the gross receipts. By this agreement the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway are bound to work and use the line as if it were their own, to develop the traffic and to convey all traffic originating between Hellifield and Burnley and districts over the new line.


The company have express power under their special Act of Parliament to pay interest out of the capital during the four years authorised for the completion of the works, providing the aggregate amount so paid shall not exceed £15,000.


An agreement dated 1st December 1886 has been entered into with Mr George Barcley Bruce junior of 2 Westminster Chambers London contractor for the construction, completion and opening of the line within two years from the date thereof. This agreement also provides for the purchase of land and the payment of every liability of the company up to and including the final handing over of the line to the satisfaction of the LYR Company.



What is striking about the prospectus is that all the Directors were London-based. The prospectus is dated December 1886, well after the initial surge of “Railway Mania”, in fact eleven years after the completion of the Settle & Carlisle line but, unfortunately and for whatever reason, the line was never constructed, the RV Line missed out on additional traffic and the Burnley, Clitheroe and Sabden Railway became another line that never was.

With Thanks and acknowledgement to Brian Haworth: News/Sabden.htm


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Uploaded on October 12, 2014