Fleetwood lies on the most northern tip of the Fylde Coast, its sister resort Blackpool just 7 miles south.
For a town that holds about 25k residence you’d be thinking you can stand on a platform, however for those who don’t live locally I have to sadly say Fleetwood is one of the biggest towns in the UK without a railway station.
In the beginning in 1835 he commissioned various sites for a station to be built, especially alongside the river Wyre. The original station plan was for the end of London Street, directly from the Mount, but the plan was not followed.
Being the preferred location, just by the estuary The Preston & Wyre Railway and Harbour Company Incorporated had the original station built in 1840. A year after officially opening in 1841 for seven years after the line from Fleetwood though Preston off the London was the West Coast Mainline. Because with the high hills and steep valleys of the Lake District no trains could venture up that far.
Hence why one of the main hotels in the town is called The Euston, people would often settle here overnight before continuing north.
This all came to an end in 1848 once the line was built over Shap in the Lakes and beyond to the Borders. The single-track line ran over an embankment with timber trestle bridge northwards across the marshy Wyre estuary, with the station at the far end of the bridge. Due to the amount of rail traffic the trestle became unsafe the railway was re-routed slightly inland, the track doubled, new station built with a goods station at the south end of Queen’s Terrace in 1883.
The harbor area was very extent with sidings and tracks for many industries and uses especially to transport fresh fish. The trawler sheds had many railway lines running alongside to transport it across many parts of the rejoin and beyond.
Between the platforms was the booking office with waiting rooms and so on.
Platforms 1 and 4 were the full length of the station half being under a glass-roofed.
Platforms 2 and 3 were shorter bay platforms that did not enter the train shed. Platform 5 being the longest was the boat train platform, that ran along outside the train shed by its eastern side with it’s entrance being here.
Once a very busy bustling well deserved station, however it fell victim to the beaching report commissioned by the government to help salvage an ageing, dilapidated and expensive public run railway.
The line to Fleetwood did not originally appear in the report, But the governments intentions was to cut back the railway all across the country to ‘The Reshaping of British Railways 1963 and The Development of the Major Railway Trunk Routes’ in 1965. So it’s stations became victims like with 2360 other stations across the national network.
With Queens Terrence Station now closed in 1966 Fleetwood's Wyre Dock Station about half a mile south was renamed "Fleetwood" but passenger services between Poulton-le-Fylde and Fleetwood were withdrawn after the last train on 30 May 1970 and then station was demolished.
The line stayed for the Wyre Dock as light industry remained in the area, and freight like the ICI trains ran along the line until 1999 then the whole line was shut. From the start this line was in trouble, yes in it’s heyday it was very busy with 10’s of thousands of passengers a month using it but it soon came into financial difficulties. The line had originally been under funded and neglected.
So much so the board of directors including Sir Peter Hesketh Fleetwood had been forced out and the railway taken over locally and leased to the Manchester and Leeds Railway as early as 1846, then passed to Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway that boosted and invested the most in the dock area, extra stations built like the new Thornton-Cleveleys and Singleton Station, they even improved Poulton Station but it never became truly feasible.
A new port at Heysham taking most of the passengers to the Isle of Man and Ireland ultimately brought an end to the sailings. The fall of the power station closing, industry and fishing in the town reduced, the services to Blackpool, Southport or London axed it just seemed this line was destined to close.And closed it has been, but not forgotten.
Most of the track bed and a single line railway remains. Although severed at the Poulton le Fylde end during the electrification of the Preston to Blackpool North line in 2018 it continues to run along via Thornton - Cleveleys and stops short of the town by about half of a mile.
Since 1 July 2007, the station at Thornton - Cleveleys was leased by Network Rail to the Poulton & Wyre Railway Society allowing volunteers access to the site to return the station to a restored condition.
Improvements have occurred since the society have been working on the station, it’s now cleared of vegetation, almost all the picket style fences rebuilt and the society resurfaced the down platform. In April 2013 they were granted permission to extend their licence and begin work on the next station along the line towards Fleetwood at Burn Naze.
For the life of it’s railway history it has come and gone so fast, it had changed so very much but the passion to keep a railway of sorts going to this town has never been axed, demolished or lost.I really hope we see a train service back along this line soon. Never mind the enthusiast, the people of Fleetwood need it.