In the 1960’s Accrington lost its direct rail route to Manchester. In fact, one of the stations on the route was Baxenden. Interestingly, the station was an early casualty of rationalization, closing fully in 1961.
Baxenden station closed to passengers in 1951. Notably, The building was inconveniently located. Bus competition had made the railway unattractive. Consequently, the final closure came in 1961, next, the entire line from Stubbins junction to Accrington was closed in 1964.
Interestingly, there is a remnant of platform left in the grounds of the Hollands pie factory. The chimney of which can be seen in the background, above. Moreover, the chimney was a local landmark that was eventually replaced by modern construction.
The end of the line was hastened as the Haslingden bypass was targeted to be built on the old trackbed. The station had a good shed and extensive sidings. Notable, for such an out of the way location.
The East lancs Railway (ELR)
The original ELR was formed in 1845 with the aim of joining East Lancashire with Manchester. The first section of the line opened between Clifton Junction and Rawtenstall, Via Stubbins, in 1846. The extension from Stubbins to Accrington opened in 1848.
Baxenden was the Summit of the line at 760ft above sea level. Indeed, there was a steep five-mile climb through Helmshore and Haslingden, to Baxenden. Finally, another steep drop into Accrington led to a triangular junction and notoriously inconvenient station.
The line was difficult to build, with large tracts of sodden peat between Haslingden and Baxenden. In fact, large quantities of stone had to be tipped into the mire to make a firm foundation for the line. Two overbridges were also prone to subsidence.
There were also substantial viaducts to construct, these being at Lumb, Helmshore, and Shoe Mill close to Accrington. Parts of the route now form a cycleway. Most of the bridges on the Accrington side were demolished while most of the structures towards Bury survive.
Baxenden a short history.
Baxenden was largely a product of the Industrial revolution. Historical this was a farming area, But the new toll road built in 1791, by Blind Jack of Knaresborough, encouraged the building of Printworks, mills and coal Mines. New housing sprung up as did Holland’s pie factory.
Perhaps the best know building in Baxenden is St John the Baptist Church founded in 1875. This is a substantial building for such a small village.