The Poulton and Wyre Railway Society (PWRS) was formed in 2006 its aim to reopen the old disused rail line that runs from Poulton to Fleetwood.
They’ve provided us with this information to explain more about their group and how you can get involved:
Poulton and Wyre Railway Society
The fledgling group have encountered many difficulties and setbacks over the last eleven years but as the years roll by we are constantly moving towards our goal of once more seeing the line providing a service to the local and surrounding communities.
Thanks to Network Rail who granted the PWRS a licence that allowed us to clear the line and repair or replace the broken fences and what remains of the infrastructure. The PWRS took on the challenge and began the daunting task of clearing the line began.
Thanks to local organisations
Over the years we have made considerable progress. With the help of Lancashire County Council, who have provided grants for much needed tools and equipment, we have been able to make considerable progress in clearing the line and trackside and replacing damaged and missing fencing. Wyre Council have also helped us with grants and the loan of machinery when not in use by them. Fleetwood Town Council have also provided loans for our team at Jameson Road to purchase a shed and hire machinery to move the mounds of soil that was covering parts of the track due to many years of ditch maintenance. We were also fortunate to win a grant from the Aviva Community award scheme to allow us to send one of our member volunteers to be trained in using commercial weed control equipment and chemicals.
Our main income since we began eleven years ago has come from annual membership fees and the sale of logs from the many trees that had been blown over during the years the old line lay unused. We’ve reluctantly had to remove some trees to comply with railway regulations set out by Network Rail.
We also have been sponsored by local companies Alan J Hargreaves Engineering from Redmarsh, and AE Engineering from Fleetwood. Both these companies have provided us with heavy lifting and haulage of machinery and aggregates on various occasions. Without their help and donations from other railway enthusiasts we would not be in the position we are today.
Restoring a Diesel Engine
We will of course eventually require rolling stock to run a railway; to this end a group of our volunteers have been restoring a John Fowler Diesel Shunter at our base at NPL Hillhouse Business Park, this is now almost complete. The NPL management have kindly allowed us a plot of land at Hillhouse for a base.
We also have a class 108 Diesel DMU which is being restored at a railway centre in Derbyshire. We’ve also purchased a Geismar motorised maintenance trolley which when restored will be used to transport workers and their equipment up and down the line to wherever they are working.
Over the years we have cleared and refurbished both Thornton and Burn Naze stations, both were buried under overgrown trees, shrubs and weeds. The platforms at both stations had been destroyed and all types of rubbish was strewn all over both stations. No matter what the weather our teams of volunteers from each of the three sites where we are currently working have been working hard to clear the line and restore the stations back to a usable condition. Both station platforms have been restored and planted up. Thornton station has been awarded certificates from the Britain in Bloom competition for the last four years running. Burn Naze has had the platform re flagged and the gardens and viewing area reinstated.
The PWRS is aware of the need to look after our wildlife and we have a member whose role is to look after the issues raised regarding wildlife. We put up many bird and bat boxes along the line to encourage wildlife to make their home alongside the railway. Each year we see more and more wildlife taking up residence in these boxes and in the hedges alongside the track.
We have another team working hard in all weathers at Jameson road where it is planned to build a halt with a platform to service the Cala Gran caravan park. We also plan to provide a small car park there to be used as park and ride, passengers will be able to leave their vehicles there and take the train into Burn Naze, Thornton and Poulton. The team are in the process of removing many tons of spoil from the track and have planted up the surrounding banking with shrubs and bulbs. There is a break in the track at that point which will have to be reinstated before we can run trains on that section of the line. Yet another team is currently engaged in restoring the footpath crossing the track at footpath no.8 known as the Wyre way.
We have recently set up an operating company that will eventually run the railway when we are finally given an operating lease. We’ve also applied to become a charity. Along with an operating licence we will then be able to apply for the larger grants that will be needed for the PWRS to replace the infrastructure that was demolished when the line closed.
Rail service from Poulton to Fleetwood
We can then put into place our business plan that will enable us to once again operate a rail service between Poulton and Fleetwood. Of course our ultimate ambition is to run steam engines on weekends and bank holidays and other times of the year such as Christmas; but that is a long way off. First we will need to replace the essential facilities that are missing and build the engine sheds and workshops needed to enable us to maintain and service our engines and other rolling stock.
We are always looking for new members, if you are interested in becoming a member and joining us in our task, just come along to Thornton station on any Wednesday or Saturday morning and ask for Rick or David. You will be made very welcome.
Or Email our membership secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org and please mention that you saw it on Visit Fylde Coast!
History of Poulton and Wyre Railway Society
Poulton and Wyre Railway Society PWRS, stems from the merger of two groups. The first being the Wyre Rail Cycle Partnership formed by the Poulton Market Town Initiative in 2005. The second being a dedicated group of railway enthusiasts.
The WRCP wished to see the line from Poulton junction to Burn Naze re-opened and extended to Fleetwood as a modern commuter railway (with a heritage feel at the station sites) and a joint cyclepath/ bridleway. The second group proposed a heritage railway, offering tourists the chance of a trip behind a steam locomotive on the Fylde coast, whilst also looking into running a commuter service using other heritage locomotives.
The two groups merged in April 2006 and held a well attended public meeting and by the end of the night it had been agreed that the PWRS would push forward with the heritage scheme, while still offering support to Network Rail if they decided to upgrade the line as a part of the national network.
Poulton & Wyre Railway Society has a clear mission:
‘The Poulton and Wyre Railway Society will work as a catalyst to facilitate the reopening of the line from Poulton to Fleetwood and has formed the Poulton & Wyre Railway Trust to carry out negotiations with the relevant authorities on its behalf.’
The Priorities of Poulton and Wyre Railway Society are:
1) Look after and improve Thornton station
2) Support Wyre Council and Lancashire County Council with their commitment to secure the long term future of the railway.
3) Continue to restore a fine collection of historical railway artefacts.
Plans for the station and railway corridor through Thornton include the reinstatement of boundaries using natural and picket fencing where possible, renovation of the former ticket office and the repair and replacement of damaged but still extant brick walls.
The Poulton Station Partnership includes PWRS, The Heritage Task Group and the Green Team. Working with Network Rail and Northern Rail the partnership will carry on with future improvements such as CCTV and efforts will be made to create a more authentic L&Y/LNWR look.
PWRS – How you can get involved
Poulton & Wyre Railway Society (known as PWRS) are on a mission to re-open the railway line between Poulton and Fleetwood. Everyone is welcome, here is more information about how you can get involved.
Membership of community groups like this can mean lots of different things to different people, but anyone with an interest in railways and trains, or the areas in which the group are working is very welcome to get in touch and join in.
Rebuild and refurbishment of the Wennington Signal Box
The restoration of a 6 wheeled L&Y carriage
The reclamation and de-vegetation of the former Thornton Station site
The restoration of a John Fowler Locomotive
Restoring to original condition the fencing and gates of Thornton Station
How can you get involved?
Membership of the PWRS can mean different things to different people:
- Friendship and socialising – you can meet with established working teams at Thornton Station, or be part of our promotions team
- Administration -offer guidance on planning and the preparation of tasks such as the restoration of the Wennington Signal Box and the L&Y carriage.
- Memories – access membership content on our website, such as reports and our well established photo archive
- Discussion – generally evangelise about our aims and objectives to your colleagues, family, friends and neighbours!
- Watching brief – support the Society from your armchair, keep abreast of what’s going on through meetings, the website and newsletters
Everyone is welcome, young and old, so if you are interested in supporting our project please contact:
Membership Secretary Nick McCrudden
Tel: 07521 834243.
Or write to:
Poulton and Wyre Railway Society
c/o The Print Room
Hillhouse Business Park
You can also visit the website at www.pwrs.org
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