West Lancashire set to celebrate its half centenary

THE West Lancashire Light Railway is to hold a series of special events to mark its 50th anniversary.

There will be a ‘Nearly 50’ gala on August 12-13 and a 50th anniversary gala on September 23-24.

Orenstein & Koppel 0-4-0T+WT No. 6641 of 1913 Montalban in action on the West Lancashire Light Railway. PHILIP PACEY

The 2ft-gauge line was started by six local schoolboys in September, 1967. They were concerned by the loss of small, narrow gauge industrial railways, so they set out to save what they could in a working museum including steam, diesel, petrol and electric railway equipment from local sites such as coal mines, sand extraction sites for the glass industry, and brickworks, and looking further afield, from slate quarries in North Wales and military use.

Thanks to a family connection, the schoolboys were permitted to lay track on a site alongside a clay pit at Alty’s brickworks and near Hesketh Bank
station on the standard gauge West Lancashire Railway line between Preston and Southport.

The railway was closed in 1964 and brick-making continued until 1969-70. The brickworks has now been the heritage line’s home for half a century.

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