Group embarks on Garstang & Knot-End revival

AN enthusiast group has been set up to rebuild part of the former Garstang & Knot-End Railway as a 2ft gauge line, in a bid to boost local tourism.

The original line ran between Garstang and Knott End-on-Sea in Lancashire, and was built to provide an outlet for local farmers in the Over Wyre area.

The modern-day Pilling Pig: Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0ST No. 1885 of 1955, painted in the colours of the Garstang & Knott End Railway, is seen plinthed outside Fold House Caravan Park. Formerly based at the Gwili Railway, it had firebox issues which prevented an economic restoration, and was brought to this site for static display in 2001. BOB JENKINS/CREATIVE COMMONS

Authorised by an Act of Parliament on June 30, 1864, the Garstang & Knot-End Railway Company took 5½ years to build a seven-mile, single-track line from Garstang only as far as Pilling, across peat bogland that was being reclaimed for farming.

The line opened on December 5, 1870, running with a single locomotive, Black Hawthorn 0-4-2ST Hebe, passengers boarding at any point along the line by request.

In 1872, Hebe broke down, with all services suspended, and soon the company was in rent arrears. The locomotive was repossessed, and for the next three years only occasional horse-drawn trains were run.

Services resumed in 1875 using a new locomotive, Manning Wardle 0-4-0ST Union. A replacement engine, Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0ST Farmer’s Friend, bought in December that year, became known locally as the Pilling Pig because of the squeal made by its whistle. This name became colloquially applied to all of the line’s locomotives and even the railway itself.

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