Branch Line Britain - celebrating Britain's minor railways

Midland - Blackpool South review 1

Preston train leaving Kirkham & Wesham railway station 4/9/09

4/9/09 Kirkham & Wesham to Blackpool South

Dept: Kirkham & Wesham 16.23

Arrive: Blackpool South: 16.51

Weather: Sunny and rainy

Traction used: Class 147 2-car DMU

Kirkham & Wesham is an island platform station with a unisex toilet building in the middle and plenty of flowers growing in large pots, though the eastern end is overgrown. Covered steps go up to the ticket office building on the bridge. There are two by-pass fast tracks to the north of the station. The train is a two-car class 147 diesel unit and is pretty full. Soon after we leave the station we pass some sidings on the left, then we leave the main line to Blackpool North, turning left onto a single track and going in a south westerly direction. We are soon out into the countryside and we pass wheat fields on both sides then enter a cutting. We are travelling about 50 mph now and the fields have changed to pasture land. We pass a village on the left followed by an industrial estate. Sheep graze in the fields on the left, whilst wheat is being harvested in the fields on the right. We slow to about 20 mph now and then come to a stop at Moss Side after going over a level crossing. It is a single platform station with a blue and white shelter with no windows in it. On the left both before and after the station are some wire mesh cages with blue water butts in them. I'm not sure what livestock is kept in them. It may be pigs or chickens but it's difficult to tell. We pass more cows on the left and our first caravan site on the right, before going over a canal. New houses appear on the right as we reach 50 mph, before slowing again and coming into Lytham station. There is a large perspex shelter on the single platform, with a rebuilt red brick building behind it, which has nothing to do with the station. We pass a cricket pitch on the left and then go into a low cutting before emerging to see large Victorian houses on both sides of the track. These give way to smaller red brick terraced houses as we come into Ansdell & Fairhaven station. It has a single platform on the right with a blue and white shelter. The track area is much wider here, indicating that there were once four tracks on this stretch. There are still lots of red brick terraced houses on the left, but on the left is the large Royal Lytham & St Annes golf course. Beyond that you see the first sight of Blackpool Tower in the distance. There is now lots of detached housing on the left and on the right as the golf course ends, flats appear, followed by more terraced housing. We then arrive at St Annes-on-the-Sea station, which has been rebuilt in recent years with a large red brick station building housing the ticket office and waiting room. It starts raining as we pass a mixture of modern and older housing on both sides. Then another golf course appears on the right, with sand dunes on the left, followed by a holiday camp. We then come into Squires Gate station, which has the usual single platform and a blue-framed perspex shelter. The station signs have a smaller sign on top of them saying, "Alight here for Blackpool International Airport". Soon after leaving we see the Big Dipper and the Big One amusement rides at the Pleasure Beach on the left and shortly afterwards we come into Blackpool Pleasure Beach station. Unlike the other stations on this line, the powers that be have left the original Victorian Canopy in place, so there is a large area for passengers to wait on the platform if it is raining. We go past the rest of the Pleasure Beach on the left and into a cutting, before arriving at Blackpool South station, which sadly is just a single platform with a small perspex shelter and not even a ticket office. The bushes and trees around the station could do with a trim. On the right next to the platform is a very large car park, which perhaps sums up the reason for such a small terminal station.

Summary: A small neglected line, which is probably used more by locals all year round, rather than tourists coming into Blackpool. MC