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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

One Small Step Over Wyre - Knott End

The Fylde is alive with rail expansion initiatives. In addition to the sustained efforts of Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust aiming at creating a permanent themed visitor attraction within the planned waterfront redevelopment of Associated British Ports - with added potential of a reopening of the railway line running as far as Poulton Junction - there is now yet a further initiative on the other side of the River Wyre.

This time the purpose is to linkup Knott End with intervening rural communities along what was the Knott End and Garstang railway line. This shortlived private railway connected with the mainline at Garstang - and provided a community service in the north Fylde hinterland. Famous for the memorialising of one of the former locomotives - popularly known as the 'Pilling Pig' the short line carried freight as well as passengers, being a welcome transport link for the farms dominating the hinterland.

Its rolling stock was mixed complete with balcony end carriages. Never fulfilling its promoters' expectations it followed a slow lingering death into the postwar years with little trace of its existence, However the renewal of attention being given to reopening defunct railbeds and greater connectivity between communities, especially in the north and southwest - has led to formation of a new group pursuing the rights and wherefores of bringing back to life a rail link running to Knott End - albeit on narrow gauge track.

A notice on a Talbot Road cafe door caught my attention today (above) and I commend any reader to get in touch and render support to this deserving cause. A light railway reopening deserves all the support it can get in this part of the world.

Apros this worthy endeavour I remember my own journey along another partial narrow gauge railway reopened in Co. Donegal on a holiday in the north of Ireland some years back. In this case the line involved just a section of the famous CDR along original track using in this case an elderly railbus (built in Wigan). The group responsible had acquired a former lineside station as well as purchasing three former trailers of the Belgian town system in Charleroi, plus the original CDR for motive power. Even though the venture was out of the way from regular tourism spots it nonetheless attracted visitors in season and was very much part of the railway heritage scene. Pigs might fly - they say!

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