Photo of Carlisle Bridge courtesy of Andrew Reilly
Lancaster Green Ayre railway station (Originally sited over the road bridge from the club House) was the Midland Railway’s station in the city of Lancaster, England. The line between Green Ayre and Morecambe was used for pioneering experimental electrification via overhead wires.
The station closed to passengers in 1966 and regrettably there are no remains.
Lancaster’s first two stations were the Lancaster and Preston Junction Railway’s at Greaves in 1840, and the Lancaster and Carlisle Railway’s Lancaster Castle which superseded it in 1846.
The third station was opened by the Morecambe Harbour and Railway Company (MH&R) on 12 June 1848. The station building was designed by Edmund Sharpe. Originally called Lancaster, it was soon renamed Lancaster Green Ayre, although timetables incorrectly listed its name as Lancaster Green Area until 1870. The line originally ran from Lancaster to Morecambe Harbour. The MH&R soon amalgamated with the “little” North Western Railway, which continued the line eastward from 17 November 1849, reaching Skipton in 1850. A connecting curve between Green Ayre and the Castle opened on 18 December 1849.
The station was on the southern bank of the River Lune, adjacent to Skerton Bridge and immediately to the north of the city centre. Immediately west of the station was the junction between the connecting curve to the Castle and Green Ayre’s engine shed (Now a supermarket) and the main line, which then crossed the river via Greyhound Bridge and continued along the north bank of the river, passing under the Lancaster and Carlisle’s railway Bridge that spans over the river. East of Green Ayre the line followed the south bank of the river.
Please note Lancaster Railway club building beside the last electrification mast close to the railway track
Take-over by the Midland Railway
The “little” North Western Railway was taken over in 1874 by the Midland Railway, which had previously operated, then leased the line which became a significant route for that company, giving access from its Yorkshire lines to the Lancashire coast in an area dominated by its major rival, the London and North Western Railway.
The Lancaster–Morecambe line was electrified in 1908. This was the first high-voltage overhead electrification in the United Kingdom and was at 6,600 volts AC 25Hz; it was the pioneer for such systems. It was intended to be a test bed for further mainline electrification by the Midland Railway. In 1952 the original rolling stock was life expired and was withdrawn. Steam traction took over for a short while and then the power supply was upgraded to 50Hz and some new stock provided; again this was to act as a test-bed for further main-line electrification in the UK. This section of line became particularly busy.
The line between Wennington and Morecambe via Green Ayre fell victim to the Beeching Axe. It closed to passengers on 2 January 1966, although the line through the station continued to be used for freight until 16 March 1976. The station was demolished that year.
The Greyhound Bridge was converted for use by the A589 road from 1972. The site of Green Ayre station is now a public park. Nothing remains of the station, but a goods crane from Hornby goods shed had been erected in the park near the site but is no longer there. The site of the adjacent locomotive shed is now occupied by a supermarket