(Photos 1-7 © Phill Davison, photos 8-10 © Tony Gillett)
The former branch to Longridge was connected to the main line at Preston via a series of three tunnels - collectively known as Miley - which took it under the district of Deepdale, north of the town centre.
Deepdale No.1 Tunnel, 160 yards long and furthest west, runs below a terrace of houses on the south side of St Peter’s Square. A vertically-sided cutting - the walls of which are kept apart by timber braces - separate this from No.2 tunnel which has a length of 272 yards and curves north. The short gap to No.3 tunnel - effectively a ventilation shaft - is now covered by concrete beams which provide support for a Police Station. As well as trapping its darkness with a southerly curve, this third bore is also the longest at 383 yards.
The walls of all three tunnels are stone-built whilst their roofs employ red brick. A single rusting track remains in situ at the northern side of the formation. Locals now use the cutting between No.1 and No.2 tunnels as a rubbish dump.
The line originally formed part of ambitious plans to create a link between Yorkshire and the Lancashire coast. This failed, consigning the route to life as a 6½-mile branch, largely single track. 1st May 1840 marked its opening day; the double-track extension from its western terminus at Maudlands, through the Deepdale tunnels, was added in 1850 for freight purposes. Through passenger services started in 1856 but succumbed in 1930.
The branch’s goods traffic came to an end in 1967 but the western section was retained to serve a coal yard and the Courtaulds factory at Red Scar. The latter lost its trains in February 1980 and the route was disconnected during the 1990s.
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