This is a Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway omnibus

You may wonder why the Railway company was using a bus in the early 20th century but as with most things it goes back to the past. When the Bolton & Preston Railway were trying to obtain a route from Chorley into Preston in the mid 1830's the North Union Railway (Wigan to Preston Railway) were not agreeable to the other line joining them on their route into Preston.

The Bolton & Preston people  then came up with the idea of purchasing the old tramway and using that route into Preston and thus serving the villages of Whittle le Woods and Bamber Bridge which otherwise would not have a service.  This they did promising that as soon as they were able they would provide this service.

The North Union then had a rethink and finally agreed to let the Bolton & Preston join theirs at Euxton Junction in 1843. This left the populations of the two villages without a railway.  The two companies then amalgamated in 1844 after more financial arguments, however this was short lived as on 1st January 1846, the North Union was leased jointly by the  Grand Junction Railway (later London & North Western Railway and the Manchester & Leeds Railway (later Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway). 

This joint arrangement continued until under the LNWR Act of 7th August 1888, the North Union Railway company was dissolved and absorbed by the LNWR and the L & Y.. One year later another LNWR Act of 26th July 1889 vested the section from Parkside Junction (south of Wigan) to Euxton Junction in the LNWR and from Bolton to Euxton Junction in the LYR, Euxton Junction to Preston remaining the joint property of both companies.

So in July 1906, the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway purchased two 28 hp. Milnes Daimler motor buses at £931 10s each to collect traffic from outlying districts. So by 22nd April 1907 they were providing a service from Blundellsands and Crosby to Thornton on the Liverpool - Southport line, however it was not a success. 

A view along the platforms towards Station Road with the main waiting room on the Preston bound platform. There then being two routes into Preston from here,

As  the railway got busier the railway company  built a subway for passengers under the railway by some steep steps from either the footpath on Station Road or the station platform. 

The two routes into Preston are clearly shown on this Clearing House map of the surrounding railways. The main Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway route turned right immediately after the station and headed north through Preston Junction or Todd Lane Station on the 1850 route into Preston Station on the L & Y side of the Station, platforms  9 to 13.

However there was a second route straight on through Lostock Hall Station, past the engine sheds turning north at Farington Curve junction, opened in 1903 and onto the London & North Western Railway lines into their part of Preston Station.

They were the regular routes, others included using the Whitehouse Junction branch and heading onto the West Lancashire Railway line to Southport, carrying straight on after Lostock Hall onto the East Lancashire line to Ormskirk and Liverpool Exchange and finally turning left just before Lostock Hall and going south to Leyland and Wigan on the London & North Western line.

The distinctive Signal Box at the Station level crossing with the original half crossing gates in situ.

These formed a square so that each gate closed off either half the railway or half the road depending how they were situated.

The Lancashire & Yorkshire public house is next to the railway and the Daily Dispatch headline reads "Parent raid on hospital - Angry Scenes"

Smithy Row on Station Road.

I had trouble confirming the two entries to the subway on either side until I found the photograph to the right on the BBC Domesday project website recovered from the Laserdisc which dates the photograph to around 1986. The gates have been changed but the subway is still in use. It finally disappeared when the A6 was diverted onto the Bamber Bridge bypass.

Leyland Historical Society

Above a few pictures of the level crossing at various points in its history. I have included two modern pictures of the Signal Box and its control panel that not only shows the manually controlled barriers for Station Road but also the two crossings at the Hospital Inn and Mintholme which are operated from this box by CCTV.

Note that the sidings to the west of the station are still in situ. You may wonder why this is historical, the Signal Box could soon become a thing of the past as the current upgrade to the Preston - Blackpool line includes phasing out the boxes in favour of a central control office in Manchester, so its best to record items why they are still there.

West View on the east side of Station Road with the original Methodist Chapel in the distance.

So on 16th October 1907 the buses and their garage were transferred to Chorley from where they ran via Whittle le Woods via Clayton le Woods to Bamber Bridge.  The L & Y laying claim to finally providing the service that was promised back in the 1830's.

A third bus was purchased in 1909 but the rough roads and solid tyres put the bodies to a severe test and various parts had to be replaced at the railway works in Horwich. However in August 1910 the body of the third bus was reported to be "in a shaky condition"  and soon after all the buses were withdrawn. The first two were sold but the third was converted into a lorry and survived until 1920.

Looking in the opposite direction, note how quiet the roads were.

Imagine children playing in the road nowadays.

Especially when you consider that they was the main road from Manchester and Wigan towards Preston at the time.


We continue the journey up Station Road to the old Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway station, the adjacent pub now closed being named after the company.

The McKenzie Arms now demolished.