Railway event to mark closure of Lancaster Green Ayre

Green Ayre model train station. Picture by David Chandler.
Green Ayre model train station. Picture by David Chandler.

A two day event at Lancaster Library will mark 50 years since the closure of Green Ayre Station.

A model railway layout of the ‘lost’ Lancaster Green Ayre station will be the centre-piece at a special event to commemorate 50 years since its closure.

Green Ayre (opened in 1848) was part of the line providing rail services between Wennington and Morecambe, linking the district to Skipton, Leeds and Bradford. The line passed through the Lune Valley villages of Hornby, Caton and Halton before arriving at Green Ayre, next to Skerton Bridge, on the south bank of Lune. There was a connecting branch to Lancaster ‘Castle’ station and trains to Morecambe and Heysham crossed the river via the Greyhound Bridge.

So many visitors came from Yorkshire to take their holidays on the Lancashire coast, that Morecambe was nicknamed ‘Bradford by the sea.’

The line closed in 1966, following the infamous Beeching Report, which rationalised Britain’s railways.

‘Green Ayre Rises,’ presented by The Friends of Lancaster Library, will take place at the Central Library in Market Square, Lancaster on May 1-2 from 10am – 4pm.

The 40’ x 20’ model railway is the work of Jamie Guest, a member of the Wakefield Railway Modellers’ Society, and has been a labour of love for the past 10 years.

Local historian David Chandler is organising the event on behalf of The Friends of Lancaster Library.

He said: “Green Ayre Rises is a unique opportunity to see the fantastic model of Lancaster Green Ayre in its home city. The line may be gone, but the memories live on.”

The event also features unique film and audio material, showing the line on its last day of operation in 1966. Filmed by a former Lancaster curate, Rev Bob Jackson, the footage has been preserved for 50 years and shows a complete return journey between Lancaster and Morecambe.

Artist Adam York Gregory has created an interactive presentation, which enables visitors to experience a journey on the line.

Visitors are encouraged to bring along their own local railway mementos and photographs.

A guided walk with local historian Peter Wade will take visitors from the library to the site of Green Ayre station, where they will be able to see how much it has changed over the last half century.

To cater for young visitors, local artists Sue and Shane Johnstone have come up with railway-related activities for children.

Admission is £2 for adults and £1 for children/concessions. All proceeds go to St John’s Hospice, Lancaster.