Hall Royd Junction Signal Box Nameboard
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North Western approaches: the line over Copy Pit

In the beginning there was the Manchester and Leeds Railway engineered by one George Stephenson which approached Todmorden from the South West via Summit Tunnel, passed through Todmorden in a easterly direction before reaching Hall Royd Junction and Millwood Tunnel. Approaching Todmorden from the North East was the line that created Hall Royd Junction: the line to Copy Pit and Burnley.

Our journey to Copy Pit starts immediately at Gannow Junction in Burnley.

Class 25 25277 heads two loaded coal hoppers at Gannow Junction, taking the line to Colne as it heads for the coal depot at Burnley Central on 29 October 1982.

Copyright J K Wallace, all rights reseved

Class 25 25277 heads two loaded coal hoppers at Gannow Junction, taking the line to Colne as it heads for the coal depot at Burnley Central on 29 October 1982.

LMS (BR) Stanier Jubilee 45647 'Sturdee' hauling 1X37 Concrete North Ltd's return excursion Blackpool North – Leeds City leaving Gannow Junction (Burnley) after attaching banking loco at 21.00 hours in Saturday 4 June 1966.

Photographer Eric Bentley, copyright JK Wallace

LMS (BR) Stanier Jubilee 45647 'Sturdee' hauling 1X37 Concrete North Ltd's return excursion Blackpool North – Leeds City leaving Gannow Junction (Burnley) after attaching banking loco at 21.00 hours in Saturday 4 June 1966. A study of modern Google photography suggests that this is the Accrington Road bridge, but confirmation would be welcomed.

0-6-0s working a passenger train at Towneley on the Copy Pit line c. 1937

Photographer Arthur R Wilson, J K Wallace collection.

Midland 3F and Lanky 0-6-0s working a returning excursion from Blackpool to Yorkshire passing Towneley on the Copy Pit line c. 1937. Note home & distant signals to the right of the telegraph poles.

A pair of class 37s - 37153 and 37202 head the Preston Dock tanks on 3 July 1982

Copyright: J K Wallace, all rights reserved 2013

A pair of class 37s - 37153 and 37202 - head the Preston Dock tanks on 3 July 1982 heading out of Towneley.

LMS (BR) Stanier Jubilee 45581 'Bihar & Orissa' climbing out of Burnley towards Copy Pit with 1X32 return advertised execursion Blackpool North – Leeds City at 19.21 Whit Monday 30 May 1966.

Photographer Eric Bentley, copyright JK Wallace

LMS (BR) Stanier Jubilee 45581 'Bihar & Orissa' climbing out of Burnley towards Copy Pit with 1X32 return advertised execursion Blackpool North – Leeds City at 19.21 Whit Monday 30 May 1966. It is crossing A646 road bridge.

Stanier Black 5 44694 climbing out of Burnley to Copy Pit with 1X31 return advertised excursion Blackpool North – Bradford Exchange on Whit Monday at 19.10 30 May 1966.

Photographer Eric Bentley, copyright JK Wallace

Stanier Black 5 44694 climbing out of Burnley to Copy Pit with 1X31 return advertised excursion Blackpool North – Bradford Exchange on Whit Monday at 19.10 30 May 1966.

Excursion1X43 Bradford S.S. return excursion Southport – Bradford Exchange with 45208 climbing out of Burnley 19.55 on Saturday 4 June 1966.

Photographer Eric Bentley, copyright JK Wallace

Excursion1X43 Bradford Summer Saturday return excursion Southport – Bradford Exchange with 45208 climbing out of Burnley 19.55 on Saturday 4 June 1966. By this time the Preston-Southport line was closed, and therefore the most likely routing would have been via the Burscough Bridge - North curve, and so onto Preston. The girders of the A646 bridge can be seen to the left of the loco.

Excursion 1X38 Ravensthorpe Central WMC return excursion Blackpool North – Dewsbury Well Rd climbing out of Burnley 20.05 on Saturday 4 June 1966.

Photographer Eric Bentley, copyright JK Wallace

Excursion 1X38 Ravensthorpe Central WMC return excursion Blackpool North – Dewsbury Well Rd climbing out of Burnley 20.05 on Saturday 4 June 1966.

 

 

Where was - and when was - the pit at Copy Pit? The answer is that it was to the north of the line, and the site today can be located on Google Streetview (see panel on left). The view is facing Burnley on the A646 at Walton Copy Farm. The railway has breasted the summit and the two running lines can be seen to the left (south). The signal box was a couple hundred yards in the opposite direction, and the flat ground over the wall was the site of two sidings that connected with the Todmorden-bound line, and trailed in towards Todmorden.

The pit itself was to the north of the road, and was possible connected to the sidings either by a high-level tramway or overhead ropeway. It is clearly marked on the 1905 OS 1:2,500 map. The 1930 OS 1: 2,500 map shows the pit still in operation but now renamed Cliviger Colliery (Copy Pit). The mine appears to have been worked on a number of adjacent sites, the workings between the road and the railway tunnel being known as Royd Wood. In 1960 the pit is marked, but the sidings have been simplified.

There appears to be two sidings terminating into a single lead directly onto the Todmorden (up) running line, and protected with a trap. The BR Copy Pit signal box diagram shows this arrangement, the point being directly opposite the access to the loop in the Burnley (down) direction. I'm grateful for Norman Sutcliffe pointing me to the National Mines Research Society site, which gives the closure date as March 1964. There was still a siding marked on the 1968 OS 1:10,000 scale map. In recent years the mine apparently broke into Holme Tunnel, and the line closed whilst the tunnel was strengthened. A map showing the various sites is on the Mine-Explorer site.

A WD 2-8-0 slogs towards Copy Pit from Burnley with 52 empty mineral wagons and a brake van.

Photograph Eric Bentley, copyright J K Wallace, all rights reserved

A WD 2-8-0 slogs towards Copy Pit from Burnley with 52 empty mineral wagons and a brake van.

 

Stanier 8F 48466 bursts out of Holme Tunnel and arrives at Copy Pit with a Yorkshire bound haul of empty coal wagons.

Photograph Eric Bentley, copyright J K Wallace, all rights reserved

Stanier 8F 48466 bursts out of Holme Tunnel and arrives at Copy Pit with a Yorkshire bound haul of empty coal wagons.

Copy Pit signal box

The journey down from Copy Pit to Stansfield Hall Junction, Todmorden continues here.

Copy Pit signal box controlled the entrance to two loops, one in each direction, together with the sidings for the Cliviger Coal Company, yet all these features were some distance from the box, complete with intervening bridges. Only the cross-over was close to the box, and that was slightly to the north in the Burnley (down) direction.