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Leyland Historical Society hopes to turn railway building into exhibition space

Chair of the Leyland Historical Society, Peter Houghton, at the railway station ticket office

Chair of the Leyland Historical Society, Peter Houghton, at the railway station ticket office

 

Leyland Historical Society is fighting to save an ageing building from demolition – with the hope of turning it into a mini-museum.

The town’s old railway station ticket office dates back to 1880, but has just closed as a replacement office has been built in the car park off Golden Hill.

But rather than it being demolished as part of Northern Rail and Network Rail’s plans to bring station facilities into the 21st century, the Historical Society would like to see the old building preserved and put to better use.

Chairman Peter Houghton said: “It would be really good to use the old ticket office as a display gallery for the society.

“We have a lot of old photographs of Leyland but we have nowhere to showcase them.

“We have put displays on in the past and we sometimes use the South Ribble Museum and Exhibition Centre, but we have to wait our turn and we’re only there about once a year.

“It would be really great if we could have our own space.”

The future of the old ticket office is currently uncertain, as Northern Rail and Network Rail are drawing up plans for a new footbridge and lifts at the station.

The office was initially set to be bulldozed, but the companies have now said they are open to suggestions.

Mr Houghton said: “It’s something we could look after, and it would just be really good to have our own exhibition space.

“We could change the photos we display every once in a while, and I think the people of Leyland would be really interested in visiting it.”

Leyland Railway Station opened in October 1838 as a two-line level crossing, and Mr Houghton says the original stone sets from platform one can still be seen from platform two.

When it was made into a four-track station in 1880, the bridge and ticket office were also built, and the station master’s house was located in the same spot where the new ticket office has just opened.

“The old ticket office is a standard design of the times,” Mr Houghton added. “But there aren’t many of them left now because many have been pulled down and rebuilt over the years, so it would be good if we could save this one.”

As previously reported in the Guardian, the station has been granted a £3.5m windfall from the government’s Access for All programme.

The funding will enable the installation of a new foot-bridge and three lifts, and work is expected to be carried out between 2015 and 2019.

Hundreds of thousands of pounds were secured to draw up the ambitious plans in 2012, but more cash was needed to actually do the work.

The old ticket office was originally set to be demolished and replaced with a new one that year too, but the existing footbridge was in the way, and funding wasn’t available for that part of the scheme.

So instead, a ticket office was built in the car park this year, in case the rest of the funding didn’t become available for the bridge work.

Craig Harrop, from Northern Rail, said: “The old ticket office at Leyland has been closed off as we start to move into the new ticket office

facility.

“Following the recent ‘Access for All’ announcement our colleagues at Network Rail are currently finalising the design for the station lifts and once we will have the

final location confirmed, we will consider the options for the old ticket office.”

 

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