Castleton East Junction: a Gateway
The mainline junction at Castleton, Rochdale, has been the ‘lifeline’ for the East Lancashire Railway (ELR) for many years. Castleton’s East Junction, recently re-signalled with modern aspect lights replacing the century old semaphore signals, regularly sees ‘through traffic’ onto the ELR’s vintage line via the Hopwood Ground Frame.
All visiting vintage locomotives, both steam and diesel, and vintage coaching stock use the connection with the Calder Valley route, Manchester Victoria to Leeds, Halifax and Bradford, enroute to other preserved railways and for use on mainline excursions. The ‘Bags Yard’ site also has a triangle of track which has the facility to ‘turn’ not only locomotives, but whole excursion trains.
The ELR is planning to extend its destination into Castleton with the help of the three Local authorities, Rochdale, Bury and Rawtenstall and Network Rail.
On the 12th October 2013 UK Railtours excursion from London St Pancras to Rawtenstall, the northern most station on the ELR, used Castleton East Junction. In using all 3 sides of the ‘triangle’, returning via the newly replaced Castleton South Junction, the HST had the same power car leading to and From Castleton.