HERE we have Ramsbottom railway station at two different times in history.

The oldest picture shows a steam passenger train as it prepares to pull out of the station, way back in May, 1953. It’s seen here from across the Bridge Street level crossing.

By that time, there had been a station, built by the East Lancashire Railway, for more than 100 years. It was actually in 1846 that the line was completed.

The line through Ramsbottom had initially been built by the Manchester, Bury and Rossendale Railway, but that company merged with the East Lancashire Railway in 1845.

The line was extended by the ELR from Stubbins Junction, just north of Ramsbottom, to Accrington in 1848.

At the time, the station featured up and down platforms linked by a footbridge, canopies, and a station building. There was also a goods yard and a goods shed, both placed where you find a car park these days. But, the level crossing and signal box are still more or less original.

From 1923 the station was operated by the London Midland & Scottish Railway until that was nationalised in 1948, when it came under control of the London Midland Region of British Railways — the time of the first picture.

From the late 1960s, the fortunes of the station shown here went downhill and the station building and one of the platforms were demolished, closing to passengers in 1972. Freight trains remained until 1980, and by 1987, the East Lancashire Railway reopened and the fortunes of the line were reversed.

The second picture shows the station — which had been rebuilt with two platforms — photographed in 1992. It hasn’t changed much since then, although a canopy has since been put up on platform one, and a small shelter has been added to platform two.

Ramsbottom is now a stop on the ELR heritage railway between Rawtenstall and Heywood, bringing in lots of visitors to the town on steam and diesel trains.