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Where was Shipley Station?

Today, Shipley Station lies between the Bradford-Keighley and Bradford-Leeds sides of the triangle of lines just east of the centre of Shipley. (In recent times it has also acquired platforms on the Leeds-Keighley side, but these are distant from the station buildings). But where was it originally?

The 1852 Ordnance Survey map, sheet 201, (surveyed 1847), shows it some 500m further south, where what is now Valley Road crosses the railway. (The road is not named on that map).

This does make some sense: when the railway was first built in 1846, there was no triangle and no junction. Why place a station where there was no particular feature to locate it, and no road or bridge to provide access? Even when the 'Leeds and Bradford Extension' railway was opened to Skipton the next year, and the triangle was created, there is no sign of any roads approaching any part of the triangle.

So, if the station was originally on Valley Road, when did it move to its present location? Certainly the 1906 Ordnance Survey map (sheet 201.11) shows it where it is today, with approaches both from Briggate and by Station Road. According to Sheeran 1994, p. 28, several L & B stations were rebuilt between 1883 and 1892, including Shipley: one can readily conclude that the new station was built on a new location, where it is today.

But there is a problem with this theory. On 8th February 1849, the Bradford Observer published a long article beginning:
The Leeds and Bradford Extension Railway - On Thursday last the Leeds and Bradford Railway Company connected their extension line via Shipley, Keighley &c at Colne with the line of the East Lancashire's Company, so that direct communication is now opened to Manchester, which may be reached from Leeds and Bradford in little more than two hours.
The article went on to praise the architecture of the stations on the line. When it comes to Shipley, it mentions:
... the peculiar form of the site on the triangular piece of ground formed by the junction of the extension to Skipton with the main lines to Bradford and Leeds.

This is puzzling. The 1852 map (surveyed in 1847) shows the station on Valley Road. An article in 1849 clearly describes it in its current position - but makes no mention of its having moved in the three years since it opened. (In the case of the OS map of Bradford, I have found that it is not reliable as to dates at all - see OS Maps - but if this applied to this case it would make the problem more, not less, difficult).

Part of the answer might lie in the following observation in Binns 2005: "In October 1849 the Midland Railway Traffic Committee instructed that the passenger station at Shipley (on the Leeds - Bradford line) not being suitable for use at a junction should be transferred to Elslack. It is not sure if this was ever done but the station at Elslack was a stone affair which remained in use until 3 March 1952". But on the face of it this does not help, because it was nine months after the article referred to above.

I have no answer to this as yet. I intend to continue research.


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Page created by Colin Fine . Last updated $Date: 2006/02/26 00:29:52 $