Bolton Great Moor Street - The original line in to Bolton via Daubhill and the second line via Plodder Lane.

Version3 June2006

Update - January 2006. Whilst traveling back from Wigan to visit the model railway show, we stopped off at Daubhill (near Bolton) to get a few more pictures of the old line than ran from Bolton through to Atherton. We were surprised by how much was left and why the old lines hadn't been built on. Again thanks to Nick Melling for his advice on this area.

See here for the new pictures.

Update - June 2006. Myslef and Duncan explored this route in more detail as part of a ride through Kearsley. We headed back up the route via Plodder lane. See here for the latest look at the route with more pictures.

I got the inspiration from this page from a racing friend, Nigel Woodhouse, who has leant myself and Duncan quite a few excellent railway books. He lent me a copy of "Bolton Enginemen" by Jim Markland and it contained information about the long gone lines to Bolton Great Moor station. One line via Daubhill, the other via Plodder Lane engine sheds.

I also had guidance on this line from Nick via the railway forum website and an old OS map from Nigel's book.

So last August I set off for a look around this area of Bolton to see what I could find. This technically isn't a bike ride as I had to drive from my home to Bolton and was on foot, however both myself and Duncan would like to explore this area further on 2 wheels to cover more distance and hopefully record more of what is left of these lines.

High Street - Just outside Bolton town centre

Looking back at High Street - I had parked just the other side of the wall on High street, I put on some good boots and set off following the old line.

This line was the route that went through Daubhill. (This is behind me) We are looking towards Bolton. At this point the line went in a small tunnel and joined up with the line from Roe Green junction, they joined and went in to Bolton Great Moor station.

As you can see the original bridge is all that's left here. Still its a good reminder of what used to be here.

This line has a lot of heritage, being one of the 1st passenger railways in the North West.

A close up of the bridge structure.

You can just see the top of the top of the bridge (it looks like concrete) The line has long been filled in and landscaped.





Here we are between High street and Higher Swan lane. We are looking towards Bolton.

Here the line started to curve out towards Daubhill.

Again it is difficult to picture the line due to how much of it has been filled in.


A little bit further round from where the last picture was took.

We can see how the line curved round to the left towards Bolton.

This was what was left of the bridge that took the railway under Higher Swan lane.

We are now looking towards Daubhill.

The view with my back to the bridge above, looking back towards Bolton (through the trees)
Taken from Higher Swan lane.

The Daubhill side of the bridge at Higher Swan lane.


Looking over the bridge towards Daubhill. As you can see the railway alignment has disappeared under the works car park. It would have ran along the curbing of the car park and along the line of the trees in the middle of the picture.

Here I lost the scent of the old railway. I decided to head back towards Bolton and take a walk down the other line from Bolton towards Roe Green junction and Plodder lane.

I will be back to explore Daubhill soon!

Updated January 2006.

Here we are looking back to the picture above. You can clearly see the alignment of the railway heading back towards Bolton. I have my back to St Helens road (Daubhill). The houses on my left are on Dixon road.

We are looking at the point where the railway went under St Helens road. I think this was the site of Daubhill railway station. There is evidence of a possible station building.


We have now crossed the road and are looking back towards the picture above.

The road running right to left is St Helens road. The road running through is Morris Green lane and Church lane.

Looking down towards Atherton and Chequerbent. This may be an original wall, but it does look a little new.
Looking over the wall (above). The old alignment is clearly still in place (I think it has been filled in) but we still get an idea of where it ran.

With help and research we have discovered that the old line split here, the original alignment was very steep and so eventually it was replaced with a less steep incline in to Bolton. The route we have looked at so far is the newer less steep incline.

This picture shows the steeper incline coming off the other line. I have my back to Church lane.

This is where the steeper (older) line used to head towards Bolton. You can see the alignment, but shortly after it has been built over and nothing can be seen of the orginal incline in to Bolton.

The 2nd Line from Bolton Great Moor street via Plodder Lane.

I then decided to follow the 2nd (and later built) line out of Bolton. Here I picked it up at Lever Edge lane.

I was able to follow the old alignment, but most of it had been built over. However Rupert street followed the alignment well, and I parked up when I saw a sign post for a path.

Here we are looking at the bridge that carries Lever Edge lane over the old railway.

The railway (at this point) has been converted in to a high quality footpath.

Looking back towards Bolton. The houses on the right hand side of the picture were on Rishton lane.


Looking down to Plodder lane - we are near Freshfield avenue at this point, here to my surprise the line opens up from its cutting.

As you can see the line has really opened up at this point. On the left (in the distance) is St Augustine's Comprehensive school.

We can see the line crossed straight ahead here (the tree alignment over the other side).

I have to assume there was a viaduct or bridge at this point,due to the nature of the steep banking on the other side.

Here we are looking from the other side, back towards Bolton. I would love to know what structure (if any) took the line across the brook at this point. Checking my A to Z, the brook was called Due Hey.

Any answers out there about what used to be here??

The path continued (not paved though) towards Plodder lane. On the right hand side was Bolton Hospital and Townleys farm.

I ventured on, but the nettles and tress got too much and I had to come off the alignment to tray and get through towards Plodder lane and site of the old sheds.


Not the best picture, but this is what is left of an old bridge which took the line over a small access road near Townleys farm.

Looking back towards Bolton. The railway used to cross Minerva road at this point. You can see the old raised alignment through the trees. However the embankment has gone on the side where I took the picture.

At the time I didn't know that I was at the northerly point of Plodder lane sheds. I continued on, but there was a large housing estate ahead of me, and I started to run out of time to follow the line any further.


This is the last picture I took, not the best I know, but its looking towards the site of Plodder lane sheds. The line ran on the top of the embankment running from left to right. Through the trees on the top right of the picture was the new housing estate that was built on Plodder lane sheds.

With further reading there is nothing left of the old sheds as it was completely built over.

At this point I headed back, however this gave me a taster of the old railways of Bolton, I would love to go back and see what else is out there.

Well that's all for now - it was a fascinating day of exploring and seeing what was left of the old railways of Bolton. I am determined to go back soon and document more of the lines in the area.

With further reading I know how much heritage is out there in this area, especially on the Daubhill line which was one of the first passenger railways in the North West. I would love to go back, but on 2 wheels, to document more of this line. Also the Plodder lane site holds a fascination too, I am awaiting a loan of a book showing pictures of the sheds in its heyday. I know once I see these I will want to go back to try and find some evidence of what is left today.

I hope you have enjoyed this small insight in the railways of Bolton.

Keep checking the website for further updates from this area.

  Go Back