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Preston trails: Exploring the route of the Ribble Steam Railway

Posted on - 29th May, 2022 - 7:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Avenham, Preston Docks, Preston News, Preston Railway Station, Recreation, Things to Do in and around Preston
Map of route for Ribble Railway walk Pic: OS Maps
Map of route for Ribble Railway walk Pic: OS Maps

This walk is about three miles one way, or six miles returning the same way. It starts from Preston Station. You can return via Penwortham Bridge and Fishergate to the Station.

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Alternatively, you can get a bus back from just north of the Ribble Steam Railway and Museum.

Approaching the level crossing on Lockside Road Pic: Geoff Whittaker
Approaching the level crossing on Lockside Road Pic: Geoff Whittaker

The No. 75 Preston to Fleetwood bus runs from the railway station along Chain Caul Way, just to the north of the Ribble Steam Railway, if you want a ride back.

Preston Station to the river

After leaving the station turn right down Fishergate, then left down Mount Street, past the Post Office. At the bottom turn left on to Garden Street and then out on to Winckley Square.

Turn right towards the river and then enter Averham Park. Keep on the main path and go under the old East Lancashire line bridge.

The first section of the walk Pic: Google
The first section of the walk Pic: Google

Next, drop down past the fountain to gain the riverside path.

Miller Park fountain Pic: Geoff Whittaker
Miller Park fountain Pic: Geoff Whittaker

Avenham Park to Liverpool Road

Now, just follow the river until you get to Liverpool Road and the new Penwortham Bridge. You will pass under the West Coast Main Line.

The second section of the walk Pic: Google
The second section of the walk Pic: Google
Penwortham Bridge Pic: Geoff Whittaker
Penwortham Bridge Pic: Geoff Whittaker

Cross Fishergate Hill just before Penwortham Bridge and head half left in front of the Preston Sea Cadets building. Here you will pick up the line of the Ribble Steam Railway.

This line is still connected to the main line at Preston Station, and is used for bitumen trains. You can often see the tankers parked at the museum site.

The old Docks line crosses Strand Road on a diagonal Pic: Geoff Whittaker
The old Docks line crosses Strand Road on a diagonal Pic: Geoff Whittaker

Follow the riverside path and rail line. You will pass under the A59, the newest route out of Preston. Here, the tidal aspect of the river becomes noticeable.

The third section of the walk Pic: Google
The third section of the walk Pic: Google
The walk along the river is surprisingly rural Pic: Geoff Whittaker
The walk along the river is surprisingly rural Pic: Geoff Whittaker

Liverpool Road to the Preston Docks Swing Bridge

When the rail line starts to curve to the right, at an old siding, turn right towards Navigation Way. Then, follow the rail track until it crosses Maritime Way. Cross Maritime Way and head on a footpath to Navigation Way.

The fourth section of the walk Pic: Google
The fourth section of the walk Pic: Google

Here is the Preston Docks Swing Bridge that carries both the railway and the road over the entrance to the Docks. If you are lucky there may be a boat entering or leaving, so you can see the bridge operate. This is also a good place to wait for the train to pass and take some photos.

The swing bridge and rail line Pic: Geoff Whittaker
The swing bridge and rail line Pic: Geoff Whittaker

Once over the swing bridge, turn left, off Navigation Way, through some trees, next to the boat yard.

The entrance to the Docks Pic: Geoff Whittaker
The entrance to the Docks Pic: Geoff Whittaker

This path comes out on Lockside Road, next to a level crossing, another great spot for photography.

The fifth section of the walk Pic: Google
The fifth section of the walk Pic: Google
The bridge swings open Pic: Geoff Whittaker
The bridge swings open Pic: Geoff Whittaker

Head up Lockside Road and on to Chain Caul Way. Then, turn left down Chain Caul Road to the Ribble Steam Railway and Museum.

The miniature railway in the museum Pic: Geoff Whittaker
The miniature railway in the museum Pic: Geoff Whittaker
The Ribble Steam Railway station, note the bitumen tankers Pic: Geoff Whittaker
The Ribble Steam Railway station, note the bitumen tankers Pic: Geoff Whittaker

Below is a video of a bitumen train leaving the Docks line. This is quite a rigmarole, with the gates being manually operated. If it doesn’t play here, watch on YouTube.



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