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Reload this Page ARCHIVE: Horwich Locomotive Works - July 2009
Industrial & Commercial Mills, Foundries, Factories, Warehouses, Docks etc.

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ARCHIVE: Horwich Locomotive Works - July 2009
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Arrow ARCHIVE: Horwich Locomotive Works - July 2009 - 22-07-2009, 19:32

History lifted from here

The site contains several large buildings that were fromerly erecting shops, iron, steel, and brass foundries, pattern shop, forge, boiler-making shop, and offices etc, these were served by a railway siding connected to the company's network. The largest building was the erecting shop, at 1520ft (463m) in length and 118 feet (36m) wide, this was believed to be the largest single workshop in Great Britain. A narrow gauge railway operated over a distance of about six miles within the works that also enjoyed the benefit of a telephone system. It's now a business and industrial park.

By November 1886 the first locomotives began to arrive for repair - a remarkable achievement of the company's efforts, considering the foundations of the works were only dug out 18 months previously. The first locomotive to be built at the works was a 2-4-2 tank engine, No 1008, this was completed in February 1889. By 1892 the works was fully operational and the L.Y.R.C railway was taking orders for the repair and supply of locomotives. Previous to this it had been placing orders with other companies, two of whom were situated within a few miles - Beyer Peacock of Manchester, and the famous Vulcan Foundry, Newton-Le-Willows. By this time the L.Y.R.C. was seen as a great benefactor to Horwich. The town enjoyed a building boom in houses and shops to accommodate its workers that now numbered 3000. Schools and a mechanics' institute were built and funded by the company to educate their workers and children.

By 1895 the population had increased to 12000 and continued to rise as the company prospered. In 1911 the town's population peaked at 17 000, an increase of more than 400%, all due to the presence of the L.Y.R.

In the years 1889-1907 the works had already built more than 1000 locomotives, a further 50 000 were repaired over a period of 76 years. The works remained open well into the 20th century but closure eventually came in 1983 dealing a severe blow to the local economy. However, Horwich recovered by using its past skills to adapt to light industry, some of which occupies the old locomotive works site.

This was one of those explores that simply unfolded at my wheels, some days you just seem to be wearing an invisibility cloak and end up somewhere before you knew you were looking for it. The site is very much live and this shed is actually part of the Barcon Precast works, it looks like the orders have run out and this was mothballed some time around the end of April, judging from marks on a 2009 wallchart. This was a case of right place right time, almost the weirdest fluke I have ever had.

Main hall

Structure to carry gantry crane

Gantry crane


One structural bay



Solo and not knowing what I had got myself into, I didn’t venture any further than popping my head through the access hatch

Off the mezzanine level


photos here too
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Default 24-07-2009, 17:34

Some scans from the book. Twas an epic place.

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Default 26-08-2009, 10:33

Superb stuff !! I remember loading my wagon here back in the late 90's, they were using one of the sheds to make reinforced concrete motorway barriers .
My Dad worked at Vulcan loco works during the 50's, here he is in the drawing office & what a view out of the window.

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Default 20-05-2010, 20:52

took a visit here early this month still a lot to see

Always willing to learn, if someone is willing to teach!!
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Default 20-05-2010, 23:44

Some fantastic shots there.

Used to work on here....after the train busses.....grim job but an amazing place.

Unfortunatly the site is earmarked to have around 5000houses built on it. Horwich heritage are trying to stop it going ahead and have a petition going (scrole down the page).

First and foremost the demolition of these buildings is criminal just for the history of this place not to mention the digging up of all types of asbestos burried here etc etc.

If like me you're from horwich or are interested in saving this site get in touch with the heritage group. There's also a facebook page here

The former Loco Works buildings represent the most complete set of railway workshops still in existence in this country and are therefore of national importance.

Sorry to hijack this thread slightly but we are all share an interest in peserving places like this.

cheers guys
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