A LEADING travel writer has extolled the virtues of ‘Burnley Barracks’ as part of a national tour of some of Britain’s tiniest railway stations.
But adventure-hungry Dixe Wills was left disappointed when he realised that very little evi- dence remains of the former garrison of the East Lancashire Regiment.
Mr Wills had been travelling the length and breadth of the country, detailing the tales behind halts and request stop stations for his new book, Tiny Stations.
Burnley Barracks was the only station in East Lancashire to be covered by Mr Wills, who has been featured in The Guardian and Countryfile magazine and is the author of two previous efforts, Tiny Campsites and Tiny Islands.
He said: “I was keen to find out how much of the former military establishment was still there, for it began life not as a mere garrison of run-of-the-mill infantry but as a splendid cavalry barracks.”
But after the London-based writer arrived in town via Burnley Manchester Road station, and cycled across town, his hopes of spotting the ‘barracks’ faded.
Mr Wills added: “My search for the barracks was not entirely fruitless, though the remnants of them hardly make for an exciting day out.”
The station opened in September 1848, as Burnley Westgate, but closed a year later. It reopened as Burnley Barracks in 1851. Before the turn of the next century, military activities at the barracks had been wound down and the 1950s and 1960s would see many of the Victorian terraces pulled down.
Mr Wills wrote: “Even its most ardent admirers would find it difficult to describe Burnley Barracks station as aesthetically pleasing. It is dominated by a road bridge that flies low across its sole platform, the riveted girders on its belly as attractive as the beach-exposed paunch of a middle-aged man.”
His book is available through AA publications.