STEVE Williams, secretary of Brindle Historical Society, has been delving deep into railway history.

He has spent 12 months researching and chronicling the story of trains through Hoghton, over 160 years.

His findings show that the line between Blackburn and Preston was started at Hoghton in 1844 and took two years to build.

There were three stations in or near the village at one time or another: Hoghton -- which closed as part of the 'Beeching cuts' in 1960 -- and Hoghton Tower, which was a short-lived station from 1846 to 1848, catering for visitors to the famous stately home of the same name.

Near Brindle, a station was also built for workers at the local cotton mill run by the Bourne family, although it was given the name of Gregson Lane Halt.

This was because it was nearer to the hamlet of Gregson Lane than the centre of Brindle, a mile away. It closed in 1946.

Today, the impressive stone-built Hoghton Viaduct over the River Darwen still carries rail traffic between Blackburn and Preston and holds the title of being the highest in England, at more than 160 feet high.

The foundations of the signal box at Hoghton Tower sidings can also still be seen, somewhat overgrown at the track side.

Steve has also managed to find around 60 photographs of the railway, ranging from Hoghton Station in 1880 through to its demise in the 1960s, as well as the demolition of the adjacent goods yard in 1992 -- the site is now a housing development.

In addition, memorabilia, including a Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Excursion leaflet from 1912 and the old maroon station sign for Hoghton has come to light.

Articles in local newspapers from the mid-1800s up to modern times, as well as minute books from the two parish councils and various railway books have added to the research. Steve has learnt, too, of staff who worked on the railway and were killed in the First World War.

He hopes to publish his research in a book entitled "The Railway through Brindle and Hoghton" to be published next year, as well as finish a book on the soldiers from local villages who fought in the Great War.

If you can help him on either project, Steve can be contacted on 01254 854298 or through the historical society.