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A new and on-going project about the coming of the Railway to Oldham and the wider district. The project is in the hands of our contributor, Stephen Darlington.
It is hoped that we can look not just at the history of the Railways themselves but also at the lives and stories of those behind this endeavour.
We would welcome any information that readers can offer, on any or all of the names on the list below, which Stephen can incorporate into the project.
You can contact him through the Branch email address and it will be forwarded to him. 
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Below from : The Manchester Times and Gazette of 26th July 1845.
There is a lot of coverage of this company in the press for the following two years until it became part of Oldham Alliance Railways.

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How Oldham got its Railways ... an Introduction

The main problem with connecting to Oldham is its location. There is a climb to it from most directions. The most useful connection would be to Manchester.
During the reign of William IV there was an act of parliament for a rail line to run from Manchester to Mumps with a branch line to Edge Lane (which is in Royton). Not sure where it would have been most likely via the Medlock valley to Mumps and via Chadderton to Edge Lane. It was never actually built and I am not sure why.
On 31/3/1842 the branch line, off the Manchester & Leeds Railway line (M&LR) to Leeds, was constructed at Oldham Junction (now known as Middleton Junction) going from there up Werneth Incline and ending at Werneth Station. Werneth Incline was one of the steepest inclines (at 1 in 27) used for passenger trains. The line stopped there due to the steep climb to the centre of Oldham.
By the mid 1840s, there were a number of proposals being discussed to link the centre of Oldham into the existing rail network.
In the end, the Oldham Alliance Railway Act of1847 came into existence. The plan was to build 6 sections of line linking Oldham with Manchester, Ashton and Rochdale. Local civil engineer, John George Blackburne, did the planning but it would be 20 years before 5 of the 6 lines had been built.
The 6th line seems to have been to the Oak Colliery but I have not found any records of its being built.
The act lists the 15 initial directors of the company. Of these 5 were listed in the Oldham District Railway advert (above). Another is the owner of the Oak Colliery.
In November 1847, Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway (which is what the M&LR had become in the meantime) built the Werneth to Mumps section using two tunnels under the ridge. There were two new stations (Oldham Central and Mumps)
1847 was also when development on an Oldham to Ashton line started. It would take 4 acts of parliament to complete it.
The first attempt was abandoned in 1850 due the Alliance failing to meet one of the conditions in the Act.
In 1857 The Oldham, Ashton and Guide Bridge Junction Railway (OA&GB) was created by act of parliament. This company then constructed the line with John George Blackburne being involved in a number of capacities
The line ran from Guide Bridge to Glodwick Road station which was near Mumps. The line had a viaduct (whose nickname became 10 Arches) which was built over the Medlock Valley at Park Bridge. The viaduct was built of brick and the columns were up to 50 feet high.
An act was needed in 1859 to change which major railway companies would finance the railway.
A further act was needed in 1862 to allow the two major rail companies involved (MS&LR and LNWR) to jointly own the railway company. The OA&GBJR remained a joint company for the whole of its existence (ie. to the 1960s)
On November 1st, 1863, the Mumps to Rochdale section opened. There was also a branch Line to Royton but the station location was different from that stated in the 1847 act.
The route from Manchester was still via the Werneth Incline. In May 1880 the line via Hollinwood opened with its more gradual incline.
Thus the rail network in the Oldham area reached a form which solved the problem of Oldham's location.
Railways companies involved in rail lines round Oldham included –
Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway (L&YR)
London and Northwestern Railway (LNWR)
Manchester & Leeds Railway(M&LR)
Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway (MS&LR)
Oldham, Ashton and Guide Bridge Junction Railway (OA&GBJR)
Oldham District Railway.
Oldham, Manchester, Birkenhead and Liverpool Railway

Stephen Darlington

GO TO : 

Page 2 Oldham Railways – the early years from 1847 to 1880
Page 3 Oldham Railway Stations
Page 4 1912 Railway Lines - Oldham, Ashton, Droylsden, Stalybridge, Guide Bridge & Hyde
Page 5 Oldham Persons of Note In the 19th Century

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Where to find it ...

Navigate the Branch website pages and see at a glance where you might find what you are looking for, with this site map, HERE

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