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Farington Curve Junction is immediately south of Preston on the West Coast Main Line. It is a complex series of lines comprising of the WCML which is heading north-south, the Ormskirk line which heads west and the Blackburn line which diverges to the west with the Ormskirk line but immediately swings through 130 degrees to cross the WCML at right angles and head east. There also used to be a connecting line from the Ormskirk to the Blackburn lines at Lostock Hall.
Railway type and traffic
The West Coast Main Line has a wide variety of traffic: Pendolinos and Voyagers, a variety of units and a good selection of freight operated by DB Schenker, Freightliner and DRS.
The Blackburn line usually sees class 142s on the hourly Blackpool South to Colne service and 158s on the Leeds trains. The Ormskirk line has usually has a class 153 shuttling back and forth.
The bridge is on a quiet lane just off a major road. There is the occasional car and lorry serving the farms further down and also dog-walkers using the lane.
From the M6, Junction 29:
Where it crossed the M65, fork west onto the M65 to its end (signposted Preston South). The end of the M65 curves right and comes to a roundabout, with the A6 to the right and straight on, and the A582 to the left. Turn left and continue to the next roundabout where you turn right towards Lostock Hall. You enter Lostock Hall and pass three sets of traffic light in close succession, then there is a stretch of road. At the next small roundabout (fairly new), turn left into Bee Lane. The lane crosses the bridge almost immediately. From Preston, cross the River Ribble on the A59 and look for signposts to Middleforth Green, which is the B5254. Follow this road until it crosses the main line on 'Skew Bridge', and turn right onto Bee Lane at the next roundabout.Click here to set up your location for directions to this location Farrington Curve Junction, Bee Lane map co-ordinates
You can park your car on the bridge.
Alight the 109/111 in Lostock Hall, by the Tardy Gate pub, walk north past KFC and turn left into Coote Lane until you reach the bridges.Click here to set up your location for directions to this location
There are no toilets in the area. The nearest shops are in Lostock Hall. There is a pub on the main road between Bee Lane and Skew Bridge (The Sumpter Horse), also a nicer one the other side of this bridge towards Preston (The Pear Tree).
Sun Compass using Suncalc by brought to you by Vladimir Agafonkin
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Farrington Curve Junction, Bee Lane
Farrington Curve Junction, Bee Lane general view map
Farrington Curve Junction, Bee Lane close up map
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Farrington Curve Junction, Bee Lane
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The light here is best for southbound trains, in a morning especially for those on the Up Slow and in the afternoon on the Up Fast. Generally class 1 trains use the Fast lines and locals stopping at Leyland (and all Blackburn/Ormskirk) trains use the Slow, though this can change. Freight will use the fast if it has had a run through Preston and is not being followed by an express, though coal and slower freights will tend to use the slow lines. The overhead wires can get in the way but it is easy to minimise this. Shots looking south are also possible, though on the Main Line the catenary will be obvious and you will be generally looking into the sun.
Trains off Blackburn/Ormskirk are clear of the wires with a telephoto lens, but again are usually into the sun.
There is a further bridge to the south on Flag Lane. This can be accessed by either returning to the main road or by following Bee Lane west, taking the first lane on the left and returning along Flag Lane. This bridge has higher parapets and views both ways are obstructed by a gantry and a pipeline, but views south of Ormskirk/Blackburn line trains are possible, though you will need to make a feature of the gantry.
General views - All photographs © Mark Bearton unless otherwise stated
Fig 1 - Looking north
The up fast
Fig 2 - Looking north
The up slow
Fig 3 - Looking south
The down fast
Fig 4 - Looking south
The Blackburn line
Fig 5 - Looking north
The Flag Lane Bridge, reverse angle of Fig 4
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