Brittania Quarries

NGR SD885195

In November 1870 the first part of a railway along the valley was opened.

In 1881 the line was continued to Bacup, and there were stations at Shawclough, Broadley, Whitworth, Facit, Shawforth and Britannia.

The railway link allowed easier transportation of the stone quarried along the valley, and stone from Shawforth and the Whitworth valley became widely used throughout the country.

Built into the Western side of the valley at Shawforth is The Incline, which can still be clearly seen today. The Incline was part of an ingenious system for transporting the quarried products from the high valley sides down to the rail line in the valley bottom.

The Incline, as the name suggests, is a gradual slope from the moorland down to the same level as the main line. Originally, rails were laid from the top of The Incline to the bottom, where they ran parallel to the goods and passenger line until just before Facit station. Trains of wagons were loaded with stone and allowed to roll freely down the incline. Once the stone wagons had reached the valley floor, the slight rise along the line towards Facit station would bleed away their speed, until afer passing through the station they finally rolled to a stop in sidings, where they would stay until an engine arrived to take them on to their destination.

Empty wagons were towed to the top of The Incline by the simple method of attaching them to cables which were then pulled in by a steam powered winding engine at the top of the slope.