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Fleeting – Morecambe Bay trains to resonate with fishing memories from the past

Morecambe Bay

[T]rains running around Morecambe Bay this September will conjure up memories of the past, as a specially commissioned ‘soundscape’, reflecting the sounds, music and memories of the Bay’s unique fishing heritage and communities, are played out in train carriages along the Furness line.

Every Sunday throughout September, Northern Rail will host ‘Fleeting’ – magical mini-broadcasts on trains between Lancaster and Morecambe and on trains between Barrow and Lancaster. Memories of those involved in the fishing industry mixed with the natural sounds of the Bay will allow people to learn and reflect on the landscape passing by their window. The train broadcasts will be accompanied by related activities and talks at several stations along the line.

The ‘Fleeting’ sound art installation is inspired by a rich archive of materials which have been collected and recorded by volunteers working on local organisation Morecambe Bay Partnership’s fishing heritage project since 2015. The archive captures the personal memories of those involved in the Bay’s fishing communities, past and present, and covers everything from the skills and changing techniques of the industry, to a snap shot of the social history of fishing families and their own reflections about life lived on the edge of Bay.

‘Fleeting’ is designed and produced by writer, Alexandra O’Toole, and Fable Arts in partnership with Northern Rail. It is part of ‘Catching Tales’, Morecambe Bay Partnership’s programme of community-based art commissions that celebrate the unique fishing heritage of Morecambe Bay, as recorded by the archive.

Michelle Cooper, Community & Heritage Training Officer at Morecambe Bay Partnership said: “It’s wonderful that ‘Fleeting’ will enable the Bay’s unique fishing heritage to be shared in such a dynamic way as people journey to and fro, looking out over the very land and seascapes worked by the fishing community. It’s a really exciting and innovative used of our archives and will be a very moving experience.”

Alex O’Toole, Lead Artist and Director of Fable Arts, said “When the soundscape goes live, I hope it will attract visitors from all Morecambe Bay’s communities interested in listening to a little bit of their shared history.”

‘Fleeting’ will be playing in train carriages between Lancaster and Morecambe on Sunday 3rd and Sunday 10th September, and between Barrow and Lancaster on Sunday 17th and Sunday 24th September.

To launch the celebration, a special talk by Morecambe Bay’s last haaf netting fisherwoman Margaret Owen will take place at Morecambe’s Vintage Festival on Sunday 3rd September at 12:15pm in the Midland Hotel carpark. The Sunderland Sea Shanty Crew will also be performing during the day on the Meladrome stage and at Morecambe train station. At Lancaster train station on Sunday 10th September, there will be performances from the Sunderland Sea Shanty Crew and an exhibition of Morecambe Bay fishing. On Sunday 17th September, Fleeting artist, Alexandra O’Toole and Morecambe Bay Partnership’s Oral Fishing Histories Project Facilitator, Jenn Mattinson will give a talk at Gaskell Hall, Silverdale at 12:00pm.  For more event information see

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