To quote ELR’s own literature
“a trip on the East Lancashire Railway is a journey back in time”.
If the age of steam is to your taste then a trip on a steam train
through the beautiful Rossendale Valley could be just the ticket.
The railway branch line now also runs to Heywood in Rochdale. The
original line was opened in 1846 to link the Manchester to Bolton
line with Radcliffe, and continued along the Irwell Valley to Rawtenstall.
But the Rawtenstall-Bury line failed to maintain viable goods and
passenger traffic so that it would have been closed down and dismantled,
had it not been for the East Lancs Preservation Society. With some
help from Bury and Rossendale Councils, the line was reopened in 1987.
Nowadays, you can travel the line on original steam (and occasionally
diesel) rolling stock, through several picturesque station halts which
have retained all the charm and nostalgia of the bygone age which
they represent. The line runs a regular weekend steam passenger service
from January to November, and a round trip return ticket is well worth
OPERATING TIMES & PRICES
Trains operate on Saturdays,
Sundays and Bank Holidays, with many specialist events and enthusiasts
weekends. Weekday services also operate on weekdays in August. Phone
to check on times – they may have changed.
The full one-way trip includes stops at Bury, Summerseat, Ramsbottom,
Irwell Vale, and Rawtenstall, and a full return ticket costs about
�7.00 (at time of going to press – please check – prices may have
changed), with concessionary reductions for senior citizens and children.
Children under 5 go free. Day rover tickets also available.
HIRE YOUR OWN TRAIN Trains are available for private charter.
Contact the Passenger Manager (Tel: 0161-764 7790). DINER TRAIN For a nostalgic evening of wine food and steam, telephone
0161-764 7790 for details. SANTA SPECIALS Operate in December. Booking forms are available at ELR stations
from August, or by post on receipt of SAE. MEMBERSHIP OF ELR Join the East Lancashire Railway Preservation Society to
become involved with volunteers in the running and operational aspects
of ELR. Members benefits include good concessions on fares, and access
to the many events that take place during the year. Subscription rates
currently about �9.00 for one year’s full membership, lower for junior
members and senior members, and a life membership is around �180.00.
Contact : The Membership Secretary, East Lancs. Railway Preservation
Society, Bolton Street Station, Bury, Lancashire BL9 0EY. Telephone:
0161-764 7790 weekends or 0161-705 5111 weekdays.
Brookside Miniature Railway
Brookside Garden Centre, London Road North, Poynton,
Stockport SK12 1BY.
Tel: 01625 872 919. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Open April-September: Wednesdays and Sundays. July, August: Tuesday,
Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday. October-March: Sundays only. 11.30am-5.00pm
(all days weather permitting). Please check before setting out – times
may have changed.
A pleasant train ride through a beautiful garden
centre, with 5 engines, a complete station filled with a permanent exhibition
of artefacts and memorabilia, as well as books and models. Authentic
west country waiting room with roaring open fire. Built run and maintained
by railway enthusiasts. Free admission to the station. Train rides at
60p per person.
The rail track is now extended to encompass the entire Garden Centre
– prices and times may have changed – please check.
The Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway
Ravenglass, Cumbria CA18 1SW. Tel: 01229-717 171.
The “La’al Ratty”, as the railway is known locally, was originally opened
in 1975 to bring iron ore from nearby mines to the Furness Railway on
the coast. Soon after it began carrying fare-paying passengers, but
the line had a checkered history, particularly when iron ore deposits
ran out. For a time it carried granite from local quarries.
By 1913 the line had closed, but was soon reopened
by a local enthusiast who converted it to a very narrow 15 inch gauge.
The tiny trains continued carrying goods and passengers until 1953 when
it closed, and it was only thanks to a group of enthusiastic financial
backers that it could reopen in its present form in, when it was purchased
by auction in 1960.
The new company has gradually rebuilt and restored the hitherto derelict
line to make it one of the Lake District’s chief tourist attractions.
Timetable & Routes
A full timetable is operated and may be obtained on request. Briefly,
trains run every day in summer time from about 7.25am to 6.30pm, with
special weekend trains during winter. The 7 mile trip takes about 40
minutes, with station halts at Muncaster Castle, Irton Road (River Esk),
The Green, Fisherground, Beckfoot and Dalegarth, making the line an
ideal method of touring this part of the Lake District. Prices
Round trip tickets available at around �6.50 per adult, �3.50 per child,
with Family special tickets at reduced prices (Current prices may change
– phone for update details). Disabled facilities and wheelchair access
available on prior notice. Dogs allowed. The Ratty Arms
The old Furness Railway Station has been converted into “The Ratty Arms”
a warm friendly inn where bar meals and suppers are served all year
round with a choice of real ales. The Railway Museum
The Railway Museum at Ravenglass houses an exhibition of Railway memorabilia
and local history with photographic collection, relics and models accompanied
by audio-visual presentation. How to Get There
Ravenglass is on the A595 coast road between Whitehaven and Barrow-in-Furness.
Coach tours run from Chorlton Street Bus Station in Manchester, as well
as other north-western bus companies, and British Rail mainline trains
on the Lancaster-Barrow-Carlisle line connect with Eskdale Trains at
Ravenglass. By car follow signs from the M6 motorway to Barrow, Whitehaven
and Southern Lakes.
Other Steam & Miniature Railways
Wyvale Garden Centre
Otterspool, Marple, Stockport. Tel: 0161-427 7211.
Miniature train which costs 50p per ride, runs at weekends and Bank
Holidays from 11.00am-4.00pm.
Wigan. Tel: 01942-832895.
In its large woodlands, Haigh Hall offers a miniature steam railway
which runs every day from June to September from 1.00pm to 4.00pm and
costs around 75p a ride.
Other miniature railways at:
Mossbank Park, Bolton. Tel: 01204-334121.
Springfield Park, Bolton Road, Rochdale. Tel: