East Lancashire Railway

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Bolton Street, Bury, United Kingdom
0844 686 9289

East Lancashire Railway Bury Reviews

sarahelaine sarahela…
651 reviews
East Lancashire Railway Jun 16, 2012
The East Lancashire Railway is a preserved railway that runs from the outskirts of Manchester to the beginning of the Peak District in Lancashire. It has a steam train, and regular readers may be aware that you don’t have to provide me with much more than that for me to be reasonably happy.

It starts in Haywood, a former industrial town with a nice park, but visitors from Manchester are most likely to board the train at Bury. Bury is right at the end of the Metrolink Tramline and so very easy to get to from central Manchester, and if you are there too early for your train then you can entertain yourself in Bury Market, possibly the best market in the UK (mystifyingly, people come to see Bury Market on coach trips from as far away as a two hour drive – this is a genuinely damming indictment on the state of food shopping in the UK), at Bury’s transport museum (I’ve never been) or in one of the little cafes in the town centre (not as stabby as people in South Manchester will tell you!). The line then travels through lovely little Ramsbottom to Rawtenstall (most famous for having a genuinely depressing boarded up town centre, but the start of the Irwell sculpture trail and some other long distance walks) and the Irwell Vale.

Attractions along the line include walking in the Irwell Vale, which has a long distance sculpture trail, visiting the chocolate café or the magnificent Shoulder of Mutton pub in Ramsbottom, or heading to Rawtenstall which has some nice parks and a museum of a former mill owner’s house. But the line itself is lovely. As soon as it gets beyond the edge of Bury (which is a big enough town to have industry to get through), the train chuffs through rolling green countryside at the foot of the Peak district, past attractive villages, rivers, and a great many interesting looking pubs. And you’re on a steam train, with any luck, although you should check the website (www.eastlancsrailway.org) because sometimes they run a vintage diesel train instead. The steam train is even a tank engine (as in Thomas), although it is starting to worry me that I am a big enough nerd to know that.

There are often special events on the railway, including special dining trains, wartime weekends with 1940s fashion, Santa trains in the run up to Christmas, and things like that. It’s a good start or end to a trip walking through the hills, too.

Prices aren’t too steep, for such a long heritage trip – about £4 each way plus the tram out to Bury. I’m not sure how disabled accessible the trains are – it would be worth phoning ahead to check – but the trains are perfectly buggy friendly.
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East Lancashire Railway Map
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photo by: sarahelaine