New link road to Heywood Station
Rochdale Borough Council has set the wheels in motion for even better access to the East Lancs Railway after opening a new link road at Heywood station. The road, the result of £100,000 council investment, will provide direct access from Manchester Road to Heywood station.
Councillor John Blundell, Rochdale Borough Council cabinet member said: “The East Lancs Railway, is a real success story for our borough, welcoming around 200,000 visitors a year. It provides a fantastic boost to the local economy, generating £3.7m annually and supporting 50 full time equivalent jobs.
Big plans are in motion, with the council, TfGM and Network Rail exploring options to connect the railway to the national rail network at Castleton.
ELR Chairman Mike Kelly, said: “The development of Heywood Station remains a high priority for the ELR working with our partners to make Heywood a destination of choice for our passengers. Here, I want to pay tribute to the members of Rochdale Council and Heywood Township who have made available funding for easier to access the station.
Councillor Peter Rush, Chair of Heywood Township Committee, said: “The construction of the new road is a significant investment in Heywood which will benefit local residents and businesses by making it easier for visitors to find and enjoy the East Lancashire Railway.
“It was great to see children from Hopwood Community Primary School attending the opening event.”
Bury Information Office – call for volunteers
One of the important, but often overlooked areas of Stations work is the Bury Information Office.
Here, a small band of volunteers meet the public and answer the phones, dealing with every type of enquiry you can imagine (“Can I book a train from Manchester to London please?”), and taking bookings for our many events and dining trains.
In an age of call centres and computers, they still provide a personal service for our customers, which is really appreciated by many.
We are looking for further volunteers in this area, particularly at weekends, as currently we are not able to open 7 days a week. Working hours are 10.00 – 16.00, and training is of course provided. Please contact Peter Eccles or Martin McCann at Bury booking office if you would be interested in helping to support this vital area.
© Mark Barker
John Hobbs Award for best kept station
Kathleen Hobbs, wife of the late John Hobbs, former vice-chair of the ELRPS, received the “John Hobbs Award” at the recent Best Kept Railway Stations Awards ceremony on Tuesday 28th January. Presented to Frodsham and Runcorn stations the award was to mark the restoration of passenger services over the Halton Curve.
Ian Whitley, Publicity and Volunteer Officer of the North Cheshire Rail Users Group (NCRUG), said “What better way to celebrate North Cheshire Rail Users Group 30th Anniversary year by achieving what the group originally set out to do and that was to restore services over the Halton Curve from Chester to Liverpool Lime Street for the first time since May 1975.
The John Hobbs Award is a fitting tribute to a well-respected member of the team who did so much to see services restored to the line. The group are incredibly proud and humbled to receive this award in his name. John passed away before the curve reopened but he knew the campaign had been successful and services were coming back. He leaves a wonderful legacy behind for future generations to enjoy.”
NRH commendation for L&Y memorial restoration
Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway C&W Works memorial 1919 Newton Heath
Andrew G Podmore & Son of York were highly commended runners-up in the Railway Heritage Trust Conservation Award for their work in restoring the L&Y memorial. David Podmore attended a ceremony at the Merchant Taylors Hall, Threadneedle Street, where the awards were presented by HRH. The Princess Royal.
This commendation was in recognition of the exceptional work, carried out at their Poppleton workshops, in restoring the large solid wood memorial commemorating those who served and fell in the Great War.
The original structure was built and erected by the men and colleagues of the fallen of Newton Heath Carriage and Wagon Works in 1917. Lost for decades, the memorial was rediscovered by Richard Law of the ELR under Manchester Piccadilly station, then stored for almost 15 years in Baron Street Works at the ELR.
The meticulous work by Podmore, in the summer of 2019, was funded with a grant from the Railway Heritage Trust and the installation was funded by Northern Rail.
© Andy Cooper
East Lancashire Railway Model Railway Exhibition
Call for model railways to exhibit
East Lancashire Railway Model Railway Exhibition will be shown in the Bury Transport Museum over the weekend of 4/5 April 2020.
The show will feature model railway layouts, primarily from working members of the ELR, and some model railway traders.
Exhibitors will be served with complimentary tea and coffee during the weekend.
Reserved parking for exhibitors will be available in Castlecroft Yard during the event.
Organiser Andy Cooper is calling for working members with small portable model railways to contact him as soon as possible on email@example.com with a view to exhibiting in April.
© Julie Sindrey
It is with great sadness that we report the death of Barry Turvin the volunteer who spent all his time emptying the bins on the platforms at Bury Bolton Street. He was affectionately known as 'Barry Bin Bags' and he really did do an excellent job.
Barry died on Monday 7th January following a battle with Lung Cancer. It is therefore with great sadness that we inform you that his funeral is at Blackley Crematorium on Thursday 23rd January at 11-30am.
RIP Barry and Thank You for all your work.
The Society’s application for charitable status
The Society has applied to become a Registered Charity. This will not change how the Society operates and there will be no change in its legal status.
The advantage is that, subject to approval by the Taxman, we will be able to claim 25% Gift Aid on all donations made to us and hopefully on our Membership Fees. We will also be exempt from paying VAT on certain types of expenditure. Together these changes will increase the Society funds available to support both Railway and Society projects.
The process will take some time to complete and I do not expect us to be registered for at least six months. We will however work hard to achieve the registration as quickly as possible and keep you informed of progress.
Howard Ford FCCA
ELRPS Ltd Finance Director
© Rory Lushman
Thank you to volunteers on Santa Steam Specials 2019
On behalf of the Santa Management Team I would like to say a very, very big THANK YOU to all those volunteers who helped to make the Santa Specials another record-breaking year.
We go from strength to strength every year and your efforts and commitment never cease to amaze me.
Please remember that I have arranged a Pie and Peas evening on Friday 21ST February 2020, 7.30 pm, at The Elizabethan Suite, Town Hall, Bury. This is a token of appreciation from the ELR Co for all your hard work.
Everyone who was involved in the Santa Specials, in any capacity, is invited to attend but, unless you have already done so, you must let me know:-
1. That you will attend.
2. Whether you require Meat and Potato Pie or Cheese and Onion Pie.
(Vegetarian Option) Beans are available as an alternative to peas.
If you don’t let me know I can’t order your pie.
A free bar (within reason) will be available and the Middleton Band will provide entertainment.
Mobile – 07836 294254 (text or Voicemail).
Santa Event Organiser.
© Jeff Armstrong
Bury fire halts trains to Heywood
On the evening of Thursday 2nd January, fire broke out at a scrapyard close to the railway in the Pimhole area of Bury. Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service attended the scene and requested that all movements on the line between Bury and Heywood be halted.
ELR Head of Operations, Jeff Armstrong, and Operations Manager, Adrian Henderson, visited the site and spoke with the Fire Service, who said the “challenging blaze" was under control, but crews were likely to remain at the scene for the rest of the day, and the line would need to stay blocked for several days.
100 firefighters tackled the blaze, fighting the fire on all sides, preventing it from spreading onto the running line. The fire engulfed the scrapyard, causing billowing plumes of smoke. Several explosions, believed to be gas bottles exploding, were heard coming from the site. People living nearby were asked to stay indoors, keep windows shut and avoid the area.
Services between Bury and Heywood were cancelled on Saturday and Sunday. After inspection by the P-Way team the line was reopened on Monday morning. Very little damage had been caused to the railway.