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Pam Pinder

It is with great sadness and deep regret we report that our dear Membership Secretary, Pam Pinder has died. The ELRPS has lost one of its dear and very active members. Pam Pinder was the joint Membership Secretary along with her husband Geoff. Pam helped process the thousands of membership applications each year. Pam and Geoff would travel to the ELR to collect all the membership renewals each week. Pam Pinder joined the ELRPS on 17th April 2011. She became Joint Membership Secretary along with Geoff the same year, both living in Stalybridge. She will be greatly missed by all that knew her.


George Pickford

We are sad to announce the passing of George Pickford yesterday. George was a member of the Bury Bolton Street Station Staff and was also a Train Dispatcher. George was very popular and a much loved volunteer across the railway with many friends who will sorely miss him. George joined the ELRPS on 6th June 2013. He signed up to volunteer immediately, joining the Stations Department at Bury. He lived in Old Trafford, Manchester, not far from the Cricket Ground. George had volunteered at the East Lancashire Railway from 2012. He was a First Aider. He had worked at the Salford Royal Hospital as a Clinical Support Worker.

A family representative announced that  his final departure will be on the Friday 08th of March at 12:30 at the Manchester Crematorium (southern cemetery) Chorlton M21 7GZ.

We would like to kindly ask for close family flowers only and if any person would like to make a donation there will be a Macmillan donation box which was his chosen charity at the front of the chapel.

The after celebration of his life will be at the Old Trafford Conservative Club on Seymour Grove Old Trafford M16 0FF.

We as a close family would like to thank everybody for their loving support at these sad times. If anyone has George as a friend you can see the details on his page.

Harry Hatcher

Funeral of the late Harry Hatcher

Harry Hatcher was Society Chairman for some 19 years. He was a very influential figure in the Railway’s pioneering era in Castlecroft yard and as the first Station Master at Bury Bolton Street. He was the Society’s Life Vice President, an Honorary appointment that he richly deserved.

We gathered at Preston Crematorium on Friday 15th February at ten o’clock in bright sunshine. The crematorium was full and some ten of us had to stand in the foyer. There were fond and revealing anecdotes about Harry, his career and his pastimes. Andrew Coward gave a short eulogy on behalf of the Society.

In the sunshine afterwards some ten very senior Society members gathered to share their personal memories. There is no doubt that Harry was remembered for his dedication, leadership and organisation skills. He was very much in charge. As someone commented with a smile “Dissent was regulated”.

Rest in peace Mister Hatcher.

Bury Tunnel tracklaying

Bolton Street tunnel track relaying

The renewal of the drainage around Bury Tunnel is nearing completion.

The track has been put back to its original configuration and both platforms 2 and 4 were in use for the Sulzer Theme Day.  There is still some work to do before platform 3 can be brought back into use.


Middleton Band

The Middleton Band popped down to the East Lancashire Railway today (Saturday January 26) to celebrate their 30 year partnership with the ELR and also to showcase the number of awards they have won.

Here members of the band gathered in front of GWR steam locomotive 4270. The Middleton Band regularly play at events across the East Lancashire Railway and on the trains.

The 80097 team - © Rory Lushman

80097 enters service

STD4 80097 today (19 January) joined the rostered steam loco 4270 top and tailed for services starting on the 11:55 to Rawtenstall

This was BR Standard 4MT 2-6-4T 80097's first run on a public train since being used on test runs. 4270 was the booked loco. 80097 ran subject to availability with times potentially changing for when it joined the service. This marks 80097’s first revenue-earning turn since the loco was withdrawn from service by British Railways in the sixties.

47765 has arrived at the ELR, its new home - © Rory Lushman

Sulzer Theme Day

Come and enjoy a Sulzer themed day on Saturday 16th February.

Six Sulzer locomotives will be running (subject to availability). The class 24 D5054 will make its debut after many years out of traffic after having engine repairs and a full repaint. The class 24 will also run on Sunday 17th on the normal diagrammed diesel path. Other locomotives running on the Sulzer day are 33109, D7629, 45108, D1501 and 47765

Bolton Street tunnel track relaying - track to platform 2 north is disconnected  - © Rory Lushman

Bolton Street tunnel track relaying

The Civil Engineering Department are carrying out drainage works and relaying No. 58B points at Bury North near Bury Tunnel. 

This work will mean all trains for the next few weeks will use platform 3 to arrive and depart as access to platform 2 and 4 will be restricted due to removal of point work north of Bury Tunnel. There will be a couple of DMU moves taking place from the south end of platform 4. The work will continue throughout January.

Gothenburg at Brooksbottom

Spring Steam Gala - loco line up

The line-up (subject to availability) for the Spring Steam gala is: 78018, appearing courtesy of the Great Central Railway, Darlington Railway Preservation Society (owner) and Loughborough Standard Locomotives Group (custodian); BR Standard 4 Tank 80097 (official launch into service); BR Standard Tank 80080, courtesy of PRCLT, first return to traffic following overhaul;  34092;  45407;  52322;  2890 and 32 Gothenburg. 

ELR Chairman, Mike Kelly

Strategic Proposals for Commuter Services - ELR Chairman, Mike Kelly

I hear that many volunteers are concerned about recent announcements from Rossendale and Greater Manchester, concerning various rail schemes to run on our heritage railway. Addressing Rossendale’s proposal, I have produced an article for the ELR Review due out shortly.

For the tram-train proposal running from Bury to Rochdale, this needs to be treated with caution – we have seen similar proposals come and go. I will give updates when I can. Meanwhile, we must avoid making any public statements, particularly on social media.  Negative speculation regarding the impact of these proposals on the ELR, sends out the wrong message

Bolton Street tunnel

Bolton Street tunnel track relaying

The authorised walking route through Bolton Street tunnel has been suspended during major track re-laying work inside the tunnel which will involve track lifting and digging of drains. Please do not use the authorised walking route from Castlecroft to the Station via the tunnel. As work progresses we shall keep you updated here on the ELRPS News page.

Santa Specials – © Rory Lushman

Santa Specials

40,775 people rode on our 103 Santa Special trains, travelling 1,648 miles. On board our travellers drank and ate 33,250 cartons of juice and shortbread biscuits combined. 16,625 children on Santa’s “Nice List” received a present! Not forgetting the 24,150 mince pies that were eaten throughout the period.

Hundreds of volunteers from all departments are needed to help Santa meet and greet our passengers.  The Society would like to thank all our amazing volunteers for assisting Santa to deliver the presents. Thank you to Santa for taking time to visit the East Lancashire Railway and making so many children happy.

Link to the ELR Trust Status Report 2008-2017

ELR Trust Status Report 2008-2017

The ELR Trust has published a summary of its ten-year performance report for the railway, detailing the railway’s tremendous success, with increased working volunteers and services. It highlights the positive impact the railway has on the local economy, generating an estimated £5.7m in additional goods and services along with an extra 150 off-site jobs in Bury, Rochdale and Rossendale.


Visitor numbers have increased almost two-fold, from just over 100,000 in 2008 to 190,000 in 2017. 14,000 people used our Dining with Distinction service in 2017 compared with just 3,500 in 2007. Click here to download your copy of the report.

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