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60009 "Union of South Africa" - © Liam Barnes

© Liam Barnes

Enter Raffle to Win a Footplate Ride on 60009 "Union of South Africa"

Looking for a once in a lifetime experience?

You could win the chance to enjoy what may be one of the last chances to ride the footplate of the legendary 60009 "Union of South Africa".

This celebrated ride-on is the ultimate in footplate ride experiences, perfect for that once in a life-time memory making day.

On arrival you will get to see the hidden world of the steam shed and experience the golden age of steam. Talk through the preparations with our team of highly skilled crew before embarking on an epic trip of the full length of our line. Nothing compares to the sounds and smells of the engine as you travel through the picturesque Irwell Vale and our lovingly restored stations along the way.

What’s Included?

  • You will start early in the morning with the light up crew and watch the preparation for departure

  • Ride on the footplate to the station

  • Complete a footplate ride round trip

  • Sanitised overalls and gloves are provided for the ticket holder to wear on the footplate.

The Raffle ends on Sunday 28th Feb 2021 so don't miss out.


News archive



Off-track P-Way - © Mark Rosebury

Off-track P-Way team improving trackside safety

The Off-track P-way team in line with current government Covid guidelines have been working hard over the past couple of weeks improving trackside safety.


They have cut back the vegetation at Great Eaves Road level crossing to give a better view of the line from the crossing and cutting back other vegetation in the area to improve safety for when our trains return.


They have blocked off one of the local rat-runs by laying a rather large hawthorn, attached at the bottom and given its size and number of thorns, hopefully it will deter trespassers.


A number of large trees had been marked up for removal and a couple for trimming to improve sighting of signal 10 at Ramsbottom. The team are now starting to remove the trees, cutting them into logs for later removal. The brash being placed on the embankment to create wildlife habitat.

© Mark Rosebury

East Lancashire Railway

News Update from the General Manager - Tracey Parkinson

Hi colleagues

I hope that you are all well and keeping safe. As promised this is your weekly update on happenings at the ELR.

  • Safety First – Please make sure that you follow COVID guidance and if joining a working party maintain safe distances, use hand sanitizer and wear a mask.

  • All working member travel passes will have their validity extended until the end of 2021. Let’s hope that we are all able to enjoy travelling on the railway again very soon.

  • Website development project is underway. This is a very exciting project and we are holding consultation meetings to get the views and opinions of our stakeholders.

  • ELRPS renewals – If anyone wishes to renew their Society Membership and are in the local area, please feel free to post these through the office letter box and we will ensure that these are passed on to the renewals team in a timely manner.

  • Alderbottom relay project has recommenced with a good turn out of working members. New rail and sleepers are due for delivery next week.

  • Thursday 4th February MIC class will be hosted by Jeff Armstrong and the subject will be Emergency Communications.

I hope this information is useful and if you would like to share a topic or activity please drop me a line.

With very best wishes

Tracey xx


Track relaying - (c) Rory

© Rory Lushman

News Update from Lee Kenny

Track relay continues at Alderbottom, with significant progress made over last couple of weeks, we have issues getting hold of ballast at the moment, as there is nothing available locally. We are actively seeking an alternative source. If anyone knows of a supplier who maybe able to help contact Tracey.

If anyone wishes to join these please contact John Whittaker.

Thank you to everyone who assisted with the track relay process so far.

Limited staff are continuing to work throughout lockdown to complete essential work on locomotives, annual insurance inspections and examinations are completed to enable railway to reopen when we are able to do so.

The team is also progressing Contract work to help bring in much needed funds with work on LYR Trust Brake Third 1474 bogie overhaul progressing and Bodywork corrosion repairs and repaint progressing on Mark Fowler’s Class 25.

Work will also soon commence work on Class 31 31106 for Hanson & Hall Rail with various repairs and repaint being undertaken by the ELR to return loco to an operational condition.

IT Issues
Email and Internet access issues on the railway have now been resolved, thank you everyone for their patience.

It is important that we keep our medical status up to date and if you are asked to complete your medical status please do so to ensure that we are ready for when we do open.

Outdoor working parties
Outdoor working parties will be coordinated by Richard Law and we are looking at creating a HOPS diary page for these works.

HOPS Mutual Improvement Class is being arranged by Rory and full details of how you can join a session will be published as soon as possible via HOPS. It would be helpful if departments could share what training is taking place, plus anything else that you wish to add.

Volunteer Champions Group
Next Open Forum is being organised by the Volunteer Champions Group and it is penciled in the diary for 25th February. Further details will follow.

That’s all for now, a further update will be posted next Friday, in the meantime, stay safe!

Kind Regards,

Lee Kenny

Track relaying - © Rory Lushman

© Rory Lushman

News Update from Tracey Parkinson

We have now entered National Lockdown 3 which has come as a blow to us all, however I am sure you will all agree that it was needed to save lives and protect our NHS. I am also promising that we will provide a weekly resume of what's going on. Watch this space every FRIDAY. You may get a range of people editing the news and I hope that you find this useful. If you know of any colleagues who are not on HOPS please share this with them too. We want everyone to be engaged and involved.

Volunteering for charities - We can still travel to volunteer and undertake essential maintenance works for Charity that cannot be done at home. We still have loads of jobs that we can do to maintain the ELR and our own sanity. Up to 30 people can work outside if following COVID guidance. All help would be gratefully appreciated.

Alderbottom Track Relay - This is underway and working parties are happening on Tuesday and Thursdays meeting at Irwell Vale Station Car Park at 08:30. A site toilet is provided and bring waterproof clothing and your lunch. All new members will be buddied up with a regular and COVID 19 guidelines will be followed.

Christmas decorations derig - Despite the best efforts of everyone, we were unable to run the Santa trains. However, we did five very good days of a Elfmas experience on the Station. A massive thank you goes to everyone who helped to decorate the stations and trains and worked on the event. We need help to take the decorations down now. If you can help please come to Bury on Tuesday or Thursday to join the working parties (socially distanced of course).

Training - This can continue on-line or in the open air as long as COVID 19 guidelines are followed and social distancing is observed.

ELR Funding through COVID 19 - The Chief Executives from all three Boroughs met with Mike, David, Cath and myself to discuss options for funding to help us through this period. The meeting was productive and clearly all three Borough's were supportive. We will be working together over the next few weeks to develop medium and longer term funding solutions.

IT Problems - The ELR have experienced problems with the IT systems at Bury over the past few weeks. We are doing everything that we can to get this sorted.

The Business - As much as possible we are conserving money and resources until we can run pubic services again. As much as possible employees will be furloughed so you may not always get an instant response to your query. Essential works will continue so that we are safe and ready for when we can welcome passengers on board again.

I hope this information proves useful and if you would like to raise any issues please email me via HOPS.

Thank you for your continuing support and stay safe.

With love

General Manager

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