The East Lancashire Railway in Bury, north of Manchester, is probably the best preserved heritage railway in the UK. It runs vintage steam train services throughout the year and appeals to visitors of all ages. For many steam train excursions in the UK, the cost can be upwards of £70.
It’s great to know that return fares on the Bury line start at wonderfully cheap £11.30 – making it a superbly nostalgic day out. And yes, OK, I know you’re wondering… it is just like the Hogwarts Express from Harry Potter. So even if you aren’t an anorak wearing train-spotter, we would totally recommend a day trip to East Lancashire!
“Hey Doc….we’re back in 1941!” The heritage group have done a superb job of recreating a station from the glory days of steam travel.
I was like an excited child all over again – it’s a big steam engine, come on!!
The East Lancashire Line has huge collection of preserved steam engines, including this cute little one.
Dozens of full time workers and volunteers help out on the train line. All sorts are required, from drivers to chefs to old fashioned signal men who man the wooden signal boxes along the route.
The inside of the Engine Cabin is manned by the driver and the fireman – who’s job is to tend the coal fire that keeps the train running. The fast we go, the more coal required!!
The train trundles through the Lancashire countryside, hooting at passers by and startling sheep in the fields along the track.
The countryside of Lancashire is a fantastic escape from the concrete jungle of Manchester. Not many people visit but it is home to some cracking pubs with real British ale.
Steamin’ on arrival at Rawtenstall train station. The journey time from Bury to Rawtenstall is roughly 30 minutes.
Whitaker Hall, close to the terminus station at Rawtenstall, has landscaped gardens and oublic park within its grounds. Flowers galore!
Coming across a spying cow on our short walk in the hills around Rawtenstall
Strolling around the enchanted paths around Whitaker Park in Rawtenstall.
As the rain came pouring down in Rawtenstall, our mighty steam engine returned to save us and take us back to Bury.
Full Steam Ahead!
Back at the vintage Bury train station, there is a small pub run by the East Lancashire Railway volunteers – pop in for a chat and listen to some fantastic stories about this historical train line.
The East Lancashire Line is open throughout the year, full details can be found on their brilliantly informative website – www.eastlancsrailway.org.uk
They also run special services, including Halloween Ghost Train tours, Santa Specials and 1940’s style weekends. The station at Bury is a 35 minute Metrolink ride from Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester City Centre.
Costs: Return ticket on East Lancashire Hertiage Railway: £11.30. Other special prices available, see here. Return ticket on Manchester – Bury Metrolink tram: £4.30