Trips & Adventures – 14 April 2019
As part of Bury Pride, members of Out In The City joined hundreds of others on the first ever Rainbow Train, travelling on a steam train from Bury to Rawtenstall and back!
It was like travelling back in time to the golden age of steam. The history of the East Lancashire Railway is the story of a heroic struggle to keep a dying part of Britain’s heritage alive.
The Railway’s past is inextricably linked to that of the area’s industry. The railways provided industries with a vital link to the country’s network of imports, exports, raw materials and, most importantly, workers.
However, the influx of cars, trucks and buses on Britain’s roads soon made the railways a liability rather than a vital service, in the eyes of the government, and all but the bare minimum of stations were closed.
This is where the battle to preserve the East Lancashire Railway began. The railway continues to develop its services and we steamed from Bury, through Burrs Country Park, Summerseat, Ramsbottom and Irwell Vale to Rawtenstall passing the Peel Tower.
The memorial tower to Sir Robert Peel, also known as “Holcombe Tower” was opened in September 1852, occupying a prominent position 1,100 feet above sea level.
Frederick Peel was the principal guest of honour, and he declared the monument to be a splendid memorial to his father and to the principles of free trade. Unfortunately, large numbers who had travelled by excursion train from Salford arrived too late to witness the ceremony!
The Manchester Guardian, declared the tower to be not “a specimen of architectural beauty”. To this day a local Easter tradition entails people walking up the hill on Good Friday, often rolling hard-boiled eggs down the steep sides, although the significance of this is unclear.
We were entertained by a male voice choir at the beginning and (once a microphone had been sourced about 10 minutes before the end) by the one and only Miss Vivienne Lynsey hosting a show tune sing-a-long. Goody bags were given free to all train riders and a good time was had by all. There are loads of great pictures which can be accessed here