In the mid 1800’s many businesses were investing in the latest trend to appear, railways.
Each business had their own interests and lines to create and connect, mainly to help their already existing businesses such as the various Mills around towns such as Ramsbottom and Rawtenstall.
1845 saw two businesses lines (which incidentally were started by the same businessmen) amalgamated thus forming the East Lancashire Railway.
This line brought much needed life to the local towns around Ramsbottom, the mills previously relying on the Irwell to transport their goods such as cotton.
Fast forward to 1963 when Dr Richard Beeching, recently appointed as The Chairman of the British Railways Board, released his report title “The Reshaping of British Railways” in order to plug the money hole in the railways which was hemorrhaging money every year.
Around 5000 miles of railways were closed and over 2300 stations. To put this into perspective there are roughly 2550 stations in service in the whole of the UK today.
Although drastic, and for romantics, very sad, this cut back of the railways was what saved it. The lines were not profitable and the original mania of businessmen creating lines and stations had strangled the UK with lines which were mainly serving their original needs and not the needs that the country now had.
The shocking part for this area was that Beeching had proposed a complete closure of all direct passenger services between Bury and Manchester.
Here is the full document of History of East Lancs Railway by A.R.J. Walker for you to download and read. You can also get some more information on the History of East Lancs Railway here: http://www.eastlancsrailway.org.uk/history-of-the-east-lancashire-railway.aspx
This is a much more detailed document then I could go into here, if you’re interested, take a read, it makes for fascinating reading.
In preparation with our podcast episode tomorrow with the Station Master from Ramsbottom Station Stephen, I thought I would go through some of the history of the East Lancashire Railway.
Stephen kindly provided me with a document linked above which gave me the majority of this history.