East Lancs Railway Trust

The East Lancashire Railway (ELR) opened as a heritage railway in 1987 and now operates along a 13 mile route between Heywood, Bury (both in Greater Manchester) and Rawtenstall in Lancashire. The mainly steam-hauled service runs every weekend (and Bank Holidays) throughout the year and Wednesday to Sunday during the summer months. The trains call at six stations along the route, Heywood, Bury, Summerseat, Ramsbottom, Irwell Vale and Rawtenstall.

The strategic development of the railway is led by a partnership organisation, The ELR Trust which was formed in 1984. The Trust is made up of three local authorities (Bury Council, Rossendale Borough Council and Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council) and the East Lancashire Light Railway Company (ELLR Co).

The local authorities are the land owners while the ELLR Co is the operating company that leases land and property, runs train services and railway events.

ELR Trust 2020 Development Strategy

In 2008 the ELR Trust commissioned Locum Consulting to assess the impact of the East Lancashire Railway since its opening in 1987. The study not only looked at achievements so far but also at the way forward and how to realise the ELR Trust's Vision including the target of attracting 200,000 visitors each year. The study covered four areas:

  • the socio-economic impact of the ELR;
  • an evaluation of the ELR Trust development priorities;
  • a strategic plan to guide future development; and
  • a study of the future management and organisational implications.

The East Lancashire Railway Trust Development Strategy Main Report can be downloaded in 6 Sections.

Summary Report

Download the summary reports below.

Contact for Strategic Planning and Economic Development