The history of the East Lancashire Railway is the story of a heroic struggle to keep a dying part of Britain’s heritage alive, a struggle that still goes on today.
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 import, export, raw materials and, most importantly, workers. Even in those utilitarian times however, the East Lancashire Railway provided a leisure-time service for holidaying workers.
Developing technology in turn developed the railway, however it was also led to the introduction of newer, more cost effective technologies that eventually resulted in the decline of the Railway as the main method of transportation.
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.
Under various names the East Lancashire Light Railway company and the East Lancashire Railway trust have worked diligently and for the most part voluntarily to keep a little piece of this bygone age alive.
The story does not end there, the railway continues to develop its services and expand, and with the invaluable aid of its staff and volunteers, will hopefully continue to do so for many years to come.