Preparations for the reopening of the East Lancashire railway are hampered by persistent cases of fly spills and vandalism along the track, the railway has warned.
ELR was forced to organize regular clean-up patrols, which saw volunteers removing large amounts of rubbish dumped along the twelve mile track of the Heritage Railway which stretch from Heywood, Rochdale, Greater Manchester, to Rawtenstall, Rossendale, Lancashire.
Patrols have already collected six wagons of trash – including items as large as sofas – and this has also had the effect of preventing the army of dedicated ELR volunteers from focusing on their main priority – preparing for the railroad for its reopening scheduled for May 1.
Mike Kelly, ELR President, said: “It’s really frustrating to see garbage dumped like that on the tracks.
“The upsurge in anti-social behavior has put a strain on our already fragile finances – as we have been forced to collect and dispose of all this waste, we have to run special services and hire dumpsters which cost the railway several thousand dollars. pounds we can’t afford. spend.
“In addition to the rubbish, we also suffered extensive vandalism on the fences by people who used the rail tracks as a dumping ground during the lockdown.
“Plus, with safety trains running during the lockdown to maintain the line and prepare for reopening, any intrusion on the railroad tracks is at risk.”
Mike added, “I would like to call for the public’s help and ask people to be vigilant and report any trespassing that they may witness.
“Tackling anti-social behavior on the railroad will help keep the public safe and allow us all to focus on our top priority – reopening an attraction that so many people love.
“My thanks, as always, go to our fantastic volunteers who are working hard to get the railroad ready to reopen on May 1st.”
The Heritage Railway, based in Bury, Greater Manchester, has been fighting for its survival since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic a year ago.
Deprived of vital visitor income for most of the past twelve months, it has only been kept afloat through its extensive fundraising efforts, loans and grants.
The railway is expected to open to passengers from May 1 and has Covid security measures in place for returning visitors. Its reopening begins with the station’s two pubs, the Trackside in Bury and the Buffer Stops in Rawtenstall, which will open on April 12 for outdoor service.
To support the railway in preparing for its reopening, the public can make a donation to the ELR Support Fund, or buy a gift voucher or a pre-booked ticket for a trip from May 1st.
To purchase gift certificates or book tickets, visit: www.eastlancsrailway.org.uk.