Lonely Planet Writer

A disused Manchester train track is set to become a steam railway heritage attraction

Plans have been put forward for a new £30 million steam railway to run in Greater Manchester. They are the brainchild of telecoms mogul Neil McArthur, who says that if the heritage railway comes to fruition, it will offer steam train owners the opportunity to run their engines on its tracks.

Steam train plans in Manchester aim to turn a disused train into heritage attraction. Image: Jürgen Ackemann / EyeEm
Steam train plans in Manchester aim to turn a disused train into heritage attraction. Image: Jürgen Ackemann / EyeEm

This project will include the re-opening of the Cadishead Viaduct, because it’s closing in 1984 triggered the ending of the freight service. McArthur has already given £7million to the Irlam and Cadishead community via his charitable trust. He wishes to transform a disused stretch of track between Irlam and Timperley into a new heritage attraction. The station house at Irlam, which dates from 1893, was boarded up and empty for 25 years until it received a £2 million renovation.

Steam train plans in Manchester aim to turn a disused train track into heritage attraction
Steam train plans in Manchester aim to turn a disused train track into heritage attraction. Image: Photos by Sonja

The campaign was launched at the station house by McArthur and former government minister, Michael Portillo. The good thing is that Manchester has experience in the area of trains as it is already home to the East Lancashire Railway, which runs vintage engines between Heywood and Rawtenstall.

Steam train plans in Manchester aim to turn a disused train into a heritage attraction. Image: Jayne Walters/EyeEm
Steam train plans in Manchester aim to turn a disused train into a heritage attraction. Image: Jayne Walters/EyeEm

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McArthur says that the reopening of the line would create a tourist attraction, in addition to linking communities in Trafford and Salford. His plans also include an extension of the national cycleway scheme, with new bike trails also being added.

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