The Manchester, Bury and Rossendale Railway
was established in 1844 to serve the cotton mills
in the Irwell Valley.Two years later it became the
East Lancashire Railway and that title lasted until
1859 when the company was absorbed into the
Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway.
Today the name lives on as the preservation
society that has restored the section from Bury,
to Rawtenstall in the heart of Rossendale at the
northern end of the IrwellValley, and to Heywood
in an easterly direction.The line passes over high
viaducts, through long tunnels and along a wonderfully
varied countryside where a legacy of industrial
architecture is set amongst a landscape of busy
market towns, quiet riverside woodland and
grazing meadows, with rugged moorland fells
In a relatively short preservation lifetime, assisted
by the local authorities, the society has re-opened
these lines, restored or totally rebuilt the
infrastructure and created an attractive 12-mile
long preserved railway that has attracted a great
variety of steam locomotives, from all over the
country, to haul their trains.
Living only a few miles from Bury, Mike Heath has
been able to make regular visits to record the line
at work, and many of the locomotives that have
visited, throughout all seasons day and night. In his
latest pocket size album Mike and his son Karl have sought to show the
reasons for the railway’s success and introduce
those unfamiliar with the area to the wonderfully
varied landscape that surrounds it.
For well over 25 years Mike Heath
has enjoyed combining his hobbies
of photography and visiting preserved
railways all over Britain. In that time
he has amassed a vast collection of
stunning photographs covering all
aspects of the railways across all
four seasons, day and night.
From a very early age his younger
son Karl, now 23, has shared his
enthusiasm for both steam and
photography and has himself built
up an equally impressive portfolio.
Imprint: Halsgrove. ISBN 978 1 906887 66 7, hardback, 110x155mm, 64 pages. Published March 2010.