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The East Lancashire Railway, running through the heart of the Irwell Valley, opened to passengers in 1987, today running from Heywood to Rawtenstall via Bury, Burrs, Summerseat, Ramsbottom and Irwell Vale. This DVD allows you to hop onboard the footplate of LNER A4 No.60009 ‘Union Of South Africa’ from Heywood to Rawtenstall.

About the railway

The East Lancashire Railway was first opened in the 19th Century to serve the mill, quarry and mine owners along the two routes that passed through Bury Town. In 1846 the north-south route opened, which allowed services to run from Manchester to Bolton. The north-south line passed through Radcliffe, Bury, Ramsbottom, the Irwell Vale, Summerseat and Rawtenstall. The east-west route opened in 1841 as a branch of the Manchester to Leeds Railway from Castleton to Heywood, the line was later extended to Bury in 1848.

Passenger services were withdrawn between Bury and Rawtenstall by British Rail on the 3rd June 1972, however coal services to Rawtenstall continued until 1980 with a formal closure in 1982. The East Lancashire Railway Trust reopened the line on 25 July 1987 with an initial service operating between Bury and Ramsbottom. In 1991 the service was extended northwards from Ramsbottom to reach Rawtenstall, via Irwell Vale. A further extension was opened in 2003, with services extended to Heywood.

Today, the railway runs for a total of 12½ miles from Heywood to Rawtenstall, passing Bury, Summerseat, Ramsbottom and Irwell Vale, passing through the picturesque scenery of the Irwell Vale.

LNER A4 No.60009 ‘Union Of South Africa’

LNER A4 No. 60009 ‘Union of South Africa’ was built at Doncaster Works in 1937, a total of 35 of the class were built with just 6 surviving into preservation. ‘Union of South Africa’ was first allocated to Haymarket shed in Edinburgh, in May 1962, it had its only shed transfer to Aberdeen. No.9 was withdrawn from traffic in June 1966 and then purchased by current owner, John Cameron. During it’s working life No.60009 gained the highest mileage of all the A4 class locomotives, ran the fastest non-stop run from London-Edinburgh and became the last steam locomotive to be overhauled at Doncaster Works.

‘Union Of South Africa’ has worked throughout her preservation life, both on the mainline and at heritage railways across the UK. No.60009 hauled its final mainline trip in March 2020, when it hauled ‘The Yorkshireman’ from Ealing Broadway to York via the Midland Main Line. The locomotive was then moved to the East Lancashire Railway, where it ran for the remainder of its boiler certificate. Filmed on the 25th July 2021, shortly before the locomotive was prematurely withdrawn from traffic in October 2021.

Route map

The East Lancashire Railway runs for a total of 12½ miles through the picturesque Irwell Valley. Passengers travel from Heywood to Rawtenstall, passing Bury, Burrs, Summerseat, Ramsbottom and Irwell Vale.

What is included on this DVD?

Join the crew of LNER A4 No.60009 ‘Union Of South Africa’ and travel from Heywood to Rawtenstall, filmed on what was one of the final opportunities to see the locomotive in steam. Using new technology and filmed in 4K, you’re able to witness ‘Union Of South Africa’ working hard through the Irwell Valley from a whole new prospective.

Whilst watching the DVD, you’re able to follow No.60009 from a series of different angles, including onboard the footplate, both the driver and fireman’s cab side views, the front lamp bracket and from the motion gear (a total of 9 camera views are included).

Footage is also included from the lineside showcasing No.60009 at several different viewpoints along the East Lancashire Railway.

Viewing options when watching the DVD:

There are two viewing options to this DVD, these include:
Option 1: Sit back and watch the action from the footplate, as you travel from Heywood to Rawtenstall from multiple camera angles, including the lineside. This option includes short titles informing you of key locations and the gradient profile along the route.
Option 2: This option includes lineside footage of LNER A4 No.60009 ‘Union Of South Africa’ at the East Lancashire Railway, during visits in 2014, 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Product Overview:

This product features no commentary, allowing you to fully appreciate the sound of the steam locomotive working hard. Short titles are included throughout informing you of key locations and gradients. This DVD & Blu-Ray lasts approximately 63 minutes and is available in UK 16:9 widescreen format only.

Footplate filming took place on the 25th July 2021.

Product Trailer:

Additional information


DVD, Blu-Ray