Thousands has been spent to repair damage caused by vandals and clear up fly-tipped waste dumped on the tracks of one of the region’s most iconic rail routes.
East Lancashire Railway has warned that preparations for the reopening of the popular tourist attraction next month are sadly being hampered by continuing instances of fly-tipping and vandalism along the track, with the company revealing it has had to run regular clean up patrols over the past few weeks.
Volunteers have removed extensive amounts of rubbish dumped along the heritage railway’s twelve miles of tracks that stretch from Heywood in Greater Manchester to Rawtenstall in Lancashire.
The patrols have already collected six wagon loads of rubbish, which have included items as large as sofas and dining chairs.
The clean up patrol missions have unfortunately also had the knock-on effect of preventing the East Lancashire Railway’s army of dedicated volunteers from focusing on their main priority of preparing the railway for its planned reopening on 1st May.
“It’s really frustrating to see rubbish casually dumped on the railway like this,” said Mike Kelly, Chairman of the East Lancashire Railway.
“The upsurge in anti-social behaviour has put further strain on our already fragile finances, as we have been forced to collect and remove all this waste we have to run special services and hire skips, which costs the railway several thousands of pounds we cannot afford to spend”.
He continued: “As well as the litter, we’ve also suffered extensive vandalism to fences from the individuals who have been using the railway tracks as a dumping ground during lockdown”.
That’s not all either, as with safety trains running during the latest lockdown to maintain the line and prepare for reopening, East Lancashire Railway has also crucially warned that anyone trespassing on the railway is putting themselves in danger too.
“I would like to call on the help of the public,” Mike added.
“And I would ask people to be vigilant and report any instances of trespass they may witness [as] stamping out on anti-social behaviour on the railway will help to keep the public safe and allow us all to focus on our top priority – the re-opening of an attraction that brings joy to so many”.
He also thanked the “fantastic volunteers” who are working to get the railway ready.
Since the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the heritage railway has been fighting for its survival as it has been deprived of vital visitor income for the majority of the past twelve months.
It has only been kept afloat only through its extensive fundraising efforts, loans and grants.
The railway is scheduled to reopen to the public with a number of COVID safety measures in place from 1st May 1st, alongside welcoming visitors to the two station pubs, and the Trackside at Bury and Buffer Stops at Rawtenstall, which will open on the 12th April for outside service.
You can also see the railway lines snaking through the city centre, cars nipping around the ring road, and the comparatively small apartment blocks around Castlefield.
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Another wrote: “Fricken love this!!!!”
Featured image: @lef_tsotour
Question Time audience stunned as first-time buyer says mortgage quote DOUBLED
Thursday night’s Question Time audience could be heard audibly gasping after a fellow crowd member revealed that her mortgage quote had doubled followed the recent mini-budget.
Taping in Manchester on 29 September, the current events and politics programme was discussing property when would-be first-time buyer Rabia revealed that her mortgage offer had jumped from an initial amount of 4.5% interest to a shocking 10.5% in just a matter of days.
As you can see in the incredible clip, both the audience and the panel are taken aback at the revelation.
The Greater Manchester resident said she is desperate to know what the government’s plan for mortgages is as following the latest revision, she says she simply cannot afford to put the money down on her first home.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer weighed in on the social media reaction, quote tweeting the clip from his party’s own account and stating that “the Tories must get back to Parliament and reverse their kamikaze budget” as the current economic mess is being “paid for by working people”.
To make matters worse, Rabia was given no clarification from her lenders, only that they were pulling her offers. Conservative MP and Minister for Local Government, Faith and Communities, Paul Scully had little information to offer her either, simply stating it is a short-term effect and that the market will stabilise.
Scully was subject to an entirely different reaction from the audience as well after his blind attempts to defend Prime Minister Liz Truss and Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng were met with laughter. Conversely, Richard Bacon was met with applause after he labelled the mini-budget “absurd”.
As if the anti-Tory sentiment wasn’t already at a high, the chancellor’s mini-budget – which saw the corporations, bankers and the generally wealthy benefit ahead of the working class – has seen fresh calls for a general election to be held as soon as possible.
Beyond declaring a so-called £2,500 limit on energy bills (which many have warned isn’t a guaranteed cap), there was seemingly very little in the way of policy that
For those still unclear as to what was announced in the divisive mini-budget, here is a quick summary:
Speaking in a speech at the Labour conference in Liverpool on Tuesday, Starmer said that the government “haven’t just failed to fix the roof, they’ve ripped out the foundations, smashed the windows and now they’ve blown the doors off for good measure.