Reporter: Laura Wild
Date online: 10 November 2010
Royal Scot 46115, Scots Guardsman locomotive steams through Castleton - This could be a regular sight in Castleton
Castleton could be linked to the East Lancs Railway, if proposals get the go ahead, as part of a bid to increase the number of users of the service from 107,000 to 200,000 by 2020.
Castleton falls into the East Lancashire Railway’s plans, as does Heywood, and it is hoped that the route would attract people to Castleton and help improve the area.
A report submitted to the Rochdale Township Committee this evening (Wednesday 10 November 2010) described Ramsbottom in Bury as a “case in point” where “a heritage railway station is located adjacent to a town or village there is significant benefit to that centre.”
The proposals suggest “maximum benefit” for Castleton. It is hoped that the Woolworth site would be redeveloped into a food store and areas such as the canal could be opened up as a public space.
In the plans Castleton station is described as the “heart” with a village square and various redevelopments, including the former Whipp and Bourne site, the Trub Farm site, the former Corus site and the Anderton site between the railway and Rochdale Canal.
If the plans get the go ahead it is likely that Manchester Road would be “reinvented” with suggestions including improvement to shop fronts, widened footways and lighting improvements.
The report suggests that Heywood has had little benefit from the East Lancs Railway so the master plan also aims to address this.
Proposals include re-opening Railway Street to improve accessibility to the station, the construction of a railway station building to act as a focal point for visitors and development of the historic warehouse and adjoining land.
Peter Rowlinson of Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council explained that the plans had been well received at the Castleton Area Forum.
Castleton Councillor, Ted Flynn said: “Everyone in Castleton is really looking forward to it.”
Councillor Ian Duckworth welcomed the plans, but suggested because these things take so long to happen perhaps work on bringing a steam train into Rochdale for day trips should start to be thought about.
Funding for the project would have to come from the private sector. It is likely that it could be between five and ten years before any major change will be seen.