The Railway Town of Ramsbottom
Nigel Jepson

Published: Oct 2023
Paperback: 160 pages
Price: £10.00
ISBN: 9781915972262
Available from Amazon

The Railway Town of Ramsbottom
Past and Present
by Nigel Jepson

This book tells the fascinating story of how Ramsbottom became a railway town in the 1840s after a group of local businessmen met in a pub in Bury to set up a company which became known as the East Lancashire Railway. The various ups and downs in the process of building the line connecting Ramsbottom with Bury and Rawtenstall are described here using a variety of sources, including newspaper reports of an ‘alarming riot’ of railway workers at the Grant Arms.

The arrival of the railway brought immense benefits as far as local industry and the town’s growing population were concerned. However, the ‘Beeching Cuts’ of the 1960s had telling consequences for the existing East Lancashire rail network. The impact on Ramsbottom is gauged by exploring the views and reactions of local people as well as those in Summerseat where police had to be brought in to suppress protest action.

Although the demolition of Ramsbottom Station in the early 70s seemed a nail in the coffin for its railway town status, a brave campaign, spearheaded by the East Lancashire Railway Preservation Society (ELRPS) was already underway aimed at re-opening the Bury-Ramsbottom line.

Against the odds, victory for this brave band of rail enthusiasts came about in 1987 and marked by the re-opening of a heritage line between Bury and Ramsbottom. The development was seen as ‘a heaven-sent opportunity’, galvanising the life of the town as a whole.

First-hand accounts are used to highlight the significant impact railways have had on people’s lives up to the present day.

Nigel Jepson lives in Ramsbottom and is a keen supporter and member of Ramsbottom Cricket Club.

He first came to the local area in the mid-1990s when taking up post as Headteacher at nearby Haslingden High School. As far as the broader community was concerned, it didn’t take long to pick up the vibes regarding the longstanding rivalry between Haslingden and Ramsbottom, much of it existing on a cricketing front as traditional close rivals in the Lancashire League.

Nigel’s last UK Head’s post was at Kearsley Academy in Bolton from 2010 to 2014. ‘Retired’, he has though carried out interim Headteacher work in Dubai during 2016 and has also conducted teacher training programmes in New Delhi in 2018.

Although having always been keen on team sports, he developed a passion for long distance running which started with the London Marathon in 1982, moving through other events to New York in 2001. More recently, over 2017 to 2019, prior to the Covid pandemic kicking in, he ran four more marathons in Dubai, Belfast, Manchester and Liverpool.