Rawtenstall is a town in Lancashire located on the River Irwell, 20 miles north of Manchester. The Borough of Rossendale borders Greater Manchester and the boroughs of Bolton, Bury and Rochdale.
The strategic business case reviewed highway, bus and rail options. Several shortlisted rail options were developed in greater detail by our multi-disciplinary team of transport planners, economists, civil and signalling engineers and train operation experts, to develop options that allowed a regular all-day service to work alongside an existing heritage railway, as well as exploring alternative options such as enhanced bus frequencies.
For rail, one of the key requirements was the retention of the heritage railway which meant adhering to heritage railway’s stringent regulations to allow trains to operate at higher speeds. The rail option addressed the heritage objectives and went further by incorporating the town of Heywood, near Rochdale which has similar connectivity needs.
The Business Case concluded that the most appropriate option was to operate a service from Rawtenstall to Manchester via Heywood. This would use the full length of an existing heritage railway which would continue to operate.