Open weekend steams ahead at viaduct

Martholme viaduct
Martholme viaduct
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Train enthusiasts have the chance to see live steam engines at a special open event this weekend.

Martholme Greenway group is holding an open event on the Martholme viaduct on Saturday (July 16th) from 10am to 3pm. The event was scheduled to be held last weekend but torrential rain forced organisers to call it off.

The steam engines are being supplied by the Ribble Valley Live Steamers at Edisford Bridge to take people on trips on the viaduct on a portable 5” gauge miniature railway.

Tickets are a £1 a go for a return trip and all the proceeds will go towards a campaign set up last year by the Greenway group to re-open a footpath across the historic Martholme Viaduct, which will link the Ribble Valley with Hyndburn.

Campaigners, who want to reinstate the footpath from Read and Simonstone through to Great Harwood, have secured a £10,000 grant from the Tesco Bags for Help scheme, which will be put towards opening the old railway line from Simonstone Lane to Gooseleach Wood.

The group, Martholme Greenway, was launched last year to re-open the path and breathe new life into a historic landmark that would also create a safe circular walking and cycling route.

The Padiham Greenway links Burnley and Padiham in a picturesque path that is used regularly by walkers, cyclists and horse riders.

Plans to extend it through Read and Simonstone into Hyndburn across the viaduct, a Grade II listed building, have been on the cards for a nunber of years.

The campaign is focusing on a public footpath that was in use until 2001 when it was closed due to the foot and mouth epidemic. The section they are concentrating on is owned by Railway Paths Ltd and managed by Sustrans.

Other sections are privately owned and the landlords are opposed to the land being re-opened.

Dr John Barker, who is chairman of Martholme Greenway, said: “This is a fantastic asset that we would like to see brought back into use.”