December 2 saw the launch of the new, restored and enhanced platform canopy above platform two at Bolton Street Station, Bury on the East Lancashire Railway.
The £100,000 restoration project has been completed by a team of volunteers and supporters including members of the East Lancs Railway Preservation Society, alongside the staff at the East Lancs Railway, itself run as a charity. But it wasn’t without its challenges along the way!
The history of the East Lancashire Railway is the story of a heroic struggle to keep a dying part of Britain’s heritage alive, a struggle that still goes on today. The latest challenge was the installation of the station canopy above Platform 2 at the railway’s Bury Bolton Street station.
While the team from the East Lancs Railway had between them prepared the glazing bars and ordered new translucent panels for the Victorian canopy, their plans were scuppered when the original supplier of the glazing suddenly went into liquidation. To add upset to inconvenience, the railway team also discovered there was practically no chance of reclaiming the substantial prepayment they had already made.
Sean Hellewell, sales director of Double Glazing Systems UK, became aware of the charity’s plight and stepped in to supply the materials for the new roof on time and at a reduced budget. The company’s Compact polycarbonate sheet was supplied, pre-cut to the exact sizes that would be required to fit into new glazing bars.
Importantly, the Victorian railway platform canopy needed to still retain a traditional look, as the railway is regularly featured as a backdrop in television and film productions. In recent years, programmes including Life on Mars and Coronation Street have used the East Lancs Railway, as the backdrop to part of their storyline.
The optical grade sheet, which comes with a ten year warranty against yellowing, loss of light transmission and weathering, was supplied in just two weeks. The polycarbonate panels allow for greater transmission of daylight and sunlight, while being resistant to ultraviolet light, and the result is a much brighter platform. It is also much easier to handle, and in contrast with glass, will not break or shatter easily.
Richard Barnett of East Lancashire Railway explained: “Following the disappointment by a previous supplier, the procurement of a large quantity of polycarbonate for our station canopy roof was looking to be in serious jeopardy. Thankfully, Sean Hellewell from Double Glazing Systems came forward with a very attractive offer. From the initial meeting, we knew we were in safe hands from the first contact through the project’s completion.”
The railway continues to develop its services and expand, and with the invaluable aid of its staff and volunteers, aims to continue to do so for many years to come.