BOLTON’S new rail station and interchange is to throw a party to celebrate the past.

Rail companies and community groups are getting together to celebrate in the summer with a community gala planned for Saturday, June 30.

It will be 50 years to the day since the last steam locomotive puffed out of Bolton loco sheds in Crescent Road, Great Lever.

The event is being co-ordinated by a new organisation called Bolton Station Community Development Partnership, which includes Northern, who manage the station.

Vicky Cropper, Northern’s community and sustainability manager, said: “We want to mark a major anniversary in our railway heritage but also showcase rail’s positive role in the community, as a sustainable and accessible form of transport.”

The new partnership also includes Network Rail, Transport for Greater Manchester, Bolton Council, the University of Bolton, Bolton at Home, Octagon Theatre, Bolton School, Bolton CVS, community groups and businesses. “We are keen to hear from a wide range of community groups and local businesses,” said Vicky. There will be an exhibition on Bolton’s railway history and a vintage bus giving tours around the town.

It is hoped there will also be a miniature steam railway giving rides to children.

The event will feature activities in the new interchange — which is connected to the railway station by the sky walk — which will have photographic displays and art work to look at.

Plans are being made for a pre-gala event on the Friday evening, June 29, with a talk and film show about Bolton’s railway past.

Bolton has a long and fascinating history of steam engine production and travel.

When the 50th anniversary of the last steam locomotive leaving Bolton loco sheds in Crescent Road, Great Lever arrives, in June, it will bring back memories for many people.

Prof Paul Salveson MBE, of Arriva UK Trains and chairman of the partnership, remembers the days of steam at Bolton.

He says: “Bolton has a great railway history which stretches as far back as 1828.

“As a local rail enthusiast I can remember with sadness when steam ended at ‘the sheds’.

“Today, Bolton station is as busy as it has ever been and this year we hope to see electric trains running to Manchester and Blackpool.

“There’s a lot to celebrate and there are some great ideas developing for how we can make Bolton station a real community hub for the town.”

Horwich Loco Works is a prime example of how steam inspired generations of local people.

If your group is interested in being involved in the special event planned for Saturday, June 30 contact Laura Calvert at or ring Paul Salveson on 07795 00869.