WORKERS digging up an old gas main discovered more than they were expecting this week when they dug up a segment of the old electric tram line.

As they were excavating Halliwell Road, the group found a section of iron which the tram would have run on before it was taken out of service in 1947.

The innovative transport system was started by the Bolton Corporation in on the first day of the year in 1900.

It ran services to Halliwell, Dunscar, Moses Gate, Daubhill, Deane, Lostock and Doffcocker.

The final tram left Bolton on March 29, 1947, with many of the services replaced by trolleybuses or motor buses.

Kevin Hegarty, from Cadent, which is responsible for the gas main replacement, said: “Big engineering projects like these often throw up surprises. The tracks were not recorded, so we hadn’t expected them to be there. That said, we are moving on with this job at a good pace, so we’ll factor this into the programme and push on.

“It’s great to see such a piece of local history though. Our engineers have been chatting to local people as they pass the work, some very knowledgeable who know all about the local trams. It's really fascinating to see and hear about the history.

“Equally, we’re very grateful for the understanding of people in the local area as we complete this job to replace their gas main.”