THERE was no stopping celebrations as people got on board to mark Lancashire Day.

In what is probably the most unusual celebration of the day, 80 guests of the newly formed Bolton and South Lancashire Community Rail Partnerships boarded the 11.05am train from Manchester to Preston to be entertained with music, song and dialect poetry.

Guests, including the Mayors of Bolton, Horwich and Adlington, returned to Bolton station where the celebrations stayed well on track.

Four poems were read out on the large bridge supports on Platforms Three and Four. Two were quintessentially Lancashire ­— "A Lift On The Way" by Edwin Waugh and "A Gradely Prayer" by Bolton author and mill worker Allen Clarke.

Other poems read out included the great American poet Walt Whitman who had close links to Bolton. A passage to India features travelling on across continents while ‘To a Locomotive in Winter’ is a celebration of steam locomotion.

Professor Paul Salveson, chairman of the Bolton Station Community Partnership, said: " The day was the official launch of the new community rail partnership for Bolton and South Lancashire.

" It aims to strengthen links between the railway and the communities it serves and covers routes from Bolton to Manchester, Wigan, Preston and Blackburn, as far as Bromley Cross. The partnership will be looking at innovative and creative ways of bringing communities closer to their railway network, and today’s event was an example of what can be done."

Guest also enjoyed a traditional hotpot lunch provided by The Kitchen, a local social enterprise, in the Community Room on Platform 5. There was also entertainment in the Platform 5 Gallery by Sid Calderbank, Alyson Brailsford, Mark Dowding and Julie Proctor.

The event was supported by Northern, Network Rail, Bolton at Home and TransPennine Express.

“The series of events were an amazing celebration of Lancashire culture and history,” said Prof Salveson, “The four poems are now displayed on the station platforms for everyone to enjoy. I’m particularly pleased that the work of Allen Clarke, one of the North’s most neglected writers, is celebrated in his home town, at the station where he often departed on his travels across Lancashire.”

Julie Levy, gallery co-ordinator said: "The poetry complements the paintings and photographs we are showcasing in the Platform 5 Gallery.

"Our next exhibition will feature the work of Westhoughton artist Andy Smith.”