The refurbishment or replacement of a rusty sculpture in Bolton is urgently needed, local councillors say.

The ‘Ghost Train’ sculpture in Horwich has stood for several years on the roundabout by Tesco in Middlebrook.

The sculpture was commissioned by Tesco as part of the building of their Middlebrook store, and was designed by artist Tom Wilkinson.

When initially built the sculpture was fully white, but now is visibly rusty, with a lot of the paint having come off and it being dirty.

The Bolton News: The sculpture was commissioned when Tesco built their Middlebrook storeThe sculpture was commissioned when Tesco built their Middlebrook store

As a result of this, Horwich councillors are calling for the sculpture to either be refurbished or replaced.

Councillor Kevin McKeon of Horwich North East said: “The statue was a contribution from Tesco when their store was built. When there is a big development, there is usually a condition that the developer contributes public art, so that was their contribution.

“The sculpture was produced by an artist called Tom Wilkinson, by a firm in Oldham, it symbolises the railway heritage of Horwich.

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“And the name Ghost Train is suggesting, I suppose, the railway heritage being in the past.”

The Bolton News: It used to be fully white, but has now become significantly rustyIt used to be fully white, but has now become significantly rusty

He continued: “The problem is, it’s rusting very severely and has now become an eyesore. I and other councillors have been enquiring about getting it, if possible, looked at, and an officer I’ve spoken to at the council has said they will try to remove the rust and repaint it.

“Personally, I think if that can’t be done successfully, it might be better to remove it altogether and replace it with a natural installation, like trees, bushes and flowers.

“It would be better to have an attractive natural feature that we can see as we drive past, rather than a rusting sculpture.

“Because of the way it looks now, rather than see it as a symbol of Horwich’s past, the impression you get is ‘oh, how awful’, which is the opposite of how the sculpture was intended.”

The Bolton News: The sculpture is intended to resemble Horwich's railway heritageThe sculpture is intended to resemble Horwich's railway heritage

Cllr Sue Baines of Horwich and Blackrod said: “It’s a bit in need of attention, as it’s stood there for several years.

“It’s in need of refurbishment or replacement, I agree with what Kevin said, it does look quite unsightly, and in view of other highway upgrades nearby on De Havilland Way, it needs to be looked at.”

An entry about the installation on sculptor Tom Wilkinson’s website says: “The sculpture… commemorates the country’s Horwich Locomotive Works (the) last major works of it’s kind in the country.

“The sculpture is a life size fragmented steam engine erupting from the earth. It disappears and reappears as the motorist drives past

“The sculpture, although like a ghost of the past, is meant as a monument in memory of a powerfully potent legacy to the people and region.”