Opened in 1846 to link the Manchester to Bolton line with Radcliffe, it was a popular passenger and freight route along the Irwell Valley to Rawtenstall.
1972 saw the last passengers travel on the Bury to Rawtenstall section, and it would have been the end of an era had the East Lancashire Preservation Society not been commited to restoring the line to its former glory.
With the assistance of Bury and Rossendale Councils, the line was re-opened between Bury and Rawtenstall in 1991. The traditional station buildings and developments along the tracks have contributed to the Society with a number of environmental awards.
In 1996 Rochdale MBC will be publically welcomed as the third local authority partner, when major engineering works allow passengers to extend their journey from Bury to Heywood.