Railways & Canals
Railways and canals are often linked to the rise of the textile manufacturing trade and the ones in Rochdale borough are no exception.
The Rochdale Canal is the highest broad canal in England. Rising from Manchester city centre through Castleton, Rochdale and Littleborough to its summit on the Yorkshire border, it reaches Sowerby Bridge after 33 miles. The Rochdale section includes a bridge and a lock which are Scheduled Ancient Monuments. The whole route through the borough now has a pleasant surfaced towpath making it ideal for walkers and cyclists who want a quiet time in the countryside.
The mainline Manchester to Leeds railway runs alongside the canal and is just as historic, once boasting the longest tunnel in the world.
Railway history can also be found on the East Lancashire Railway, the longest heritage line in North West England. Trains run every weekend, and some weekdays in summer, mainly steam hauled but also with some heritage diesel engines. You can catch the train at Heywood station and travel through 12 miles of countryside to Bury and Rawtenstall. Special events, dinner and lunch trains also run on the line, and there’s even a Rail Ale Trail for history buffs who like to combine nostalgia with a pint of good local beer.