THE coming of the railway, almost two centuries ago, served only to further fuel industrial growth in East Lancashire.

While the canal had provided the facilities for moving heavy goods over long distances and was a distinct advantage over the ubiquitous horse and cart, this new method of transportation meant raw cotton, finished fabric, coal and iron could reach their destination in double quick time.

It carried multiple numbers of passengers, too, which meant cotton mill owners, businessmen and merchants could suddenly travel further afield to conduct their business affairs - stagecoaches and turnpike roads became a thing of the past.

East Lancashire, developing as a major industrial heartland, quickly became part of the railway network - and the opening of the Blackburn and Preston Railway in 1846 caused great excitement among the townsfolk.

The line then became part of the East Lancashire Railway and in June 1848 an eastward extension to Accrington was opened, to be followed in following years by further tentacles of tracks linking the whole of our towns and villages.