A NEW locomotive works could be coming to the Valley – if major regeneration plans by East Lancashire Railway move forward this year.

Bosses at ELR want to redevelop their Buckley Wells site in Bury - and have been in talks with tenants, loco engineers Riley & Son, over a possible move to Ramsbottom.

Riley & Son has been at the Bury site since 1993 and a site has now been found for it beside the heritage railway line in Ramsbottom.

Talks are now said to be taking place between the engineering firm and Bury Council about the merits of moving into purpose-built accommodation on the new site.

The loco company was recently given 12 months notice and it is hoped the move can be progressed over the course of the next year.

An ELR spokesman said that an announcement was made last October regarding the development of the Buckley Well works and the prospective move.

He added: “As part of the strategy it is foreseen that Riley & Son will relocate to new purpose-built accommodation, on a site elsewhere on the ELR rail corridor.

“To that end the ELLR (East Lancashire Light Railway) Company has provided ground plans for an available site at Ramsbottom, and Riley & Son has been developing plans for the site which have included discussions with the Bury Council planning department and others, about taking their plans forward.”

Once the loco company relocates, ELR is looking to develop a ‘comprehensive locomotive overhaul and maintenance’ service at the grade II listed Bury site, which would service trains heading to Ramsbottom, Summerseat, Irwell Vale and Rawtenstall stations.

If the strategy proceeds as planned, extra recruitment will take place for engineering staff and an apprenticeship programme will be launched, as well as enabling ELR to seek contract work from other heritage lines.

Colin Green, a director at Riley & Son, said: “The matter is now in the hands of our solicitors” and declined to comment further.