THE diggers and workmen have moved on to Rawtenstall's railway station to start its £600,000 redevelopment.

They have started work on the L-shaped platform canopy spanning the entire length and width of the train terminus.

The scheme aims to improve facilities for users of the heritage East Lancashire Railway which runs to Bury via Ramsbottom and more general visitors.

The scheme will also see the construction of a new 37-metre fully accessible station building with a cafe, kitchen, activity/community room, tourist information centre and toilet and baby changing facilities.

It includes alterations to the existing station building and the expansion of the Buffer Stops Bar and relocation of current toilet facilities.

The final phase will see the creation of a new station forecourt including landscaping, sheltered cycle stands and picnic areas.

Cath Burns, Rossendale Council's director of economic development, said: “The railway is an asset to the borough and so I’m delighted that the redevelopment work is now underway.

"This project is great news for Rawtenstall and the East Lancashire Railway. I look forward to seeing the new facilities emerging as the works progress. ”

Mike Kelly, chairman of he East Lancashire Railway, said: “The design will keep the station’s traditional appearance, whilst boasting modern, high quality facilities.

"This is a great example of partnership working alongside Rossendale Borough Council and Lancashire County Council which I hope will see thousands of additional visitors using the new facilities and hopefully travelling on the railway.”

When the scheme was approved in September 2017, Rossendale's MP Jake Berry said: “I warmly welcome these exciting plans that will help attract more tourists to Rawtenstall."