THE popular bars on the East Lancashire Railway will be among those reopening today, it has been confirmed.

The Trackside, at Bury Bolton Street station, and Bufferstops at Rawtenstall, had been mothballed at the start of the pandemic.

But bosses at ELR say the two venues - with social distancing in place and personal protective equipment in play - can now trade again.

Initially the venues will open on Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 11pm. Drinks can be ordered at the bar at The Trackside but there will be a table service at Bufferstops.

An ELR spokesman said: "We will of course be taking steps to make sure government guidelines are followed to protect the team and the public so you can enjoy your pint and tipple safely."

And an update has also been issued on the fighting fund which the railway launched to keep it going through the coronavirus crisis - with the appeal now topping £140,000.

The spokesman added: "Over the past few months, we have been overwhelmed by your generosity be that through donations, turning your orders into vouchers and of course your truly kind messages, emails, and letters. Thank you all so very much for this.

"We still have a way to go to reach our £200,000 goal and the ELR still needs your support and any contributions that you can make will help us to keep steaming for the long-term future."

Preparations are also still ongoing to return steam and diesel trains to the line, after a number of attacks by trespassers and vandals.

The spokesman said: "We are also working hard to ready the locomotives and track for re-opening the trains to passengers."