History of the Canal – The Decline

In 1830 there was a proposal to convert the canal into a railway. In 1831 at the first general meeting of the Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal Navigation and Railway Company, the line of the proposed railway was varied in order to retain the canal. In 1838, forty years after their introduction, the packet boats were sold as they were proving to be uneconomical and their speed damaged the canal banks. Also in 1838 the company completed the railway and commenced passenger trains between Manchester and Bolton.

In 1846 the Company was taken over by the Manchester and Leeds Railway Company, and the name of the company was changed in 1847 to the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company. In 1936 there were two serious breaches of the canal bank and traffic fell drastically.

In 1941 Parliamentary powers to abandon the breached sections were obtained. Navigation was restricted to a 4½ mile stretch from the Bury terminus to Ladyshore and from Salford to Clifton. More of the canal was abandoned in 1944.

In the immediate post war period, like most canals in this country, the remains of the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal were nationalised.

In 1955 in the "Report of the Board of Survey" (British Transport Commission) the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal was "a waterway having insufficient commercial prospects to justify their retention for navigation".

A British Transport Commission Act of 1961 abandoned the rest of the canal. Right of Navigation ceased in 1962 but some traffic continued in Bury for a short time.

Parts of the canal have been filled in over the years and sections have been sold to a variety of owners.

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