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Historic Wigan steam engine will not close

The engine at Trencherfield Mill
The engine at Trencherfield Mill

Wigan Council has confirmed it is not shutting down the historic Trencherfield Mill steam engine - but details about its future remain a mystery.

The town hall spoke out after several people contacted the Observer alleging the landmark piece of industrial heritage was in danger of closing to visitors.

However, while the local authority emphatically said that view was mistaken there is still some mystery shrouding exactly what will happen to the engine.

Talks are currently ongoing in attempts to ensure a thriving future for the engine, which was built more than 100 years ago and is the largest working example of its type in the world.

Lesley O’Halloran, assistant director for customer services at Wigan Council, said: “The council is looking into the future options for the Trencherfield Mill steam engine and we are working on a plan to build on what the engine offers to the borough.

“As part of this we are looking at the wider site where the engine is based and realising the huge potential it has.

“Despite the financial pressures we face following budget cuts, we are not planning to close the engine as we understand its importance to local people.

“We will keep the public informed as these plans progress.”

It is not the first time the council has had to move to deny rumours the engine house was on the verge of shutting.

News last year that major developers were interested in transforming the Wigan Pier Quarter led to concerns for the steam engine, with Coun David Molyneux, in charge of the borough’s regeneration portfolio, stressing then there were no plans to close it.

The two halves of the working engine, which churned out a massive 2,500 horsepower to work the mill’s industrial machines in the borough’s manufacturing heyday, have been lovingly maintained by a specialist engine.

The massive metal powerhouse is fired up on a regular basis for visitors, with the engine house opening to visitors for tours every weekend.

Anyone interested in seeing this window on Wigan’s working past receives a guided walk round the facility and a video presentation.