All aboard the East Lancs Railway's 'Villain Academy' for a 'wickedly fun adventure'

East Lancashire Railway have launched their newest 2024 experience, Villain Academy, and the Summer Diesel Gala 2024 will be returning with gleaming locomotives.

The Villain Academy promises themed activities, interactive storytelling, and plenty of photo opportunities. Guests will meet a host of colourful characters straight out of favourite stories from cunning traitors to mischievous rogues, and are encouraged to wear their finest dastardly attire.

Visitors are asked to meet under the station clock before boarding the steam train from Bury on Friday, May 31. Mike Kelly, chairman of East Lancashire Railway, said: “Villain Academy offers an unparalleled opportunity for families to come together and embark on a wickedly fun adventure.


"You do not want to miss out on the opportunity to embark on a journey of mischief at Villain Academy! Tickets are limited and selling out fast, so book now to secure your place among the scoundrels.”

Diesel enthusiasts will enjoy the Summer Diesel Gala three-day spectacle starting on Thursday, June 27, as the festivities start with favourite locomotives.

This year’s standout lineup includes the following visiting locomotives that star alongside members of the ELR home fleet:

Class 20, 20066, courtesy of HNRC

Class 26, 26007, courtesy of KOZZY-RAIL

Class 57, 57003, courtesy of Locomotive Services Group

Class 47, 47830/D1645 “Beeching’s Legacy”, courtesy of Freightliner.

Attendees will get a chance to see and ride behind some of the most famous diesel engines from the ELR home fleet with an intensive all-diesel timetable spanning three whole days.

Mike Kelly, Chairman of East Lancashire Railway, said: “The Summer Diesel Gala is a cherished tradition among our visitors.

“We’re excited to showcase these magnificent engines and create unforgettable memories together which are an absolute feast for the sights and sounds of these unique icons of diesel power!”