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The canal was sanctioned in 1791.
1831 Parliamentary permission was given to the Manchester and Bolton Railway to convert the canal into a railway and to build the Kearsley branch. But the proposal was subsequently modified. The railway was built parallel to the canal from Salford to Clifton Junction, and then took a direct route to Bolton, and was opened on May 29th, 1838 - see Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal Navigation and Railway