News stories

News stories

Against the odds, the UK’s network of disused railway lines continues to make the news as the 21st Century throws up a host of transport, environmental and health challenges.This news page will provide links to relevant stories.

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December 2009

Heathrow rail link planned15/12/09This is Local London
A rail firm has announced radical plans to link High Wycombe to Heathrow Airport and restore the old line to Maidenhead.
Bridge to remain closed13/12/09Norwich Evening News
An old railway bridge carrying the Marriott's Way over the River Wensum in Hellesdon will remain closed for six weeks longer than expected because of its poor condition.
Bid to reopen Alnmouth-Alnwick12/12/09Journal Live
A long-running bid to reinstate a historic Northumberland rail link is building up a head of steam, with the submission of plans.
Crab & Winkle disappointment10/12/09This is Kent
Campaigners have vowed to appeal after their plans to create a wildlife reserve on a former railway line were refused.
Station posed to become museum piece09/12/09BBC News
A Victorian railway station in Raglan, which has been closed for half a century, is poised to become an exhibit at a Welsh museum.
City Whitehall plan a step nearer07/12/09BBC News
Plans have been drawn up for a civil service campus at the abandoned Mayfield railway station, close to Piccadilly, in Manchester city centre.
Bus route work halted04/12/09The News (Portsmouth)
Work on the controversial Gosport-Fareham bus route, to be build on a disused railway trackbed, has been halted after a Gosport woman won the right to appeal against the scheme.
Doubts over viaduct cycleway02/12/09Northern Echo
The rocketing cost of reopening Durham's spectacular Belmont Viaduct as a cycleway and footpath has led council chiefs to consider dropping the scheme.
Big step forward01/12/09Banffshire Journal
Plans to develop a Banffshire Way walking route on some of the area's former railway lines is gathering support.
£50,000 plea to get line back on track01/12/09Lancashire Telegraph
Rail campaigners have urged county council bosses to safeguard the old Colne-Skipton trackbed.

November 2009

Minister backs railway campaign28/11/09BBC News
The business secretary Lord Mandelson has backed a move to reopen the railway line between Beverley and York, campaigners have said.
Go-ahead to reopen tunnels27/11/09BBC News
Plans to reopen four old railway tunnels on the Monsal Trail in the Derbyshire Peak District have been given the go-ahead.
Much-needed viaduct repairs delayed26/11/09Hampshire Chronicle
Restoration work to save the Hockley Viaduct - the longest brick structure in Hampshire - has been delayed whilst the local council awaits the results of ecological surveys.
Work starts to save old viaduct19/11/09This is North Devon
Work has finally begun to repair the crumlbing Coles Mill Viaduct which could help transform tourism and regeneration in the area.
'Chuffer nutters' clear signal18/11/09Devon 24
Two enthusiasts have been working hard to return an old railway signal to its former glory.
Walk this way17/11/09Banffshire Journal
Walkers could be making tracks to Banffshire if ambitious plans to transform a disused railway line into a new path become a reality.
Farmers outraged by rail trail17/11/09North-West Evening Mail
The Lake District National Park Authority is asking for public opinion on a suggested traffic-free route to link Coniston and Foxfield via an old railway, but farming families are against the idea.
Disused cutting still under threat14/11/09Journal Live
Calls for a disused railway line in Northumberland to be protected from housing development because of its potential as a future transport link have been rejected by a planning inspector.
Reopening 'not just a pipe dream'12/11/09Craven Herald & Pioneer
Plans to restore the Skipton-Colne rail link are realistic according to politicians from all parties who joined industry experts at the reopening campaign group's third annual conference.
Bridge demonstration woman arrested10/11/09This is Leicester
A woman has braved freezing temperatures and spent 12 hours chained to a bowstring bridge in Leicester in an effort to save it from demolition.
Monsal tunnels to reopen?10/11/09Grough
Four old railway tunnels could be reopened as part of a £3.785m new cycle trail across the Peak District National Park, linking the stations in Matlock and Buxton.
Museum plan for old station08/11/09South Wales Argus
A former Monmouthshire railway station building could find a new home and a new lease of life at the National History Museum in St Fagans.
Old tracks could see trains again06/11/09BBC News
The Welsh Assembly Government has asked Network Rail to conduct feasibility studies into the reopening of two disused lines.
Bideford-Barnstaple reopening support01/11/09This is North Devon
Councillors have given the thumbs up to getting the old railway link from Bideford to Barnstaple back on track at a possible cost of £80 million.

October 2009

Public to have say on lakeland trail16/10/09North-West Evening Mail
The public is being asked for views on plans to create a traffic-free route to link two South Lakeland villages via a disused railway.
Upgrade puts path on right track16/10/09Think is Lincolnshire
Walkers who use a scenic path along a disused railway between Woodhall Spa and Horncastle are to benefit from a £200,000 upgrade.
Cycle path wins top award15/10/09Chard & Ilminster News
A railway cycle path project between Ilminster and Chard - which was heavily defended during the Second World War to try and stop any German invasion - has won a high-profile award.
Coxlodge waggonway reopens15/10/09About My Area
A disused railway line which once took coal from pit to port has been given a new lease of life as a community expressway, giving cyclists and pedestrians a fast track across Newcastle.
New rail link for Moorlands14/10/09The Sentinel (Staffs)
Moorlands and City Railways Ltd has bought about 20 miles of disused railway line between Stoke and Cauldon Low quarries which it plans to reopen.
Visitors get Bluebell extension peek13/10/09East Grinstead Courier
Progress on the Bluebell Railway's East Grinstead extension has been on display as hundreds of visitors walked the route the new tracks will take.
Bethesda railway to be restored13/10/09Holyhead & Anglesey Mail
Plans have been approved to reconstruct part of an historic railway in Bethesda despite concerns from local residents.
Bus link case to be heard13/10/09The News (Portsmouth)
The future of a high-speed £20 million bus link between Fareham and Gosport, along a disused railway line, is to be decided at a London court.
Trust fears for heritage07/10/09Shropshire Star
Cambrian Railway bosses have criticised proposals to build a supermarket and cinema in Oswestry, claiming it will destroy part of the town's railway heritage.

September 2009

Euston Arch to be rebuilt?23/09/09Daily Mail
The iconic Euston Arch could once again be the spectacular gateway to the London station after its remains were found in the River Lea.
Green Park display launched22/09/09This is Bath
Shoppers in Bath are being given the chance to learn about the history and heritage of the city's former Green Park Station which served the Somerset & Dorset Railway.
Housing plan for old rail yard21/09/09News & Star (Carlisle)
A disused former rail yard in Carlisle could be transformed by a major housing development.
Bridge demolition work to start21/09/09BBC News
The dismantling of a disused but listed bowstring bridge in Leicester's West End will get underway in October following a delay caused by engineering works.
Longridge station transformation16/09/09Lancashire Telegraph
Building work to turn Longridge's disused railway station into a heritage centre will begin in November, two months ahead of schedule.
Rail line reopening back on agenda16/09/09Express & Star
Plans to reopen a long-disused freight line between Walsall and Stourbridge could become a reality within 10 years, taking huge numbers of lorries off the roads.
Call to reconnect with Bideford11/09/09This is North Devon
Calls are being made to reopen the old railway line from Bideford to Barnstaple.
Wildlife halts bus link on old line10/09/09BBC News
Work on the controversial Fareham-Gosport bus scheme, running along an old railway, has been halted after environmentalists claimed badgers and bats may be at risk from the plans.
Homes fight still on track04/09/09Bolton News
A developer is launching a new bid for the right to build a housing estate in a disused cutting.
£220k tunnel project given go-ahead03/09/09Peeblesshire News
Another link in Tweeddale's proposed cycle network is set to be added in October as work gets underway to reopen the old railway tunnel beneath the A72 at Eshiels.
Plan to reopen old railway tunnel01/09/09Edinburgh Evening News
Work to reopen a historic tunnel in the heart of Edinburgh is set to get under way before the end of the year, 150 years after it was closed to the public.

August 2009

Public to get answers over bus route25/08/09The News (Portsmouth)
Concerned residents are being given the chance to meet the contractor that will build a £20m high-speed bus route along an old railway formation between Gosport and Fareham.
Controversial plans for Crab & Winkle23/08/09This is Kent
A third set of plans has been proposed for a cycle path along the old Crab & Winkle line as councillors struggle to reach a decision on the first.
Job hope in work on old line21/08/09Scarborough Evening News
A project to improve Scarborough's most popular walking and cycling route - along the former line northwards to Whitby - could create 24 jobs, according to an environmental charity.
Renovation for Thornton station20/08/09Telegraph & Argus
Hard-working volunteers have completed a project to revitalise the site of Thornton's former station revealing a pleasant cobbled area where people can sit and relax.
Wycombe-Maidenhead plans dealt a blow20/08/09Local London
Plans to resurrect the Maidenhead-High Wycombe line with a modern ultra-light railway have been dealt a blow after transport chiefs said it was not financially viable at present.
Torrington extension on radar17/08/09Devon24
The Tarka Valley Railway Group is in discussions regarding planning permission for an extension of track at the former Torrington Station.
Bridge receives out-of-character rebuild12/08/09Daily Mail
Furious parishioners have accused a rail authority of penny pinching after they rebuilt half of a historic traditional stone railway bridge using modern red brick.
Deeside railway is making tracks11/08/09Press & Journal
Volunteers who are restoring a historic Deeside railway line have reached the second phase of the project, five years after building work began.
Reconnection by light rail?09/08/09Local London
A new rail service in the mould of the Docklands Light Railway could reconnect Maidenhead and High Wycombe nearly four decades after the line between them was closed.
Rail link work derails cyclists06/08/09Airdrie & Coatbridge Advrtsr
Cyclists have been displaced from the 14-mile Airdrie-Bathgate path because Network Rail is reopening the line for trains.
Protest aims to save old bridge02/08/09BBC News
Protestors have said moves to demolish an old railway bridge in Leicester would rob the city of a landmark which gives it some character.
Bringing back historic era of tube travel02/08/09London Informer
A lawyer has launched a campaign to reopen Brompton Road tube station because of the huge numbers of people now using the two adjacent stops.
Plan to link airport and rail network02/08/09Liverpool Echo
Transport chiefs in Liverpool hope the arrival of tram-trains in the UK will allow disused Victorian tracks to come back into use.

July 2009

Government will not rule on bus link31/07/09The News (Portsmouth)
Plans for a £20 million bus corridor between Fareham and Gosport will not go to a government planning inquiry.
Bus corridor gets go-ahead28/07/09The News (Portsmouth)
Hampshire County Council has agreed to a bus link along the old railway trackbed through Fareham and Gosport despite opposition from residents.
Boost for Middlewich station campaign27/07/09Middlewich Guardian
A report by a consultancy firm has established a business case for the upgrading of the Northwich-Sandbach freight route for passenger services.
Station plan is too expensive25/07/09Evesham Journal
Plans to relocate Bourton-on-the-Water's old station building to Broadway have been shelved after the move was deemed too costly.
Old line could provide vital link20/07/09Northern Echo
A study is looking into the possibility of the old Leamside line being reopened to connect a Nissan factory directly to the Port of Tyne.
Station goes self-catering13/07/09This is Plymouth
A couple has spent the last two years renovating and upgrading Tavistock's old railway station, transforming the site into five-star self-catering cottages.
Cycle plan for disused railway13/07/09BBC News
Bristol-based Sustrans wants to convert the former Wye Valley Railway into a traffic-free route through Tintern and Tidenham tunnels.
Architects pedal cycle way idea07/07/09Edinburgh Evening News
An eye-catching new bridge over Leith Walk - following the path of a disused railway - is on the drawing board as a way to improve cycle links in the city.
End of the line for Bourton's old station07/07/09Cotswold Journal
About 40 years after the last train left Bourton railway station, the disused building is set to be demolished to make way for a new care home.
Landmarks under threat06/07/09Teesdale Mercury
Sections of disused railway in Teesdale are under threat from decay or neglect according to English Heritage's annual 'At Risk' register.
Campaign to restore Welsh rail link05/07/09County Times
A campaign group in North Wales is fighting for a direct rail link from Holyhead to Cardiff via Bangor, Rhyl, Ruthin, Llangollen, Welshpool, Newtown, Llanidloes and Brecon.
Tunnel vision for Edinburgh passage05/07/09The Scotsman
A 1,000-yard tunnel running from Scotland Street to Princes Street is to get a new lease of life as an exhibition, theatre and music venue.

June 2009

Bridge collapse during heavy rain30/06/09BBC News
A builder had a lucky escape after part of a disused railway bridge collapsed onto the Old Station house at Castleside, County Durham during heavy rain.
Step forward for tunnel scheme26/06/09This is Bath
Rail enthusiasts, walkers and charity workers have entered Combe Down Tunnel which will form part of a new 'shared path' in Bath, due to open in the spring of 2012.
Appeal for Rosegrove-Padiham greenway21/06/09The Citizen (Burnley)
Walking and cycling experts at Lancashire County Council are keen to launch a new friends group for a greenway being created along the former Rosegrove-Padiham railway.
Firms want to reopen axed lines14/06/09Times Online
With passenger numbers up by half since privatisation, train companies are proposing to reopen at least 14 lines closed by Dr Beeching more than 40 years ago.
Highs and low before railway cuts05/06/09Hunts Post 24
Just as a guided busway nears completion in St Ives, another transport milestone is about to be reached - the disappearance of the town's railway.
Fans relive old line's last day04/06/09Oxford Times
Train lovers are to recreate the moment regular passenger services stopped on the old branch line linking Wallingford to the national railway network, 50 years ago to the day and minute.
Composting plant for disused cutting02/06/09This is Hull
East Riding Council has gave the green light to the region's first In Vessel Composting (IVC) plant in the Hull & Barnsley's former cutting at Eppleworth near Willerby.

May 2009

Old line to be converted into cycle path28/05/09Lancashire Evening Post
A disused railway linking Preston with Grimsargh is to be transformed into a cycle route with the help of funding from various partners.
Housing refused on disused railway28/05/09News Post Leader
Plans to build new housing on a former mineral line in Blyth have been turned down.
Construction work starts on Metrolink21/05/09GMPTE
The first stages of work to build a new Metrolink line along the disused railway from Smedley Viaduct to Central Park will get underway in June.
Work progressing on Airdrie-Bathgate19/05/09
Work to restore to old railway between Airdrie and Bathgate is well under way and on schedule for completion by December next year.
Riverside bus section shelved15/05/09This is Bath
Council chiefs have temporarily shelved plans to run a controversial bus system on a mile-long section of old railway route through Newbridge.
A new ride along the line11/05/09Whitby Gazette
The old line from Scarborough to Whitby has been a firm favourite among cyclists for years but families can now swap two wheels for four.
BRT decision day looms11/05/09This is Bath
Politicians meet soon to decide whether to give planning permission to the Bus Rapid Transit scheme which would create a new dedicated route along an old railway line through Newbridge.
Plan for old signal box05/05/09The Press (York)
The owners of Stockton-on-the-Forest's disused signal box have applied to convert it into a house and create an extension which gives a nod to its one-time role on the railways.

April 2009

Vision of rails across the Dales30/04/09Yorkshire Post
Rural public transport is typically sparse and poorly co-ordinated but grassroots action brought trains back to Wensleydale.
Crab & Winkle anniversary DVD30/04/09This is Kent
Railway draws closer29/04/09Tavistock Times
The reinstatement of the Bere Alston-Tavistock line has moved a step closer after councillors agreed to support the principle of entering a joint venture partnership with a property developer.
Opposition to station demolition29/04/09Ely Standard
Opposition is mounting to plans to demolish the old station at Fordham and replace it with a recycling centre.
Controversial plans to be debated27/04/09This is Bath
Four planning applications making up the Bath Transportation Package -including use of a disused railway line - will be debated by a meeting of the council development control committee.
Line receives new lease of life26/04/09
The former line linking Kenilworth Jnc and Berkswell has taken on a new lease of life following a £50m lottery grant to Sustrans.
Minister hears Beverley-Hull case24/04/09This is Hull
Council fights for Carlisle link22/04/09Southern Reporter (Borders)
Scottish Borders Council demands that Holyrood does not slam the door on any future extension of the Borders railway south of Tweedbank.
Tintern's old station gets tidy sum21/04/09South Wales Argus
Design contract advertised13/04/09Transport Briefing
Plans to create a new rail route between Oxford and London Marylebone have taken another step forward with the advertisement of a tender for a design and build contract.
Steam train returns after 50 years13/04/09Norwich Evening News
Train lovers can take a step back in time after a steam service was relaunched at Whitwell & Reepham Station, five decades after it closed.
Trackside cottage finds new home12/04/09The Sentinel (Staffs)
A Grade-II listed crossing keeper's cottage, which has stood empty alongside the West Coast Main Line for 10 years, is to be moved brick-by-brick to the Churnet Valley Railway.
Approval for reopening old line08/04/09This is Plymouth
A scheme to reopen the disused line to Tavistock in West Devon has moved a step forward after members of the area's district council provisionally gave it their approval.

March 2009

Primrose Line unearthed18/03/09This is South Devon
Watchdog reconsiders airport link17/03/09The Gazette (North Essex)
A commuter watchdog is revisiting proposals for a train link between Braintree and Stansted Airport via a link closed in the 1960s.
Funding plea for tourist link12/03/09EDP24 (Norfolk)
Pressure is mounting for Norfolk County Council to help fund a £136,000 scheme to link the Bittern Line and North Norfolk Railway at Sherringham, boosting local tourism.
Speedy decision on tunnel needed12/03/09Sheffield Telegraph
A Sheffield MP has called on the government to make a speedy decision on whether to reopen a railway through Woodhead Tunnel or risk losing the route forever.
Plan for traffic-free path on old line10/03/09Bridport News
Sustainable transport charity Sustrans wants to resurface ten miles of disused railway between Bridport and Maiden Newton for cyclists, walkers and wheelchair users.
Cycle path almost linked up05/03/09Tavistock Times Gazette
Ambitious bid to restore old line04/03/09Gazette & Herald (Malton)
The Malton economy could be in line for a big boost if an ambitious plan to restore a Wolds railway becomes a reality.
Old railway prepared for bus route03/03/09The News (Portsmouth)
Work to clear the old line through Gosport and Fareham has now finished, with Hampshire County Council hoping it can secure millions of pounds from the government to build a bus route.

February 2009

New viaduct plans given thumbs up27/02/09Halifax Courier
Locals have welcomed plans for a cycle route and footpath over West Vale Viaduct.
Tavistock-Plymouth rail link plan27/02/09This is Plymouth
Council urged to buy trackbed26/02/09The Citizen (Burnley)
Pendle councillors have urged Lancashire's leaders to buy a £50,000 section of the old railway line running from Colne to Foulridge.
A trip down memory line26/02/09Eastbourne Herald
A production company wants your old video footage of the Cuckoo Line which ran from Polegate-Eridge until it was axed in the 1960s and is now a popular cycle route and footpath.
MPs call for trans-Pennine link move25/02/09Cranswick Today
Station's new lease of life23/02/09Dereham Times
Whitwell & Reepham Station will reopen for the first time in 50 years, with 1,500ft of track and a steam train to puff and hiss along it.
Wear Valley breakthrough23/02/09Northumberland Gazette
Footpath plan for West Vale Viaduct21/02/09Huddersfield Examiner
Hundreds oppose BRT plan18/02/09This is Bath
A petition signed by 3,000 people and nearly 400 letters have been handed to council officials by campaigners fighting a controversial bus route along a disused railway line.
Land for a line17/02/09Railfuture
Campaigners want to buy a strip of land with two disused rail bridges so the Norfolk Orbital railway can become a reality.
Station heritage project on track12/02/09Lancashire Telegraph
Work to transform the old station building at Longridge into a heritage centre will begin this summer if a tendering process is successful.
Blue plaque for Yarmouth station12/02/09The Advertiser (Norfolk)
Ambitious main line rail plan12/02/09Loughborough Echo
A £350,000 grant has been secured from the East Midlands Development Agency for a feasibility study into Great Central Railway's 'Bridging the Gap' scheme.
Tories would protect disused lines11/02/09New Civil Engineer
Railway plan hits buffers11/02/09Press & Journal (Aberdeen)
An ambitious project to restore a railway that once ran in the foothills of Ben Nevis has been abandoned because of funding issues.
Strawberry path plans progressing10/02/09This is Somerset
Enthusiasts hope to buy trackbed09/02/09Eastern Daily Press (Anglia)
Enthusiasts hoping to create a Norfolk orbital railway have set their sights on what could be their first purchase of track bed.
Pendle railway plan back on track02/02/09Lancashire Telegraph

January 2009

'Olympic' line might be lost30/01/09BBC News
A historic disused railway in Dorset, which could be used to take spectators to the 2012 Olympic sailing events, may be lost before the games get under way.
Council 'disappointed' over victory28/01/09Bucks Free Press
A council which won a battle to stop homes being built on a disused railway track says it is 'disappointed' the plan was not thrown out on the issue of the line.
Rail opening moves a step closer28/01/09The Weston Mercury
Plans to reopen the Portishead-Bristol railway have taken a step forward with Network Rail being commissioned to carry out a technical evaluation.
High-speed bus link to be approved28/01/09The News (Portsmouth)
A £20 million high-speed bus route on the disused railway between Gosport and Fareham is set to get county approval.
Plans drawn up for railway path27/01/09Scarborough Evening News
The Scarborough-Whitby railway path is in line for a makeover by university students.
Developer loses appeal26/01/09Local London
A bid to build 29 homes on a disused railway in Wooburn Green has been thrown out after a developer's appeal.
World's longest busway26/01/09The Times
The st. Ives-Cambridge guided busway will open for business in the late summer.
Rapid bus route reaches milestone26/01/09Hampshire Chronicle
A new £20m bus rapid transit scheme, linking Fareham and Gosport via a disused railway line, comes before Hampshire County Council for approval on Thursday.
East-west clearance work starts23/01/09The Bucks Herald
Ten-mile cycle path for the South-West22/01/09BikeBiz
Strathpeffer-Dingwall path a step closer17/01/09Press & Journal (Aberdeen)
Kenilworth's makes Connect2 progress16/01/09Kenilworth Weekly News
Homes approved for on station site16/01/09Diss Express
Council close to buying GN warehouse15/01/09Manchester Evening News
Manchester City Council is understood to be close to a deal to buy the city's landmark Great Northern Warehouse, which is Grade II-listed.
Back on track after Beeching14/01/09Yorkshire Evening Post
A retrospective looking at Beeching's impact on the rail network around Leeds.
Dump approved in railway cutting12/01/09Evening Leader (Flintshire)
Warning as Amman Valley line reopens12/01/09South Wales Guardian
Walkers and motorists are being reminded that the six-mile disused Gwuan-Cae-Gurwen railway is reopening for freight.
Rent a train-spotter's haven12/01/09Yorkshire Post
Film tracks railway memories09/01/09Great Yarmouth Mercury
A vanished railway has inspired two artists to record a short film in the line which once ran through their home village of Belton.
Heritage line link up08/01/09Rail News
At Easter, passenger trains will run between Tunbridge Wells and Eridge for the first time in many years, thanks to the pioneering efforts of the Spa Valley Railway Society.
LibDems unveil wishlist of reopenings08/01/09Rail News
Full steam ahead for station reopening06/01/09Bolton News
Cutting landfill plan sparks fears06/01/09Evening Leader (Flintshire)
Borders railway branded 'a scandal'06/01/09Borders Telegraph
Campaigners shocked by demolition02/01/09Ham & High
Residents are furious that the historic Primrose Hill Station has been demolished by Network Rail days after the launch of a campaign to reopen it.
Manager appointed for viaduct scheme01/01/09Sunderland Echo
Project manager sets about opening Durham's Belmont Viaduct as a foot and cycle route.