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.

Click here for our RSS feed.

December 2013

Path plan for railway land16/12/13Nottingham Post
Land surrounding an old railway line could be sold by Nottinghamshire County Council to make way for a foot and cycle path.
Tunnel run16/12/13North Devon Journal
The Castle Hill Corker, a multi-terrain race over approximately 10km, will be staged on 23rd February, passing through the estate's disused railway tunnel.

November 2013

Plans for new Yorkshire path25/11/13Huddersfield Examiner
Kirklees Council wants to lay a new foot and cycle path along a former railway line in Birstall.
Entertaining plans for disused depot22/11/13Manchester Evening News
Council licensing bosses have accepted plans which could ultimately see Manchester's derelict Mayfield Station become one of the biggest nightclubs in the country.
Formal closure makes no difference20/11/13Kent Online
Campaigners fighting to save Folkestone's historic harbour railway say they will not be deterred after Network Rail announced its intention to officially close the line and station.
MP against Great Central reopening08/11/13Coventry Telegraph
Rugby's MP - who is against HS2 - says calls to reopen the disused Great Central London Extension as an alternative are a "non-starter".
Campaign fails to secure tunnels' future05/11/13Manchester Evening News
The Woodhead tunnels, part of the old Sheffield Ashton-under-Lyne & Manchester Railway, are to be permanently sealed after the government opted not to buy them from owners the National Grid.
End of the line for old bridge?03/11/13Westmorland Gazette
A disused railway bridge near Ingleton looks set to be demolished after it was declared unsafe.
Call for Borders' cycle paths02/11/13Hawick News
A Scottish MSP has called for an investment in cycle routes on disused railways around Hawick.

October 2013

Path scheme makes progress30/10/13Penarth Times
Work has got underway to upgrade a controversial cycle path on a disused railway in Penarth.
Mines blocked to protect old line29/10/13Edinburgh Evening News
Millions have been spent to block up more than 250 miles of mine workings to prevent part of the new Borders Railway from collapsing.
Around in circles?20/10/13Daily Post (North Wales)
It is the only gap in a 90-mile circular route around Snowdonia but the reopening of the line linking Caernarfon to the rest of the network is back on the cards.
Footpath future for old line?20/10/13Northampton Chronicle
A redundant railway in Northampton has been bought by West Northamptonshire Development Corporation with a view to it becoming a new walking or cycle path.
Revamp plan for disused railway line12/10/13Harborough Mail
A man who has been devoting his time to cleaning up an old railway line is hoping it can be made into a more pleasant place for walkers.
Events vision for Mayfield11/10/13BBC News
The consortium behind plans to turn a disused Manchester railway station into a cultural venue has set out its vision for the future.
Tunnel repairs get underway07/10/13Liverpool Echo
Work has started on repairs to the disused Dingle Tunnel which collapsed below houses in Liverpool last July, leaving several families homeless.
More funding for East West Rail07/10/13Oxford Mail
Council bosses are likely to agree to spend £11.1m on a scheme linking Oxford's rail network with Milton Keynes and Bedford via a disused line.

September 2013

First class lodgings30/09/13Northern Echo
An old railway station in North Yorkshire and three carriages have been converted into a home and luxurious lodgings for holidaymakers.
Abolition for the Residuary30/09/
Following a review of public bodies, BRB (Residuary) has ceased to exist, with the Highways Agency becoming custodian of the Board's 'Burdensome Estate'.
Big plans for disused viaduct27/09/13Yorkshire Post
Residents in Leeds are hoping to rescue the redundant Farnley Viaduct through a £10,000 community-led project to turn it into a park and sky walkway into the city centre.
Misguided busway opens23/09/13BBC News
A minister claims that a rail link would have been more attractive than Luton and Dunstable's new £91m guided busway.
Another misguided bus route22/09/13Manchester Evening News
Work has started on a £76m bus-only route to cut journey times from Leigh to central Manchester to less than 50 minutes.
Extension for steam railway20/09/13Gloucestershire Echo
A share offer is being launched to raise £500,000 towards the cost of repairing five bridges as the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway prepares to construct two miles of line.
Cycle routes a rail possibility18/09/13Belfast Telegraph
Disused railways connecting Conlig, Newtownards and Donaghadee have been signalled out by a local campaigner as a possible new greenway for pedestrians and cyclists.
Historic tunnel opens to the public12/09/13Leicester Mercury
It has been disused, locked up and largely forgotten for decades, but now the mile-long Glenfield Tunnel - deep beneath the streets of Leicester - has been temporarily reopened for visitors.
Hope for bridge's restoration11/09/13South Wales Argus
The crumbling Redbrook bridge which formed part of the wonderful Wye Valley Railway will hopefully benefit from an £800,000 restoration.
Cycling role for old Ulster line?09/09/13Belfast Telegraph
Campaigners are hoping to draw on the lessons of the Comber Greenway to transform more of Northern Ireland's old railway network into a walking and cycling routes.
Planners approve Penarth rail path05/09/13Penarth Times
The planning department of the Vale of Glamorgan Council has approved a controversial tarmac path along a disused railway through Penarth.
New life for old line04/09/13Westmorland Gazette
A disused railway in the heart of the Lake District has been given a new lease of life as it reopens to form part of a new cycle route.
Tunnel rebuilt for Crossrail04/09/13Global Rail News
Crossrail has completed work to restore sections of the disused Connaught Tunnel, reflooding the Royal Docks in time for its September deadline.
Bats vacate Borders tunnel04/09/13BBC News
A series of one-way flaps and pipes have been fitted to a disused railway tunnel near Galashiels to enable bats to leave ahead of renovation works.
Dingle Tunnel repairs to start03/09/13BBC News
Repair work to a disused railway tunnel that collapsed beneath Liverpool is due to start more than a year after residents were evacuated.

August 2013

Viaduct refurbishment to start14/08/13Borders Railway
A Midlothian stonemasonry company is to undertake the restoration of a 19th century viaduct before it becomes part of the new Borders Railway.
Edinburgh's best kept secret11/08/13The Scotsman
Many New Town residents are blissfully unaware of the astonishing feat of Victorian engineering that hides just a few feet beneath the cobbles.
The Peaks' pedal power investment11/08/13Chesterfield Post
Tourism in Derbyshire has been given a multi-million pound boost as a project to enhance cycle trails in the Peak District - some involving disused railway line - gets the green light.
Underground station for sale08/08/
Buyers seeking a base in one of London's wealthiest neighbourhoods have the chance to buy a disused London underground station.
Ireland mounts the cycleway bandwagon08/08/13Irish Times
Landowners in Cork will be contacted over the coming weeks as Cork County Council advances plans to open former rail routes to walkers and cyclists.

July 2013

Go-ahead for new cycle link31/07/13The Herald (Plymouth)
A new pedestrian and cycle link across Plymouth's disused Laira Rail Bridge has been given the green light by the city's planners.
Boris backs bike links30/07/13Bike Radar
Clearly unaware of Sustrans, London mayor Boris Johnson has called on the prime minister to resurrect disused railway lines as traffic-free cycle paths all over the UK.
Music to the ears30/07/13Manchester Evening News
A licensing application to turn Manchester's disused Mayfield Station into a live music and sporting venue has been sent to council chiefs.
Hope for station reopening28/07/13Somerset County Gazette
Council bosses are "genuinely hopeful" of reopening Wellington railway, between Taunton and Exeter.
Protection for rare signal boxes25/07/13BBC News
Twenty-six of the UK's rarest railway signal boxes have been granted Grade II listed status by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
Waggonway found next to the Tyne25/07/13The Journal (North East)
Archaeologists digging on the site of the former Neptune shipyard in Walker, Newcastle have discovered a 200-year-old wooden railway track.
New battle for Old Vic Tunnels18/07/13The Independent
The Old Vic Tunnels " the cult performance space owned by BRB(R) " could be turned into a skateboard park after the theatre from which it took its name withdrew funding.
Long wait over as viaduct reopens17/07/13Rugby & Lutterworth Observer
The official reopening of Rugby's 173-year-old viaduct took place on Wednesday, more than five years after the idea was first mooted and almost 60 years after it last carried trains.
Artwork on show in Combe Down04/07/13Now Bath
Passage, a new public artwork, is brightening up the journey for pedestrians and cyclists passing beneath Bath on the Two Tunnels Greenway.
Call to back cycleway03/07/13Express & Echo (Exeter)
The public is being urged to support a new cycle path along the disused railway between Feniton and Sidmouth.

June 2013

Determined to build head of steam26/06/13This is Somerset
The urgent appeal to save Maesbury Station has got off to a modest start, with £10,000 already pledged on the way to the £500,000 they need to hit by the end of the summer.
Questions over rail link revival23/06/13Oxford Times
Councillors have questioned whether there is sufficient demand to warrant reopening the disused railway between Kingham and Cheltenham.
Campaigners put best foot forward22/06/13Biggleswade Today
Rail campaigners are to walk the route of the old Bedford-Cambridge railway, highlighting their view that the route should be rebuilt.
Viaduct gets new lease of life18/06/13Borders Railway
A Midlothian viaduct dating back over 160 years has been put back into use as construction work on the Borders Railway gathers pace.
Disused line to star in Tinseltown17/06/13The Gazette (Blackpool)
A short film set to be shown in Hollywood and at prestigious film festivals has been shot on a disused railway at Thornton.
The shape of things to come?17/06/13New Civil Engineer
How New York's High Line is driving a trend to convert disused urban railways into green spaces.
Restoration for railway river crossing?10/06/13This is Plymouth
Cyclists and pedestrians could soon be using Plymouth's old Laira railway bridge if plans are given the green light by council chiefs.
Delay hits south-west reopening05/06/13This is Bristol
The reopening of the long-awaited Portishead line into Bristol has slipped back a year until December 2018 because of a paperwork problem.
Bold bid for Coventry link04/06/13Coventry Observer
It has been revealed that a disused railway could be reopened to give Coventry a direct link to the proposed high speed line to London.

May 2013

Former line gets footpath makeover29/05/13Dorset Echo
Nearly half a century after its closure another section of the former Somerset & Dorset Railway has been rejuvenated as a new trail connecting Blandford and Stourpaine.
Smoke spotted at disused tunnel27/05/13Lancashire Evening Post
Plumes of black smoke were spotted coming out of a disused railway tunnel in Preston after a pile of rubbish was set alight.
Didsbury extension to open early13/05/13BBC News
A three-mile extension to Manchester's Metrolink network, along a disused railway, is to open three months ahead of schedule.
Station reopenings proposed13/05/13BBC News
Stations closed following the 1963 Beeching Report could be reopened under plans being considered in Cambridgeshire.
Cyclists hail traffic-free route12/05/13The Scotsman
A new three-mile-long cycle path, partially running along a stretch of old railway, will connect Edinburgh with Midlothian from the spring of next year.
Review into Uckfield-Lewes09/05/13Sussex Express
The Transport Secretary has asked Network Rail to undertake a study into rail capacity between London and the south coast, with a view to reopening the Uckfield-Lewes line.
Two Tunnels too popular!08/05/13This is Bath
A cycling route which opened a month ago through Combe Down and Devonshire tunnels is proving hugely popular despite a few teething problems.
Crossrail opens out Victorian tunnel06/05/13Rail News
Work has begun on opening out and rebuilding the crucial Connaught Tunnel in London Docklands to carry Crossrail trains.

April 2013

Viaduct reaches end of the line?30/04/13Wisbech Standard 24
A disused 12-arch viaduct is set for demolition, making way for new housing.
Lost tunnel breaths again30/04/13Daily Mail
Archaeologists have uncovered a 220-year-old railway tunnel in Derbyshire, believed by some to be the oldest in the world.
Lord's tunnel deal revisited30/04/13ESPN cricinfo
New plans to redevelop the northern end of Lord's cricket ground, including two disused railway tunnels, will be "forensically" examined.
Work begins on Borders line17/04/13The Scotsman
Scotland's Transport Minister has hailed a "new golden age of the train" as he launched the official start of construction work on the delayed £350 million Borders Railway.
Repair work to restore bridge11/04/13Strathearn Herald
Plans are under way to rebuild the demolished railway bridge at Glen Tarken, overlooking St Fillans, and restore the footpath between the picturesque village and Lochearnhead along the old trackbed.
Uncertainty over Teesdale railway path10/04/13Teesdale Mercury
A £2 million plan to open a 12-mile walk and cycleway on the old railway line between West Auckland and Barnard Castle hangs in the balance.
Bath celebrates its two tunnels06/04/13This is Bath
Thousands of people have turned out to witness the reopening of two neglected railway tunnels as part of a new foot and cycle path.
New life for Honeybourne line?05/04/13Gloucestershire Echo
A disused railway line in Cheltenham could be reconnected by 2023 if proposed upgrades to Prestbury Park are approved, racecourse planners have confirmed.
High speed proposal for Woodhead03/04/13Manchester Evening News
Railway enthusiasts have launched a campaign to bring high speed trains to Glossop by reopening the Woodhead Tunnel.
Concrete to strengthen old bridge03/04/13Oxford Times
The road over a disused railway bridge at Kingham will be closed for the next two weeks whilst its arch is backfilled with concrete.
Railway idea not 'pie in the sky'02/04/13Midweek Herald
A Honiton councillor has urged the council not to kill off proposals to restore old railway lines running through the town.

March 2013

Fighting fund for rail revival plan31/03/13Hull Daily Mail
Campaigners hoping the Beverley to York railway line will be reopened are appealing for sponsorship to fund a study into what it will cost.
Plan for second Stonehouse station31/03/13Gloucestershire Echo
Travel times to Bristol could be slashed if the disused station at Stonehouse Bristol Road is brought back into use.
Hope for Lea Bridge reopening31/03/13This is Local London
The proposed reopening of a former railway station has taken another step forwards after the government named it as one of three bids to which it is likely to give millions in funding.
Torrington extension receives approval28/03/13North Devon Journal
Seeing a locomotive pulling into Torrington once again is a step closer to fruition after plans to lay nearly 300 metres of track are approved.
Death sentence for disused viaduct25/03/13This is Leicestershire
Developers have outlined a £6 million plan to regenerate an area of Leicester's West End following the purchase of a disused Great Central Railway viaduct.
New plan for Metro extension25/03/13Sunderland Echo
Plans to extend the Tyne & Wear Metro to Washington along the disused Leamside line could finally be on track after councillors unveiled an ambitious blueprint for the region's development.
Countdown for Combe Down22/03/13The Guardian
The lights go on as Combe Down Tunnel prepares to welcome its first cycling visitors on 6th April.
Making the connection14/03/13This is Sussex
Triumphant volunteers have marked the historic moment East Grinstead was reconnected to the Bluebell Railway via a disused section of trackbed.
Old flames light the way14/03/13Bath Chronicle
A group of former railway firemen are preparing for the grand opening of the final stage of the £4million Two Tunnels project in Bath.
Backing for railway path plan14/03/13Northern Echo
An influential community group has thrown its support behind a potential £2million project to turn a disused railway line into a haven for walkers, cyclists and other outdoor enthusiasts.
Work starts to clear disused line12/03/13This is Bristol
North Somerset Council has appointed contractors to start cutting back vegetation on a three-mile section of the disused Portishead railway.
Bridge demolition criticised locally11/03/13Free Press
The demolition of an old railway bridge the same week a consultation about using former train tracks as cycle paths is being carried out has been branded "crazy".
New life for Brunel's engine shed11/03/13This is Bristol
A deal is being signed that will see £1.5 million invested in one of Bristol's most historic railway buildings.
Backing the bid08/03/13Thurrock Gazette
Walkers have braved freezing temperatures to walk the trackbed of the old Corringham Light Railway in support of a community project.
Tunnel repair firm sought08/03/13Liverpool Echo
The search has started for a company to carry out repairs to Dingle Tunnel - formerly part of the Liverpool Overhead Railway - which collapsed damaging several homes.
Rails offer a glimpse of the past07/03/13Worcester News
Workers have painstakingly excavated part of Worcester's St Martin's Quarter to reach old railway tracks that were once a feature of the site's old vinegar works.
Bluebell reconnection07/03/13This is Sussex
A golden spike has been inserted into the final pieces of track reconnecting East Grinstead to the Bluebell Railway.
Borders completion date confirmed07/03/13The Scotsman
Passengers will be able to travel on the reopened Borders Railway again in September 2015 after a gap of 46 years, Network Rail has confirmed.
Running out of steam06/03/13Hayling Islander
Fifty years ago this year, an icon of Hayling Island finally fell victim to the railway cuts.
Volunteers needed to lend a hand06/03/13Northumberland Gazette
An appeal for volunteers has been made to help progress work on a new heritage railway through the Aln Valley.
Experts appointed for case building05/03/13Uckfield News
Campaigners seeking to get the rail line between Uckfield and Lewes reopened have commissioned transport experts to help build the case.
Tunnel path back in business05/03/13This is Somerset
Winscombe Hill Tunnel (aka Shuteshelf) on the Strawberry Line cycle path has reopened following the completion of safety work, including the removal of loose rock.
Doubts over Borders line viability02/03/13The Herald (Scotland)
The Waverley railway project is no longer economically viable due to the failure of a local property boom and steep drop in projected passenger numbers, the Government has been warned.
Funds for new cycle path02/03/13Penarth Times
An extra £15,500 has been granted to the Vale of Glamorgan Council for a walk/cycle route along a disused railway in Penarth.

February 2013

Cyclist opens Hockley Viaduct26/02/13BBC News
A disused railway viaduct at Winchester has been officially reopened as part of a cycle route linking Southampton and Reading.
Fifty years after Beeching24/02/13The Independent
A reflection on how a substantial part of Britain's rail network reached the end of the line.
Community rail project complete23/02/13ITV Central
The final sleeper has been laid by a team of volunteers in Mountsorrel, Leicestershire, who have dedicated their Saturdays to rebuilding the old line between Swithland Sidings and Bond Lane.
Curtain down for Waterloo tunnels21/02/13Time Out London blog
The Old Vic Tunnels - a theatre venue in a series of four interconnected brick arches beneath Waterloo - is to close next month.
Backing for Wisbech reconnection21/02/13Wisbech Standard 24
Almost 300 people have signed an online petition demanding that Wisbech's rail link is reopened.
Harecastle under the hammer19/02/13This is Staffordshire
A disused Staffordshire tunnel has gone up for sale in the hope someone can breathe new life into the ageing structure.
Campaign for arch resurrection06/02/13Daily Mail
An iconic symbol of the Victorian era in London - the Euston Arch - could be rebuilt half-a-century after its stone was dumped in the River Lea.
Viaduct link back on agenda02/02/13Huddersfield Examiner
A £75,000 cycle path and greenway, crossing a disused viaduct in Greetland, is still on the agenda following progress resolving legal complications.

January 2013

Route clearance for another rail path30/01/13Daventry Express
Work on a new extension to a popular Daventry cycle path will get underway in the coming weeks with vegetation removed from an old railway trackbed.
Meeting hears more about East West Rail26/01/13Bicester Advertiser & Review
Proposals for the government-approved East West Rail link have been presented to interested parties at a public meeting.
Festival plan for tunnels opening25/01/13This is Bath
Details of a free fun day to celebrate the opening of the long-awaited Two Tunnels cycle route have been revealed.
Not any time soon25/01/13This is Somerset
The possibility of reopening the Radstock to Frome rail link has not been ruled out, but consultants have deemed the £40million needed as not cost effective.
Viaduct fences set to stay21/01/13News & Star (Carlisle)
Steel security fences that keep people off Carlisle's disused Eden (Waverley) Viaduct look set to stay for another year at least.
Room with a view20/01/13Daily Mail
A dream home, perfect for rail enthusiasts, has gone on the market with its very own private viaduct.
End of the line for disused track19/01/13Northampton Chronicle
A disused railway which runs through the centre of Northampton has finally been declared non-operational after decades with no trains.
Bowland bridge plan19/01/13Southern Reporter
Network Rail has submitted plans to refurbish a historic disused bridge as part of the Borders Railway project.
Hope for displaced residents17/01/13Liverpool Echo
People affected by the Dingle tunnel collapse have been given fresh hope they could return to their homes following an agreement between the Council and six insurers.
Footpath rescue for another tunnel17/01/13West Yorkshire Metro
After several months' work, the disused tunnel at Earlsheaton has been reopened as a greenway for walkers and cyclists between Dewsbury and Ossett.
Offices threaten reopening scheme11/01/13In Cumbria
Campaigners behind a plan to reopen the Keswick-Penrith railway fear that their efforts could be jeopardised by a proposal to locate National Park Authority offices close to the old trackbed.
Strawberrys to Shepton?10/01/13This is Somerset
Shepton Mallet Town Council has agreed to release a £10,000 grant to kick start a project that could convert the old Strawberry Line into a local network of safe paths.
Infilled future for bridge05/01/13Bicester Advertiser & Review
A former Great Central railway bridge at Helmdon, damage to which has disrupted local traffic for more than a year, is to be backfilled.
Investigators probe Derbyshire tunnel04/01/13Derbyshire Telegraph
An archaeological group is embarking on a quest to find out if a Derbyshire railway tunnel is the oldest in the world.
Memorial signal on old viaduct03/01/13Hampshire Chronicle
As part of its ongoing refurbishment, the Friends of Hockley Viaduct have found and had restored an old signal post, similar to one that originally stood on the structure before closure in the 1960s.
Footpath plan revitalised?03/01/13Teesdale Mercury
An ambitious plan to open a walkway on the old railway line between West Auckland and Barnard Castle could be back on track.
Call to restore Gloucestershire railway02/01/13The Gazette
Campaigners are calling for the reopening of a disused line at Thornbury following news of the impending closure of Tytherington Quarry.