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 2017

Spadework starts on shed revamp22/12/17Rhyl Journal
Work has got underway on a £1.2 million project to convert a disused railway goods shed into a community hub and tourist attraction.
Hopes extinguished for line reopening18/12/17Braintree & Witham Times
Essex County Council has shelved plans to reopen a disused railway in Witham despite lobbying by a campaign group.
Work begins on tunnel conversion08/12/17Daventry Express
Work is getting underway to create an innovative aerodynamic vehicle testing facility in the disused Catesby Tunnel, with the building of access roads and hedgerow clearance.
Preparations for tunnel exam01/12/17BBC News
Engineers have made an initial inspection of the disused Rhondda Tunnel ahead of a detailed examination being carried out by Balfour Beatty early next year.
Restoration for C2C structures01/12/17BikeBiz
Sustrans has begun a two-year programme of repairs to 50 structures along the Coast to Coast cycle route, including the 62-yard Beamish East Tunnel.

November 2017

Bolton-Bury reopening unlikely30/11/17Bolton News
There is 'no viable option' for restoring the disused Bolton-Bury railway line despite a new Government plan to bring back old routes.
Beeching in reverse?29/11/17DailyTelegraph
Rail lines closed during the notorious Beeching cuts of the 1960s could be reopened to boost the economy, encourage house-building and ease overcrowding, according to the Transport Secretary.
Portishead reopening given cash boost15/11/17Bristol Post
The ten-year campaign to reopen the former Portishead railway, officially called MetroWest Phase 1, has received a £6 million injection, but the future of the project remains unclear after costs trebled.
Hope for trans-Pennine link09/11/17Craven Herald & Pioneer
Campaigners battling to reinstate the old rail link between Skipton and Colne believe the £100m scheme is a step closer to fruition after a key meeting at Westminster.
Railway path plan resurrected08/11/17South Wales Argus
Plans to build a shared-use path along the trackbed of the Wye Valley's disused railway are on the cards again after campaigners received a £9,000 cash boost.
Line cleared for Midlands Metro01/11/17Express & Star
Contractors are continuing to make headway with the clearance of vegetation from a disused railway, ahead of construction work for a new section of the Midland Metro between Wednesbury and Brierley Hill getting underway in 2019.

October 2017

Safety row following bridge damage24/10/17Daily Post
Network Rail engineers are investigating the slippage of a bridge on the disused Trawsfynydd branch in North Wales from which volunteers have been removing vegetation ahead of its proposed restoration as a heritage line.
Tram link trial to start24/10/17Lancashire Post
Preparatory works are due to start soon on a test track for Preston's proposed tram system which would link the town's station to the M6 via a disused railway.
Demolition for lorry-battered bridge18/10/17Coventry Telegraph
A disused railway bridge under which lorries often get stuck is set to be removed as part of a new road scheme.
Going runderground13/10/17Peeblesshire News
Around 600 runners have taken part in the second Tweed Valley Tunnel Trail Run, taking in the 600 yard long Neidpath Tunnel near Peebles.
Reopening campaign gains traction10/10/17DevonLive
A campaign to reopen the former Newton Abbot to Heathfield railway is gathering steam with the news that Network Rail will consider a proposal to bring the line back into use.
HS2 role for old trackbed?08/10/17Shropshire Star
A disused railway line has been put forward as an alternative route for HS2 constructive traffic to avoid going through the Shropshire village of Woore.
Blurton bridge to be demolished05/10/17Staffs Live
Residents in Blurton, Stoke-on-Trent, are divided over the future of a disused railway bridge that is set for demolition, making way for six new houses.
Progress made with Folkestone paths03/10/17Kent Live
Work to repair and reconstruct the dilapidated platforms and canopies of the former Folkestone Harbour Station is nearing completion.

September 2017

Hope for Levenmouth reopening27/09/17Global Rail News
The mothballed Levenmouth branch could be Scotland's next new railway after a Parliamentary debate in which it was stated that the conurbation is the country's largest without a railway.
Tunnel condition under scrutiny26/09/17Telegraph & Argus
The group fighting to save Queensbury Tunnel and transform it into a cycle route say plans for investigations to look at its condition are being developed.
Merseytravel looking at station plan22/09/17Liverpool Echo
A proposal to reopen St James Station in Liverpool's Baltic Triangle could move forward after an 'Initial Demand and Benefit Study' was commissioned.
Huge boost for tunnel campaign20/09/17Wales Online
The Rhondda Tunnel Society - which hopes to reopen the two-mile long structure as a cycle path - has received a grant of £90,000 to fund a detailed examination.
Hope for Friar Gate goods warehouse13/09/17Derby Telegraph
One of Derby's biggest eyesores, the bonded warehouse on the site of the former Friar Gate goods yard, looks close to being restored as part of a residential and retail development.
Disused embankment in bypass debate07/09/17Warrington Guardian
Warrington's transport chiefs have responded to speculation over a new multi-million pound bypass along a disused railway embankment in Latchford, insisting any highway plans 'are not set in stone'.
Rare tunnel open day06/09/17Cornwall Live
Details have been released of a public open day at Pinnock Tunnel which was formerly part of a railway linking St Blazey to Fowey in Cornwall.
Plans for North Devon restoration03/09/17DevonLive
A disused North Devon railway could be reopened to connect Barnstaple and Braunton if proposals soon to be publically unveiled are successful.

August 2017

Campaign to save village station29/08/17Gedling Eye
A group of volunteers are calling on the local community to back their bid to get Gedling Station building repaired and returned to its former condition.
Heritage line to sell station22/08/17Richmondshire Today
Wensleydale Railway Plc has revealed controversial proposals to sell Aysgarth Station to a private rail enthusiast to clear its debts and secure its survival.
Rail study gets go-ahead21/08/17DevonLive
A feasibility study into the reopening of the former Newton Abbot to Heathfield branch line for passenger services is to be undertaken.
Extension aims to attract tourists20/08/17BBC News
Work has started to relay part of a tiny narrow gauge railway to Scotland's highest village, Wanlockhead, in a bid to boost tourism.
Cycle path progress18/08/17Midlothian Advertiser
The construction of a new walking and cycling route which will connect Shawfair to Gilmerton via a disused railway trackbed will get underway this month.
Study considers Queensbury Tunnel benefits16/08/17Telegraph & Argus
Experts can't yet tell whether it would be good value-for-money to turn a disused railway tunnel into a new cycle route, according to a new study.
Plans approved for listed station16/08/17Wales Online
Plans to convert Cardiff's Grade II-listed Bute Street Station building into office space and retail units have been given the green light despite objections.
Gearing up for South Wales path13/08/17BBC News
Work is set to begin on a new pathway for walkers and cyclists along a disused railway line in Rhondda Cynon Taff.
Dispute halts railway path12/08/17Northern Echo
Work to transform the former Barnard Castle to Bishop Auckland railway into a walking route has been stopped in its tracks following a dispute over a small piece of land.
Bid to get tunnel listed09/08/17Bucks & Winslow Advertiser
A railway books author has promised to submit an application to get Catesby Tunnel listed, just days after the Government awarded developers £4.2million to convert it into an aerodynamic testing facility.
Tunnel included in greenway plan07/08/17Armagh-i
A pioneering proposal to develop a 28km stretch of disused railway between Armagh and Newry - including the mile-long Lissummon Tunnel - has been put forward by NI Greenways.
Virtual cyclist ventures into tunnel07/08/17Telegraph & Argus
Campaigners fighting to save Queensbury Tunnel have released a computer-generated film of what the historic structure could look like if it was transformed to host a cycle path.
Back in the swing02/08/17Dumbarton & VoL Reporter
Ambitious plans have been submitted to create a cycle route across the former railway swing bridge in Bowling, including a linear park with elevated viewports and seating areas.
Path planned for mineral line02/08/17Nottingham Post
A new trail could be set up to link Cotgrave Country Park to Radcliffe-on-Trent and Holme Pierrepont via a disused colliery railway.
Station could reopen to reduce overcrowding02/08/17Islington Gazette
Initial plans have been revealed for a multi-million-pound redevelopment of the original Highbury and Islington tube station.

July 2017

Prospects fade for tram extension29/07/17Nottingham Post
Campaigners fear their bid to extend Nottingham's tram network along the A610 corridor, using a disused railway, has been sidelined despite a previous feasibility study.
Study completed into Leeds 'high line'25/07/17BBC News
A 'pre-feasibility' report has been published into the transformation of Holbeck Viaduct into a community park, akin to high-level walkways in New York and Paris.
No certainty over Ditton reopening19/07/17Liverpool Echo
Any plan to reopen Ditton Station in Widnes could hinge on the success of the Halton Curve reinstatement, work on which has just got underway.
Progress for ambitious tunnel campaign18/07/17BBC News
Shaft investigation work has started at the western end of Rhondda Tunnel as the campaign to reopen it as a cycle path enters a new phase.
Catesby plan moves forward10/07/17Insider Media
Work to transform the disused Catesby Tunnel and the site of Charwelton Station into a state-of-the-art vehicle testing facility is likely to start before the end of the year.
Historic station gets high speed role06/07/17Birmingham Mail
HS2 has been given the green light to restore Birmingham's crumbling Curzon Street station into a cafe, exhibition space and offices.
Pudsey cutting succumbs to landfill05/07/17West Leeds Dispatch
A controversial plan to infill part Greenside Tunnel's eastern approach cutting has been approved by councillors despite local opposition.

June 2017

Steam returns to former line30/06/17BBC News
A 1.75-mile section of the former Carmarthen-Aberystwyth line has been officially reopened following a £350,000 project that sees the Gwili steam railway doubled in length.
Group targets bridge reopening27/06/17The Forester
Residents across two counties have formed a pressure group with the aim of reopening a former railway bridge over the River Wye which was closed on safety grounds in February 2016.
Path plan for old line26/06/17Leek Post & Times
Volunteers are planning to resurrect part of the defunct Cheadle Railway into a public footpath, cycle route and bridleway.
Tourist trail to follow old line24/06/17Fermanagh Herald
Fermanagh could see a tourist bonanza in the coming years with the building of a 21-mile trail from Clones to Enniskillen along the route of an old railway.
Metro extension moves forward19/06/17Express & Star
The £200 million Midland Metro extension to Brierley Hill - using a section of disused railway - is on the verge of getting the green light after final plans were unveiled to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling.
Car park plan for Lord's tunnels07/06/17Evening Standard
The £150m vision to transform Lord's cricket ground would see two disused railway tunnels converted for car parking and a large outside broadcast compound.
New station steams ahead06/06/17Shropshire Star
Volunteers and contractors have re-engineered a disused railway embankment to accommodate a new terminus for the Llangollen Railway.
Candidate calls for reopening study05/06/17Shropshire Star
A Parliamentary candidate is calling for a feasibility study into reopening the Market Drayton branch, providing a connection between Newcastle-under-Lyme with Stoke.

May 2017

Bridge opening will improve travel30/05/17Bristol Post
Transport links on the south-west side of Bristol are set to be improved by the reopening of a historic railway swing bridge across the River Avon.
Dream home in a box24/05/17RailStaff
A former signal box at Torre near Torquay has been put up for sale with planning permission to transform it into a holiday home.
'High Line' plan for Camden21/05/17Ham & High
Proposals have been revealed to create a half-mile-long park on a disused stretch of elevated railway between Camden Town and King's Cross.
Rail revolution proposed for Ayrshire21/05/17Daily Record
Transport experts have put forward plans to reopen as many as 20 stations across Ayrshire whilst a disused line would see passenger traffic for the first time in 50 years.
Repair hope for navvy monument18/05/17Wharfedale Observer
Otley Town Council has agreed to explore taking responsibility for the memorial that commemorates the 23 men killed during the construction of Bramhope Tunnel, allowing it to be repaired.
'High Line' treatment for Leeds viaduct14/05/17Yorkshire Evening Post
Ambitious plans to transform the deck of an old railway viaduct into a park with shops, cafes and bars " based on elevated public space in Manhattan " are set to be approved by councillors.
Exhibition space in station entrance04/05/17Rail Technology Magazine
HS2 has submitted planning permission to convert the disused Curzon Street station entrance building into a visitor space when the high-speed terminal comes into service.

April 2017

Tunnelling into railway history28/04/17The Scotsman
Tourists will soon be able to ride on London's underground postal railway thanks to a Scot who has played a key role in keeping the long-forgotten system in working order.
Old depot to become street food hub23/04/17Manchester Evening News
Developers are progressing their plans to create a vibrant four-storey events space - including a food and drink market, craft beer bar and gig venue - inside Manchester's forgotten Mayfield Depot.
Goods shed revival hope12/04/17BBC News
Llanelli's derelict goods shed, built in 1875, is being saved from ruin by a group of volunteers hoping to transform it into an arts centre and community hub.
New life for old station08/04/17Spalding Today
Planning permission has been granted for a building company to use Gedney's now-derelict railway station as its offices and yard.

March 2017

Funding boost for viaduct access31/03/17Lancashire Telegraph
A project to improve access to the Martholme Greenway and disused railway viaduct has received a 'significant' cash boost from the Lancashire Environmental Fund.
Heritage hope for Ship Canal viaduct27/03/17ITV News
Ambitious plans are being unveiled to create a six-mile heritage railway and cycle path along the disused line between Irlam and Timperley, crossing Partington Viaduct.
Lottery funds station restoration26/03/17Lincolnshire Reporter
The old railway station in Market Rasen is to be brought back from its state of dereliction thanks to a £463,900 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Fond farewell for Banbury box26/03/17Oxford Mail
A piece of railway history has been torn from the map with the dismantling of Banbury North Signal Box.
Crossrail breathes new life into old tunnel23/03/17Rail Technology Magazine
Built in 1878, Connaught Tunnel has been widened and deepened to accommodate London's new Elizabeth Line.
Underground extension at risk14/03/17Rail News
Councillors on the Greater London Assembly have claimed that the extension of London Underground's Metropolitan line to Watford Junction over the former Croxley Green branch is running out of money and could fall victim to a £50 million shortfall.
Tunnel work nearly finished11/03/17BBC News
Work to restore the disused Tregarth Tunnel so it can become part of a path lining the north Wales coast to Snowdonia is nearing completion.
Project seeks more helpers11/03/17Cambrian News
The Blaenau Ffestiniog and Trawsfynydd Railway Society is looking for more volunteers to continue its 'amazing project' to restore a seven-mile section of the former Great Western Railway line to Bala.
Portishead reopening under threat09/03/17BBC News
Spiralling costs are threatening to derail the proposed reopening of the Portishead branch which closed in 1964 and was scheduled to carry passengers again in 2020.
Housing to replace sidings06/03/17The Herald (Plymouth)
Plans to build 50 new homes on the site of Plymouth's disused Tothill Sidings look set to be approved.
Campaigners call for Scotland reopenings01/03/17Sunday Post
Sustainable transport alliance Transform Scotland wants all former railway alignments to be safeguarded until a thorough assessment can be carried out on the possibility of bringing them back into operation.

February 2017

Overcoming Cambridge's congestion24/02/17Cambridge Independent
A lobby group says that reopening disused stations and expanding the rail network in the Greater Cambridge area is gaining support as a means of combating congestion.
Infill to be removed?24/02/17Carrick Herald
An old railway structure under Dunure Road in Ayr could have its rubble infill removed to accommodate a cycle path which runs along the Ayrshire coast.
Tunnel wait almost over23/02/17News North Wales
Repair work is continuing on Tregarth Tunnel in order to complete a path between Bangor to Llyn Ogwen which will bring to an end 20 years of campaigning.
Hope for Cotswolds rail link22/02/17Evesham Journal
Worcestershire County Council is leading a £10,000 study that will look at the economic impact of reopening the line between Honeybourne and Stratford-upon-Avon, creating a direct link between the Cotswolds and Birmingham.
Colyton pair's station clean-up20/02/17Exmouth Journal
A Colyton man has put his passion for the railways to good use by attempting to clean-up Seaton Junction Station in Shute which has become a popular site for fly-tipping.
Guided tours of 'secret' station18/02/17BBC News
Guided tours of the tunnels below Glasgow Central Station have attracted thousands of people over the past couple of years but plans are now afoot to restore part of a platform to how it looked in its heyday.
Fire-damaged halt to be restored16/02/17This is the Westcountry
Work to repair Donyatt Halt after it was damaged in an arson attack will begin soon as the fundraising committee have almost reached their goal of raising £10,250.
Green light for tunnel testing?15/02/17Daventry Express
The Great Central Railway's disused tunnel at Catesby is set to be transformed into a vehicle testing facility with Daventry District Council expected to approve a planning application.
Mayoral candidate pledges reopenings13/02/
The frontrunner to become the first mayor of the West Midlands has pledged to reopen a number of the region's railways if he is elected.
No-frills hope for old lines12/02/17Daily Mail
Reopening railways closed under the controversial Beeching cuts could become more viable thanks to the development of cheap, lightweight trains.
Repair cost put in context08/02/17Telegraph & Argus
A new study has claimed that it would be cheaper to drive a new Queensbury Tunnel rather than repair the existing one in line with the £35.4M repair cost established by its owner.
Ceremony marks Deeside station rebuild08/02/17BBC News
A ceremony has been held to mark the start of restoration work on the historic Ballater Station which was destroyed by fire in 2015.

January 2017

New life for Bristol bridge31/01/17Bristol Post
A historic swing bridge, built for the Bristol Harbour Railway, is nearing the end of a £3.2 million refurbishment as part of its conversion to host a new busway scheme.
Hope for stations' rebirth23/01/17Express & Star
Disused railway stations in Willenhall and Darlaston could be brought back to life as part of a major revamp of the train network in the Black Country, transport chiefs have revealed.
Overgrown line deveged for trams22/01/17Express & Star
Work has begun to clear part of the former South Staffordshire Railway which is intended to host a new Midland Metro tram extension between Wednesbury and Brierley Hill.
Route cleared for tram testing19/01/17Blog Preston
Work has begun to refurbish the old railway through Deepdale ahead of its role as test track for Preston's Trampower project which was approved late last year.
Reopening cost to be exceeded17/01/17BBC News
A £58m project to bring Portishead's disused railway line back into use will cost 'considerably' more than originally planned, a report has found.
Station acquired as part of redevelopment13/01/17BBC News
Multi-million pound plans to redevelop Londonderry's disused Waterside railway station have been boosted after the site was bought by Translink.
Another step for Rhondda reopening12/01/17BBC News
A project to restore Rhondda Tunnel for walkers and cyclists has been awarded a £10,000 grant from the Welsh Government to carry out an initial 'tapping survey' on the structure.
Railway reopening study to go ahead11/01/17Harrogate Advertiser
After 30 years of campaigning to bring back the city's railway, Ripon City Council has agreed to underwrite the £18,000 cost of a study investigating its feasibility.
Survey launched over railway path future10/01/17ITV News
Views are being sought on how one of Cumbria's most popular walking and cycling paths should be repaired after Storm Desmond damaged three disused railway bridges in 2015.
Future role for old tunnel?03/01/17South Wales Argus
Usk Tunnel has emerged as one of several disused railway tunnels that charity Sustrans are looking to develop into walking and cycling routes.
Tapping our tunnels' future potential01/01/17BBC News
Disused railway tunnels lie dormant across the Welsh landscape, but there are some who want to breathe new life into them for tourism and commuting purposes.