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 2019

Expansion plan for tram network31/12/19BBC News
Councils are seeking funds for a feasibility study into the expansion of Blackpool's tram network by reusing the trackbed of the disused railway between south Fleetwood and Poulton le Fylde.
Plea to reopen Oswestry-Gobowen line26/12/19Shropshire Star
North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson says the line between Oswestry and the mainline at Gobowen could be returned to service relatively easily and has already met with the Transport Secretary to discuss the idea.
Date set for bridge demolition22/12/19Coventry Live
Highways bosses have confirmed that the contracts have now been signed for the demolition of a disused railway bridge in Nuneaton.
Devon railway trail completed after 20 years22/12/
Cyclists in Devon have been given an early Christmas present with the opening of the Wray Valley Trail, mostly within the Dartmoor National Park and following a disused railway.
Funding bid for tunnel scheme17/12/19Telegraph & Argus
The West Yorkshire Combined Authority has submitted a £23M bid to fund a cycle route connecting Bradford and Halifax via the disused railway tunnel under Queensbury, a scheme it describes as a 'significant opportunity'.
Clearance work starts for heritage trail14/12/19Gedling Eye
Workers have begun to clear the old colliery line behind Gedling's former station building, making way for a heritage trail which will take walkers past some of the area's most historic sites.
Calls for trans-Wales railway07/12/19The Guardian
Plaid Cymru wants to reopen the disused railway between Carmarthen and Aberystwyth to help establish a new link between north and south Wales.
Reopening campaign gathers steam07/12/19DevonLive
The Heath Rail Link group hopes to re-establish passenger services on the disused line connecting Heathfield and Newton Abbot in Devon, 60 years after they ended.
Fight intensifies to save bridge06/12/19Redditch Standard
A disused railway bridge carrying a cycle path is under threat of demolition after its owner, Redditch Borough Council, insisted it could not afford the cost of an annual survey.

November 2019

Group proposes tram link28/11/19Northampton Chronicle
A transport group wants a disused railway line to be put to work as Northampton's own shuttle link to Brackmills.
Lottery saves decaying station25/11/19Derbyshire Live
The disused Wingfield Station, one of the UK's most at risk buildings, is about to be rescued and restored thanks to a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Endorsement for Lancashire reopening18/11/19LancsLive
Prime minister Boris Johnson has pledged to reopen the disused railway between Poulton and Fleetwood which he says could bring jobs and growth to the Fylde coast.
Tunnel enjoys mural transformation14/11/19Edinburgh News
The old railway tunnel in Colinton - now open as part of a footpath - has been transformed by a local artist who was inspired by the works of Robert Louis Stevenson.
Developer helps Greenway plan13/11/19Business Up North
A donation from a housing developer has helped boost a study to recommend possible routes for the extension of the Nidderdale Greenway, along the trackbed of a disused railway.
Approval sought for Portishead line08/11/19Bristol Live
An application for permission to begin work on reopening the disused Portishead line has been submitted to Government chiefs.
Extension plan for cycle path06/11/19Telegraph & Argus
Councillors are backing plans to look at extending the proposed Wharfedale Greenway - which will occupy a disused railway - through Ben Rhydding and Ilkley.
Cycling vision for disused line03/11/19Hereford Times
Ambitious plans have been revealed to reopen the old railway between Worcester and Leominster for walkers, cyclists and horseriders as a working group sets out its aims for the route.

October 2019

Viaduct rubs shoulders with global icons30/10/19Nottingham Post
The Grade II* listed Bennerley Viaduct has been included on a list of the most at-risk world monuments, alongside globally recognised sites such Notre Dame in Paris and Easter Island in Chile.
Government support for Beeching reversals23/10/19The Railway Hub
Many small stations and railway lines closed under the Beeching cuts of the 1960s should be reopened, according to the Transport Secretary.
Line set for cycling conversion23/10/19BBC News
A disused railway in the west of the Isle of Man could be turned into a safe walking and cycling route, according to the island's infrastructure minister.
MP seeks reopening reassurances21/10/19Bristol Live
North Somerset MP Liam Fox has called on the government to keep its promise to help fund the reopening of the Portishead line following 10 years of uncertainty related to spiralling costs.
Emergency tunnel works an 'over-reaction'20/10/
Campaigners in West Yorkshire who want to turn Queensbury Tunnel into the UK's longest cycling tunnel have accused Highways England of over-reaction in announcing emergency infilling works following recent heavy rain in the area.
Funds needed to reconnect towns15/10/19Swindon Advertiser
Swindon's heritage railway has kicked off the first phase of a major campaign to fund-raise for a long-awaited return to Cricklade, needing to raise £100,000 just for starters.
Reopening could benefit Evesham15/10/19Worcester News
The Shakespeare Line Promotion Group wants authorities to look into reopening the railway line between Stratford-upon-Avon and Honeybourne, saying it would provide better connectivity for growing populations in the area.
Flooding halts abandonment works13/10/19Telegraph & Argus
Work at the historic Queensbury Tunnel has had to be scaled down due to flooding after water was 'deliberately diverted', Highways England has alleged.
No confidence in path plan10/10/19ITV News
Keswick Town Council has passed a motion of no confidence in the Lake District National Park Authority over its decision to tarmac a section of former railway between Threlkeld and Keswick which was heavily damaged by Storm Desmond in 2015.
Waverley extension 'moves closer every day'10/10/19News & Star
The campaign group set up to reinstate the old railway between Carlisle and the Scottish Borders has been told plans to bring it to fruition are 'absolutely rock solid'.
Kelso keen on railway return09/10/19Southern Reporter
Kelso must make its voice heard loud and clear if it is to have any hope of bringing a railway back to the town, according to a local councillor.
Photos reveal tunnels works07/10/19Telegraph & Argus
Urban explorers have been condemned for 'compromising safety' after entering Queensbury Tunnel and capturing a collection of striking images showing the ongoing works to strengthen the structure.
Runners take on tunnel run06/10/19Peeblesshire News
Around 1,700 people have taken part in the Tweed Valley Tunnel Trail Run which includes a subterranean lighting finale in the disused Neidpath Tunnel near Peebles.
Protestors blast demolition plan05/10/19Redditch Standard
Redditch Borough Council is facing criticism following its decision to demolish a disused railway bridge carrying a greenway, thus forcing walkers and cyclists to cross a busy commuter rat-run.

September 2019

Old line set for Cardiff 'Crossrail'?30/09/19Wales Online
The village of Creigiau might once again host a railway station if a disused link to Cardiff city centre is revived as part of the South Wales Metro.
Viaduct transformation begins29/09/19Yorkshire Evening Post
Construction work has started on a scheme to transform Leeds' disused Monk Bridge Viaduct into a High Line-style greenway and pedestrian path, while the archways beneath will be home to bars, restaurants and shops.
New threat to Woodhead route24/09/19The Star
The National Grid wants to remove eight pylons east of the Woodhead Tunnel and replace them with an underground cable along the Trans Pennine Trail, putting paid to any chance of reopening the old line between Sheffield to Manchester.
Doubts raised over Borders extension23/09/19Border Telegraph
It has been revealed that Scottish Ministers don't have the power to extend the Borders Railway to Carlisle whilst the UK government has cast doubts over its likely benefits.
Joy as tunnels reopen for cycling15/09/19LancsLive
A procession of more than 400 cyclists and walkers has celebrated the opening of a new section of the East Lancashire Cycleway, passing through two disused railway tunnels which have been out of use for more than half a century.
Tunnel at risk despite cycling potential12/09/19The Guardian
The Victorian Society has thrown its weight behind a campaign to bring new life to the 1.4-mile long Queensbury Tunnel, including it amongst the Top 10 Most Endangered Buildings in 2019.
Boost for Norfolk rail link bid10/09/19Eastern Daily Press
The prospect of restoring Hunstanton's rail link to cut congestion and bring economic benefits has been handed a boost, with Norfolk County Council set to explore whether it would be viable to reopen it.
Tunnel monitored during roadworks09/09/19LancsLive
Members of the public have been given the opportunity to explore the disused Miley tunnel in Preston which is being monitored during major overhead roadworks.
Decision time for viaduct scheme?09/09/19News & Star
A ten-year campaign to reopen Carlisle's Eden Viaduct as a public walkway may take a step forward as councillors discuss the next steps.
Council blasted over loco works08/09/19Manchester Evening News
Bolton Council has been criticised by a heritage campaigner after it ignored his alternative proposal for a historic loco works which is set to be demolished for a new road.
Study into Dales reopening?08/09/19Northern Echo
A feasibility study looks set to be commissioned into the provision of a multi-user cycle route alongside a reinstated Hawes-Garsdale line.
Positive outlook for campaign08/09/19Northern Echo
The founders of a campaign to save the world's oldest Railway Institute at Shildon say they are moving in the right direction.
Improvements for railway path05/09/19Bristol 24/7
In its 40th anniversary year, the Bristol and Bath Railway Path is set to receive a £1.1 million programme of improvements, focussed on a stretch between Fishponds and its start in St Philip's.
Railway role for cycle track01/09/19The Press & Journal
A new long distance bike trail connecting the very north of mainland Scotland to the north of England - partly using disused railways - has been launched.

August 2019

Portishead back on track29/08/19Bristol Live
A decade-long scheme to reopen the railway between Portishead and Bristol will take a huge step forward next month when North Somerset Council submits a Development Consent Order to the Government.
Campaigners target missing link29/08/19Eastern Daily Press
Years after closure, a trust is aiming to reconnect two of Norfolk's heritage railways by putting Fakenham and Melton Constable back on line.
Row erupts over line's future28/08/19North Wales Live
A group hoping to reopen a former railway on Anglesey has hit back at claims that the area would be better served by converting it into a dedicated traffic-free route for cycling and walking.
Uncertainty over rail corridor19/08/19Warrington Guardian
Council officers will examine whether a new mass public transport system in Warrington will need to use a disused railway line over the Manchester Ship Canal.
Hopes for Ripon route revival16/08/19Yorkshire Post
A campaign group has raised the possibility of the former rail link between Harrogate and Ripon being reinstated.
Fife railway to reopen07/08/19The Herald (Scotland)
The Scottish Government has announced that it will spend an estimated £70m bringing trains back to Levenmouth, in another reversal of the Beeching-era cuts that decimated much of the country's rail network.

July 2019

Putting the track back23/07/19Yorkshire Post
Permission has been granted for track to be relayed and minor locomotive movements undertaken at the former Wensleydale Railway station at Aysgarth.
Cycle path plan on right track22/07/19The Mail
A plan to convert a disused Cumbrian railway into a cycle route has been given a boost after it was raised in the Commons by the local MP.
Hope for station reopening22/07/19The Business Desk
Businesses in Liverpool's Baltic Triangle have welcomed proposals that could see the reopening of St James Station, located in a cutting between Central and Brunswick stations.
Viaduct plan takes step forward16/07/19Ilkeston Advertiser
Plans to reopen Bennerley Viaduct as a public walkway are set to be approved by Erewash Borough Council.
Landowner fights tunnel abandonment14/07/19The Guardian
The campaign to turn Queensbury Tunnel into England's longest cycle tunnel has received a boost in the form of a defiant landowner who refuses to let Highways England abandon it.
Funding gap halts Tavistock progress11/07/19Tavistock Times
Members of West Devon Borough Council have been told that the costs of reinstating the Tavistock to Bere Alston rail link is now in the region of £70 million and adequate funding is not currently available.
Welsh rail revival proposed09/07/19Wales Online
Plans to revive a disused railway line between Cardiff and Llantrisant have been revealed as a next phase of the South Wales Metro project.
Plans for arches' transformation01/07/19Evening Times (Glasgow)
Some of Glasgow's famous disused railway arches could soon be given a makeover, transforming them into a thriving home for businesses.

June 2019

Boost for England extension30/06/19Southern Reporter
Campaigners have welcomed the allocation of £10m for a study into the viability of extending the Borders Railway south-west to Carlisle as part of the Borderlands growth deal.
Clearer vision for tunnel greenway28/06/19Yorkshire Times
Efforts to create a foot and cycle connection between Bradford and Halifax - via Queensbury Tunnel - look set to shift up a gear with the publication of an 'advocacy document' to support funding bids.
New role for disused station?27/06/19Hull Live
Thirty years after Melton Halt railway station closed, the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership is looking at reopening it to serve a Business Park.
2023 reopening for Portishead?25/06/19Bristol Live
More than a decade after plans to reopen the railway to Portishead were taken up by Bristol and North Somerset councils, the scheme is now ready to be submitted to Government for formal approval.
Arch makes way for homes23/06/19Gloucestershire Live
Planners have given the go-ahead to demolish a historic railway bridge in order to provide access to a new housing estate in Ross-on-Wye.
Waggonway find from 172221/06/19East Lothian Courier
Remains of an early Scottish waggonway have been unearthed near Meadowmill in a find which has been described as having 'huge significance'.
Demolition for battered bridge12/06/19Coventry Live
A date has finally been set to remove a disused railway bridge in Nuneaton after years at the centre of frustrating traffic congestion when wagons have become wedged beneath it.
£350m earmarked for transport revamp12/06/19Bristol Live
Ambitious plans for the future of public transport around Bristol - combining trains, buses and cycle/walkways - are set to take a huge leap forward.
Path plan makes progress10/06/19Otley Observer
Otley Town Council has approved funding for a bat survey in support of the Wharfedale Greenway which aims to transform a disused railway line into a walking and cycling route between Pool-in-Wharfedale and Menston.
Autumn start for viaduct works10/06/19Nottinghamshire Live
Work to transform the iconic Bennerley Viaduct into a public walkway could start this autumn.
New role for city depot?10/06/19Manchester Evening News
Manchester's Mayfield Depot could be transformed into a huge new music, theatre, film, food and arts venue, managed by some of the people behind Parklife and the Warehouse Project.
Old tunnel coming back on line09/06/19Doncaster Free Press
The biggest upgrade of the East Coast Main Line in a generation will see signalling equipment removed from a disused tunnel at King's Cross prior to track being relaid through it.
Battle starts against tunnel plans05/06/19Telegraph & Argus
Campaigners fighting to save Queensbury Tunnel from abandonment have asked supporters to 'stand up and make our voices heard' after plans to infill the historic structure were officially lodged by Highways England.
Trail set for 2019 opening05/06/19DevonLive
The two final stages of the Wray Valley Trail that links Bovey Tracey and Moretonhampstead via on old branch line should be complete by the end of the year.
New future for disused station?04/06/19Edinburgh Evening News
A disused railway station could be restored as a centrepiece of the regeneration of Granton.
Boost for reopening campaign01/06/19Craven Herald & Pioneer
A campaign to reopen the former railway line between Skipton and Colne has received another boost after it was announced as a winning project in the Great British Transport Competition.

May 2019

Track plan for Devon cycle path31/05/19DevonLive
Plans have been submitted to lay a section of track on a former railway in North Devon which was closed back in 1970...but it would only be 10 metres long!
Campaigners target Horsham reopenings30/05/19County Times
A campaign has been launched to reopen the former Horsham to Guildford railway line which has been shut since the 1960s.
Reports suggests HS2 alternatives13/05/19Daily Mail
Scrapping the controversial HS2 project would free-up enough cash to bankroll 28 critical transport projects across Britain, including the reopening of several disused railways.
Governments at odds over Borders plans12/05/19Southern Reporter
UK Government ministers have confirmed their commitment to carrying out a study into the feasibility of extending the Borders Railway into England and are calling on their Scottish counterparts to do likewise.

April 2019

Big plans for funicular's future30/04/19Bristol Live
Steeped in history, Bristol's Clifton Rocks Railway could become the city's newest visitor attraction after being bought by a new owner who has plans to reopen it as a museum.
Tourism future for former branch?27/04/19
Enthusiasts are hoping to breathe new life into the three-mile Maerdy branch line in Rhondda Cynon Taff, 55 years since passengers last trundled along it.
Bridge strike severs Derbyshire trail17/04/19Derbyshire Live
The span of a disused railway bridge, now forming part of the 17-mile High Peak Trail, has been destroyed after it was struck by a lorry.
Damaged bridge should be replaced11/04/19North Wales Live
A member of the Welsh Assembly believes that a railway bridge, damaged when a lorry got wedged underneath it, should be reinstated to help local enthusiasts revive the disused Anglesey Central Railway.
A tale of two viaducts08/04/19Yorkshire Evening Post
Two disused railway viaducts in Leeds - Holbeck and Monk Bridge - could become New York-style 'highline' routes within the next decade.
Launch for new greenway08/04/19West Bridgford Wire
Cyclists and Council members have come together to celebrate the official opening of a new £250,000 greenway along a disused mineral railway which will improve access and boost wildlife at Cotgrave Country Park.
Suggestions sought for viaduct's reuse07/04/19Go London
A disused Victorian viaduct in Hammersmith is being lined up as London's answer to New York's High Line linear park, with a competition launched to find ideas to restore the structure for public use.
Bennerley rebirth a step closer07/04/19Nottinghamshire Live
Plans have been submitted to turn Bennerley Viaduct into a public footpath for walkers and cyclists after £485,000 in funding was secured.
MPs back tunnel reopening05/04/19Telegraph & Argus
Three of Bradford's MPs have backed the campaign to preserve Queensbury Tunnel as a major cycle route.
Landowner blocks cycle route03/04/
A new cycle route along a disused Leicestershire railway - which was intended to serve as a memorial for a 13-year-old boy killed while cycling - has been blocked by local landowner.

March 2019

Boost for Borders extension31/03/19The Scotsman
The campaign to extend the Borders Railway to Hawick or Carlisle has received a major boost with the Government announcing its backing for a feasibility study.
Demolition unveils former goods station31/03/19Hull Live
A huge Victorian railway goods station in Hull has been revealed for the first time in decades as nearby buildings are demolished to make way for a redevelopment of the site.
Railway path under threat14/03/19This is Wiltshire
Thousands have signed a petition to protect a cycle path along a disused railway between Chippenham and Calne following the revelation that Wiltshire Council is considering its closure to cut costs.
Safety justification for Norfolk reopening14/03/19Lynn News
Restoring the rail link between Lynn and Hunstanton could potentially save lives by reducing road congestion, local councillors have heard.
Funds gathered for viaduct walkway14/03/19Nottinghamshire Live
Subject to planning and listed building consent, work to install a walkway across Bennerley Viaduct could begin by the end of the summer, with a funding target of £690,000.
Rail bosses look at Perth link12/03/19Daily Record
Proposals to introduce a more direct rail link between Perth and Edinburgh - by reopening a line that closed in 1970 - are to be examined by Transport Scotland.
Reconnecting Caernarfon10/03/19North Wales Live
Reopening the disused line between Caernarfon and Bangor would cost £16m per mile but bring more than 7,000 people within walking distance of a main line station, according to a new report.
Mile-long tunnel could have useful future06/03/19Leicester Mercury
A prospective local Councillor in Leicester has suggested that the city's disused Glenfield Tunnel could be brought back into use as a cycle and walking route.
MP attacks tunnel abandonment03/03/19Keighley News
Judith Cummins, the MP for Bradford South, has accused Highways England of trying to 'kill off by stealth' plans to reopen Queensbury Tunnel as a foot and cycle path.
New life for hidden platform01/03/19The Scotsman
Plans to restore a hidden derelict platform beneath Glasgow Central are 'on the right track', Network Rail has revealed as Scotland's busiest station prepares to star in a new BBC series.
Funding bid to finish restoration01/03/19BBC News
After 45 years rebuilding the railway line between Llangollen and Corwen, volunteers say they only need £10,000 to finish the final stretch.

February 2019

Doubts cast over railway path27/02/19Teesdale Mercury
Long-awaited plans to create a 12-mile walk along the old railway line from Barnard Castle to Bishop Auckland have been dropped from a flagship policy.
Decision pending on Bennerley's future27/02/19Nottingham Post
The viability of plans to bring Bennerley Viaduct back into public use will be known in March when a decision is made on a funding application.
Disused Cornish railway to become Trail23/02/
Highways England has announced a £17 million investment in walking and cycling projects in Cornwall, including a multi-use trail along a disused railway between Perranporth and Newquay.
Rail plan for Somerset town20/02/19Rail Technology Magazine
Shepton Mallet railway station could be restored after the local authority unveiled a new long-term vision for its rail route.
Conflicting visions for restored line20/02/19The Gazette
Competing visions have been laid out about whether the disused railway line between Fleetwood and Poulton should be restored for use by trains or trams.
Cycle route receives approval15/02/19Pontefract & Castleford Express
A new walking and cycling route is set to be built along a disused railway track between Green Row Bridge at Methley Junction and Castleford, following approval from Leeds City Council.
Focus on Trail extensions10/02/19Keighley News
A new partnership has been set-up to extend the popular Great Northern Railway Trail to Keighley and Denholme via sections of disused trackbed.
Tunnel path proposal rebooted06/02/19FoD & WyeV Review
Walkers and cyclists could soon be passing through the 1,188 yard long disused Tidenham Tunnel as part of a 'Wander Wye' path bid to link Tintern to Chepstow.
Reopen and repurpose railway lines05/02/19Daily Echo
A £5 billion rail network expansion programme to reach the most disconnected and disadvantaged communities by reopening closed lines and repurposing freight routes has been proposed by campaigners.
Council support for tunnel path05/02/19Telegraph & Argus
Turning Queensbury Tunnel into a cycling route would bring 'national and international' attention to Bradford, campaigners have told Council bosses.
Start signalled for railway walk02/02/19Teesdale Mercury
County officers are planning to create five public rights of way along the old railway line to Barnard Castle which, for the most part, will be three metres wide and stretch more than two kilometres.

January 2019

Council support for tunnel scheme30/01/19Telegraph & Argus
Bradford Council will support plans to turn Queensbury Tunnel into an underground cycle way, but says it currently cannot commit to undertaking the project with its tightening budget.
Disused line set for clean up23/01/19Kent Online
Network Rail has announced that it will soon begin to clear the northern section of the disused Folkestone Harbour branch as talks continue with local stakeholders about potential uses for it within the community.
Partners sought for rail link21/01/19Rail Technology Magazine
East West Railway Company has announced it is seeking specialist partners to deliver the central section of its reinstated line between Cambridge and Bedford, after publishing a prior information notice.
Plans submitted for Wharfedale Greenway21/01/19Ilkley Gazette
Ambitious plans for a four kilometre cycle track on the former trackbed of the Arthington to Burley railway have been submitted to Bradford Council.
Concerns over tunnel pollution17/01/19Yorkshire Post
The Environment Agency is investigating concerns that a stream could be polluted by an operation to pump around 6.6 million gallons of floodwater out of Queensbury Tunnel.
Campaigners mark closure anniversary16/01/19Fife Today
Campaigners seeking to restore the rail link to St Andrews in Fife have marked the 50th anniversary of its closure.
Tunnel abandonment cost hits £4 million15/01/19Halifax Courier
The cost of abandoning Queensbury Tunnel has risen to more than £4 million as a result of logistical difficulties caused by flooding.
Environmental group backs Angus reopenings15/01/19The Courier
Friends of the Earth Scotland is calling for an evaluation of the costs, environmental and health benefits that could be gained from reopening disused railways in Angus.
Support for railway path13/01/19Westmorland Gazette
Plans to reopen a scenic path on the route of a disused railway line near Ulverston have won the support of councillors and the local MP.
Station transformation almost complete13/01/19Derbyshire Live
Millers Dale Station on the former London-Manchester main line through the Peak District will reopen as a cafe and visitor centre in the spring following a £230,000 project.
Station to reopen as park and ride09/01/19Yorkshire Post
The disused Goldsborough Station is set to be transformed into a new park and ride facility called Flaxby Parkway Station, 60 years after passengers last used it.
Cutting destined for housing07/01/19Huddersfield Examiner
Planning chiefs have been urged to look to their consciences after they approved a controversial scheme to infill a disused railway cutting in Heckmondwike for a housing scheme.
Government money could unlock old line05/01/19Shropshire Star
Campaigners believe DfT funding is the key to unlocking a proposal to reopen the railway that ran from the Ironbridge Power Station to Telford.
Tunnels schemes making progress03/01/19BBC News
Three years after a study earmarked five disused railway tunnels in Wales for reopening as cycling and walking routes, one is now in use and work is underway to open two more by 2021.
Path to become right of way?03/01/19Bucks & Winslow Advertiser
Buckingham Town Council is investigating the possibility of making the path along an old railway track through the town into a formal right of way.
Service marks Waverley closure01/01/19Southern Reporter
A special service will run from Edinburgh to Tweedbank to mark the 50th anniversary of the Waverley line's closure, as the campaign to reopen more of it gains momentum.