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 2020

Group focuses on Anglesey reopening27/12/20North Wales Chronicle
A group has been set up to put together a bid for bringing the Amlwch-Gaerwen railway line back to life.
Plans emerge for new cycle route23/12/20The Courier
Cyclists and walkers could benefit from proposals to resurface the old Lias Line and create new traffic-free routes between Rugby, Leamington and Long Itchington.
Council look into hole16/12/20Northamptonshire Telegraph
A grass verge in Finedon has subsided, 44 years after it first did so, revealing an old tunnel associated with a narrow-gauge railway used to transport iron ore.
Funding for cycling improvements16/12/20Oldham Evening Chronicle
An extra 24 miles of cycling and walking routes will be built across Greater Manchester - as well as improvements to existing routes involving disused railways - thanks to £16M of government funding.
Cycle lanes replace tracks12/12/20Dorset Echo
New cycle lanes have been installed on a road in Weymouth town centre following the removal of old railway tracks heading to the harbour.
Study into active travel route11/12/20Somerset Live
South Somerset District Council is to invest up to £20,000 in a feasibility study to see whether the former Somerset & Dorset Railway can be reopened for walkers and cyclists.
Memorial plan for tunnel navvies10/12/20Yorkshire Post
Campaigners hoping to reopen Queensbury Tunnel as a cycle route have unveiled plans for a memorial to the ten men killed during construction so passers-by can reflect on their enormous sacrifice.
MPs clash over railway proposals04/12/20Northern Echo
Two MPs are continuing to battle over the future of a disused railway line that could be used to strengthen links between Consett and Tyneside.
Storm-damaged railway path reopens04/12/20Cumbria Crack
Exactly five years after Storm Desmond hit Cumbria and destroyed the Keswick-Threlkeld Railway Trail, the new and improved route has opened for the local community and visitors to enjoy.
Track removal paused after lockdown02/12/20BBC News
Work to remove a disused railway connection set into the road approaching Weymouth Harbour has been paused as the national lockdown ends.
Progress for tram scheme01/12/20Insider Media
Part of a disused railway in Preston could soon be reinstalled as part of a pilot project for a proposed tram line.
Approval for woodland walk plan01/12/20Coventry Live
A new woodland walk and cycle path along a former freight railway loop line in Coventry is to be ready for the City of Culture celebrations in May 2021.

November 2020

Tunnel works delayed as costs soar27/11/20Telegraph & Argus
Campaigners fighting to save the historic Queensbury Tunnel from abandonment have hit out over the rising cost of works to shore up a shaft in the 1.4-mile long structure.
Funds announced to restore lost rail links26/11/
The Government has revealed the latest batch of 15 stations and railways to receive up to £50,000 each to progress feasibility studies into their reinstatement.
Support for railway path scheme24/11/20Free Press
Plans to build a cycle path on a disused railway between Usk and Little Mill have been backed by Council officials despite concerns over its impact on an ancient woodland.
First track laid for Very Light Rail23/11/20Express & Star
The first sections of track for Dudley's new Very Light Rail facility have been laid through the town's 948-yard long disused tunnel.
Canal scheme threatens railway path19/11/20The Guildford Dragon
The Wey & Arun Canal Trust has submitted planning applications to create 1,000 yards of new canal between Shalford and Bramley along a section of the Downs Link path which occupies the trackbed of the former Guildford-Horsham railway.
Call for Wales reopenings19/11/20BBC News
Welsh ministers have been urged to back the reopening of the line between Bangor and Afonwen, as a strategic link between the north Wales main line and Cambrian Line.
Swing bridge to be restored18/11/20Oxford Mail
The restoration of a disused railway swing bridge in Oxford is about to get underway after almost £1M was raised by conservationists, allowing the structure to be removed from Historic England's 'Heritage at Risk' Register.
Council support for rail study06/11/20The Herald
Councillors have given their backing for a study into the reopening of the railway between Witney and Oxford as part of a plan to solve traffic problems on the A40.
Work starts on Rail Innovation Centre03/11/20Express & Star
The leader of Dudley Council has hailed a 'pivotal and exciting moment' in the borough's future with construction work to develop the Very Light Rail National Innovation Centre getting underway alongside a test track occupying a 2km section of disused line.

October 2020

Councillor eyes line reopening26/10/20Greenock Telegraph
An Inverclyde councillor is progressing a campaign to resurrect the old railway from Kilmacolm to Paisley as part of plans to improve public transport across the Gryffe valley.
Loop line to become woodland walk20/10/20Coventry Live
The first part of ambitious plans to transform a former Coventry freight loop into a woodland walk and cycle path have been given the green light.
Upgrade for railway path20/10/20Manchester Evening News
The 7km Swinton Greenway - which connects Monton Road to Manchester Road via a disused railway - will become an entirely traffic-free route as part of a multi-million pound upgrade.
Mural transforms old tunnel19/10/20Edinburgh News
The disused Colinton Tunnel has been brightened by a mural depicting Robert Louis Stevenson's poem 'A view from a railway carriage' and locals hope it will put the village on the map as a visitor attraction.
Donations sought for railway path15/10/20Ross-shire Journal
Activists are seeking funds to complete an all-abilities path - known as The Peffery Way - linking Dingwall and Strathpeffer via a disused railway.
Design funding for railway path14/10/20Falkirk Herald
Plans for a new walking and cycling link from Denny to Falkirk along a disused railway have taken a step forward with the award of £454,000 in funding for design work.
Progress made on Wharfedale Greenway12/10/20Wharfedale Observer
Ilkley Town Council has asked Sustrans to prepare a quotation for design and feasibility work for a new cycle route connecting Burley with Otley and Ilkley, partly using a disused railway.
Housing for disused embankment07/10/20Warrington Guardian
Plans to build 17 flats on a stretch of disused railway embankment in Latchford, Warrington, have been revealed.
Progress with tunnel conversion05/10/20Northampton Chronicle
A project to turn the disused Catesby Tunnel into a state-of-the-art vehicle testing facility is moving through the gears with opening anticipated next spring.
Embankment cycle path scheme04/10/20Ardrossan & Saltcoats Herald
Plans for a cycle path connecting Kilbirnie, Dalry and Kilwinning via a disused railway embankment have moved closer after it was agreed to put the proposal to council officers.
Tunnel abandonment costs hit £5M04/10/20Halifax Courier
Exactly two years after contractors began work on the abandonment of Queensbury Tunnel, preparatory works have not yet been completed and costs have almost tripled, say campaigners.

September 2020

Tram future for Netherfield line?29/09/20Nottinghamshire Live
Gedling Borough Council is hoping to transform a disused railway into a cycling and walking path, with the possibility also of a tram route being incorporated.
Sussex missing link opens16/09/20The District Post
A missing 1.4km section of the Downs Link, occupying the trackbed of a disused railway in Horsham, has been formally opened.
Station back in railway ownership14/09/20Bristol Live
Bristol's first historic railway station, built by Brunel as the original terminus of the Great Western Main Line, has been bought by Network Rail.
Deal done for test track14/09/20Construction Enquirer
A contract has been awarded for the building of a national innovation and test centre for very light rail vehicles, including a 2km test track along a disused railway in Dudley.
Station building reopens after facelift06/09/20Chronicle Live
Completion of a £2.3M restoration of Morpeth's listed station building, designed by architect Benjamin Green, is being celebrated.
Competition for viaduct's repurposing06/09/20Architects' Journal
An international competition has been announced to convert a 1,200-yard section of disused railway into a £35M raised linear park connecting Camden Town with King's Cross.

August 2020

Reopening opposed due to trail impact21/08/20BBC News
Nearly 5,000 people have signed a petition against the reopening of the former Midland Main Line through the Peak District as it would result in closure of the well-used Monsal Trail.
Station reopening garners support20/08/20Gloucestershire Live
Hundreds of people have signed an online petition calling for the reopening of Bristol Road Station in Stonehouse, 54 years after it closed.
Bridge makes way for trams14/08/20Dudley News
A disused railway bridge on the former South Staffordshire Railway line has been demolished to make way for a Metro extension to Dudley and Brierley Hill in the West Midlands.
Hope for Anglesey reopening12/08/20North Wales Live
Transport chiefs at the Welsh government believe a new study into the Amlwch-Gaerwen line would provide a 'strong strategic case' for reopening it.
Reinstatement rubbished10/08/20Rhyl Prest & Aber Journal
A councillor has branded the idea that the former Denbigh-Corwen railway - scrapped 55 years ago - can be reinstated as an 'impossible pipe dream'.
Green plan for Wirral railway06/08/20Wirral Globe
A section of disused railway would be transformed into a 'green travel corridor and linear park' as part of ambitious plans to reinvigorate central Birkenhead.
Work starts to infill tunnel03/08/20Halifax Courier
Highways England has begun work to infill a section of Queensbury Tunnel below a ventilation shaft despite receiving £500K to conduct a study into its reopening as a greenway.

July 2020

Tunnel gets new active travel role20/07/20Gloucestershire Live
A 2-mile cycling and walking route will be constructed through Tidenham Tunnel in Gloucestershire after the Forest of Dean District Council unanimously granted planning permission for the scheme.
Call to help viaduct restoration20/07/20Cumbria Crack
The Northern Viaduct Trust is looking for public support to help fund the installation of new handrails on Smardale Gill Viaduct which has been closed since last year due to safety concerns.
£1M lifeline for threatened tunnel13/07/20Yorkshire Post
The prospect of Queensbury Tunnel being turned into a greenway connecting Bradford and Halifax look brighter after the Government agreed to pay for a business case into its possible redevelopment.

June 2020

Rail line cycling plan30/06/20Tivy-side Advertiser
Calls are growing for improved walking and cycling routes along the Teifi Valley through the conversion of a disused railway.
Transformational potential of Wensleydale line30/06/20Yorkshire Post
The Hawes branch of the Upper Wensleydale Railway was a surprising inclusion on the government's list of 50 rail schemes that could receive the next round of 'reverse Beeching' funding.
Calls for Gwendraeth Valley cycle track27/06/20BBC News
A disused Carmarthenshire mineral railway should be turned into a cycle track according to more than 1,000 people who have signed a supporting petition.
Bid to save derelict station24/06/20Derbyshire Times
Historic England has awarded £263,000 towards the urgent repair of Wingfield Station, built in 1839-40 on the line between Ambergate and Clay Cross.
Funding bid for Metrolink extension24/06/20Manchester Evening News
A proposal submitted to the Department for Transport advocates an extension of Manchester's tram network from Bury to Bolton and seeks funds to draw up a business case for the route.
Peak station under the hammer23/06/20The Star
Closed in 1968, the old station building at Bakewell on the former Midland main line through the Peak District has been sold at auction.
Enthusiasts hope for heritage line21/06/20Yorkshire Post
A group of enthusiasts will seek funding to reopen an old station as the terminus of a heritage line on the former Hull and Barnsley Railway near Wakefield.
Disused tunnel in ECML revamp21/06/20New Civil Engineer
Overhead line equipment has been installed as part of work to reopen a disused bore of Copenhagen Tunnel on the approach to King's Cross.
'Derisory' tunnel repair offer criticised18/06/20Telegraph & Argus
The leader of Bradford Council has criticised a 'derisory' Government funding offer for a greenway connecting the city to Calderdale which wouldn't even pay for the repair of Queensbury Tunnel, the key connector on the route.
Campaigners slam rising tunnel costs08/06/20Halifax Courier
The cost of preparatory works for the proposed abandonment of Queensbury Tunnel has passed the £4 million mark, more than seven times the original estimate.
Reprieve for Nottingham tunnel08/06/20Nottinghamshire Live
Fears that a disused railway tunnel at Mapperley would be demolished to make way for a new road serving a housing estate have been quashed.
Lakeland tunnel sees light again08/06/20ITV News
The 92-yard long 'Big' Tunnel, which was constructed to accommodate the Penrith-Keswick line, has been exhumed as part of a project to reinstate a railway path damaged by Storm Desmond in 2015.
Reopening proposal falls at first hurdle03/06/20Cotswold Journal
A campaign group has expressed disappointment after its proposed reopening of the Stratford-Honeybourne line was not included in the first round of supported projects in a government scheme to reverse some Beeching cuts.

May 2020

Calls for better cycle network28/05/20Birmingham Live
A West Midlands councillor has called for an improved cycle network for the region to encourage people to get fit and active, involving the conversion of some disused railways.
Warehouse fire confirmed as arson25/05/20BBC News
A blaze which ripped through the Grade II-listed Friar Gate goods warehouse in Derby was started deliberately, it has been confirmed.
Focus on island's old lines24/05/20Isle of Wight Observer
The old railway lines to Ventnor and Newport could be reopened as part of ambitious plans to restore routes lost to the Beeching cuts.
Consett needs rail link boost20/05/20Consett Magazine
The reintroduction of a passenger service between Consett and Newcastle has to be a top priority according to Richard Holden, the local MP, who is leading a campaign to reinstate the line.
Green light for railway bridleway17/05/20Bury Times
Proposals to make part of the old Bury-Bolton railway into a bridleway have been given the green light as part of a £650,000 funding package from the government's Growth Deal.
Pennine reopening set to develop10/05/20Lancashire Telegraph
Department for Transport officials have moved the project to reinstate the Colne-Skipton railway from 'decision to initiate' to the 'develop' stage of the Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline.
Report supports Wortley reopening07/05/20Telegraph & Argus
Reinstating the half-mile Wortley Curve near Leeds could considerably boost rail travel into and out of Bradford, according to a report.
Inspection deal for legacy structures06/05/20New Civil Engineer
Tender documents for a 10-year framework deal to undertake inspection work for Highway England's Historical Railway Estate have been published, valuing the work at £30 million.

April 2020

Tunnel works resume27/04/20Halifax Courier
Highways England has restarted its works in Queensbury Tunnel, but the timing has been questioned by a group campaigning for its reopening.
New works start in troubled tunnel17/04/20Telegraph & Argus
Campaigners fighting to save Queensbury Tunnel from closure have claimed that 'non-essential' work is underway at the site despite the Government-mandated lockdown.
Hope for Skelmersdale reopening09/04/20LancsLive
A transport minister has assured the local MP that the government is committed to restoring the rail link to Skelmersdale.
Reprieve for threatened bridge01/04/20Redditch Standard
Plans to demolish the old railway bridge over Green Lane - between Redditch and Studley - to build two new homes have been withdrawn by Redditch Borough Council.
Cycle way on track01/04/20Lancashire Post
Overgrown railway sidings are to be turned into a cycle and walking path to complete a four-kilometre leisure link between Preston and Grimsargh village.

March 2020

Curves bid for better connections29/03/20LancsLive
Lancashire resid­ents could be on track for better rail connections thanks to a cross-party group of MPs campaigning for reinstatement of the Burscough curves.
Peak District station up for sale26/03/20The Star
The fabulous station building at Bakewell, which welcomed its last train in 1968 and is currently used as an office, has just gone on the market with a guide price of £320,000.
Views sought over Notts reopening25/03/20Chad
Public opinion is being sought on plans to reopen the disused Maid Marian line from Kirkby to Nottingham.
Plans developed for Essex cycle link24/03/20Maldon Standard
Plans are being drawn up for a new cycling route linking Halstead and Chappel along the trackbed of a disused railway.
Bridge demolition plan rejected21/03/20Redditch Standard
Planners have rejected an application from Redditch Borough Council for the demolition of a disused Victorian railway bridge and levelling of an embankment to make way for two new houses.
Landslip blocks railway path20/03/20Monmouthshire Beacon
A section of former railway, which many people use to walk along the Wye Valley near Penallt, has had to be closed after Storm Dennis caused a cutting slope to slip, blocking the route.
Speyside station up for sale12/03/20The Northern Scot
Cromdale Station, which opened in 1863 as part of the Strathspey Railway, has been put up for sale 52 years after it was converted into a private house.
Shropshire railway reopening progressed11/03/20Shropshire Star
The first step to reopening a stretch of line between Oswestry and Gobowen has taken place with the blessing of a transport minister.
Design sought for viaduct's revival10/03/20Architects' Journal
Sustrans is looking for a design team to transform Glasgow's disused Carmyle Viaduct into a walking and cycling route.
Excavations reveal early turntable10/03/20BBC News
A Robert Stephenson-designed turntable - thought to date from 1837 - has been unearthed at Birmingham's former Curzon Street station which is set to be transformed for HS2.
Calls for study into Trafford reopening09/03/20Messenger
MPs have joined campaigners in calling for a feasibility study into the possibility of reopening the line between Skelton Junction in Timperley and Glazebrook.
MP supports railway reopening07/03/20Express & Star
The local MP has written to the Transport Minister to support the reopening of the former railway between Stafford and Shrewsbury.
Reopening bid takes first step05/03/20Yorkshire Live
A first step has been taken in a bid to reinstate the line between York and Beverley with East Riding of Yorkshire Council voting in favour of applying for part of a £500 million government grant.
Shapps backs Queensbury Tunnel reopening03/03/20Telegraph & Argus
The Transport Secretary has thrown his weight behind the campaign to reopen Queensbury Tunnel and even suggested that it could be used for light rail rather than a walking and cycling route.
MP pushes reopening bid02/03/20Uckfield News
Campaigners seeking to reinstate the Uckfield-Lewes line have been given new hope following an application by MP Maria Caulfield for a share of a £500 million Department for Transport fund.

February 2020

Tunnel lighting ruled out29/02/20Northamptonshire Telegraph
Councillors have ruled out making improvements to the cycle route through Kelmarsh Tunnel in Northamptonshire as it would be 'unwise and premature' due to the potential reopening of the railway.
New estate prompts reopening support27/02/20Advertiser & Times
A parish council has unanimously backed plans to investigate reopening the Waterside line for passengers to serve the 1,500 new homes planned for the former Fawley power station site.
Campaigners condemn tunnel CCTV cost27/02/20Halifax Courier
Campaigners have condemned Highways England for spending almost £5,000 of taxpayers' money every week on a CCTV camera in the disused Queensbury Tunnel, taking the total bill to almost £100K since last October.
Tracks near end of the line15/02/20Dorset Echo
Dorset Council has revealed plans to tear up a section of Weymouth's disused 'harbourside tramway' to investigate how the tracks could be removed in future to improve safety.
Experts call for railway restoration11/02/20The Gazette
A fresh call has been made to reopen a 'much-needed' railway in Renfrewshire, with think-tank Railfuture Scotland developing a map of required service improvements including a link through Elderslie, Bridge of Weir and Kilmacolm.
Matlock-Buxton on MP's radar09/02/20Derbyshire Live
A programme of railway reopenings in Derbyshire - including the Peak District main line from Matlock to Buxton - is being studied by a local MP after she met with Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to discuss her proposals.
Bid to reopen Welsh rail link06/02/20North Wales Live
Denbighshire Council should apply for money to reinstate the line from Corwen to Denbigh according to its transport lead who believes the 60s closure was folly.
Green light for Aylesbury-Oxford link04/02/20Bucks Herald
A new railway linking Aylesbury, Oxford, Milton Keynes and Bedford has finally been given the green light from the Government, including the reinstatement of a disused section of line.
Track cleared for walking03/02/20Express & Star
Five miles of disused railway in the West Midlands have been reopened for walkers after a group of volunteers spent the last two years clearing the route.

January 2020

Fund boosts Devon reopening29/01/20DevonLive
Plans to reopen the line connecting Bere Alston to Tavistock have been given a boost after government launched a fund to help restore historic railway lines closed in the 1960s.
Rail return stays on track28/01/20BBC News
The reopening of the Dumfries-Stranraer rail link is one of a series of options being taken forward to try to improve transport in south-west Scotland.
Campaigners make case for reopening28/01/20Hull Daily Mail
Restoring direct rail services between Beverley and York should be considered under a new government fund aimed at bringing mothballed lines back into use.
Funds found for feasibility study28/01/20Gloucestershire Live
Ambitious plans to reopen the railway between Kemble and Cirencester have taken a step closer to reality after a funding shortfall for a feasibility study was plugged by Cotswold District Council.
Hope for Fleetwood reopening28/01/20LancsLive
The disused line to Fleetwood could reopen after the government launched a £500 million fund to kickstart the restoration of railways closed more than 50 years ago.
Mechanics' Institute's future starts to clear23/01/20Swindon Advertiser
A survey of the historic Mechanics' Institute in Swindon will be carried out over the next few weeks after council officials gained access, allowing stakeholders to decide what can be done with the building.
Old line to boost Cornwall's cyclists21/01/20Cornwall Live
A new network of four cycling and walking trails have been backed by councillors in Cornwall, including one running mostly along a disused railway.
Ffestiniog to restore quarry link?18/01/20North Wales Live
A railway which hasn't been used for around 80 years could be reopened to connect a major tourist attraction with a popular narrow gauge line.
City station undergoes redevelopment14/01/20ITV News
Work on the restoration of the Great Central's railway station in Leicester has almost been completed as part of its multi-million pound transformation to accommodate hotels, shops, flats and offices.
New future for old Leeds line?13/01/20Yorkshire Post
A section of disused railway which disappeared in 1985 could be reinstated as part of a review of the way the proposed HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail connect with each other in West Yorkshire.
Councillors calls for station reopenings08/01/20Ilkley Gazette
A senior Leeds city councillor has reiterated calls to reopen some of district's lost railway stations to help combat climate change and get more people using public transport.
Ministerial intervention in tunnel row05/01/20Yorkshire Post
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has made clear that he wants to find a 'viable way forward' for the proposal to reopen Queensbury Tunnel as a cycle path as the row over its future continues.