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 2022

Group fights to restore station31/12/22Kent Online
A campaign has been launched to restore Lydd Station on Romney Marsh after it was left roofless by a fire in November.
Station hopes thwarted30/12/22Shropshire Star
A community leader has criticised a "short-sighted" and "bureaucratic" decision to recommend a housing development for refusal despite the fact it could help bring a railway station back to a Shropshire village for the first time since the 1960s.
Railway ready for active travel role26/12/22Swindon Advertiser
A disused railway in Wiltshire could form part of an extension to an existing cycle path.
Case remains for Leamside reopening24/12/22Chronicle Live
A transport chief insists now is the "absolutely the right time" to push on with the Tyne and Wear Metro's £745m extension along the disused railway to Washington, despite the economic crisis.
Another bridge infill in doubt19/12/22The Guardian
National Highways has been told it must reverse its burial of another Victorian railway bridge, or seek permission for it, as the extent of the agency's "cultural vandalism" has emerged.
Station's costly revamp07/12/22BBC News
Plans to turn Cirencester's old railway station and memorial cottages into a cultural centre could cost as much as £1M, councillors have been warned.
New role for lost railways05/12/22Hereford Times
Disused and now little-known transport routes in Hereford could be brought back as walking and cycle paths or as corridors for nature under new proposals.
Reopening possible for 'ghost' lines04/12/22Yorkshire Post
Plans to bring back disused rail services and stations in the South Yorkshire region are moving forward as bids for levelling up funding have been submitted.
South Lynn station on the agenda01/12/22Eastern Daily Press
Calls have been made for an old railway station to be reopened to serve a proposed town-edge development of up to 4,000 homes.

November 2022

Bridge back to its best23/11/22DevonLive
A distinctive Victorian railway bridge has been given a facelift thanks to the contractor tracking down the yellow bricks it was built with.
Funding search for Leamside line16/11/22Chronicle Live
North East transport bosses have been told to press ahead with huge plans to extend the Tyne and Wear Metro to Washington, including the partial restoration of the Leamside line.
Step forward for Devon reopening15/11/22New Civil Engineer
Devon County Council has submitted a business case to the government's Restoring Your Railways Fund to reopen the Tavistock to Plymouth railway line.
Final approval for Portishead branch15/11/22BBC News
The long-awaited reopening of the Portishead branch has moved a step closer after the scheme was given final approval by the government.
Norfolk active travel boost14/11/22Eastern Daily Press
The disused railway between Watton and Swaffam could become a new walking and cycling route, according to newly-published documents.
Sheppey greenway plans re-emerge14/11/22ITV News
Plans to create a cycle path and walking trail along the route of the old Sheppey Light Railway are being revived.
Bridge repair removes heritage risk10/11/22Jack FM
A disused railway swing bridge in Oxford - one of only two moving bridges on the Thames - has been removed from the 'Heritage at Risk' register after it was fully restored.
Tunnel search goes cosmic09/11/22New Civil Engineer
National Highways is using cosmic ray technology to search for hidden shafts in Glasgow's Balgray Tunnel.
Buried turntable unearthed08/11/22Telegraph & Argus
A long-disused railway turntable, dating back to the 19th Century, has been discovered in Huddersfield as the Transpennine Route Upgrade gains traction.

October 2022

Uncertain future for path proposal23/10/22Bristol Live
The future of a project to turn a disused railway through the heart of Brislington into a cycle way appears in doubt with campaigners claiming that planners' demands have made it unviable.
Infill threat lifted from bridge13/10/22New Civil Engineer
National Highways has abandoned its plans to infill a 156-year-old disused railway bridge in the South Downs National Park which is needed for an extension of the Watercress Way.
Consultation over East-West reopening12/10/22BBC News
Residents have met East-West Rail representatives at an event regarding the £5bn project to link Oxford and Cambridge which would involve reopening sections of disused railway.
Heritage designation proposed for old line10/10/22Bolton News
Bolton Council will consider a proposal to designate the historic Bolton and Leigh Railway as a 'Heritage Action Zone', opening opportunities to make it more attractive for visitors and promote economic growth.
Could old railway serve new housing?08/10/22Eastern Daily Press
An extension to the Mid Norfolk Railway might play a key role in the development of a new 5,000-home town north of Dereham, dubbed a 'railway village'.
Infill removal confirmed within 12 months06/10/22New Civil Engineer
Eden District Council has issued an enforcement notice compelling National Highways to remove the infill from Cumbria's Great Musgrave bridge by next October.
Public prevented from tunnel entry06/10/22Nation Cymru
Gelli Tunnel in South Wales, which has been disused since the 1960s, will remain closed for the foreseeable future following concerns over its condition.
Bridge future secured05/10/22BBC News
The future of Stowfield Viaduct - a disused railway structure over the River Wye near Lydbrook - has been secured with the local council confirming its intention to register it as a public right of way.

September 2022

Repair for damaged bridge26/09/22Derbyshire Live
Part of the High Peak Trail and the road beneath it are to be temporarily closed as work to replace a 200-year-old bridge, destroyed by an HGV, gets under way.
Old line gets new cycling role26/09/22Swansea Bay News
Swansea Council has completed its latest addition to the city's growing network of walking and cycling routes " this time, making use of a disused railway line stretching between Grovesend and Pontarddulais.
Edinburgh station awaits rebirth25/09/22Edinburgh Live
Restoration of the former Granton Station is nearing completion as it prepares to become a creative space and enterprise hub for up and coming businesses.
Hopes rise for Norfolk restoration11/09/22Eastern Daily Press
Ambitious attempts to reopen the King's Lynn to Hunstanton railway have been handed a boost after the project was included in a document outlining the region's long-term transport strategy.
Worcestershire cycle path bid10/09/22Hereford Times
A new survey has revealed that a project to bring the disused Worcester-Bromyard-Leominster railway back to life as a cycle route would bring an economic boost.
Conflicting aspirations for Waterside line06/09/22New Milton Advertiser
Cyclists are calling for plans to reopen the Hythe-Marchwood line to be ditched and it be transformed into an active travel route instead.
Restoration work carried out on Big Arch06/09/22South Wales Argus
One of Britain's largest early bridges for a horse-drawn railway - which stands as one of the few surviving reminders of Gwent's former iron and steelmaking past - has been restored.

August 2022

Public entry to historic tunnel31/08/22BBC News
Glenfield Tunnel in Leicester, which was once the longest railway tunnel in the world, is to open to the public as part of a series of heritage days.
Council considers railway path25/08/22Glasgow Times
Plans are emerging to improve Glasgow's East End area, with a new train station for Parkhead and a nearby disused railway being transformed into a cycle path.
Protection for Liverpool's historical site24/08/22Liverpool Echo
Edge Hill Engine Station, the starting place of the world's first inter-urban locomotive-hauled railway, has been selected for protection as a nationally-important archaeological site.
Boost for railway transformation22/08/22Project Scotland
A project to convert a disused railway linking Falkirk to Denny and Bonnybridge into an active travel route has received a further £392,000 in funding from the Sustrans Places for Everyone fund.
Cambridgeshire station on the move22/08/22BBC News
Wansford Road station has been saved from demolition and will be moved "brick by brick" to a railway museum.
Calls for North Devon reopenings14/08/22Radio Exe
A railway campaign group has called for the reopening of the former Barnstaple to Bideford line along what is now the Tarka Trail.
Progress on Strawberry Line path11/08/22BBC News
New sections of a traffic-free active travel route in Somerset could be open within months, repurposing parts of a disused railway.
Cycling role for old military route10/08/22South Wales Argus
A disused military railway near Caldicot is to be transformed into an off-road route for cyclists and walkers.

July 2022

Funds secured for Portishead reopening27/07/22Somerset Live
Millions of pounds in additional Government cash has been secured to reopen the Portishead railway after rising costs and delays left a significant shortfall.
Foot and cycle role for Thames bridge?26/07/22Ian's Visits
A section of the Thames with few bridges could become a lot easier for pedestrians and cyclists to cross if plans to convert a disused railway bridge for pedestrian use go ahead.
Audio record for old station25/07/22BBC News
An audio drama being produced at a disused former railway station platform will explore the boundaries between humans and insects.
New push for Wales reopening23/07/22Nation Cymru
West Wales rail campaigners have presented further evidence for the need to reinstate the South Wales to Aberystwyth rail line.
Infilling programme cost £8M23/07/22Daily Mail
National Highways' policy of filling in historic railway bridges with aggregate and concrete cost taxpayers £8M over eight years before it was scrapped.
Line set for recycling21/07/22Barnsley Chronicle
A disused railway is set to be given a new lease of life thanks to an ambitious Barnsley Council project which could link Royston to the town centre.
Urban sky park nears completion21/07/22Daily Mail
The transformation of Manchester's disused Castlefield Viaduct into an urban sky park is almost complete after five months' work to become a green oasis with trees, plants and flowers.
Work starts on new cycle route19/07/22Coventry Live
Work has started on a new cycling and walking route in Coventry as part of a planned £700,000 transformation of an old railway.
New greenway welcomes users18/07/22Rugby Observer
The longest traffic-free greenway in Warwickshire has opened to walkers, cyclists and horse riders as part of a project to transform a disused railway.
Art plan for Welsh tunnel17/07/22Nation Cymru
Proposals for an ambitious scheme to transform the Rhondda Tunnel into the world's longest digital art space have been unveiled.
New life for historic Suffolk station13/07/22East Anglian Daily Times
The beautiful former railway station in Needham Market has been given a fresh lease of life after new offices were opened.
Bristol station becomes creative space12/07/22BBC News
A mission to bring life back to a disused railway platform in Mangotsfield has led to a creative arts project.
Progress with railway cycle route11/07/22Plymouth Live
Long-awaited plans for a new cycling and walking route along a former Plymouth railway seem set to move forward as the City Council appoints a principal contractor for the scheme.
Target date set for tunnel path10/07/22The Forester
A group behind the proposed reopening of Mierystock Tunnel in the Forest of Dean has announced it wants to see its plan realised in two years.
Countryside walking route makes progress06/07/22News Anyway
Plans to create a new countryside walking and cycling route near Coventry city centre - partly along a disused railway - have taken another step forwards.
Council urged to act over tunnel infill04/07/22Halifax Courier
Bradford Council has been challenged over its failure to take enforcement action after Queensbury Tunnel - which is earmarked for a cycle path - was partially infilled using development powers which campaigners claim have been applied unlawfully.

June 2022

East-West Rail on time29/06/22BBC News
The second section of a £5bn rail link is on time and on budget after work began on the 21-mile Bicester-Bletchley stretch of the Oxford to Cambridge project in 2020.
Minister's boost for Scotland reopenings24/06/22Press & Journal
Jenny Gilruth, Scotland's transport minister, has said that reopening rail links to Peterhead and Fraserburgh would be a "great idea" whilst visiting campaigners in the area.
Island Line extension hopes dashed23/06/22Island Echo
An industry expert has slammed the idea of reinstating the Island Line connections to Newport and Ventnor as 'a hopeless fantasy' as it is revealed that the plans have been scrapped by the Department for Transport.
Reopening hits bufferstops20/06/22Stratford Observer
Plans to restore the railway between Stratford and Honeybourne look to have been shelved for good after the government announced the proposals would not be taken forward.
More funds to restore your railway20/06/22New Civil Engineer
Rail minister Wendy Morton has announced a further £15M in funding to develop nine railway schemes across England to reopen disused railway lines, services and stations.
Campaign restarts for tunnel reopening20/06/22Punchline
The founder of the Mierystock Tunnel Society has reignited a project he began in 2006 to create a cycleway through the 19th century disused railway tunnel near Brierley in the Forest of Dean.
Strong support for Dales cycle path16/06/22Richmondshire Today
There is strong public support for developing a multi-user route along the former Hawes-Garsdale railway in Wensleydale, according to National Park officials.
Controversial bridge infill to go15/06/22The Guardian
National Highways will be forced to remove 1,644 tonnes of stone and concrete used to infill Cumbria's Great Musgrave bridge after councillors rejected the company's planning application.
New challenge to Queensbury plan14/06/22Rail UK
A landowner has said that access to a disused West Yorkshire railway tunnel could be lost because council officials are taking "a ridiculous length of time" to develop plans for reopening it as a foot and cycle path.
Cycle path plan for disused railway13/06/22South Wales Argus
Walking and cycling charity Sustrans, working with Monmouthshire Council, has outlined plans to develop a shared-use path along the disused railway connecting Caldicot town centre, Portskewett, the Castle and Country Park and other existing routes.
Viaduct funding appeal launched10/06/22Rail Advent
Northumberland's Aln Valley Railway has launched its 'Bricks & Pieces' appeal which will support them in maintaining the 172-year-old Cawledge Viaduct.
£500M for new metro line09/06/22Nation Cymru
A proposed new metro line between Llantrisant and Cardiff - that would partly run along a disused railway - could cost more than £500m, it has been revealed.
Devon line could reopen for active travel07/06/22DevonLive
Part of an old railway line which once carried the Whippet train between Churston and Brixham could be reopened as a walking trail.
Step forward for reopening plan07/06/22Northern Echo
The Prime Minister has given a boost to the chance of resurrecting the mothballed Leamside line after confirming that transport bosses are looking into the merits of both.
Bridge infill plans in doubt07/06/22The Guardian
Planning officials have recommended that National Highways' planning application to retain the infill at Cumbria's Great Musgrave bridge should be rejected.
Protection for Norfolk's rail routes?05/06/22Eastern Daily Press
Disused railway lines across Norfolk should be protected so they can be brought back into use in the future, the county council has said.

May 2022

Cash runs out for station restoration26/05/22New Civil Engineer
Work has ground to a halt on HS2's Curzon Street station restoration in Birmingham as contractors working on the project have "identified serious unforeseen structural issues with the Grade 1 listed building".
Floating park plans submitted18/05/22Ham & High
Proposals to regenerate a disused railway viaduct to create an elevated park that links Camden Town and King's Cross have been submitted for planning permission.
Work starts on Wirral railway park17/05/22Liverpool Echo
Work has begun on a new developmentwhich will see a disused Birkenhead railway cleared and converted into a linear park by the end of 2025.
Minister urged to block infill application15/05/22New Civil Engineer
Baroness Vere has been urged to instruct National Highways to pull its planning application for the retention of the infill at Great Musgrave bridge in Cumbria after an engineering study found that the structure presented no threat to public safety.
Work starts to renovate Weymouth track12/05/22Dorset Echo
Work has finally begun to renovate an old section of railway track in Weymouth as part of a £1m upgrade to the town's station.
Restoration for Levenmouth's legacy bridges 08/05/22Project Scotland
A senior project manager on the £116 million Levenmouth rail project has told of the team's 'pleasant surprise' at the condition of 19th century bridges on the route.
No future for infilled structure05/05/22Lancashire Post
Plans to reopen an blocked-up railway tunnel under the busy A6 near Garstang for pedestrians and cyclists have been ditched.

April 2022

Path plans lodged with council28/04/22Barnsley Chronicle
A proposal to link Barnsley town centre to Royston via a cycle path on a disused railway have been submitted to the Council's planning board.
Council to consider bridge infilling26/04/22Construction Index
Campaigners in Cumbria are urging Eden District Council to refuse National Highways' retrospective planning application to infill Great Musgrave bridge with concrete and aggregate.
Campaigners rally opposition to bridge infill19/04/22News & Star
A campaign group is asking supporters to object to a planning application that seeks to permanently retain the controversial infill under Great Musgrave bridge.
New process to evaluate disused structures19/04/22New Civil Engineer
National Highways has drawn up a new method of determining the value of disused railway bridges and tunnels following anger over its programme of infillings and demolitions.
New life for Sprotbrough station19/04/22Yorkshire Post
Plans have been submitted to restore a former Doncaster village railway station and change the waiting room into a three-bed home with real tracks as an outdoor centrepiece.
Disappointment at reopening delay18/04/22BBC News
Plans to reopen the railway connecting Bristol and Portishead have been delayed until February 2023 due to funding concerns.
Boost for Weardale line11/04/22Northern Echo
Rural communities in County Durham could soon benefit from the reopening of a historic railway line after the 'transformative' scheme received a significant financial boost from the government.
Wye Valley tunnel reopens03/04/22South Wales Argus
Following closure during the winter for bat hibernation, Tidenham Tunnel is once again open for use by walkers and cyclists as part of a greenway connecting Chepstow to Tintern.

March 2022

Shropshire line reopens31/03/22BBC News
Enthusiasts and volunteers from Cambrian Heritage Railways have completed a 10-year project to restore two miles of the track between Oswestry and Weston Wharf at a cost of £600,000.
Bridge plans in for scrutiny30/03/22The Forester
Plans to secure the future of a Grade II-listed disused railway bridge over the Wye between Brockweir and Tintern have been submitted to Monmouthshire Council.
Hopes for Waterside reopening24/03/22BBC News
Plans to bring trains back to the disused line between Southampton and Fawley - closed to regular passengers in 1966 - look set to go ahead.
Viaduct in city transformation22/03/22Bdaily News
A disused viaduct in Leeds is to be transformed into a community facility, with improved connectivity into the city centre, as part of a west end redevelopment at Wellington Place.
Dockyard railway removed20/03/22Kent Online
The removal of a short stretch of rusting railway track on the Isle of Sheppey has split a community in two, with residents and cyclists celebrating but heritage campaigners unhappy.
Options considered for Wensleydale route19/03/22Richmondshire Today
The future of the disused Hawes-Garsdale line is to be discussed by members of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, with rail instatement or a greenway on the agenda.
Scottish rail link makes progress17/03/22Scottish Construction Now
Network Rail has hailed a milestone moment for the Levenmouth Rail Link after the first new rails were laid on the project which will reconnect the town to the mainline passenger network for the first time in more than half a century.
Cycling plan gets go-ahead16/03/22Bristol Live
Campaigners are celebrating after plans for a foot and cycle path along the old railway line in Brislington were approved unanimously by councillors.
Viaduct to become an urban 'sky park'07/03/22The Guardian
A disused railway viaduct in Manchester will transform into an urban 'sky park' this summer, providing much needed green space to one of Britain's least verdant city centres.
Shropshire railway to reopen03/03/22Shropshire Live
Volunteers from Cambrian Heritage Railways have restored the railway from Oswestry to Weston Wharf and will reopen it to passengers in April.
Old line to benefit Birkenhead revamp03/03/22BBC News
Birkenhead is set to undergo the biggest transformation it has seen in 75 years, including a travel corridor along the disused Dock Branch Railway would link Wirral Waters, the town centre and Hind Street.
Feasibility funding for Watford rail plan?02/03/22Herts Live
Authorities in Hertfordshire could spend £300,000 trying to work out how to revive the disused Croxley-Watford Junction rail link after councillors agreed to bring in consultants to discuss the plans.

February 2022

Canal plan give rail scheme hope25/02/22Sussex Express
Enthusiasts who thought they had lost a battle to reopen the disused Horsham-Guildford railway have been given new hope after a proposal to create a canal along part of the route was called in for planning permission.
Cycle vision extended through Somerset14/02/22Somerset Live
A feasibility study is to be carried out into long-held plans to extend a cycle trail through North Somerset to Clevedon, following the route of the former Cheddar Valley Railway Line.
Lottery funds viaduct project10/02/22BBC News
Bennerley Viaduct, which recently reopened after more than five decades of dereliction, has been awarded £250,000 of lottery funding for a community project.
Victorian arches restored in hotel plan09/02/22Evening Standard
A row of mid-Victorian brick railway arches - sealed off from the public for more than 150 years - are to be the centrepiece of a new £2.5bn office, residential, hotel and cultural development on London's South Bank.
Explorers expose controversial tunnel works08/02/22Telegraph & Argus
Photographs have emerged showing the extent of controversial works in Queensbury Tunnel which campaigners want to reopen as an active travel route.
Line must 'pay for itself' in growth05/02/22LancsLive
A pledge to reopen the disused railway line between Fleetwood and Poulton is still on track according to the Prime Minister, despite work yet to begin more than two years after he visited the site.
Infill threat to ambitious cycle vision03/02/22Yorkshire Live
Revolutionary plans to reopen a long-closed Yorkshire railway for walkers and cyclists could be scuppered by road bosses in what campaigners are calling an act of "cultural vandalism".
Approval expected for Stephenson plans02/02/22Chronicle Live
The Pattern Shop - a derelict building that once formed part of Robert Stephenson's Newcastle locomotive works - is set for restoration as the next step in the transformation of the key Stephenson Quarter development site.
Bridge repairs require patience02/02/22DevonLive
People in Barnstaple have been asked to be patient as repair work on an old railway bridge awaits its next stage, requiring specialist tools.

January 2022

Viaduct route under threat28/01/22BBC News
There are fears that access to the iconic Smardale Gill Viaduct in Cumbria could be withdrawn if funding estimated at £100,000 is not raised to carry out vital repair work.
Station campaign back on track23/01/22Gloucestershire Live
The campaign to reopen Stroudwater Station is making progress, with the aim of the site becoming one of Gloucestershire's key transport hubs, reinforcing the region's links to Bristol.
Views sought on Monmouthshire cycle schemes20/01/22Wales 24/7
Residents are being invited to have their say on proposals for improvements to the local walking and cycling network between Caldicot, Portskewett and Caerwent/Crick, including a route along a disused railway.
Station could be tourist destination20/01/22Glasgow World
An MSP has called for the abandoned Botanic Gardens Station and adjacent tunnels to be opened as an attraction after the site is cleared by crew using it for a feature film.
Glyn Valley revival bid19/01/22BBC News
Volunteers are pushing ahead with plans to restore part of a historic tramway at Chirk which was used to haul stone, slate, coal and passengers through a picturesque Welsh valley until it closed in 1935.
Saving Yorkshire's bridges17/01/22Yorkshire Post
The legacy railway campaigners trying to save the north's Victorian bridges from being infilled or demolished by National Highways.
Survey starts on railway landmark17/01/22Swindon Advertiser
Through the Heritage Action Zone, Swindon's Mechanics' Institute - which has been standing derelict for more than 20 years - is being surveyed to see whether there is potential to restore the building.
Calls to restart tunnel tours15/01/22BBC News
Almost 2,000 people have signed a petition calling for tours of disused railway tunnels beneath Nottingham to be restarted after the local council branded them as "simply not safe".
Iron Giant open after £1.7M repairs13/01/22BBC News
Bennerley Viaduct, which runs between Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, has reopened to the public as a walking route after more than five decades of neglect.
Film role for Glasgow tunnel?13/01/22Glasgow World
Work is currently being carried out on the disused railway tunnel that runs between Kelvin Bridge and the Botanic Gardens, reportedly in preparation for shooting the HBO Max film.
Leamside plans for Metro12/01/22Chronicle Live
North East transport chiefs are pressing ahead with £700m dreams of bringing new Tyne and Wear Metro stations to Washington and beyond by reopening the disused Leamside line.
Fresh doubts over Portishead reopening12/01/22New Civil Engineer
Pressure is mounting on Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to look at an alternative proposal to the restoration of the Portishead line near Bristol, including construction of a busway.
Call to save historic bridge08/01/22LancsLive
A petition signed by more than 3,000 people has been presented to Preston City Council, calling on the authority to make a pitch for government funding to save the Old Tram Bridge.
Trespassers warned of viaduct risks08/01/22Sunderland Echo
Trespassers on the north-east's historic Victoria Viaduct have been warned of possible 'life changing and even fatal consequences' if they continue to break the law and access the structure.
Station conversion plans submitted05/01/22Southern Daily Echo
Planning chiefs are studying a proposal to convert the disused railway station at Woodgreen Road, Breamore, into a home.
Progress for Welsh tunnel scheme01/01/22Daily Mail
Rhondda Tunnel is set to become Europe's longest underground cycle path after government officials cleared the way for its transfer to Welsh authorities.