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.

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Last updated 27th November 2020
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2020

November

27/11/20
Telegraph & 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.
26/11/20
Gov.uk
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.
24/11/20
Free 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.
23/11/20
Express & 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.
19/11/20
BBC 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.
19/11/20
The 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.
18/11/20
Oxford 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.
6/11/20
The 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.
3/11/20
Express & 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.

2020

October

26/10/20
Greenock 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.
21/10/20
Manchester 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.
21/10/20
Coventry 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.
20/10/20
Edinburgh 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.
16/10/20
Ross-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.
15/10/20
Falkirk 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.
13/10/20
Wharfedale 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.
8/10/20
Warrington Guardian
Plans to build 17 flats on a stretch of disused railway embankment in Latchford, Warrington, have been revealed.
6/10/20
Northampton 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.
5/10/20
Halifax 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.
5/10/20
Ardrossan & 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.

2020

September

30/9/20
Nottinghamshire 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.
17/9/20
The District Post
A missing 1.4km section of the Downs Link, occupying the trackbed of a disused railway in Horsham, has been formally opened.
15/9/20
Construction 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.
15/9/20
Bristol 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.
7/9/20
Architects' 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.
7/9/20
Chronicle Live
Completion of a £2.3M restoration of Morpeth’s listed station building, designed by architect Benjamin Green, is being celebrated.

2020

August

22/8/20
BBC 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.
21/8/20
Gloucestershire Live
Hundreds of people have signed an online petition calling for the reopening of Bristol Road Station in Stonehouse, 54 years after it closed.
15/8/20
Dudley 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.
13/8/20
North 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.
11/8/20
Rhyl 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'.
7/8/20
Wirral 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.
4/8/20
Halifax 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.

2020

July

21/7/20
Cumbria 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.
21/7/20
Gloucestershire 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.
14/7/20
Yorkshire 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.
1/7/20
Yorkshire 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.
1/7/20
Tivy-side Advertiser
Calls are growing for improved walking and cycling routes along the Teifi Valley through the conversion of a disused railway.

2020

June

28/6/20
BBC 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.
25/6/20
Derbyshire 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.
25/6/20
Manchester 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.
24/6/20
The 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.
22/6/20
New 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.
22/6/20
Yorkshire 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.
19/6/20
Telegraph & 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.
9/6/20
ITV 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.
9/6/20
Nottinghamshire 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.
9/6/20
Halifax 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.
4/6/20
Cotswold 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.

2020

May

29/5/20
Birmingham 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.
26/5/20
BBC News
A blaze which ripped through the Grade II-listed Friar Gate goods warehouse in Derby was started deliberately, it has been confirmed.
25/5/20
Isle 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.
21/5/20
Consett 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.
18/5/20
Bury 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.
11/5/20
Lancashire 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.
8/5/20
Telegraph & Argus
Reinstating the half-mile Wortley Curve near Leeds could considerably boost rail travel into and out of Bradford, according to a report.
7/5/20
New 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.

2020

April

28/4/20
Halifax Courier
Highways England has restarted its works in Queensbury Tunnel, but the timing has been questioned by a group campaigning for its reopening.
18/4/20
Telegraph & 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.
10/4/20
LancsLive
A transport minister has assured the local MP that the government is committed to restoring the rail link to Skelmersdale.
2/4/20
Lancashire 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.
2/4/20
Redditch 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.

2020

March

29/3/20
LancsLive
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.
26/3/20
The 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.
25/3/20
Chad
Public opinion is being sought on plans to reopen the disused Maid Marian line from Kirkby to Nottingham.
24/3/20
Maldon Standard
Plans are being drawn up for a new cycling route linking Halstead and Chappel along the trackbed of a disused railway.
21/3/20
Redditch 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.
20/3/20
Monmouthshire 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.
12/3/20
The 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.
11/3/20
Shropshire Star
The first step to reopening a stretch of line between Oswestry and Gobowen has taken place with the blessing of a transport minister.
10/3/20
BBC 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.
10/3/20
Architects' Journal
Sustrans is looking for a design team to transform Glasgow's disused Carmyle Viaduct into a walking and cycling route.
9/3/20
Messenger
MPs have joined campaigners in calling for a feasibility study into the possibility of reopening the line between Skelton Junction in Timperley and Glazebrook.
7/3/20
Express & Star
The local MP has written to the Transport Minister to support the reopening of the former railway between Stafford and Shrewsbury.
5/3/20
Yorkshire 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.
3/3/20
Telegraph & 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.
2/3/20
Uckfield 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.

2020

February

29/2/20
Northamptonshire 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.
27/2/20
Halifax 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.
27/2/20
Advertiser & 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.
15/2/20
Dorset 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.
11/2/20
The 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.
9/2/20
Derbyshire 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.
6/2/20
North 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.
4/2/20
Bucks 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.
3/2/20
Express & 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.

2020

January

29/1/20
DevonLive
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.
28/1/20
LancsLive
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.
28/1/20
Gloucestershire 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.
28/1/20
Hull 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.
28/1/20
BBC 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.
23/1/20
Swindon 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.
21/1/20
Cornwall 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.
18/1/20
North 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.
14/1/20
ITV 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.
13/1/20
Yorkshire 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.
8/1/20
Ilkley 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.
5/1/20
Yorkshire 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.

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