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 6th July 2022
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Halifax 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.



BBC 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.
Press & 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 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.
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.
New 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.
Stratford 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.
Richmondshire 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.
The 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.
Rail 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.
South 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.
Rail Advent
Northumberland's Aln Valley Railway has launched its 'Bricks & Pieces' appeal which will support them in maintaining the 172-year-old Cawledge Viaduct.
Nation 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.
Northern 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.
Part of an old railway line which once carried the Whippet train between Churston and Brixham could be reopened as a walking trail.
The Guardian
Planning officials have recommended that National Highways' planning application to retain the infill at Cumbria's Great Musgrave bridge should be rejected.
Eastern 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.



New 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".
Ham & 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.
Liverpool 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.
New 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.
Dorset 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.
Project 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.
Lancashire Post
Plans to reopen an blocked-up railway tunnel under the busy A6 near Garstang for pedestrians and cyclists have been ditched.



Barnsley 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.
Construction 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.
Yorkshire 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.
New 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.
News & 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.
BBC News
Plans to reopen the railway connecting Bristol and Portishead have been delayed until February 2023 due to funding concerns.
Northern 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.
South 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.
BBC 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.



The 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.
BBC 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.
Bdaily 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.
Kent 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.
Richmondshire 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 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.
Bristol Live
Campaigners are celebrating after plans for a foot and cycle path along the old railway line in Brislington were approved unanimously by councillors.
The 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.
BBC 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.
Shropshire Live
Volunteers from Cambrian Heritage Railways have restored the railway from Oswestry to Weston Wharf and will reopen it to passengers in April.
Herts 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.



Sussex 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.
Somerset 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.
BBC 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.
Evening 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.
Telegraph & Argus
Photographs have emerged showing the extent of controversial works in Queensbury Tunnel which campaigners want to reopen as an active travel route.
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.
Yorkshire 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".
People in Barnstaple have been asked to be patient as repair work on an old railway bridge awaits its next stage, requiring specialist tools.
Chronicle 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.



BBC 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.
Gloucestershire 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.
Glasgow 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.
Wales 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.
BBC 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.
Swindon 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.
Yorkshire Post
The legacy railway campaigners trying to save the north's Victorian bridges from being infilled or demolished by National Highways.
BBC 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".
Glasgow 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.
BBC 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.
New 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.
Chronicle 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.
Sunderland 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.
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.
Southern Daily Echo
Planning chiefs are studying a proposal to convert the disused railway station at Woodgreen Road, Breamore, into a home.
Daily 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.

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