Derailed train plan hits buffers

ANY chance of a train service operating between Little Eaton and Ripley has hit the buffers after contractors began ripping up existing track.

In January, CES Group Partnership announced plans to reopen the line between the towns with the aid of funding from the European Union.

However the plan went flat after it was revealed project leader Desmond McKinley, had been involved in a court case in Ireland.

Network Rail, which owns the portion of the line between Denby and Little Eaton, has said the disused track was due to be ripped up before January, but work was halted while CES Group Partnership put together a bid to run a passenger service along the route.

This week it resumed its plan to remove the lines after revealing no bid was eventually submitted.

A spokesperson for Network Rail said: “There is no signalling on the route so we are taking up the rail to prevent theft and rid ourselves of maintenance and property liabilities.”

The spokesperson said the track would be recycled.

Michael Rogan, 23, of Ripley, who was working as a volunteer on the project with Mr Mckinley, this week said he was “disappointed” that the project had not worked out.

But Derbyshire County Council has since announced it is in talks to purchase the route. A spokesperson said: “The land is owned by Network Rail and we are talking to them about the possibility of acquiring it.

“It is part of our work to extend the network of greenways in the area for use by walkers, cyclists, horse riders, wheelchair users and people with pushchairs.”

According to Codnor rail enthusiast, Steven Key, 52, the last train to run on the line was on April 14, 1999.

The former volunteer at Midland Railway Butterley said he was disappointed the line would not be reopened, but said developers would have faced difficulties. “It would have taken a lot of work as there’s a lot of trees growing up between the rails,” he said.

“It’s a pity it never got put into use as a heritage line really.”

Contractors are currently ripping up line at Rawson’s Green, near Denby, and are expected to be on site for six weeks.

Nearby resident, Wendy Wetmore, 58, of Brick Yard Lane, said: “We thought the train line would have been a good idea – the only thing that concerned us is they planned to build a branch station right near us.”