Heritage chiefs move to protect railway history

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Fifteen railway bridges, viaducts and tunnels in Amber Valley have been listed as part of an English Heritage and Network Rail project to protect the heritage of the railway.

The structures have been listed by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport ahead of the planned electrification of the Midland Main Line, which will take place from 2014 to 2020.

Much of the line and many of the bridges now listed were built by George and Robert Stephenson, the father and son team who were two of the world’s most important pioneering railway engineers of the early 19th century.

Some of the structures being listed are in Nottinghamshire, however the vast majority of the 30 newly protected sites are along the Amber Valley, which is already designated a World Heritage Site for its role in the early part of the Industrial Revolution.

Among thestructures given listed status is the Chevin Road Bridge and Strutts Bridge at Milford; King Street, Derby Road and New Road bridges in Belper and Bull Bridge near Ambergate.

Tony Calladine, head of designation at English Heritage, said: “The new listings are a celebration of the amazing legacy left to us by England’s Victorian engineers.

“Their railway bridges are such a part of our landscape that we often don’t notice them, but many of these bridges are masterworks of engineering and design, and pushed the boundaries of technology when they were first built. But they are more than just engineering marvels. Often the aesthetic quality of the bridge far exceeds the functional requirements. They really are something to be proud of. The Midland Main Line is rich in historic railway structures, particularly along the Amber Valley, and I’m also very pleased to see Network Rail make a serious commitment to respecting and caring for them.”

Justin Page, area director for Network Rail, said: “Whilst planning for the future it is vital we respect and acknowledge the rich past of the line.”