A few silent nights or days may be disturbed over Christmas as Whaley Bridge people are warned that up to 24 freight trains a day will be diverted through the town over the holiday.
Network Rail say local people should expect ‘a lot of activity’ on the Buxton-Stockport passenger line over Christmas and New Year, because of major work to the Dove Holes tunnel. The tunnel, on the freight only line between Peak Forest and Chinley, will be closed for nine days from Christmas Eve to Monday 2 January.
Freight trains from the Buxton area, carrying essential materials for power stations, are being diverted to the passenger line which passes through Whaley Bridge, Furness Vale and Disley. The diverted trains could have up to 22 wagons each.
The warning comes as the result of an appeal against planning permission delays for Network Rail’s plan to demolish Bridge 42, which carries the rail line over Buxton Road near Whaley Bridge primary school, is awaited. Network Rail wants to replace the Victorian bridge, which has Grade II listed status, with a stronger new bridge so that more freight trains can use the line in the future. The plan Is opposed strongly by Whaley Bridge town council and local people who fear noisy trains will run through the night. There is concern about traffic delays of possibly several weeks on the main road while the existing bridge was demolished and a new one built.
The Christmas ‘invasion’ by up to 24 freight trains a day gives Whaley Bridge people a foretaste of what they could expect if the Bridge 42 plan goes through and extra freight trains are introduced.