AN Irlam councillor has praised the £30m proposed relaunch of the train track between Salford and Trafford and believes it could “benefit the area”.
The Hamilton Davies Trust (HDT) plans to breathe new life into the communities of Irlam and Partington and announced their plans on Tuesday March 28 alongside former Conservative MP and transport minister Michael Portillo.
The plan contains an extension for both the national cycleway and heritage railway, carrying steam and diesel trains, between Irlam in Salford and Timperley in Trafford. The project would add 14km to the National Cycle Network (NCN).
The proposal includes the re-opening of the former Cheshire Lines railway from Irlam to Timperley, which is 9.5km and the re-introduction of the 1.5km branch line between Irlam Station and Glazebrook East Junction.
Councillor Peter Taylor finds the proposed scheme interesting and hopes they will help the local economy.
He said: “It is interesting and exciting and I think it will bring a lot of new people into the area.”
When asked about any possible environmental issues that might be caused Councillor Taylor added: “I suppose there would be a minimal impact on the environment but I can’t see it having a heavy impact.”
Hamilton Davies Trust trustee Neil McArthur has calculated the cost between £25m and £30m and is proposing the establishment of a new trust, the Cheshire Lines Railway Trust, to deliver the project.
The scheme would restore Cadishead, Partington and West Timperley stations and re-open the Cadishead Viaduct, which is blocked by shipping containers and is known locally as the ‘Berlin Wall’ which cuts off the communities of Irlam and Partington.
McArthur said: “We’re building on the success of what we’ve done here at Irlam Station, which enjoyed a 17% rise in passenger figures in 2015, one of the highest in Greater Manchester.
“The economic, social and environmental benefits would be huge. The East Lancs heritage railways shows the demand with 200,000 passengers a year, so there is a local example to learn from. We’re asking the political representatives and transport bodies to join with us in exploring the art of the possible.”
Portillo added: “The building of Britain’s railways during the nineteenth century required vision, determination and entrepreneurial flair. Today, the re-opening of closed tracks requires the same qualities. I’m impressed by the zeal shown by the Hamilton Davies Trust. Heritage lines run all over Britain thanks to that kind of enthusiasm, and they bring pleasure to many thousands, and greatly boost the economic health of the neighbouring communities.”