Published by Railfuture

Railwatch is the quarterly magazine of Railfuture, which is free to members.

Non-members can subscribe to Railwatch, receiving it by post.


Railwatch 075 - April 1998

RDS rescue plan for threatened line

The Government and the Rail Regulator are considering whether to allow the closure of the Sinfin branch in Derbyshire. RDS has objected to the closure of the line which serves an industrial estate in Derby and has put foward with a rescue plan. This will be a test for the Labour Government which when last in power approved wholesale rail closures.

The rescue plan proposed by RDS executive officer Nat Taplin to the Rail Users' Consultative Committee for the Midlands involves the introduction of a train service using "Heritage" diesel units which could be co-ordinated with the commuting and shift patterns at the Rolls-Royce and other factories on the estate. The units could also run up the Derby-Matlock line or offer connections.

The service would obviously need promoting to staff at Rolls-Royce and other firms, which might provide financial support as part of a green commuter plan. There is also of course potential for increasing freight flows following the more flexible wagon-load services now offered by EW&S.

If a viable level of demand can be shown, the line could be upgraded for modern rolling stock and operated as a through service to Matlock or even to Nottingham Road and Chellaston. Another option which would benefit the local community, economy and environment would be to use it as part of a Metro-style service for the Derby area.

The short Sinfin branch was reopened in 1976 by British Rail but in 1992 the service was reduced to just one early-morning round trip to Sinfin, with no return service for home-going workers. This was a clear case of "closure by stealth": first drive passengers away by reducing the service, then claim that the line is uneconomic due to low usage.

The one remaining Derby to Sinfin train, although in the timetable, was illegally discontinued in September 1993, on the grounds that the track circuits were incompatible with the modern Sprinter units used in the area.

The Franchise Director and Central Trains published a new closure notice in November 1997, repeating all the absurd old arguments. North Midlands RDS gave evidence at a public hearing held in Derby on 23 February.

Watford to Croxley Green and the Weymouth Quay line are two other services that British Rail withdrew without going through the statutory closure procedure. If the Sinfin closure is agreed, the outlook is bleak for these and "ghost" services such as the once-weekly journey from Stockport to Guide Bridge.

Note: contact details (postal and email addresses, along with telephone numbers) in old editions of Railwatch out of date. Click CONTACT US for latest contact details.

[Issue 75 Index]

[Railwatch Home] [Prev Issue (74)] [Railwatch Issues] [RIS Progress Reports] [SRUBLUK Progress Reports] [Next Issue (76)] [Railfuture Home]

Rail users are encouraged to join Railfuture to help us campaign for a bigger and better railway - membership for individuals is just £20 per year

Railfuture is an independent, voluntary group representing rail users in Britain with 20,000 affiliated and individual members. It is not funded by train companies, political parties or trade unions, and all members have an equal say.

Railfuture campaigns for cheap and convenient rail services for everyone; better links for buses, bikes and pedestrians; policies to get more heavy lorries on to rail; new lines, stations and freight terminals. In short, a better rail service and a bigger rail system for both passengers and freight.

Railfuture is pro-rail but not anti-road or anti-air. However, we campaign for a switch from road and air to rail. We do not interfere in the running of the railway - we campaign for the quality and range of services provided, not how they are delivered. We are the only champion of all rail users.

Railfuture is the campaigning name of Railfuture Ltd.

A not-for-profit Company Limited by Guarantee.

Registered in England and Wales No. 05011634.

Registered Office: Edinburgh House, 1-5 Bellevue Road, Clevedon, North Somerset BS21 7NP (for legal correspondence only).

All other correspondence to 14 Ghent Field Circle, Thurston, Suffolk IP31 3UP

© Copyright Railfuture Ltd 2024.

Railfuture is happy for extracts to be used by journalists, researchers and students. We would, however, appreciate a mention of Railfuture in any article, website or programme. Except with Railfuture's express written permission, no one should distribute or commercially exploit the content.

Privacy Statement

Click Privacy to read Railfuture's GDPR statement on how we treat your data.


This site does not use its own cookies, although Google Analytics does. Hosted by TSO Host (cPanel) and maintained for Railfuture by Billing Specialists Ltd.