Transport society's plans to reinstate railway track between Rushden and Higham Ferrers

Plans to reinstate a section of railway track between Rushden to Higham Ferrers have been submitted.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 14th March 2016, 3:52 pm
Updated Monday, 14th March 2016, 3:54 pm
Rushden Station
Rushden Station

Rushden Historical Transport Society wants to reinstate the track from a point 200m north of Shirley Road bridge to Queensway in Higham Ferrers.

If approved by East Northants Council, it would be the last element required to put a line along the old existing route of the old railway and mean trains would run up to the Higham Ferrers end of the track.

The society has the requisite funding and lease arrangements in place, but needs planning permission from the council.

Rushden Historical Transport Society wants to reinstate the track to Higham Ferrers

Documents submitted as part of the application say: “The proposed reinstatement of the old line from Rushden to Higham Ferrers must be seen in principle as a positive on the basis that the applicant, a charity, has worked over the years to retain the main station building, from which it was under serious theat of demolition in the 1980s, and then rely on contributions and goodwill to grow the current operation into what it is today.

“The proposed development is the final element of the grand plan to have a track which runs to two destinations rather than turn round and go back to the main station.”

However, a number of people have objected to the plans.

One objection published online states: “I strongly object to the proposed extension of the Rushden railway.

Rushden Historical Transport Society wants to reinstate the track to Higham Ferrers

“As a resident of Queensway I feel this extension will greatly impact on my privacy as it will run alongside my back garden fence therefore infringing on my privacy and this quiet area will become very noisy and the air will fill with diesel smoke.

“I feel it will also cause a lot more traffic and more cars to be parked in an already busy area where parking can be a great problem during school times and when there are other activities happening at the school.”

Another objection states: “I live on Prospect Avenue and object to the railway line proposal due to many factors.

“I have two sons and use the Greenway daily to walk them to and from our local school.

“This is currently a safe, easy and quick route limiting our need to walk the whole route by the main road into Rushden.

“We regularly use the Greenway to cycle as a family into Higham Ferrers and Rushden and since the Greenway has been built we have enjoyed cycing and walking in a safe environment.

“The impact of noise and pollution is a huge concern and I feel the reason for building the ‘Greenway’ is for that very reason to get people out enjoying our local environment and linking together towns and villages for all ages to enjoy and to reduce the number of cars on our roads.

“The odours and noise that the trains will create will directly impact on us as the local residents, and to this end I wholeheartedly object to this proposal.”

Trains generally only run at the station at weekends and with the applicant being in sole control of the service when it has special events such as the Santa Specials or 1940s weekend, it says it can plan ahead to allow for extra demand with parking and traffic.

To see the plans, search for 16/00042/FUL on the planning page of East Northamptonshire Council’s website.

History of the site:

The site is situated to the east of Rushden Railway Station which once formed part of the Wellingborough to Higham Ferrers branch line.

Built by the Midland Railway in 1894, Rushden Station was the only intermediate station on the Higham Ferrers branch line and closed to passengers in June 1959 when regular passenger services were withdrawn by British Rail.

When the line closed to all traffic in 1969, the main station building was sold to the local authorities who leased it to various local businesses until in 1984 the applicant obtained a lease on the building, the track bed in front of the station and the platform to the north of the building.

In 1996, the applicant bought the station after many years of campaigning to save the building from demolition.

At the same time, they obtained a lease on the track bed terminating on the southern side of the bridge at the end of Shirley Road.