Plan for £30m Salford to Trafford heritage railway proposed

A CGI image of the proposed cycle and walk path alongside a train on the Cadishead viaduct Image copyright Hamilton Davies Trust
Image caption A CGI image of the proposed railway shows a cycle path and walkway alongside the tracks

A railway line closed in 1964 could reopen as a heritage line for steam engines if new plans come to fruition.

Businessman Neil McArthur's £30m plan would see a footpath and cycleway run alongside six miles (9.5km) of tracks between Salford and Trafford.

The proposal also includes rebuilding three stations and reinstating the Cadishead Viaduct.

Mr McArthur said the "economic, social and environmental benefits" of reopening the line "would be huge".

The plans for the new line, which would run from Irlam to Timperley, and a report by Mr McArthur have been submitted to two councils, Network Rail as well as other transport bodies for consideration.

Image copyright Hamilton Davies Trust
Image caption Mr McArthur launched his plan with the help of railway enthusiast Michael Portillo

The businessman, who has proposed the idea through his charity, the Hamilton Davies Trust, said the nearby East Lancashire Railway, which runs from Bury to Rawtenstall, showed what could be achieved.

"The East Lancs heritage railway shows the demand with 200,000 passengers a year, so there is a local example to learn from," he said.

"We're asking the political representatives and transport bodies to join with us in exploring the art of the possible."

He added that as the entire route was owned by Network Rail, the realisation of his vision would be "reasonably uncomplicated".

Mr McArthur has previously financed the £2m restoration of the station at Irlam and his new plan would see stations rebuilt at Cadishead, Partington and Timperley.

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