End of the line for disused rail track

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A disused railway line which runs through the centre of Northampton has finally been declared non-operational by railway officials.

The line between Brackmills and London Road, in Far Cotton, has not been used for decades.

For a number of years, developers have hoped to build on the route, but their plans were always thwarted because of the chance the line could one day re-open.

But Network Rail has now received permission from the Office of Rail Regulation to decommission the line.

The move will pave the way for development in both the Far Cotton and Bedford Road areas and the West Northamptonshire Development Corporation (WNDC) is believed to be planning to buy the former railway line.

The group’s chief executive, Peter Mawson, said: “It was confirmed that the rail regulators had given their consent for the line to be taken out of the operational network just before Christmas.

“We are now in negotiations to buy that land.”

The railway line was originally used to deliver coal to Northampton’s former power station in Nunn Mills Road.

It is planned to move The University of Northampton to the former power station site. Original plans for the university’s move included the construction of a new road through the site, with a bridge crossing over the disused railway line.

Now the line has been classed as non-operational, the expensive bridge need not be built. It is also hoped the route of the former line could be used as some sort of ‘sustainable transport corridor’ in the future.

The decommissioned stretch of line does not include the section which runs around the back of the Nene Valley retail park in Towcester Road, where campaigners have argued a link road to St James should be built.