LAFARGE are to consult the public on proposals to divert a short section of the Robin Hood Railway Line that currently crosses Whitwell Quarry, in Derbyshire, through a tunnel.
The company plans to build around 1,200m of new track in the quarry base, close to the existing railway, so that it can extract the limestone surrounding the tunnel.
Lafarge already have planning permission from Derbyshire County Council to extract the stone and now need the consent of the Infrastructure Planning Commission to carry out the diversionary works.
Track owners Network Rail have agreed in principle with the diversion and are liaising closely with the company.
‘The impact on rail users will be minimal as only two short weekend closures will be necessary to connect up the new track,’ explained Lafarge project manager David Atkinson. ‘Once operational, the diverted line will not affect train service quality or timetables.’
The stretch of line involved runs between Creswell and Whitwell rail stations and passenger trains typically pass through the existing tunnel in less than 60s.
‘With the diversion in place, all rail passengers would notice is that the dark of the tunnel would be replaced by a very brief open-air view of our quarry,’ said Mr Atkinson.