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Engines could run once more

Discussions are under way to re-open an old railway line near Brackley, exclusively for the use of freight trains.

Central Railway is holding discussions with partner companies to possibly re-open the former Helmdon Trail, which closed in 1966.

If the proposals are supported the company is likely to seek planning permission for the new line to be used specifically for freight trains. It would be part of a national route: Central Railway is proposing to reopen the freight line from the north west of England to the north of France via the Channel Tunnel, with a possible link to Scotland.

Spokesman Chris Savage said: "It is early days yet. Central Railway has looked in the past at re-opening the former route as a dedicated freight railway and we are looking again at restructuring the project and bringing it back in the future."

The plans are still in the initial stages of discussion and no traffic planning or government approval has yet been sought. However, if the reopening did go ahead, Mr Savage said, it would mean "a few trains every hour" passing through the Brackley area in both directions. Residents would be consulted.

It is not the first time plans have been suggested to reopen the line; in 1966 similar proposals were unanimously rejected and failed to win Parliament's approval.

The Banbury Guardian - 1st June 2006

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