Rail digs deep with investment in future

One of the area’s biggest engineering projects in recent years is being undertaken out of public view during the Christmas period.

Network Rail’s major track renewal, drainage and associated work costing £4.4 million is taking place underground in the mile-long Dove Holes Tunnel on the railway line between Great Rocks near Peak Dale and Chapel, which was part of the former Midland Main Line, and is now a freight-only line serving the quarries at Tunstead and Hindlow branch.

A central drain in the tunnel has to cope with 20,000 tonnes of water every day and mineral deposits from the limestone wall have moved the track out of place, resulting in a 20mph limit on the 40mph line which is closed until January 2.

This will enable 1,000 metres of enclosed drain to be replaced by an open drain which is easier to clear.

At the same time 930 metres of the line from Chinley to Peak Forest is being renewed. The line closure means that the freight traffic is currently being transferred from the Buxton to Manchester passenger line with a temporary cross-over having been installed at Buxton to assist with the movement of freight trains up to 22 wagons in length. £600,000 has also been spent by Network Rail on the Buxton to Manchester passenger line to make it fit for freight diversions as the line is only usually used by the diesel multiple unit passenger service.

Some delays may occur.