The Department for Transport has rubber-stamped plans to expand railway sidings in Buxton to support the area’s quarries.
The application is part of the Peak Forest to London Freight Programme, the purpose of which is to increase freight capacity through the use of longer trains between the Peak Forest and Hope Valley terminals and London.
Network Rail, who are behind the plans, said they recognised the importance of limestone as a vital natural resource in Derbyshire, and that an increase in demand was likely due to increased levels of house-building and other potential future major infrastructure projects.
The work will see an extension to the existing railway sidings in the Hogshaw area of Buxton.
A Network Rail spokesperson said: “Freight traffic on the railways has increased by 70 per cent over the last 20 years, and is expected to grow by between 30 per cent and 140 per cent over the next 30 years.
“The works that are planned will enable an increased amount of aggregates to be carried to and from the quarries without needing any additional trains, as longer trains can be used.
“A new footbridge will be located to the immediate south of the existing footbridge to maintain a public footpath above the extended sidings.
“The extended sidings will contribute to maintaining and improving the viability of the quarry businesses, which will have economic benefits for the Buxton area. It will also reduce the likelihood of more lorry movements being required, thus providing an environmental benefit to the area too.”
The Secretary of State noted the ‘need and potential benefits of implementing the scheme’.
Natasha Kopala, from the Department for Transport, said: “The scheme will facilitate an increase in the capacity of freight trains from 1,750 tonnes to 2,600 tonnes, which would contribute to the long-term economic viability of those quarries.”