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Saturday, 7 March 2009

Latest Breadsall News

The Great Northern Greenway (aka the Breadsall Greenway) is now officially designated as NCN Route 672 and not, as originally, Route 66. This avoids confusion with Regional Route 66 which encircles the City of Derby.
Another week of earthmoving has brought about some dramatic changes to the landscape, with the three slopes now nearing the final gradient of 1 in 20. These are the slope to road level at the A608 bridge, and the two slopes from the high embankment to "ground level" where the Greenway crosses the Windmill Bridleway.
Previously the railway crossed the chasm on a high level bridge, subsequently demolished on closure of the railway.
Survivors of the infamous trailblazing ride of January 2006 will hardly recognise the place, such are the changes.
Preliminary work has started at the Breadsall Station site where the path keeps close to the boundary, leaving the station remains surrounded by a large grassy area.
Some more trees have been felled at the station and also in Croft Wood, to allow the path to take the best line.
From end to end the route measures about 2.5km.
There is now (unofficial) access from the A608 bridge, from Brookside Road and from either end of the Windmill Bridleway. It is mountain bike country at present and there is a high puncture risk. Also the steep slopes are potentially dangerous and may be unstable. Take great care if visiting and keep well clear of machinery.
Also there is access from The Paddock PH car park. Not much action at this (the Derby end) as yet, but little earthmoving is required here, since the railway came gently downhill to Racecourse Siding where the platform remains. From there it ran across the valley (where the Meteor Centre now stands) on a gigantic brick viaduct, towards Handysides Bridge, where it crossed the River Derwent, ran parallel to Ford Street and hence to Friargate Station. What an amazing achievement it was by the builders of the railway prior to the first train running along the line in January 1878.
The above photographs show the slopes either side of the Windmill Bridleway.
The top picture shows tree felling in Croft Wood, indicating a proposal to run the path higher up the slope to the left, thus avoiding the wet area where it currently runs. This was the site of wholesale slippage of the ground during construction of the railway, much of the unstable ground sliding downhill to cover Brookside Road.
There are no signs of ballast here, but it appears that some was removed after the railway closed and that may also account for the unrailway-like undulations.

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