Branch line needs help to stay on track


A large project on the tracks at Nene Valley Railway has commenced. The Fletton Branch Line Project began on February 6 to reopen the branch line link to the main line, replacing 450 sleepers.

Last summer’s exceptionally high temperatures had a detrimental effect on many of the wooden sleepers, so the line was closed to traffic for repairs by the railways’ civil engineering team.

“The main line link is a vital income source for the railway,” read a statement. “This project is vital for the railway and its future.”

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The project is being led by Don Osborn, Nene Valley Railway’s track manager.

“Don works as a one-man band in terms of being a paid member of staff but is fully supported by a small yet very willing and eager team of volunteers,” said the statement.

“The thing about this project is that it is a big one and requires lots of manpower. In fact, to fully complete this project, the replacement of 450 sleepers is required.

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“The works have started off well and we are on track for the completion of what is required for visiting locomotive Sir Nigel Gresley to join us over the Easter break.

“If you’re fit, able and willing to join Don and his team, please email our admin team with dates that you’re available and a member of our team will be in contact with full details and confirmation of date/dates for you to join us.

“If you’re not physically fit to get out on the track to replace sleepers, you can still support and help by manning our welfare hut, cutting back vegetation or just carrying out a general litter pick.

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“We have lots planned for when Sir Nigel Gresley visits for the Easter holiday. Sir Nigel Gresley will be hauling passenger services over the full Easter weekend and the following Saturday, April 15 and Sunday, April 16.”

On the evenings of April 8 and 15, Sir Nigel Gresley will be hauling the extremely popular Jolly Fisherman fish and chip trains. The railway is also running a premier prize draw: the lucky winner will join the line on April 8 (only) for all-day travel for two people, a meet and greet tour of the signalbox, a table for two on the Jolly Fisherman evening service (food and a bottle of wine included), plus time on Sir Nigel Gresley’s footplate. It costs £5 per entry, and you can enter as many times as you wish. Open to over-18s only. Visit

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