Network Rail are helping to restore part of the Draycott canal route in Derbyshire with a £350,000 investment.
This joins a £100,000 investment by the Canal Trust. The project will help reduce flooding on the railway and create new recreational facilities.
Known locally as the Golden Mile, the section was infilled in the 1960s. Although a drainage ditch was installed in 1999 to help prevent flooding on the railway, it has still been flooded 19 times in the last 8 years.
The flooding of the Midland Main Line, connecting Derby to London has cost £2m and over 357 hours of delays to passengers.
The 1.1km stretch of canal will be restored as well as raising the canal bank by 1 metre to reduce the chances of overflowing onto the railway.
New facilities will be made for walkers, cyclists, horse riders as well as provision for angling and canoeing. An old mill will be restored and have a cafe and toilet facilities.
Water voles which live in the area will be protected on site and will be released back into the canal when work is complete in Summer 2021.
Gary Walsh, Route Director for Network Rail’s East Midlands Route, said: “This is a fantastic project and we are proud to be a part of it.
“We have seen issues with flooding at Draycott over the past few years and this work will help to reduce this. Whilst further work will be needed to solve the problem, this is an important step in reducing delays for passengers.
“We’re really proud to be working with the community on this and it’s great that we can play a part in a wider scheme, which will benefit both residents and visitors in Derbyshire, help to boost the economy and restore this section of the canal to its former glory, preserving vital heritage.”
Chris Madge, Chairman for Derby and Sandiacre Canal Trust, said: “We’ve been working for many years to bring this project to fruition and we are delighted that work has been able to begin.
“We are very grateful to Network Rail for working with us and providing the final piece of funding which will mean we can prevent flooding on the railway, as well as bring about change which will have a lasting impact on the community.
“The fact that local supporters have donated over £100,000 demonstrates the groundswell to preserve heritage in the area. Our redevelopment of an old mill building adjacent to the canal section to provide a café, museum and housing, will attract many more people out to enjoy the wonderful countryside, wildlife and activities on offer.”
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