Historical Railways Estate - working with stakeholders

We look after the Historical Railways Estate on behalf of the nation and work closely with local authorities and key active travel and heritage organisations to help inform our work.

Historical Railways Estate - working with stakeholders

Where possible, we work with partners to repurpose structures or transfer them to other bodies, so these special heritage assets can be given a new lease of life. Where transfer is not an option, we continue to maintain structures, following clear decision-making processes, and always ensuring the safety of the public.

Our work with Railway Paths Limited

We have a close working relationship with Railway Paths Limited who own and manage former railway land for active travel use. We support them by providing technical engineering expertise to help them keep their structures safe.

Alongside the Department for Transport, we conduct regular reviews to consider transfers of HRE structures to RPL, with the aim of supporting repurposing for new uses. We'll deliver repairs in advance of this, ensuring RPL can focus on developing partnerships with community groups and local authorities to create fantastic new walking and cycling routes.

Our work with Sustrans

We lease a large number of structures to Sustrans as part of cycling and walking routes nationwide, most of these are bridges that carry public roads over old railway branch lines. But there are also some large viaducts such as Hewenden Viaduct and Burnden and Darcy Lever viaducts.

Stakeholder Advisory Forum

Our Stakeholder Advisory Forum (SAF) includes key stakeholders with an interest in active travel, heritage, ecology and heritage railways.

Members include the Department for Transport, Active Travel England, Historic Scotland & England, Natural England, Railway Heritage Trust, Railways Paths Limited and The HRE Group among others.

The forum helps us by reviewing major work proposals, ensuring future schemes consider community feedback and any opportunities to repurpose and reuse structures.

View our meeting agendas and minutes, and the SAF Terms of Reference.

Our work with local authorities

In order to deliver our work, we regularly engage with local planning and highway authorities. These bodies have responsibility for ensuring any proposed works meet planning requirements and that highways regulations are delivered. On any scheme we work on we engage with the local councils to understand their requirements and plans and ensure our work meets these.

We occasionally transfer structures to local councils, often to support the development of new active travel routes.

Working with stakeholders

We’re always keen to hear ideas on ways to repurpose our structures. Some examples of our partnership working includes Castlefield viaduct and Tidenham Tunnel and Stump Cross Bridge.

We’ve also historically supported active travel charities to bring Burnden and Darcy Lever viaducts and Bennerley viaduct back into public use.