Property: Living with the 9.05

A house on the line
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The Independent Online
It could be a signal that British Rail need to raise more money. Or perhaps they hope that train buffs will have dreams above their station.

BR have put five of their railway crossing cottages up for auction through Savills Walker Walton, who expect to be knocked over in the rush by bidders. One cottage has already been sold, prior to auction.

It helps that the guide prices start at around pounds 10,000. At that price, who cares about having the washing whipped off the line in the backdraught of the 9.05? The cottages - of which four are period - are in Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Lincolnshire and all stand within a few feet of the railway lines, which are still in use. The houses are mostly Victorian; they were built for signalmen, and are redundant in the days of automatic crossings.

"We have disposed of crossing cottages for British Rail before," says Chris Charlton, of SWW. "They are rare opportunities, and to have this many offered at one time is even rarer. If previous interest is anything to go by, there will be a record attendance."

Of the four cottages left, two are tenanted. The other two, both in Lincolnshire, need to be completely modernised. Bidding is likely to start at pounds 10,000 apiece.

Some are in pretty villages: Morton Crossing Cottage - on at a guide price of pounds 20 to pounds 25,000 - is in Southwell, Nottinghamshire, famous for its minster.

Most of the cottages have three bedrooms, and one, in Gosberton, Lincolnshire, has a garden big enough to prevent the owners from coming eyeball to eyeball with passing commuters.

BR say that more properties will be put up for sale in the next few months. The auction is on Thursday, 6 February, in Nottingham, at 3pm. Details from Savills Walker Walton (0115 955 2255). And you don't need an anorak in order to bid.

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