Almost £22 million has been announced for the Government’s plans to reverse the closure of some lines following the Beeching Report.
Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps, visiting Fleetwood today, launched the funding which Government believes will kickstart the process of reopening railways.
Shapps said: “Many communities still live with the scars that came from the closure of their local railway more than five decades ago. Today sees work begin to undo the damage of the Beeching cuts by restoring local railways and stations to their former glory. “Investing in transport links is essential to levelling up access to opportunities across the country, ensuring our regions are better connected, local economies flourish and more than half a century of isolation is undone.”
The funding announced today (January 28) includes £20m for the New Stations Fund, £1.5m for the Ashington-Blyth-Tyne line, £300,000 for the ‘Ideas Fund’ and £100,000 for the Fleetwood line.
The Beeching cuts, proposed by British Rail’s Dr Richard Beeching in 1963 closed more than 2,300 stations and almost 5,000 miles of track.
In a statement released today, Government acknowledges that not all growing towns can re-open closed stations, and that some areas may never have been served by rail, the government is also announcing a fresh round of the New Stations Fund.
Two previous rounds of the scheme have already helped develop ten brand new stations across England and Wales. The new round will be allocated £20m.
The Ideas Fund will be used to kickstart the process to encourage innovative ideas that will then be considered for further funding in the future.
Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris visited Bedlington station, where he confirmed the £1.5m funding for the Ashington line. He said: “This is an exciting moment as we look to revitalise our railways, reconnect communities and reinvigorate our country.
“Local MPs, councillors and community leaders are the greatest champions of their local lines, and we want to work closely together to ensure the projects with the greatest potential have the support they need.
“There will also be opportunities for towns who have lost stations to receive a boost, as we launch another round of our New Stations Fund.”
- For the FULL story, read RAIL 898, published on February 12, and available digitally from February 8.