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Train operators plan to reopen mothballed lines

The Association of train Operating Companies (ATOC) has today revealed plans to open 14 rail lines closed by Dr Beeching in the 1960s from 2014.

ATOC wants the routes to be safeguarded - it says the plans would open 40 new stations and be a direct benefit to some 1.75M people - 750,000 not connected to the network, and a further 1M would have improved acess.

ATOC Chief Executive Michael Roberts said:“Record passenger numbers and rising demand require us to plan for the long term, while climate change andpopulation growth make it vital that in doing so, we adapt the rail network to meet tomorrow’s needs.

“Providing attractive new services and easier access to the rail network will encourage passengers to switch to railfrom other, less green, modes of transport.

“Many past studies have looked at re-opening old railways but this one looks first at the market, not the map,analysing where people live and where they want to travel.

“Much of the current debate about improving the network is focused on major enhancements, such as main lineelectrification and potential high speed lines. This is a welcome vote of confidence in the railways.

“This report complements the strategic approach recently advocated in Planning Ahead, and looks at otheropportunities to connect communities which have grown in recent years but which do not have good access to therail network.

“We have established that there is a strong business case for investment to bring a number of towns back onto therail network. Now we need to safeguard these routes and develop the detailed case for investment.”

The report, “Connecting Communities” outlines an economic case for reinstating these lines as well as giving social costs and benefits such as time-savings by road users, a reduction in road accidents as well as the earnings from fares, and compared them with the cost of operating the service and the capital costs of reinstating the lines.

Over the next nine months ATOC will carry out further analysis with train operators, Network Rail and local authorities to validate the work so far undertaken, and to confirm those routes that would justify safeguarding.

The new lines would serve:

  • Cranleigh (Surrey)
  • Bordon, Hythe and Ringwood in Hampshire
  • Brixham in Devon
  • Aldridge and Brownhills (West Midlands)
  • Wisbech (Cambridgeshire).
  • Leicester to Burton (Derbyshire)
  • Fleetwood, Rawtenstall and Skelmersdale in Lancashire
  • Washington (Tyne and Wear)
  • Ashington & Blyth (Northumberland)
  • A further seven cases are being evaluated: Madeley (Staffordshire), Stourport on Severn (Worcestershire), Ripon (N. Yorkshire), Norton Radstock (NE. Somerset), Portishead (N. Somerset) and Witney (Oxfordshire).

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Readers' comments (2)

  • 1. Are there any proposals for reopening railway lines and stations in Wales

    2. When the Ebbw Vales railway line was reopened to passenger traffic a new platform was built at Newport Station, yet the train service aviods Newport and goes direct to and from Cardiff.Why is this ?

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  • The ATOC plans do not cover either Scotland, which is the responsibility of Transport Scotland, nor Wales, where Welsh Assembly Government has developed a strategy for transport in Wales.

  • The list does not appear to include that between Bicester and Milton Keynes. I would have thought that this was an obvious choice as not only would it connect two major towns (Oxford and Milton Keynes, but the track is in place - even if not in good condition.

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