Volunteers begin clearing Trawsfynydd line

Volunteers have begun clearing vegetation from the railway line that runs between Trawsfynydd and Blaenau Ffestiniog. This will enable a survey of the route which last saw a train in 1998.

Source: BBC News


Council leader outlines Walsall rail plans

The new council leader for Walsall council is pushing plans to restore the railway service between Walsall and Wolverhampton. The Black Country LEP is proposing a funding plan for £29m, which will lead to new railway stations at Willenhall and James Bridge at Darlaston. 

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Ashington restoration could cost £195m

The GRIP2 report produced by Network Rail into restoring passenger services on the Ashington, Blyth and Tyne railway has been costed at £195m with £70m of benefits to be gained from a service that could run between Ashington and Newcastle-upon-Tyne in just 38 minutes.

Source: Northumberland County Council


Councillors reject silent track withdrawal on Oxford link

Councillors have rejected Network Rail’s request to withdraw the use of silent track on the Oxford to Oxford Parkway rail link. Residents have accused Network Rail of reneging on their promises, whilst Network Rail have advised that the use of silent track is not cost effective. Network RIl have advised that this won’t affect the planned opening date of 12th December because silent track can be retrofitted.

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Wedgwood and Barlaston could close permanently

The Department for Transport is to ask bidders of the London Midland franchise for proposals to reopen Wedgwood and Barlaston railway stations (they are currentlybserved by rail replacement bus services). These proposals will be considered but if they are not deemed viable, the Department for Transport intends to initiate closure proceedings that will close the railway stations for good.

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New Stations Fund – Round 2 contenders – updated 3

The second round of the New Stations Fund sees up to £20m allocated to projects to open railway stations on the national rail network in England and Wales. The first round supported the opening of five railway stations. Three have been opened and the other two are due to open shortly.

There are a number of contenders for this funding. The first round saw thirteen applications for funding and a number of groups organisations have progressed campaigns and studies into other candidates.

So who are the likely contenders for this funding!

Haxby

Located on the York to Scarborough railway line, this station did not receive funding during the first round of the New Stations Fund. Regardless, the proposal remains a strong candidate, having been pushed as a likely station project in the Leeds City Region.

Wixams

Located on the Midland Mainline, this station is subject to frustration from residents of new build housing estates who were promised a railway station. Developments have not progressed as fast as expected here, so potentially it could miss out. However, stakeholders were meeting to look at ways to cover the £12m funding gap. Is it too much?

Warrington West

Struggling with a shortfall of funding, this proposal could be a likely winner. The station surprised many when it made it on to the map for services of the new Northern Rail franchise. The local authority has been pushing this project through the required studies over the last few years.

Worcestershire Parkway

Following the recent resolution of the land ownership issues, only money stands between this station and an opening date. There are concerns that the station may struggle attract the required train services to ensure that it opens.

Belford

Located north of Chathill, this station was a contender for opening. With an infrequent service and only a single platform, it could be a low cost addition. However, a number of issues have put this proposal on the back burner. Could an injection of government cash unlock the potential of this site.

Horton Sea View/Peterlee

Another station quietly moving through the studies is a proposed station serving Peterlee on the Newcastle to Sunderland Coast line. The council are unlikely to ignore an opportunity like this to invest in this area.

Portway Park and Ride

One of the proposed stations to enhance the MetroWest project is Portway Park and Ride. With the P&R already in place, it could be a relatively low cost addition, although it may struggle with abstraction from existing passenger transport services. It has completed GRIP 2 and funding is in place to deliver GRIP 3.

Cranbrook East

Hot on the heels of Cranbrook is Cranbrook East. The long term developments of this area could bring a demand for a second railway station. Proposals are in an early stage but they are already being considered by the relevant authorities. Unlikely contender with others in a better position in this area.

Edginswell

Very likely with some funding already in place. Whilst the station is desired, the proposed car park has been rejected by local residents and the planning committee. Expected opening date is currently December 2018.

Reading Green Park

A possibility with the station part funded as part of a local growth deal. Costs have increased when higher passenger forecasts required more facilities to be provided here.

Crosshills and Kildwick

Located on the Airedale line, this station has been a long held ambition for some. It sits awkwardly just over the border from West Yorkshire, which has left it without the required support. However, the inclusion of Craven in the Leeds City region made it a sure fire inclusion in the top four station projects. An outside chance with strong candidates located elsewhere in the region and a ticketing problem being located on the wrong side of the border.

East Leeds Parkway

Where is East Leeds Parkway going to go is a question expected to be answered shortly by a report to the local transport authority. There are two options with one being Thorpe Park and a second being near Micklefield. Potentially the other strong candidates in the region with stronger business cases leaves this one as unlikely

Maghull North

Located on the Merseyrail network, this station should be funded from the local growth fund and the Housing and Communities Agency. It is unlikely to apply.

Bow Street

A project that has been moving through studies recently has been the proposed station serving Bow Street. Outline plans are almost ready to be submitted, putting this station in the ideal position of being virtually shovel ready. If the potential time tabling issues are resolved, this could be the strongest Welsh contender.

Cullompton

With £100k committed by the local councils last month to develop early plans, this station could be a contender to enhance the rail network around Exeter.

Ashington/Bedlington

Added to the Northern Rail franchising bid documents as an option to cost, Ashington and Bedlington are potential candidates. Bedlington lies a few short miles beyond the head shunt that Morpeth trains use between services. Ashington would require the creation of a new rail service up the Blyth and Tyne. An active campaign group could help put the case together for funding.

Ashton Gate

Located on the Portishead line, this station is a strong candidate for funding. It could be constructed as part of the works to open the Portishead line to passenger traffic and be ready for the deadline set by the NSF requirements.

Saltford

Located near Bath, this is one of three stations proposed to serve the MetroWest network that is not fully funded. The station has strong local support from the station action group.

Corsham

Located between Bath and Chippenham, this is one of three stations proposed to serve the MetroWest network that is not fully funded.

Stonehouse (Bristol Road)

With strong support from residents and the local MP, this station would provide a direct link to Bristol and Birmingham for residents of Stonehouse.

Langport and Somerton

Commendable efforts are being made by the local media to drive forward the campaign to open the railway stations serving Somerton and Langport.

Wantage and Grove

There is local support for a station serving here although it does not appear that any outline business cases have recently been completed. Without this, the railway station is an outside chance.

Leeds Bradford Airport

Highly unlikely but with a similar BCR to a direct link to the airport, a railway station near the airport on the Harrogate line could be a potential candidate if the local transport authority performs a U-turn on their conclusions from the recent report into surface access to Leeds Bradford Airport.

Elland

Long proposed since the line through Brighouse opened in the year 2000. It managed to make the top four proposals with the main difficulties being the delivery of a railway station at an elevated site and the provision of step free access. This is another of the four candidates in the Leeds City Region that could get funding.

Middlewich

Just weeks away from publishing a business case, this candidate sits closed as Virgin Voyagers crawl past during weekend diversions. If the infrastructure concerns (mainly line speed) can be mitigated and trains sourced to run the additional service required, Middlewich could be a candidate.

Halton Chord

The new service could bring a new railway station to serve the area due to be transformed by the new bridge over the Mersey. Without a service already in place it will be difficult to model likely demands particularly with so many transport changes due in this area.

Are you aware of any other candidates. Feel free to comment below or tweet me

Update – 10th September 

It was innevitable that I would miss some of the candidates. Following feedback from readers and an update from RailFuture, I have been able to add further candidates to the list. 

Marsh Barton

Located near Exeter, this station would offer access to a strategic employment area. 

Addenbrookes

In south Cambridge, the station is also potentially linked with the Cambridge city deal. 

Parkgate, Rotherham

Proposed by consultants last year, Parkgate is due to gain a tram stop as part of the tram train scheme. It offers a strong business case, which provides Rotherham with access to inter-regional services.  

Soham

Located near Newmarket, this railway station was delayed when the project to double the railway line through the area was suspended. A local task force is moving the project through GRIP 3 at the moment with representatives from Soham Town Council and the LEP. 


MSP urges council moves quicklg with South Sub

An MSP has urged Lothian council and SEStrans to move quickly to introduce passenger services on the South Suburban line following a meeting with the Scottish Transport Minister. The line is expected to accomodate more freight services folllwing upgrade works, which would make any plans to introduce passenger services more difficult.

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Borders Railway reaches first anniversary

It is a year since the Borders Railway opened. Over a million passenger journeys have been made on the route, with it expected to surpass passenger forecasts. Benefits have been felt by local attractions who have reported increases in visitor numbers.

Source: Network Rail

Although the route has been successful, reliability has been a concern, with trains struggling with the steep gradients on the line. The transport minister has called for an operational review to improve reliability.

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Demand has pushed calls for the route to be extended. There is a desire to extend the route through to Carlisle.

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Beal and Belford proposed for North Sea Coast local service

Railway stations at Beal and Belford could be reopened as part of proposals to run an hourly rail service through Northumberland. The North Sea Coast rail service campaign is being run by SENRUG who are working closely with colleagues at RAGES who are pushing for a local railway service between Edinburgh and Berwick-upon-Tweed as well as reopened railway station at Reston and East Linton.

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