Connecting Communities – Ten Years On

June 2019 marked a decade since the publication of the ATOC Connecting Communities report. In the summer of 2014, this website looked into the status of the projects recommended for progression by the report. This page reviews the progress made in the five years from 2014 to 2019.

Railway Stations

In the past five years, some of the recommendations have become reality. Kenilworth and Ilkeston railway stations have opened with strong initial passenger numbers being record. Construction is commencing on a station serving Horden. All three have been assisted by the New Stations Fund, with the former two benefitting from the first round and Horden gaining support in the second round.

The campaign for Wantage is pushing forward with local authority support for a station in this area. The latest position is summarised on the Oxfordshire County Council website following the completion of a statement of opinion in August 2018.

Unfortunately, stations at Ossett, Rushden and Clay Cross appear unlikely to be delivered with no progress recorded on these proposals in the last five years.

Railway Lines

Cranleigh – a campaign group has built up support for restoring the railway line between Guildford and Horsham via Cranleigh.

Bordon – despite additional housing development, Hampshire County Council reiterated the results of studies published in 2012 that all rail based options were not feasible

Hythe – the cessation of rail services to the Oil Refinery that was the primary reason for retaining this branch has created an opportunity for passenger services to be restored on the line. Local campaigners are building up support for this route

Ringwood – this route was mentioned in the Campaign for Better Transport report Case for Expanding the Rail Network

Brixham – the proposal appeared to progress rapidly when a new mayor was elected for the town. Unfortunately, the proposal was not progressed.

Aldridge – initial feasibility work showed that opening a single platform station was possible. It would be linked into the restored Walsall to Wolverhampton service.

Brownhills – no progress appears to have been made on this route.

Wisbech – this line is a mayoral priority. One of the challenges is the A47 bypass to the south of Wisbech, which will need to be crossed if the railway is to serve the centre of Wisbech

Leicester to Burton – progress had been muted until recently with local campaigners and leaders progressing work on this following a rejection several years ago.

Fleetwood – this route suffered a setback when the connection to rest of rail network was severed as part of upgrade work to the Preston-Blackpool North route. There are three proposals at the moment. A heritage railway is clearing the track bed and recommissioning a class 108 DMU to operate services. A heavy rail service is also being proposed and a Tram-Train service has been mooted.

Rawtenstall – a report that proposed utilising the railway infrastructure in Rossendale was published in late 2018.

Skelmersdale – the local transport authority is progressing with the detailed design work following the completion of initial design work which identified the preferred location for the railway station.

Washington (Tyne and Wear Metro expansion / Leamside)- local political leaders have campaigned for the restoration of railway services to Washington as part of Tyne and Wear Metro expansion and/or restoration of the Leamside line

Ashington & Blyth – the proposal has progressed rapidly over the last five years. Local authorities have recently shared a screening opinion, which will decide if a full Environmental Impact Assessment is required.