Fares, rail policy and DfT news

14.05.18

Campaigners ask Grayling for dedicated rail reopenings fund

Transport secretary Chris Grayling will receive a letter today urging him to him to introduce a new fund to pay for the opening of additional railway lines and stations.

The letter, signed by over 4,000 people, calls on Grayling to establish a Network Development Fund in order to help the government deliver on its commitment to grow the railways.

The government announced plans to expand the rail network as part of its Strategic Vision for Rail, but there is currently no specific funding available to reopen stations and lines.

Organisers of the letter, Campaign for Better Transport and Railfuture, argue that the fund could pay for project development for new and reopened stations and lines to give communities better access to employment and education, as well as reduce pressure on the road network and unlocking plans for new housing and other developments.

Steve Chambers, public transport campaigner at Campaign for Better Transport, explained: “Despite rocketing passenger numbers and strong demand very few new stations and lines have been added to the railway since Beeching’s hatchet job 50 years ago.

“We’re asking the transport secretary to create a Network Development Fund specifically to help the most beneficial projects to get built.”

He argued that funding and clear national support are urgently needed to ensure that proposals for new rail lines are not “left stuck in the sidings.”

Railfuture’s Bruce Williamson added: “We know that the few reopenings that have happened have been hugely successful, so we hope that this fund will help kick-start a new wave of rail revival. 

“This money would fund the research needed to identify the most economically viable schemes, which will then give local authorities the confidence to invest further.

“It's about breaking the log jam that has held up so many reopening schemes over the years.”

Top image: David Mirzoeff PA Wire

 

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