Track and signalling


New Forest railway line proposed despite criticism for ‘pie in the sky’ idea

The construction of a New Forest railway line and the reopening of stations closed in the ‘Beeching cuts’ has been recommended, but a local MP has dismissed plans as “pie in the sky.”

A detailed costing for a raft of rail revivals has been put forward by Campaign for Better Transport (CFBT), focusing on a new railway line from Brockenhurst to Ringwood.

It argues that reopening railway stations, including some of which fell in the Beeching cuts to the national railway in the 1960s, should be a “national priority” to help combat poverty, congestion, and climate change.

But New Forest West MP Sir Desmond Swayne asked: “Who is going to pay for it – and is there really an economically sustainable demand for such a service?”

The MP questioned the report’s credibility and called it a “lovely idea, but pie in the sky.”

Barry Rickman, leader the New Forest District Council, echoed Swayne’s scepticism and said it was unlikely to happen.

“It’s an imaginative idea but there are so many hurdles that would have to be overcome before it became a reality.”

The report proposes several options alongside the new rail line, including reintroducing passenger services on the freight line between Totton, Hythe, and Fawley and a tramway style line along Weymouth quay in Dorset.

The CfBT said: “Reopening railways has the potential to transform communities. For both passengers and freight, rail is a high-quality national transport network that can give people access to a wealth of social and economic opportunities.”

Local councillor David Harrison said: “I’m delighted the CfBT has recognised the potential the Waterside line has for running passenger services. An organisation like this has the ear of government, so makes investment more likely.”

But any application to build a new rail line would need the approval of the New Forest National Park Authority, and its executive director of strategy and planning Steve Avery also stated his reservations.

He said that since the rail network in the area closed 50 years ago, much of the route has returned to the landscape and become a haven for wildlife, with other sections being incorporated into walking and cycle paths.

The push for a new rail line comes as Bournemouth, Poole, and Christchurch councils prepare to merge and form an area dubbed ‘Urban Dorset’ – which the CfBT says will mean new and better rail links will be even more important.


There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment



rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Government gives ‘hugely important’ £208m Belfast Transport Hub the green light

22/03/2019Government gives ‘hugely important’ £208m Belfast Transport Hub the green light

A new £208m Belfast Transport Hub with major rail and bus connections has been granted planning permission by the Department of Infrastruct... more >
New to-the-minute measures for train punctuality introduced to tackle delays

22/03/2019New to-the-minute measures for train punctuality introduced to tackle delays

New measures of train punctuality are to be released by train operators and Network Rail next month in a bid to improve performance. The Rai... more >
FirstGroup finalises £100m order for Hitachi trains as plans for London-Edinburgh rail link move forward

22/03/2019FirstGroup finalises £100m order for Hitachi trains as plans for London-Edinburgh rail link move forward

FirstGroup has finalised a £100m order for Hitachi AT300 electric trainsets in a partnership between the two companies to create a new Lond... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. Chris Leech MBE, business community manager at the... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

The West Midlands 30-year strategy

19/03/2019The West Midlands 30-year strategy

Malcolm Holmes, executive director of West Midlands Rail Executive (WMRE), outlines the West Midlands Rail Investment Strategy 2018-2047. The West Midlands Rail Executive was formed three years ago to give local authorities a direct influence over the award of the region’s main rail franchise. Working with the Department for Transpo... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >


26-30 Railcard: taking advantage of opportunities

19/03/201926-30 Railcard: taking advantage of opportunities

After a nine-month national trial, the rail industry launched its seventh National Railcard for 26-30-year-olds on 2 January 2019. Rail Delivery ... more >
Caledonian Sleeper: a railway icon re-imagined

19/03/2019Caledonian Sleeper: a railway icon re-imagined

The world-renowned Caledonian Sleeper, due to begin operations at the end of spring 2019, completed its first Scotland to London journey earlier ... more >
East West Rail: the next steps

19/03/2019East West Rail: the next steps

In January, five route options for the central section of East West Rail were published as part of a public consultation on the next phase of the... more >
Rail's role in transit-orientated developments

19/03/2019Rail's role in transit-orientated developments

Jonathan Bray, director at the Urban Transport Group (UTG), argues that transit-oriented developments are the future – and that rail has a ... more >

rail industry focus

View all News


Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

12/03/2019Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

RTM sits down with Samantha Smith, sole female member of the TransPennine Route Upgrade Alliance Leadership Team, to find out more about encourag... more >