More lessons for Ireland… more abandoned UK railways & stations backed by DfT for restoration

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BY ROB HORGAN – – NEW CIVIL ENGINEER

Plans to reopen 13 abandoned railways and disused stations have been accepted for development under the UK Department for Transport’s (DfT) Restoring Your Railways fund.

The DfT will fund 75% of costs, up to £50,000, of successful proposals to help fund transport and economic studies and create a business case. Future funding to develop projects is subject to agreement of the business case.

It takes the total number of schemes backed under the three rounds of bidding to 38 and comes after the Dartmoor line became the first line to be reopened under the scheme earlier this month.

The 13 successful bids were whittled down from 85 submissions during this third and final round of bidding. Of the successful bids, two are for the reopening of disused stations while the other 11 relate to reinstating passengers services on abandoned routes (see full breakdown of bids below).

In the last funding round, backers of 15 proposals were awarded cash to develop their business cases. Ten schemes won backing in the first round.

The DfT has said that the aim of the funding is to level up the country and improve connectivity for communities.

A DfT brief states that any “bid for funding should focus on making the strategic and economic case for the scheme, as well as setting out any recognised challenges”.

This includes demonstrating the socio-economic benefits of reopening the railway, a description of proposed services and an estimate of infrastructure and operating costs

DfT guidelines add: “Your submission must include any constraints, such as buildings that have now been constructed upon the route or complications anticipated beyond straightforward reinstatement of the line.

“We would also expect to understand the land ownership of the route and whether landowners would expect compensation. For example, we would expect councils to provide necessary land that they owned for free if the scheme went ahead.”

Successful bidders will then work with DfT officials to agree the scope of the proposal to be investigated and to develop the project’s business case for receiving more substantial development funding.

Successful bids

North East

  • Reopen the Darlington – Weardale line to passenger services

North West

  • Reopen the Ashton – Stockport line to passenger services
  • Reopen the Middlewich line to passenger services
  • Reopen the Rawtenstall – Buckley Wells line to passenger services

South West

  • Reopen Corsham Station
  • Reopen Stonehouse Bristol Road station
  • Reinstate the line and provision of new services, Tavistock – Plymouth

Wales

  • Reopen the Gaerwen – Amlwch line, Anglesey to passenger services

West Midlands

  • Reopen the Oswestry – Gobowen line
  • Reopen the Stoke – Leek line

Yorkshire & Humberside

  • Reopen the Askern Branch line
  • Reopen the Don Valley line to passenger services
  • Reinstate the Beverley – York line