Towns and villages across England, which were left isolated when their railways were closed, are one step closer to having their connections restored and transformed, as 15 projects are awarded up to £50,000 each to progress plans to reinstate historic stations and restore passenger services, as announced in the Spending Review.
More than 50 years since the railways were radically reshaped, including thousands of lines and stations closed during the infamous Beeching cuts of the 1960s, this latest investment will kick-start work on schemes that reconnect previously cut-off communities, with the potential to reinvigorate local economies and level up opportunity across the country. The Beeching cuts saw tracks ripped up or grassed over, iconic viaducts and bridges left without a purpose and communities set adrift. Initially proposed by British Rail chief Dr Richard Beeching in 1963, passenger services were ended on around a third of the rail network, with more than 2,300 stations closed and up to 5,000 miles of track axed across the UK.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:
For towns and villages left isolated and forgotten by Beeching cuts, restoring a rail line or a station has the potential to revitalise a community. It breathes new life into our high streets, drives investment in businesses and housing, and opens new opportunities for work and education.
By building back with a real focus on better connections and supporting left-behind communities, we’re delivering our promise to level up this country.
We await more information.
A proposal for a Mid-Cornwall Metro has been awarded development funding which would create a coast to coast through-service connecting the biggest towns in Cornwall – Newquay, Par, St Austell, Truro, Penryn and Falmouth – reducing journey times and easing road congestion.