Links Success

Railfuture campaigning for rail lines and stations to be reopened has been a success, thanks to alliances with other groups. In 50 years, more than 400 stations and 500 miles of route have been added to the network, meeting with tremendous popular support.

The turning point may have been saving the Settle and Carlisle line from closure in 1989. All the main parties throughout England, Scotland and Wales now make calls for both new lines and reopenings. The previous Labour Government committed itself to expanding the national rail network. The Coalition government has recognised that rail routes need protection from building development so they can be used in the future.

Local people know rail provides strong local benefits. Providing extra rail services also relieves pressure on the roads and provides an environmentally friendly means of transport which is open to all, without the need for a private car with all its inherent pollution, noise and danger.

Rail is crucial to transport planning and essential if Britain is to have a sustainable public transport system for the future. Despite the "people are in love with their cars" myth peddled by the road lobby, over half the population already use rail. Annual rail use is running at well over 1 billion journeys, the highest level in a century.

New lines have been constructed, freight-only lines reopened to passengers and closed lines reinstated. Midland Metro extensions to Wolverhampton city centre, Eastside, Centenary Square, and Edgbaston are funded, whilst Thameslink (see also the Thameslink programme), Crossrail and the Northern Line Extension are now under construction!


Birmingham Snow Hill link 1987
Thameslink 1988
Stansted Airport 1991
Manchester Airport 1993
Robin Hood line 1993-98
Channel Tunnel 1994
Heathrow Airport 1998
CTRL/HS1 2003/2007 (see also our High Speed rail campaign)
Kettering - Corby 2009
East London Line extensions 2010/2011/2012

Todmorden Curve 2015. After several delays due to lack of rolling stock and ongoing signalling work, the first passenger service ran on 7th May 2015; this video shows the driver’s eye view from the 8.18am service from Burnley to Manchester Victoria. The reinstated curve enables direct train services between Accrington, Burnley and Manchester.

Bicester curve 2015. First step in East West Rail, enabling Marylebone - Oxford Parkway services

Yeovil Junction - Yeovil Pen Mill 2015. The curve linking the two routes through Yeovil has been in use for diversions, but this is the first regular scheduled service for 47 years.

Midland Metro extended to New Street 2016.

Oxford Parkway - Oxford reopened 2016.

Manchester Metrolink Second City Crossing 2017


The Vale of Glamorgan line reopened in 2005 and to celebrate, Railfuture staged its Rail Reopenings Conference in Barry.

In 2008 Ebbw Vale reopened. (download 2.2Mb)


The Larkhall-Milngavie line reopened in December 2005 and has been a resounding success.

Stirling-Alloa-Kincardine opened to Alloa on 15 May 2008.

Airdrie-Bathgate opened on 12 December 2010. Enjoy watching the video!

Borders Railway opened on 6th September 2015. This shows what dedicated local campaigners can achieve with political support. For the full story, see Railfuture - Borders Railway Reopening.

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