14 May 2018
Campaigners will today deliver a letter signed by over 4,000 people to Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling MP, urging him to introduce a new fund to pay for the opening of additional railway lines and stations across the country.
The letter, organised by Campaign for Better Transport and Railfuture, calls on the Transport Secretary to establish a Network Development Fund to help the Government deliver on its commitment to grow the railways.
The group argues that a Network Development Fund could pay for project development for new and reopened stations and lines to give communities better access to employment and education; reduce pressure on the road network; and unlock plans for new housing and other development.
Steve Chambers, public transport campaigner at Campaign for Better Transport, said: “Despite rocketing passenger numbers and strong demand very few new stations and lines have been added to the railway since Dr 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. This will give more communities access to the railway, improve public transport and tackle overcrowding and congestion. Funding and clear national support are urgently needed to make sure proposals for new rail lines aren’t left stuck in the sidings.”
Bruce Williamson from Railfuture said: "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."
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. Despite this, there is no shortage of projects aiming to add new stations, track and even whole lines to the network with over 200 proposals at various stages of development.
Notes to Editors
Railfuture is the UK's leading independent organisation campaigning for better rail services for passengers and freight. A voluntary group representing rail users, it has 20,000 affiliated and individual members.
Campaign for Better Transport is the UK's leading authority on sustainable transport. We champion transport solutions that improve people's lives and reduce environmental damage. Our campaigns push innovative, practical policies at local and national levels. Campaign for Better Transport Charitable Trust is a registered charity (1101929).