Saturation of the road network in many areas means that that the only way to provide additional transport capacity is by enhancing the rail network. Railfuture campaigns for new and reopened railway lines and stations which will promote economic growth both nationally and locally.

However we are concerned that Network Rail does not have the capability to deliver the expansion programme in the timescale needed. This is having serious effects on the reputation of the rail industry as a whole and is impacting on the rolling stock cascade and on opportunities for smaller schemes with significant local benefits. Railfuture supports the approach of prioritising schemes on the basis of maximising passenger benefit, and of using innovative ways to finance, resource and share risk on rail infrastructure projects which have minimal impact on the live railway.


Railfuture advocates a coherent and integrated national rail network. Inter-city services must connect with metro services in each city so that passengers can travel easily between stations local to their origin and destination. Interchange stations are required where routes cross. Services should be scheduled to avoid long waits for connections. Modal integration requires sufficient car and cycle parking at stations, bus services which stop at the station at convenient times, and multi-modal travel tickets.

See also our Connectivity policy statement.


Electrification is essential to reduce the cost of delivering rail services and to attract more passengers and freight to rail. Railfuture call for a rolling programme of electrification for the following reasons:
  • Lower purchase, operating and maintenance cost of electric trains
  • Reduced dependence on oil, for which the future cost and availability are uncertain
  • Improved performance
Whilst bimode and hybrid trains offer the benefit of reducing the use of diesel ‘under the wires’, they are not a long-term substitute.

See also our ((Electrification policy (archived)|Electrification policy statement)) and our comparison of electric alternatives.

High Speed Rail

Railfuture supports the HS2 proposals although we would want to see closer integration with the classic network to maximise benefits for the greatest number of passengers. We do not support ourselves major changes in concept or routing which would have the effect of delaying high speed rail by many years. We believe the high speed network should extend to Scotland and be integrated with Scottish plans for a high speed route linking Edinburgh and Glasgow, and with Northern Powerhouse Rail plans for a cross-Pennine route between Manchester and Leeds/Sheffield. This should be made explicit at an early stage, even if it takes a little longer to identify an optimal route.

See also our High Speed Rail policy statement.

New Railways and stations

Over 400 new stations and 530 miles of new railway have been built or restored for passenger use on the national network since 1965. Many of these are the result of active campaigning by Railfuture, often over many years. See New stations and Missing links.

Railfuture supports the provision of new railways (including HS2) and stations to match the changing demographic pattern in Britain and to improve access to the railway for the growing numbers of people now using rail. We focus our campaigns on new and reopened lines and stations which most support economic growth and which therefore have a good chance of success.

See also our New railways and stations policy statement.

Light Rail

Railfuture supports the introduction of new light rail or tramway routes where buses have difficulty coping with passenger demand. We only support conversion of existing heavy rail routes where conventional rail services are not viable and a major benefit can be demonstrated by using street running to better penetrate town centres or serve areas not reachable by conventional rail.

See also our Light Rail policy statement.

Briefing documents

Our cause | Passengers | Freight | Campaigns | Consultation responses | Fighting Fund | Policy statements