Demand from South West to restore Beeching lines as deadline for proposals closes

  • 18 proposals submitted to build or reopen lines and stations across the South West, closed in and around the Beeching cuts
  • Bids will now be considered by expert panel, taking next step toward improve connectivity for communities across the country
  • Part of wider £500million Restoring Your Railway fund to level up the country

Eighteen bids to build or reopen lines and stations closed during the Beeching cuts, with the potential to level up regional economies and boost access to jobs and education, have been received from across the South West, the Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris has announced today (Tuesday, June 30).

MPs and local authorities have bid for a share of the second round of the Restoring Your Railway ‘Ideas Fund’, to develop proposals to build or reopen railway lines and stations, including those closed by British Rail chief Dr Richard Beeching from 1963.

Proposals for the restoration of lines and stations to re-connect their communities will now be considered by an expert panel including Network Rail Chair Sir Peter Hendy, with announcements regarding the successful schemes expected by the end of the summer.

The Rail Minister announced that 50 proposals have been submitted from right across the country. These include proposals from MPs in the South West to transform the Newquay line, reopen Charfield station, reinstate the Bodmin to Wadebridge railway and the Ashburton & Buckfastleigh Junction Railway.

Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said:

“Receiving so many bids once again underlines how passionate people areabout reconnecting communities.

“Local MPs, councillors and community leaders are the greatest champions of their local lines, and I look forward to working with them to ensure the projects with the greatest potential have the support they need.

“Improving local transport links is vital as we level up access to opportunities across the country, reconnect communities and kickstart our recovery from Covid-19.”

Today’s news follows the announcement in May that ten bids will receive a share of the first round of the Restoring Your Railway ‘Ideas Fund’.  One scheme in the South West was awarded up to £50,000 to progress plans to improve local connectivity, bringing communities one step closer to better rail connections with the capacity to boost job opportunities and ease congestion.

As part of the Restoring Your Railway Fund, the Government also announced the third round of the New Stations Fund, which will invest £20 million in new stations and help restore closed stations to their former glory. The fund has now closed with a decision on successful applicants due in the Autumn.