The UK Government has announced £32 million of funding to deliver three new stations in England and Wales. Edginswell in Torquay, Thanet Parkway in Kent and St Clears in Carmarthenshire.
Additional funding is being invested to develop a further two stations in Haxby and Deeside.
It comes as part of the ‘Reconnecting the railways’ plan to funding the restoration of rail links lost under the Beeching cuts of the 1960s.
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.
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.”
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.
Over the summer, proposals from MPs and local authorities for the second round of the ‘Ideas Fund’ were considered by an expert panel, including Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris and Network Rail Chair Sir Peter Hendy, after 51 bids were received earlier this year.
A further 28 bids will receive further guidance to help develop and refine their ideas for assessment in future funding rounds.
(Lead image: St Clears station – Humphrey Bolton / Geograph)