Fifty bids for rail funding to reverse Beeching cuts

Fifty projects to restore railway lines and stations have entered bids for Government funding to reverse the Beeching cuts of the 1960s.

Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said the schemes vying for investment include reopening the line at Ferryhill, County Durham; restoring the Consett-Newcastle connection, transforming the line at Newquay, Cornwall and reopening Charfield station, Gloucestershire.

Bids have been entered by local authorities and MPs.

A decision on which ones are successful is expected to be made in the coming weeks.

They will be awarded up to £50,000 from the Department for Transport to help pay for transport and economic studies and create a business case.

The competition is part of a wider £500 million Restoring Your Railway fund for England and Wales.

Mr Heaton-Harris said: “Receiving so many bids once again underlines how passionate people are about 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 kick start our recovery from Covid-19.”

Dr Richard Beeching was chairman of British Railways when he published a report in 1963 recommending that around a third of the network should be axed due to low demand and high costs.

Between 1964 and 1970, some 1,400 stations (33%) and 5,200 miles of track (15%) were closed.

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