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13 Abandoned Railways Set For Restoration

Plans to reopen 13 abandoned railways and disused stations have taken another step forward, the New Civil Engineer reports. The Department for Transport (DfT) have accepted the plans, and will meet 75% of the costs up to £50,000 of successful proposals.

The scheme is part of the DfT’s Restoring Your Railways fund, which was announced in January 2020 as part of the government’s Levelling Up agenda. A total of £500m has been allocated to restore local railway services. The first round of the process is now underway, and is known as the Ideas Fund.

A DfT brief states that any “bid for funding should focus on making the strategic and economic case for the scheme […]. Your submission must include any constraints, such as buildings that have now been constructed upon the route or complications anticipated beyond straightforward reinstatement of the line.”

The brief adds: “We would also expect to understand the land ownership of the route and whether landowners would expect compensation. For example, we would expect councils to provide necessary land that they owned for free if the scheme went ahead.”

85 submissions made it down to the third and final stage of the bidding, and 13 of the proposals have been accepted for the next stage of the programme, which involves developing a more detailed business case.

Some of the restoration schemes are already well underway or nearing completion, such as the Dartmoor Line between Exeter and Okehampton in Devon, which by the end of 2021 should resume passenger services for the first time in 50 years.

Further restoration plans are in the pipeline for the Darlington to Weardale passenger line, the Ashton to Stockport line, the Middlewich line, and the Rawtenstall to Buckley Wells line. Additionally, three lines in Yorkshire will be restored, two in the West Midlands, one in Wales; and two stations will reopen in the South West.


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