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Government pledges £500million to bring back historic rail lines

No trains between Marlow and Bourne End

A £500million fund will 'kick-start' the restoration of railway lines closed more than 50 years ago, the Government has announced.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps has launched the new investment to drive forward the reversal of the controversial Beeching cuts, proposed by British Rail chief Dr Richard Beeching in 1963.

The cuts ended passenger services on around a third of the rail network, closing more than 2,300 stations and up to 5,000 miles of track across the UK.

It is not yet known whether the Bourne End to Wycombe line, which closed in 1970 following the Beeching cuts, will reopen as part of the plans.

Mr Shapps said: "Many communities still live with the scars that came from the closure of their local railway more than five decades ago. Today sees work begin to undo the damage of the Beeching cuts by restoring local railways and stations to their former glory. 

“Investing in transport links is essential to levelling up access to opportunities across the country, ensuring our regions are better connected, local economies flourish and more than half a century of isolation is undone.” 

The Government has also announced a fresh round of the 'New Stations Fund'.

Two previous rounds of the scheme have developed 10 new stations across England and Wales and the new round will be allocated £20million.

Elsewhere, the transport secretary has invited MPs, local authorities and community groups across England to come forward with proposals on how they could use funding to reinstate axed services.

A total of £300,000 has been committed to an ‘Ideas Fund’ to start the process.

The Government will listen to proposals from across England and Wales and look to prioritise projects with the greatest potential.

Prospective projects will be ranked against a range of criteria including their viability, the number of people set to benefit and economic benefits.

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  • Pursuer

    11:38, 30 January 2020

    Note the £500million is just for talking about reopening some lines and 'feasibility studies' the latter doubtless meaning substantial fees for 'professionals'. None of this money is for an inch or track!

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  • Unhappy Commuter

    19:35, 28 January 2020

    Let’s focus on fixing the GWR morning peak issues first eh?

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  • bobbennington

    12:30, 28 January 2020

    Does this include the long-lost directcommuter services between Maidenhead and Paddington that GWR all-but-abolished in December?

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    • Commuter

      13:07, 28 January 2020

      What utter rubbish. These are a selection for the scheduled non-stop services from Maidenhead to London Paddington tomorrow: 06:02, 06:33, 06:45, 07:02, 07:07, 07:35, 08:02, 08:31.

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      • rogersmith02

        22:26, 28 January 2020

        The 8:02 for example used to start at Twyford and you could get a seat. It now starts and Didcot Parkway meaning it is pretty much full by the time it gets to Maidenhead and the chances are you will have to stand

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      • bobbennington

        15:40, 28 January 2020

        Well firstly it’s something called a joke, but what I was referring to was that since the GWR timetable was reorganised in December there has been a marked decline in the reliability and timeliness of commuter services. Take today for example when both the 7.01 and 7.07 were cancelled, putting a giant hole in the timetable. Or yesterday when the 7.07 arrived 25 mins late. Please see the articles elsewhere on this website for further evidence.

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    • Commuter

      13:05, 28 January 2020

      There are many direct services from Maidenhead to Paddington under GWR. So I'm not sure what you are referring to?

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      • rogersmith02

        22:16, 28 January 2020

        There are indeed 'many' but that's still fewer than before December and reliability has (for what ever resson) been worse since December

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