Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Rail lines shut during 1960s Beeching cuts could be reopened, says Transport Secretary Chris Grayling

Rail lines which were closed during the Beeching cuts in the 1960s could be reopened and some big franchises split up under Government plans.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said he wants to open up routes which would encourage housebuilding, ease overcrowding and boost the economy.
The proposals also include splitting up the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchise serving London and parts of the south east in 2021.

Great Western - serving the South West and South Wales and currently run by First Group - could also be broken up under the plans.

But Labour has dismissed the plans as "unambitious" - with transport campaigners warning it is "desperately difficult to reopen a rail line".

Thousands of stations and hundreds of local rail lines were closed down between 1964 and 1970 on the recommendation of the then British Railways chairman Dr Richard Beeching.

The Government's rail strategy, which includes restoring lost capacity, is being published on Wednesday.

Mr Grayling told Sky News: "I certainly want to start the process of bringing back into use some of the lines that disappeared from passenger use about 50 years ago - and where there's a real need now.

"If you look for example around Bristol, where you've got an over-crowded city, lots of traffic in the city centre, there's a desperate need to improve suburban rail routes.

"And we've got a lot of routes that have been taken out of passenger service for a long time, which I want to see re-enter service in the years ahead and we're working to try and achieve that."

But he admitted re-opening some routes would be "problematic" and "very expensive".

Chris Grayling in Downing Street
Chris Grayling

SKY       News.