09:44AM, Tuesday 28 January 2020
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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