Links Success

Railfuture campaigning for rail lines and stations to be reopened has been a success, thanks to alliances with other groups. In 60 years since the infamous report The Reshaping of British Railways more than 400 stations and 500 miles of route have been added to the network, meeting with tremendous popular support. Buy the sixth edition of Railfuture's A-Z guide to line and station re-openings since 1960, Britain's Growing Railway, published 2017, here.

The turning point may have been saving the Settle and Carlisle line from closure in 1989. All the main parties throughout England, Scotland and Wales now make calls for both new lines and reopenings. The pre-2010 Labour Government committed itself to expanding the national rail network. The post-2010 Coalition government recognised that rail routes need protection from building development so they can be used in the future.

Local people know rail provides strong local economic and social inclusion benefits. Providing extra rail services also relieves pressure on the roads and provides an environmentally friendly means of transport which is open to all, without the need for a private car with all its inherent pollution, noise and danger.

Rail is crucial to transport planning and essential if Britain is to have a sustainable public transport system for the future. Despite the people are in love with their car myth peddled by some, over half the population already use rail. Annual rail use is running at well over 1 billion journeys, the highest level in a century.

New lines have been constructed, freight-only lines reopened to passengers and closed lines reinstated. The Thameslink programme has been completed, as more recently are Crossrail / Elizabeth line and the Northern Line Extension to Battersea Power Station. Midland Metro extensions to Wolverhampton city centre, Brierley Hill, Eastside and Edgbaston are funded and now under construction!


Birmingham Snow Hill link 1987
Thameslink 1988
Stansted Airport 1991
Manchester Airport 1993
Robin Hood line 1993-98
Channel Tunnel 1994
Heathrow Airport 1998
CTRL/HS1 2003/2007 (see also our High Speed rail campaign)
Kettering - Corby 2009
East London Line extensions 2010/2011/2012

Todmorden Curve 2015. After several delays due to lack of rolling stock and ongoing signalling work, the first passenger service ran on 7th May 2015; this video shows the driver’s eye view from the 8.18am service from Burnley to Manchester Victoria. The reinstated curve enables direct train services between Accrington, Burnley and Manchester.

Bicester curve 2015. First step in East West Rail, enabling Marylebone - Oxford Parkway services

Yeovil Junction - Yeovil Pen Mill 2015. The curve linking the two routes through Yeovil has been in use for diversions, but this is the first regular scheduled service for 47 years.

Midland Metro extended to New Street 2016.

Oxford Parkway - Oxford reopened 2016.

Manchester Metrolink Second City Crossing 2017

Halton Curve had funding committed from Liverpool City's Local Growth Fund. It has been championed by the North Cheshire Rail Users Group, winners of a Commendation for Best Social Media Award in Railfuture's 2016 Rail User Group Awards, for near-30 years. The curve enables services between Liverpool, Chester and possibly North Wales via Liverpool John Lennon Airport, Runcorn and Frodsham. Works were complete but services due to start in 2018 were delayed to May 2019 due to lack of rolling stock. 2013 cab ride, Hooton to Liverpool Lime Street in 14 minutes; ride the line for 18 minutes in May 2019.

Midland Metro Centenary Square extension 2019

Manchester Metrolink Trafford Park extension 2020

London Underground Northern Line extension via Nine Elms to Battersea Power Station 2021

London Overground extension from Barking to Barking Riverside 2022


The Vale of Glamorgan line reopened in 2005 and to celebrate, Railfuture staged its Rail Reopenings Conference in Barry.

In 2008 Ebbw Vale reopened. (download 2.2Mb)


The Larkhall-Milngavie line reopened in December 2005 and has been a resounding success.

Stirling-Alloa-Kincardine opened to Alloa on 15 May 2008.

Airdrie-Bathgate opened on 12 December 2010. Enjoy watching the video!

Borders Railway opened on 6th September 2015. This shows what dedicated local campaigners can achieve with political support. For the full story, see Railfuture - Borders Railway Reopening.