Photo of SENRUG Charter 2008 at Bedlington on the Northumberland Line route by John Brierley.
Railfuture campaigns to reconnect people to work, education and a social life via a bigger rail network. The government continues to demonstrate its commitment to rail through its Restoring Your Railway initiative, launched in January 2020 following a Railfuture campaign launched less than two years earlier, with The Dartmoor Line to Okehampton opening to the public on 20 November 2021 after its official opening by the Transport Secretary and the Chair of Network Rail on 17 November, the Northumberland Line being implemented for opening in December 2024, a new station for Golborne, Wigan fully funded, The Waterside Line in Hampshire and new stations at Wellington (Somerset) and Cullompton (Devon) progressing to development with further funding in the Autumn 2021 Budget (page 111, para. 4.69), and 36 other successful bids to the Ideas Fund announced.
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Over thirty years of Railfuture campaigning has culminated in success with the award of £794m by the government to construct and reopen East West Rail between Oxford and Bletchley, and to rapidly progress the plan to reopen the Ashington Blyth and Tyne line between Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Ashington. Clearance work on the mothballed section west of Swanbourne. Image by East West Rail/Phil Marsh.
Twelve awards have been made so far from the Restoring Your Railway fund. Railfuture has identified a further 30 submissions which have the potential to deliver worthwhile benefits. If implemented, these 42 proposals would together reconnect over one million people to work, education and a social life via the rail network. Image Chronicle Live, which reported a petition to bring the Tyne and Wear Metro to Washington.
On 28 July 2020 South Western Railway ran a special 'fact-finding' train to Fawley to mark the successful submission to the Department for Transport’s ‘Restoring your Railway Fund’ by Hampshire County Council, and approval by the New Forest National Park of the plan for up to 5000 new homes at Fawley. Left to right, SWR managing director Mark Hopwood, Network Rail chairman Peter Hendy and Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris ready to board the train at Southampton. Image by South Western Railway.
The country may be in dire straits at the moment, but fortunately the government is pressing ahead with its Restoring Your Railway initiative by announcing the ten successful bids in the first round of the Ideas Fund on 23 May 2020. A common factor of the successful bids, if delivered, is that they will connect significant numbers of people to the rail network. Ilkeston Station was successfully reopened in 2017 – after 40 years of Ilkeston being the largest town in England without any train service. Image by Ilkeston Advertiser.
Railfuture have linked with the Campaign for Better Transport to deliver a letter to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling calling for a Network Development Fund to pay for project development of realistic proposals for new and reopened stations and lines with the best projects joining a pool of national projects to be taken to full development and implementation. Photo: Railfuture media spokesman Bruce Williamson at the Department for Transport with the letter to hand in.
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