Railfuture had contributed to the selection process by submitting its candidates for the government’s Restoring Your Railway fund to the Department for Transport shortly before the closing date for the first round of bids to the Ideas Fund, and was invited to meet with officials managing the process.

The Department of Transport and Network Rail are currently working with the promoters of the remaining 50 first round bids to advise on how their proposals can be developed so that they could be resubmitted for the third round of funding bids expected in November. We await the results of the second round in June, which already included four re-submissions, and of the third round of the New Stations Fund.

A common factor of the successful bids, if implemented, is that they will connect significant numbers of people to the rail network. Most are deliverable by 2024. These are two of the key criteria we have used to identify the following 30 submissions which offer worthwhile benefits. We have also considered planned new development and regeneration opportunities. Population figures are given in brackets.

North West
  • Skelmersdale Spur. An extension of Merseyrail from Kirkby via an intermediate new station already planned at Headbolt Lane to a new station at Skelmersdale (38813). Existing proposal with potential for acceleration.
  • South Fylde Line Passing Loop. Enables increased frequency to Lytham St Annes and Blackpool South, an essential complement to restoring a service to Fleetwood.
  • Golborne. Station reopening to serve Golborne and Lowton (combined 24041)
  • Bolton-Radcliffe / Bolton-Bury. Previous route heavily redeveloped, but potential for an orbital extension to Manchester Metro serving Little Lever (12,803) and improving access at Radcliffe (29950, already served by the Metro).
  • Mid Cheshire Line. Re-doubling between Stockport and Altrincham and associated station reopenings, potentially Cheadle (14698), Northenden (14771) and Baguley (14794).
  • Stockport to Ashton . No obvious scope for new stations, but allows services from south of Stockport to access Manchester Victoria and further west via an existing passenger route currently with parliamentary service only at Reddish South (28052) and Denton (36591) and an existing freight line, potentially relieving the Castlefield Corridor. Services between Stockport and Stalybridge are also possible via Guide Bridge.
  • Glazebrook Junction to Skelton Junction. Disused extant freight route. Possible reopening of Cadishead (10739), Partington (7237) and West Timperley (11061). This complements the Railfuture freight proposal to relieve the Castlefield Corridor and, taken with the Mid-Cheshire line and Stockport – Ashton proposals above, offers the opportunity to create a circular route through Manchester Victoria and Stockport.
  • East Didsbury to Stockport. Extension of Manchester Metro.

North East

  • Washington. Reintroduction of rail, possibly Metro, services to Washington (67085) via the Leamside Line and an extension of the current rail corridor between Sunderland and South Hylton.
  • Consett . Connection of Consett (27394) to Newcastle.


  • Wisbech to March. Reopening of disused freight line still extant to Wisbech (33930). Existing proposal with potential for acceleration.
  • Wymondham – Dereham. Proposal to run a public service on the existing heritage line to Dereham (18609) and potential to extend to Fakenham (7617). It is not known whether the public service would replace the heritage service, and if not, how they would integrate.

Yorkshire and Humberside

  • Sheaf Valley. Restoring passenger services to Beauchief (ward 19669), Millhouses and Eccleshall (4474, ward 19,211), Heeley (ward 21089) between Dore and Sheffield. Introduction of stopping services could conflict with HS2 services.
  • South Humber Link. Use of existing freight chord to create a Barton-on-Humber – Gainsborough – Sheffield service.
  • South Yorkshire Joint Railway. Restoration of passenger services to the existing freight line between Doncaster and Shireoaks. Potential for stations at Tickhill and Wadworth (6365), Maltby (16688), Dinnington and Laughton (13758), and Anston (9217).


  • Stratford upon Avon to Honeybourne. Reinstatement of track between Stratford upon Avon and Long Marston would enable passenger services between Stratford and Worcester/Oxford (SWO). 3500 new homes are planned for Long Marston (growth to 10000).
  • Shirebrook to Ollerton. Restoration of passenger services to existing freight line/test track, with stations in a regeneration area at Edwinstowe (5188) and Ollerton (9840). Existing proposal with potential for acceleration.
  • Etruria. Reopening of station in Newcastle under Lyme (128264).
  • Stoke to Leek. Ex-freight line now owned by Moorlands and City Railways Ltd with a view to reopening with potential for stations at Fenton Manor, Bucknall (suburbs of Stoke-on-Trent), Endon (3221) and Leek (20768).
  • Stourbridge Junction to Brierley Hill. Proposal for trial of UltraLight Rail Vehicle solution on the freight line from Stourbridge Junction via Brettell Lane (suburb of Stourbridge) to Brierley Hill (13935), linking to Midland Metro extension.
  • Sutton Park line. Reopen stations including Aldridge(39348) and Streetly (13934) on existing freight line between Walsall and Castle Bromwich
  • Foleshill, Coundon Road & Binley/Willenhall. New stations serving Foleshill (19943), a new housing development at Coundon Road and Binley (16,691) near Coventry.
  • Castle Bromwich and Fort Parkway. New station or stations to serve Castle Bromwich (11217) and provide park and ride for visitors to Birmingham from the east.

South West

  • Tavistock to Bere Alston. Existing proposal to reinstate the closed route enabling passenger services from Plymouth to be extended to Tavistock (11018, 750 homes planned so growing to 13000). We understand this is a candidate for Accelerating Existing Proposals.
  • Wilton Parkway and Corsham. Reopening stations to serve Wilton (3579) and Corsham (13000).
  • Newquay. Potential to transform services to Newquay by rerouting via the freight line to St Dennis (2696) to join the main line at Burngullow Junction. This would enable the service to run to St Austell, a more convenient destination with a shorter journey time than Par.
  • Grove. Restoration of secondary passenger services on the Great Western Main line and reopening of Wantage Road station as Grove (7178) would also serve Wantage (2 miles north, 11327) and 4000 new homes proposed in the area.
  • Goodrington and Churston. The ATOC Connecting Communities report proposed public services on this heritage line, serving Goodrington (6910) and Brixham (16693, 2 miles from Churston) . However the report did not explain how public and heritage services would interact.
  • Bodmin General to Bodmin Parkway. Increasing service provision to Bodmin (14736)
  • Cirencester . A Community Rail Project to link new developments near Cirencester (19076) to Kemble station 4 miles away.

South East

  • Camberwell. A new station to serve an area of London SE5 which is about one kilometre distant from any other station, giving a catchment area of around 15000 people. Camberwell was considered for the Bakerloo Line extension.
  • Cowley. A bid is expected in the November round for restoration of passenger services on the Oxford – Cowley (16500) freight line, to serve the new development at Oxford Science Park.


  • Gobowen to Oswestry. Restoration of passenger services on disused freight line still extant, serving Oswestry (16660) and a major hospital at Park Hall Halt.

In addition to the 12 successful bids and the 30 schemes above, which together would reconnect over one million people to the rail network, the following reopening schemes are already funded. They have not appeared in the first two Ideas Fund rounds, but may be candidates for accelerated delivery:

  • East-West Rail
  • Portishead
  • Hoo
  • Exeter to Okehampton (a GW franchise commitment).
  • Camp Hill line, with new stations at Moseley, Kings Heath and Hazelwell
  • Wolverhampton – Walsall, with new stations at Willenhall and Darlaston.

Levenmouth is also funded but Scotland is not covered by the Restoring Your Railway scheme.

Money for Ideas – Ten successful Ideas Fund submissions and two pre-selected projects

50 bids submitted for June round

For other potential reopening proposals see Missing links and New stations