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.
In a successful outcome to the joint Network Development Fund campaign launched less than two years earlier, Railfuture welcomed the government's January 2020 announcement of funding for Reversing Beeching. However £500m will only be enough to reopen about 25 miles of railway at typical Network Rail costs. Therefore this funding should be used at least in part as seed capital to prove the viability of potential schemes and draw in more funding from elsewhere, so that a pipeline of projects can be established. To utilise that funding efficiently, a streamlined approval and implementation process is required, not constrained by current Network Rail procedures. Despite the COVID crisis the government is demonstrating commitment to rail by pressing ahead with its Restoring Your Railway initiative. Ten successful bids in the first round of the Ideas Fund have been announced – a common factor of these bids, if delivered, is that they will connect significant numbers of people to the rail network.SENRUG Charter 2008 at Bedlington on the Ashington Blyth and Tyne route. Photo by John Brierley.
The Hundred of Hoo branch that last saw services pre-Beeching in 1961 is set to see new services introduced to the Hoo Peninsula, a victory for this Railfuture campaign in North Kent, with £67m funding awarded. Reinstatement of passenger services is justified by major growth in housing and industry as part of the Medway Unitary authorities Local Plan (2012-2035) in 2024.
On 8 August 2019 the Scottish Transport Secretary, during his visit to Levenmouth, announced the green light for the reopening the rail line to Levenmouth to passenger services at an estimated cost of £75m. It's great news for this long running saga, which will benefit a deprived area of Fife.
After a long hard campaign by Railfuture and affiliated groups, the government has stumped up the extra £32m needed to reopen the railway line to Portishead.
The Rail Delivery Group’s ‘Easier fares for all
’ proposal released on 18 February 2019 has taken on board all the key points on fares and ticketing that Railfuture has been campaigning for - clearly explained, value for money fares and tickets which offer a choice of flexibility in time and routes to allow passengers to make an informed decision, and smart ticketing which benefits the passenger.
Railfuture Severnside branch
and Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways have campaigned since 2007 to get four tracks reinstated between Dr. Day’s Junction and Filton Abbey Wood, part of the main line from South West England to Birmingham and South Wales. The 3½ mile section was reduced to two tracks in 1984 and has become a serious bottleneck as Cross Country, regional and local train services have increased in frequency. Four tracking was essential for the MetroWest
project to expand Bristol’s rail network. Both this and the Kemble-Swindon upgrade will give the West’s rail system greater operational flexibility. Work was completed on 3 December 2018, including a fourth platform at Filton Abbey Wood.
The new Meridian Water station being built to serve 10,000 new homes with a frequent service will replace the nearby Angel Road station where Railfuture has campaigned for a better service for many years because it has a peak-only service and convoluted pedestrian access.
On 15 August 2018 Secretary of State Chris Grayling stated
that the lower CPI not RPI could be used to calculate future ticket price rises, and called for the rail industry to contain its costs so there is no additional burden on taxpayers - just what Railfuture have been campaigning for. Photo itv.com
Railfuture's campaign for clearly explained, value for money fares and tickets has its first success with the announcement
by the Rail Delivery Group that rail industry jargon such as 'Any Permitted Route' and 'London Terminals' has been removed from tickets, making tickets easier for passengers to understand.
Following a thirty year Railfuture campaign for rail services linking the growth centres of Oxford, Milton Keynes and Cambridge, the first phase opened on 25 October 2015 with the extension of Chiltern Railways services from Marylebone to Oxford Parkway.
Railfuture in the news
: the press and media often seek our opinion as well as reporting our successes.
See the centre spread
of our Annual Review
for the successes scored by our branches in 2017.
Railfuture campaigns have helped to open more than 400 new stations since 1960, making rail travel accessible to many more passengers.
Railfuture campaigns have helped to open over 950 km of new routes, supporting economic growth and providing new journey opportunities to passengers.
| Attracting passengers back
| Restoring your railway
| Industry structure
| Fighting Fund
| Our successes