With all the bad news about the Government backtracking on rail electrification, it's good to be able to celebrate some good rail news. The Government announced that it will support the opening of five new stations, in the second round of its New Stations Fund.
These include a station on the Durham Coast line at Horden which will serve Peterlee new town. Like many new towns, Peterlee was built at a time when railways were being written off as Victorian technology being replaced by universal car ownership. Now there is an emerging consensus that new housing and development needs to be built where there is good public transport. This is also recognised with the Warrington West station, specifically built to serve new housing there, and Green Park station at Reading, serving a business park and housing development. A park and ride station at Bow Street near Aberystwyth is aimed at helping to solve the traffic problems there. And there's also a park and ride to be built at Portway near Bristol.
The New Stations Fund is directly down to our work - it came out of the Reopening Railways report we produced in 2012, which made the case for a reopenings fund. Five stations were funded and reopened in the first round.
This isn't enough of course - there are plenty of places which deserve new or reopened railway lines and stations, and we've seen some progress on some of these other schemes. Construction work on the much touted Halton curve in Merseyside has just started, enabling better links between Merseyside and North Wales, we've been helping the local MP Steve Barclay make the case for reopening the line to Wisbech and have also involved groups making the case for reopenings in the stakeholder work we have been doing for Transport for the North. We have also recently produced, in alliance with Railfuture and with support from the Department for Transport, a guide to how to get new or reopened lines and stations. We will be doing more on this and supporting local campaigns to get lines and stations opened, and helping them build broad-based campaigns to make the case for expanding the rail network.