Lines that should reopen - Top 36

For the Government to give us all real alternatives to driving, one of the things it needs to do is provide more rail services. If the Government reopened the following three dozen rail lines, it could make a big difference to millions of us by connecting big/growing places that are not currently on the rail network and by making the network work better. Opening rail freight routes would reduce freight's carbon footprint and reduce road congestion.

There are many other lines that could be reopened – our supporters have been telling us about dozens of them. We support local initiatives to reopen rail lines and hope the efforts of local campaigners are successful. Our Top 36 below is our priority list.


To connect big/growing places that are not on the rail network

  • Ashington and Blyth: Newcastle – Ashington (Northumberland)
  • Bordon/Whitehill: Bentley – Bordon (Hampshire)
  • Brownhills/Aldridge: Walsall – Lichfield and Walsall-Aldridge (West Midlands)
  • Cranleigh: Guildford to Cranleigh (Surrey)
  • Fleetwood: Poulton to Fleetwood (Lancashire)
  • Hythe and Fawley: Totton – Hythe – Fawley (Hampshire)
  • Portishead: Bristol – Portishead (Bristol/North Somerset)
  • Ringwood: Brockenhurst – Ringwood (Hampshire)
  • Ripon: Harrogate – Ripon – Northallerton (North Yorkshire)
  • Stourport-on-Severn: Hartlebury – Stourport (Worcestershire)
  • Tavistock: Bere Alston – Tavistock – Okehampton (Devon) (Kilbride Community Railways is planning to reopen this line
  • Telford: Madeley Junction to Madeley (Shropshire)
  • Washington: Ferryhill – Washington- Pelaw (Tyne & Wear/Durham)
  • Wisbech: March – Wisbech (Cambridgeshire) 

Missing links that would make the network work better

  • Bedford – Northampton (Bedfordshire/Northamptonshire)
  • Braintree – Stansted (Essex): links Stansted Airport to East of England
  • Burscough curves (Lancashire): allows direct Liverpool/Southport-Preston trains
  • East-West Rail: Aylesbury & Bicester – Bletchley, Hitchin – Bedford (Buckinghamshire, Milton Keynes and Bedfordshire) [Note: In December 2011 the Government agreed to support the reopening of the rail link between Oxford, Bicester, Aylesbury, Milton Keynes and Bedford]
  • Hadfield – Penistone – Deepcar (Woodhead route) (Derbyshire/West Yorkshire)
  • Halton curve (Cheshire): allows through Liverpool-Chester trains
  • Leicester – Burton-on-Trent (Leicestershire, Derbyshire)

"I live in Ashby de la Zouch, a complete rail blind spot. All I want is to be able to get the train to work in Burton; my partner wants to go in the other direction. The fact that the old rail through the area is there waiting drives me mad! As it is now we run two cars" - Christian Mander

  • Manton Curve (Rutland) (allows direct Kettering-Peterborough services)
  • Matlock – Buxton (Derbyshire): links the East Midlands with the North West
  • Partington - Glazebrook (Greater Manchester): to form part of a Manchester freight bypass
  • Peterborough freight bypass: avoiding line to east of Peterborough (Cambridgeshire)
  • Redmire – Garsdale (North Yorkshire): part of Wensleydale link between Northallerton and Carlisle
  • Rugby – Peterborough (Warwickshire, Northamptonshire, Leicestershire, Rutland)
  • Skipton – Colne (Lancashire/ North Yorkshire)
  • Spalding – March (Cambridgeshire)
  • Stafford – Wellington (Staffordshire, Shropshire)
  • Stourbridge – Walsall (West Midlands) - forms freight bypass for Birmingham
  • Stratford – Cheltenham (Warwickshire/Gloucestershire)   
  • Swinton/Mexborough – Cudworth and Silkstone – Wath – Mexborough (South Yorkshire): links primarily for freight traffic
  • Todmorden curve (West Yorkshire): will allow direct Burnley-Manchester trains (after campaigning by us and others, the Government agreed to fund the reopening of this line in October 2011)
  • Willingdon chord (East Sussex) – allows direct services along south coast
  • Uckfield – Lewes (East Sussex)  
Last updated: 5 December 2011
Donate now

Join the team

We need your help to keep making transport better. Please support our work by making a donation.

Donate now Close

Campaign for Better Transport Charitable Trust is a charity (1101929) and a company limited by guarantee (4943428)