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Re-opening rail lines

Reopening rail lines across the country would go a long way to improving public transport and tackling rail overcrowding.

Below are some lines people are campaigning to have reopened - or at least protected from development so that they can later be reopened. We have also compiled our top 12 most important and viable rail reopenings.

Our work to protect and reopen rail lines and improve train travel relies on donations; please consider supporting us.

We want your help: If you have a photograph of a closed line or want to suggest a line be added to this list, please email us: campaigns@bettertransport.org.uk.

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The Leven LineSouth East
South West
East of England
East Midlands
West Midlands
Yorkshire & the Humber
North East
North West

South East

  • Aylesbury & Bicester - Bletchley [Note: In December 2011 the Government agreed to support the reopening of the rail link between Oxford, Bicester, Aylesbury, Milton Keynes and Bedford]
  • Haywards Heath - Horsted Keynes
  • Shanklin - Ventnor
  • Uckfield - Lewes (The Wealden Line Campaign is campaigning on behalf of this line)
  • The Tunbridge Wells link via Tunbridge Wells West to Eridge, connecting to the Uckfield - Lewes line. This would reconnect the cross-country line from Kent to East Sussex (The Wealden Line Campaign is campaigning on behalf of this line)
  • The 'Cuckoo Line', Polegate to Tunbridge Wells
  • Guildford - Horsham via Cranleigh (Local groups are campaigning to get this line reopened)
  • Princes Risborough - Oxford
  • Oxford - Fairford via Witney
  • Aylesbury - Rugby
  • Didcot - Newbury - Southampton
  • Bourne End - High Wycombe (The High Wycombe Society is campaigning for a light rail scheme)
  • Maldon - South Woodham Ferrers or Hatfield Peverel
  • Shenfield East curve. This would enable trains to run directly from Southend to the County town of Chelmsford
  • Hythe and Fawley: Totton – Hythe – Fawley
  • Westerham to Dunton Green
  • Lea Bridge - Stratford
  • Chessington South - Epsom / Leatherhead
  • East Grinstead - Three Bridges
  • Polegate - Pevensey
  • The Windsor Link Railway; phase 1 would connect Slough to Waterloo via Windsor
  • The Hundred of Hoo Railway: Gravesend to Thamesport
  • Banbury - Verney Junction
  • Paddock Wood - Cranbrook via Horsemonden and Goudhurst (extending possibly into Cranbrook Town and on to Tenterden via Benenden and Rolvenden as per the original plans for the line)
  • London's Marylebone Station - Rugby (the Great Central London Extension - this could link to the West Coast mainline)
  • Fareham - Gosport
  • Winchester - Alton
  • Crystal Palace (High Level) line
  • Brentford - Southall Crossrail Link
  • Old Oak Common - Hounslow (London)
"There are a number of sizeable places that aren't on the rail network where reopening lines and stations would make good economic sense, and there are also 'missing links' between key towns... as a first step we'd like to see possible reopening routes safeguarded in the planning system so they don't get built on" - Campaign for Better Transport's Stephen Joseph, quoted in The Telegraph.

South West

  • The Henbury Loop Line in north Bristol (currently freight-only)
  • Stations at Corsham and Royal Wootton Bassett on the London-Bristol line
  • Okehampton - Tavistock - Bere Alston (Kilbride Community Railways is planning to reopen this line)
  • Portishead - Bristol (The Portishead Railway Group is campaigning on behalf of this line)
  • Stratford - Cheltenham (South West, West Midlands)
  • Bristol - Oxford
  • Axminster - Lyme Regis
  • Exmouth - Budleigh Salterton - Sidmouth
  • Yeovil - Taunton
  • Chard Junction - Chard Town - Taunton
  • Exeter - Bude
  • A railway line linking Yeovil Junction station to the Westbury-Weymouth line [Note: in December 2015 trains began running between Yeovil Junction and Pen Mill stations for the first time in 50 years!]
  • Newton Abbot - Moretonhampstead
  • Exeter - Newton Abbot (Teign Valley Line)
  • Frome - Radstock
  • Somerset and Dorset Railway, from Bath to Bournemouth (a line a local group is actively campaigning for)
  • Banbury - Cheltenham
  • Barnstaple - Ilfracombe
  • Barnstaple - Bideford - Great Torrington
  • Wellington - Norton Fitzwarren - Taunton - Creech St Michael - Bridgwater (light rail)
  • Barnstaple - Taunton
  • Bodmin - Bodmin Parkway
  • Tiverton - Tiverton Parkway
  • Brixham - Churston - Paignton
  • Stonehouse Bristol Road station, enabling travel to Bristol and the South West
  • Swindon - Marlborough, linking with the Berks and Hants line
  • Weymouth Quay tramway
  • The Strawberry Line: Clevedon to Cranmore
  • Halwill - Padstow (North Cornwall Railway)
  • Brent - Kingsbridge (Kingsbridge branch line)
  • Minehead - Taunton
  • Bridport - Maiden Newton
  • Charfield station and Berkeley Road Station, Gloucestershire
  • Westerleigh Junction - Emersons Green (Bristol)
  • Broad Clyst station on the West of England Main Line

East of England

  • Northampton - Bedford
  • March - Wisbech and potentially on to King's Lynn
  • Braintree - Stansted
  • Hitchin - Bedford
  • Spalding - March
  • Watford - Croxley Green
  • Cambridge - Bedford
  • Cambridge - St Neots - Huntingdon
  • Six Mile Bottom on the Ipswich - Cambridge line
  • Norwich - Fakenham - Little Walsingham - Wells Next The Sea
  • Saxmundham - Leiston
  • Dunstable - Luton
  • Beccles - Haddiscoe
  • The Nicky Line, Hemel Hempstead - Redbourne - Harpenden
  • The Alban Way, St. Albans - Hatfield
  • Watford - Rickmansworth (the Ebury Way)
  • Sudbury - Haverhill - Cambridge (here's a petition in favour of this reopening)
  • Kings Lynn - Hunstanton
  • Aylsham - Coltishall
  • Chingford - Stratford
  • Finningham Station on the East Coast Main Line
  • Sheringham - Holt - Fakenham (find out more)
  • Wivenhoe - Brightlingsea
  • Newmarket - Ely
  • Stratford-upon-Avon - Bedford (The Stratford Upon Avon & Midland Junction Railway)
  • Chappel & Wakes Colne - Halstead
  • Witham - Maldon
  • Rugby - Peterborough via Market Harborough
  • Peterborough - Northampton

East Midlands

The Leven Line

  • Northampton - Bedford
  • Northampton - Market Harborough, via Brampton, Brixworth, Lamport and Kelmarsh
  • East Lincolnshire Line, Grimsby - Louth - Alford - Boston
  • The Lincolnshire Loop Line: Boston - Tattershall - Kirkstead - Stixwould - Southrey - Bardney - Five Mile House - Washingborough - Lincoln (The former Tattershall railway station is pictured, right)
  • Mablethorpe loop line, Louth - Grimoldby - Mablethorpe - Sutton-on-Sea - Mumby Road - Willoughby
  • Retford - Bawtry - Doncaster
  • Wellingborough - Higham Ferrers
  • Ripley - Little Eaton
  • The Kirkstead and Little Steeping Railway
  • Stratford-upon-Avon - Bedford (The Stratford Upon Avon & Midland Junction Railway)
  • Ambergate - Manchester (formerly an extension of the Midland Main Line)
  • London's Marylebone Station - Rugby (the Great Central London Extension - this could link to the West Coast mainline)
  • Shirebrook - Ollerton (extension of the Robin Hood line)
  • Leicester - Burton-upon-Trent (currently freight-only)
  • Rugby - Peterborough via Market Harborough
  • Peterborough - Northampton
  • Matlock - Buxton (sign the petition in support of this reopening)

West Midlands

  • Hampton in Arden - Whitacre Junction
  • Kenilworth - Berkswell
  • Longbridge - Frankley
  • Leek - Stoke
  • Rugby - Southam
  • Walsall - Lichfield
  • Redditch - Evesham
  • Hereford - Brecon via Hay on Wye
  • Shrewsbury - Bridgnorth (linked with the Severn Valley railway line)
  • Shrewbury - Ironbridge via Ketley
  • Wellington - Stoke-on-Trent via Market Drayton
  • Stourbridge - Dudley - Walsall (proponents have put a petition on the Number 10 website about this line)
  • Oakamoor - Alton Towers
  • Frankley - Rubery - Hunnington - Halesowen - Old Hill - Windmill End - Dudley
  • Telford - Stafford
  • Stratford-upon-Avon - Bedford (The Stratford Upon Avon & Midland Junction Railway)
  • London's Marylebone Station - Rugby (the Great Central London Extension - this could link to the West Coast mainline)
  • Stratford - Cheltenham (South West, West Midlands)
  • Stratford-upon-Avon - Long Marston (then connecting to Honeybourne on the Worcester-London line) 
  • Stafford - Uttoxeter
  • Rugby - Peterborough via Market Harborough
  • Walsall - Water Orton (the Sutton Park Line, currently freight only)

Yorkshire and the Humber

  • Harrogate - Leeds (via Wetherby)
  • Harrogate - Ripon - Northallerton
  • Oakenshaw South Junction - Goose Hill Junction
  • Malton - Pickering (There was a petition on the No. 10 website calling for this reopening which is now closed, but gained 638 signatures and awaits a Government response)
  • Swinton/Mexborough - Cudworth
  • Silkstone - Wath - Mexborough
  • Hadfield - Penistone - Deepcar (Woodhead route) (Yorkshire and the Humber, North West)
  • Redmire - Garsdale (Yorkshire and the Humber, North West)
  • Darlington - Richmond
  • York - Pocklington - Market Weighton - Beverley - Hull (a line actively being promoted by the Minsters Rail Campaign)
  • Leeds - Otley - Ilkley
  • Spen Valley line from Low Moor to Thornhill
  • Hull - Hornsea
  • Hull - Withernsea
  • Hull - Little Weighton - North Cave
  • Skipton - Grassington
  • Skipton - Embsay - Bolton Abbey - Addingham
  • A cross-city rail link for Bradford between Interchange and Forster Square stations
  • Addingham - Ilkley
  • Clitheroe - Hellifield (currently open to passengers only on Sundays in the summer)
  • Selby - Driffield
  • Saltburn - Loftus (currently only a freight line)
  • Brancliffe - Kirk Sandall (South Yorkshire Joint Line, currently only used for freight)
  • Keighley - Queensbury via Thornton
  • Altofts and Methley stations

North East

  • Hexham - Bellingham (Border Counties Line)
  • Haltwhistle - Alston (Alston Line)
  • Hexham - Allendale
  • Alnmouth - Alnwick
  • Ferryhill - Pelaw (Leamside Branch)
  • Ashington Blyth and Tyne (South East Northumberland Rail User Group is campaigning on behalf of this line)
  • Bishop Auckland - Howden le Wear - Crook (here is a petition in favour of reopening this line)
  • Stanley - Beamish- Pelton - ECML (Chester Le Street) - Leamside
  • Middlesborough - Guisborough
  • Stockton - Ferryhill
  • Washington, Tyne and Wear - Consett
  • Horden station
"I am a regular cyclist and the main road from Hexham through the North Tyne, indeed the only one, is a B-road which carries (at times) A-road traffic. Reopen the Border Counties Line!" - Web visitor.

North West

  • Bolton to Bury
  • The short chord at Carnforth (allowing direct running between the Furness Line and the Dales Line)
  • Halton Curve
  • Carr Mill station, St Helens
  • Southport and Cheshire Lines Extension Railway (a reader suggests re-laying the track bed from Old Roan to Woodvale, and building an extension access line to Ainsdale to link it with the Northern line of Merseyrail)
  • Manchester - Sheffield (Save the Woodhead Tunnel is campaigning on behalf of this line)
  • Matlock - Buxton (sign the petition in support of this reopening)
  • Manchester - Mayfield Station Lines
  • Penrith - Keswick (find out more from a local website)
  • Carlisle - Galashiels (Waverley Route)
  • Partington - Glazebrook
  • Skipton - Colne (North West, Yorkshire and the Humber) (The Skipton and East Lancashire Railway Action Partnership is campaigning on behalf of this line. They have a No 10 Petition to re-open this line with over 1000 signatures.)
  • Burscough - Burscough Curves
  • Preston - Southport line
  • Deeside ind park - Sealand - Saughall - Blacon - Chester Liverpool Rd - Newton - Northwich
  • Wigan - Coppull - Euxton (visit the Re-open Coppull Train Station FaceBook page)
  • Sandbach - Northwich, including a new Middlewich station (This line is currently open for freight traffic and passenger diversions only). The Middlewich Rail Link Campaign are campaigning for the reintroduction of a passenger train service on the line. A feasibility study recently showed that re-opening the line to passengers is potentially viable. Local councillor Neil Ritchie has said "a new direct rail service between Northwich and Crewe via Middlewich would be of great benefit to our residents".
  • North Mersey Branch Line, Anfield - Bootle - Aintree
  • Waterloo Tunnel, Waterloo Dock - Edge Hill Junction
  • Wapping Tunnel, King's Dock - Edge Hill Junction
  • Canada Dock Branch Line, Bootle Canada Dock - Edge Lane
  • St Helens Central - St Helens Junction (sign a petition to reopen this line)
  • The Wigan Junction rail line from Lower Ince to Glazebrook, with a new station at Wigan (Wigan Central) combining North-western and Wallgate
  • The North Liverpool Extension Line
  • Liverpool Exchange Railway Station
  • Skelmersdale - Liverpool (the Skelmersdale Branch line)
  • Blackpool Central Railway Station
  • Liverpool St. James Railway Station
  • Speke Railway Station
  • Bootle Oriel Road - Spellow (Liverpool: part of the Canada Dock Branch line)
  • Extend the Northern Line to Stanky (following the old CLC track bed and sidings) before using a newly built spur to allow access to Warrington Bank Quay and the West Coast Mainline.
  • Marple - Bredbury - Stockport
  • Warrington and Stockport Railway
  • Beeston Castle and Tarporley Railway Station (a local politician has set up this petition)
  • Ambergate - Manchester (formerly an extension of the Midland Main Line)
"By filling in this infamous missing link on the rail network, Burnley and other Lancashire towns will get much quicker services to Manchester... We hope the Government will look at other rail re-openings as a means of reviving local economies" - Campaign for Better Transport's Stephen Joseph, quoted in the Lancashire Telegraph.


  • Amlwch branch
  • Blaenau Ffestiniog - Trawsfynydd
  • Coryton to Radyr or Taffs Well
  • Aberystwyth - Carmarthen
  • Caernarfon - Bangor
  • Beddau - Pontyclun
  • Hirwaun (or Aberdare) - Glyn Neath
  • Criccieth - Caernarvon (or Bangor)
  • Merthyr (or Dowlais) - Brecon, Builth and Machynlleth
  • Pontrilais - Hay on Wye
  • Barmouth to Ruabon
  • Penarth to Barry direct route (parallel to Vale of Glamorgan route)
  • Hereford - Brecon via Hay on Wye
  • Porth - Maerdy
  • Neath - Glynneath -- with Glynneath then linking up with Hirwaun and Aberdare if the line to Hirwaun is reopened
  • Brynmawr-Abergavenny
  • Mold - Chester
  • Tidenham - Hereford (Wye Valley)
  • Llangollen - Wrexham
  • Denbigh - Caerws - Bangor on Dee
  • Aberystwyth - Tregaron - Lampeter - Carmarthen
  • Caerleon station, which used to be on the Pontypool, Caerleon and Newport line
  • Mumbles Tramway (Swansea Bay)
  • Afon Wen - Caernarvon (and on to Bangor)
  • Swansea Landore Station


Note: Scotland is covered by our sister organisation, Transform Scotland, but readers of our website have suggested that the following lines be reopened:

  • Hamilton - Bothwell - Glasgow/Edinburgh
  • Thornton - Leven in Fife
  • The Waverley Line beyond Tweedbank to Hawick

Campaign for a reopening

If you think a rail line or station near you should be reopened, get in touch with us. You could also work with campaigning groups in your area.