Call to reopen railway line

Could the old Wellington to Stafford railway line – a victim of the 1960s Beeching axe – be reopened?

wellington-railway-stationCould the old Wellington to Stafford railway line – a victim of the 1960s Beeching axe – be reopened?

The Association of Train Operating Companies wants to open up 14 lines and 40 stations around the country, serving more than a million extra passengers.

And one possibility is to bring back to life the old railway line which runs alongside the A518 to Newport and on to the West Coast Main Line at Stafford.

Supporters say this could link to the newly-opened Donnington railfreight terminal, give Newport its own station again, provide fast links to Scotland and the north west and bring huge benefits to Shropshire.

A new report by ATOC argues that rail passenger numbers soared to the highest ever peacetime level last year and there is a strong business case for refurbishing and reopening old routes.

Read the full story in today's Shropshire Star

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Comments for: "Call to reopen railway line"

H. St. John Peasbody

This will not and cannot happen! Between the railfreight terminal and Newport, the railway line has become roads, gardens and houses!

The A518 from the Hortonwood roundabout to a point mile east of the Clock Tower roundabout is now the A518 road and has been for over 20 years!!

The lasnd where the station was in Newport is now a housing estate!

Any redevelopment of this line between Donnington and Stafford would cost billions of pounds in purchasing land, building stations and new bridges!

This is cloud cuckoo land, along with the plan to reopen the canal from Norbury to Shropshire.

Lucy W

Well I like the idea and have often wondered if the Newport to Stafford stretch could be re-opened by an enthusiats group to run for tourism and semi-commercial?

Rob, Telford

I would suggest that the long-term benefits from this and other rail projects would outweigh the costs - and certainly make more sense than squandering billions of public money on the London Olympics.


H st P: so why should NIMBYism stop progress for the benefit of all?

If there are back yards (literally) in the way then so what - move the fences and run the train right through!

H. St. Peasbody

Marco - it's nothing to do with NIMBYism. There is an entire housing development where Newport Station used to be!


I am glad that people are waking up to the idea of reopening railway lines...rail travel is clearly the future, not the car, as was mistakenly thought back in the 60s. I would support this as a Wellingtonian as the station is clearly not used to its full potential. Obviously, as has been pointed out, it may not be all that easy to reopen the line! A direct service to Manchester would be very welcome!


Yes, Station Court is a lovely housing development, and is well worth keeping. If Prince Charles saw it, he'd throw a fit. Who says the exact same route has to be used? Railway companies used to quite regularly smash their way through entire communities - e.g. Somers Town in London.

The route east of Newport is largely intact, and most of it is owned by Staffordshire CC, so private landowners would not need to be involved or paid off.

If you skirt the edge of the MOD land in Donnington, you can extend the track from the new rail freight terminal near Hortonwood all the way to the Walkers roundabout, where Donnington station used to be.

After the roundabout, part of the route is used by the A518, but where the road curves, you can still see a couple of bridges, which would enable you to get past the Red House.

The only major obstacle is Newport. Either you drive the railway through half of the Wallshead Way/Ashworth Road estate along its former route, or you loop it south of Church Aston and then in a north-easterly direction to join the old route on the other side of the A41. Stick in a freight depot on the industrial estate as well.

If you look on Google Earth, it's quite easy to see where the track used to be, even where it's now been built on.

Incidentally, the Wellington to Stafford line is mentioned in ATOC's report (see Appendix 3).

eva land

[Yes, Station Court is a lovely housing development, and is well worth keeping. If Prince Charles saw it, he’d throw a fit. Who says the exact same route has to be used? Railway companies used to quite regularly smash their way through entire communities - e.g. Somers Town in London.]

Prince Charles could order the colonies to quarry their stone, send over their cheap labour and recreate the glory of the British Empire.

If the housing development is the sort of noddy house pastiche favoured by Prince Charles then the sooner he runs his train through this estate and gets to ruling the country again the better.

Don't forget this is Shropshire where decades of progress all over the world cannot and must not alter the precious time capsule of historical sentimentality.

atcham jack

houses can be demolished, new stations can be built, yes this is an excellent idea which should be supported. another way to put newport back on the map is to reopen the shrewsbury arm of the shropshire union canal, there will soon be a commercial need for it, and do not tell me it is a non starter, tell that to the volunteer canal restorers in the 1960,s who rebuilt 29 locks up a hill at caen hill devizes wilts. the kennet and avon canal is now a thriving route linking london and bristol.

of course the railway must be reopened it makes so much sense, with more freight going back to rail. now is not the time for doubting thomas's but people with vision, a spirit of adventure, in short people with enterprise. roll om more railways and canals, there must be another brunel and tom rolt out there somewhere


This is an excellent idea which would reconnnect Newport with the rail network (and help it's regeneration) and would also provide a good diversionary route to the west coast main line if the Telford to Wolverhampton line was blocked. Councillors, MPs, Network Rail and the Govt need to show some vision to improve Shropshire's rail links.


I can't wait, what next? The milkman dispensing from a churn on his horse drawn carriage?


This plan is a non-starter,consider the cost of identifying a new route,purchasing the land,laying or relaying track not to mention the cost of numerous new bridges or refurbishment of old ones.Then it has to be economical and pay for itself,I can just see the intercity trains for the West Coast line hurtling into Shropshire at what 70mph? Then only to go through Wellington for the driver to change ends on the train so he can see his way onto the new line, unless of course there's a mega loop in the track I haven't envisaged.Can anybody tell me why anyone should want to go to Stafford anyway?

With regard to the reopening of the canal it is just a pipe-dream, until such times that farmers allow the canal to access THEIR land it will not happen.Compulsory purchase orders are extremely expensive and above all who is going to pay for it?


I'd never taken much notice of the figures before of the Beeching cuts but looking at them that relates to some 2.5 miles of track per railway station closed, no wonder the axe fell.

atcham jack

but dr beeching was short sighted he did not think of oil running out, all new railways must be all electric.

Huw Peach

As atcham jack says, peak oil is on its way and our political representatives need to start preparing our economy and its infrastructure to deal with this.


I rather like the idea.

Despite being a fervent petrolhead, I'm not averse to the occasional train journey where it makes sense. I worked in Stafford town centre for a number of years, and if a train service from Hortonwood to Stafford had existed, I'd have been more than happy to use that rather than drive

Could we have a Pendolino service, though? Much more comfortable than those 'orrible Sprinter carriage things! Or, even better, press into service some older Inter-City carriages pulled by a Deltic Diesel! I like the idea of a Napier Deltic engine burbling through the countryside :-)


Living in Gnosall and travelling to telford everyday, i would love the line to be back in action... i would certainly consider leaving the car at home!