Plan unveiled to restore Telford to Stafford rail line

Rail chiefs in Shropshire today unveiled ambitious £230 million plans to re-open the Telford to Stafford train line - creating a direct link from Shrewsbury to London in under two-and-a-half hours.

Rail chiefs in Shropshire today unveiled ambitious £230 million plans to re-open the Telford to Stafford train line - creating a direct link from Shrewsbury to London in under two-and-a-half hours.

Shropshire, Telford and the Marches Strategic Rail Group has voted to lobby Government to back its bid to fill the gap left when the Shropshire-Marylebone line folded in January.

The group - which includes members of Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Herefordshire councils - believes there is no room for expansion at Birmingham New Street and that a route via Stafford is the quickest, cheapest and most realistic option for re-establishing a direct link to the capital.

Vice-chairman Councillor Eric Carter said: "People may say it's pie in the sky, but we have got to have vision in this world and we have got to look to the future.

"There certainly is sufficient capacity for more trains through Stafford, while the fact is Birmingham is full."

Read more in today's Shropshire Star

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Comments for: "Plan unveiled to restore Telford to Stafford rail line"


What would it cost to open RAF Shawbury up to commercial air traffic? The infrastructure is already there.

Rob, Telford

Although I can see the potential for passenger traffic on this line I would have thought the real bonus would be for the railfreight terminal at Donnington.

Prior to closure in 1964 this line was heavily used for freight, and as a diversionary route when the Wolverhampton - Stafford line was out of action for any reason.


"Rail chiefs" - erm, no, local councillors. Not the same thing at all!

Frankly this scheme should happen, but of course won't.


I should also point out that the line runs Wellington to Stafford, via Donnington and Newport, and would not connect Telford Central station (as in the photo) to Stafford directly.


Surely thats Wellington station in the photo


It's been changed..


Very sensible idea. There should also be local stations on that line serving places like Hadley, Donnington and Newport.


For once a good idea! Shame it goes through Stafford haha


For longer than I can remember, people have bee trying to re-open the canal line from Norbury through Newport to Wappenshall, and every obstacle possible has been put in their way despite the old canal route still being workable.

The train line however is another thing - much of the original route has been built on or over, which suggests a phenominal amount of money would need to be spent to bring this to fruition !!!!

Nothing against vision, and its welcoming for a change that council's are actually thinking of the benefits to local residents for once .... but surely the money would be better spent on getting a working service back from Shrewsbury through Telford and to London that way ....

nova bungo

not sure where your looking because most of the line is still pretty much there, once out of telford its just a straight shot to newport and clearly the old station cant be used as its now a house but a new one built at mere park is more likely and then on towards Gnosal which is still all there, its just a cycle path

Steve TF7

Im NOT sure that any public investment would be deemed viable, or should the Council and the Various Suporting Agencies add more PUBLIC MONEY in to the FAILED rail terminal as part of any Telford - Stafford Rail Link?

Having worked at the DEPOT, it is blatantly obvious that the terminal has brought in NO commercial business at all, the forecast was pie in the sky mentality from the developers whomever they were (But I Guess it was Council Led)

The local business population of nearby Hortonwood have no use for the Vacant Facility and many a Dog Walker in the local area will confirm that it is Grossly under Used.


An excellent idea which could give Donnington and Newport a rail link and help the economics of the Telford Railfreight depot.

But is there a 'political will' to get the project going soon??? It would be an investment for the future, especially with oil on it's way to £10 a gallon.


Another "hair brain" idea. The old line to Stafford no longer exists. where the old line ran, roads and houses have been built on it and I'm talking about the Telford end. I'm certain the Newprt end is completely built over! The rail terminal in Donnington ends and the Donnington bypass takes over going most of the way to Newport. WHERE WOULD YOU PUT A RAILWAY LINE? There are houses on one side and the depot on the other and as someone has already mentioned it would not serve Telford. Wellington is not Telford!

Also I don't know where the sum of 230 million came from. The purchase of land, the building of bridges the laying of track and stations and of course rolling stock etc.would far exceed 230 million.

No this is just "Pie in the Sky" by Shropshire rail chiefs trying to justify their existance

nova bungo

hate to correct you but there word wrong comes up alot in your comment

1. Wellington is Telford

2. Most of the Newport line hasn't been built on

3. from newport onwards the land is already council owned

4. The train line would run along the road from donnington to newport and then follow the a41 which some of which is already up for sale at a reduced rate

Novaportan 123

The line exists from the junction near Wellington up to the railfreight terminal. It just needs doubling.

The A518 has been built over the line from the roundabout with the cannon on it up and up towards the first rail bridge (Kynnersley Drive, I think).

After that, the route is clear right up to where the Newport bypass is. After the bypass, the route is free up to Church Aston. In Church Aston, the route has been sold to local home owners or used by gardens along Wallshead Way.

In Newport itself, the site of the station has been replaced by Station Court.

After Newport, the entire route is pretty much unmolested, right into Stafford. The Gnosall bridge over the A518 was removed, but most of the other bridges are still there. I've walked pretty much the entire route from Newport to Stafford (not all at once!) - some of it is rather pretty, and the Gnosall skew bridge is an impressive piece of engineering.

The only real obstacles seem to be getting the line through Donnington and Newport.

This scheme has my wholehearted support. It's nice to see some vision from some of our elected representatives.


I agree in part with Shropsman. £230 million seams a very conservative estimate since a lot of the route would need completely relaying, for examnple, many houses in Church Aston were built on the bed of the old line. A nice thoughht, but I just can't see it happening


It wont happened, the original line to newport from the Railfreight is gone, and has roads/houses and buildings in its path.


A desperate attempt to make the freight terminal viable?

Of course, the line should never have closed, especially as Dawley, then Telford new town came along, but there is virtually no chance of the line reopening.

For passengers, the recent removal of the direct link to London might provide an opportunity for an express coach from the Telford area to Stafford to link up with the main West Coast line might might be worth a try, but it would not help Shrewsbury very much and might make a direct link from Shropshire to London less viable in the future.

It's New Street that needs sorting, faster throughput, more use of Snow Hill, do something about the slow stretch between Wolverhampton to Birmingham, etc.


Is the proposal to actually re-establish the Shropshire Union Line between Shrewsbury and Stafford via Newport? It's not clear from the article above. I can't see it being viable with the amount of reconfiguring of the part built on route that'd be required.

There is however a potential rail route between Telford and Stafford, missing out Wolverhampton and joining the line north at Bushbury via Penkridge. At Stafford there's the Trent Valley line (via Lichfield and Rugby) or the West Coast Main Line to stations south.

james smith-jefferies

this is great news for all road users, environment, commuters, businesses in each town etc great great news


First, some reality.

This link, if restored, would provide an alternative (and almost certainly electrified) link between the West Coast Main Line (WCML) and Shrewsbury - and allow any Shrewsbury - London service to bypass Wolverhampton, Birmingham and Coventry.

For those who struggle with the intricacies of rail operating franchises and track access agreements, that avoids any conflict with the non-competition clauses which currently exist for Wolverhampton - Birmingham - Coventry - London; these it seems will be perpetuated for whoever wins the WCML franchise from 2012 (currently run by Virgin Trains).

It was these restrictions which in the end brought down Wrexham & Shropshire.

No, it won't serve Telford Central (small picture error!) but it might serve a Donnington Parkway (off the A518 east of the Clock Tower island)

Second, in terms of land and access this route has been clearly and officially identified by ATOC (the rail operators group) as feasible and economic for re-opening. 80% of the civil engineering of the trackbed remains and could be quite cheaply restored; a new alignment would be needed for around 1.5 miles at Newport and from the existing (new) Telford freight terminal to a point east of the Clock Tower island - most of which is either vacant or MoD (i.e. Government) land - or both. It's probable that regardless of any subsequent development or leases almost the whole route is still legally 'railway lands'.

Similar projects are being driven forward and are opening elsewhere - particularly in Scotland

Oh - and for the person who said 'Wellington is not Telford'. Telford is, politically and economically, a damn sight bigger than that slightly sad one-way system with a tatty shopping centre off J5 of the M54! Wellington actually boasts a much bigger railway facility and the scope for improvement - which the under-equipped and space restricted 'Telford Central' halt does not.


You forgot to mention Telford stations' other pleasures - its car-centric, scary at night and ill-sited, with a 15minutes walk to the Centre which is open to the elements that the tall buildings cause rain to blow and put the hardest of traveller, who may return to only IF they have a choice. (You may have guessed I've suffered using this station quite a lot in dark winters..!)

This Crewe route sounds interesting. I'm not sure it would be a financial success mainly because society in Telford & surroundings has a percentage who work and travel to Wolverhampton using the train, How developed is it for a rail-serving north route yet?

I suspect a heritage railway may be the best option - lets make Shropshire the shire for heritage railways with commercial concerns running trains on peak times when that kind of transport is profitable - forget the separation of heritage and mainline of the past - get the two working together. Use all the resources for the best - the power of roadmakers times are past, they never quite destroyed the railways, lets make use of whats left when their man wrote it off.


What about re-opening the Wellington to Crewe line, too?

We need more cross country lines rather than the White Elephant New line to Birmingham.


I think we need both to be honest as well as railways bith light and heavy in our larger urban areas. Public transport investment in this country has been seriously lagging in this country for decades.

Rob, Telford

...and if they re-opened the old Coalport Branch, which used the Stafford line as far as Trench, I'd be able to catch the train to work every day.

I can't see it happening, but it's a nice idea.


Oops! I meant to London from Birmingham!


Devilschair, You can't really blame the railway because the shopping centre was built 15 minutes walk away from the railway line can you?


Rail chiefs in Shropshire today unveiled ambitious £230 million plans to re-open the Telford to Stafford train line – creating a direct link from Shrewsbury to London in under two-and-a-half hours.

I think someone hasn't done their homework, unless the train is shunted at Wellington there will not be a route from Telford unless a link to the donnington line is put in in the down direction, this in turn would cost a lot more than predicted. This is the problem when you get civil servants who do not even know what a set of points is trying to devise a plan that will never work. A direct route could easily be implimented without touching Birmingham New Street, take the train to Wolverhampton, then portobello Junction, Aston, Stechford and then down the WCML line to Euston. This will be a lot less that 2 1/2 hours from Telford, if this is done this way they will save all the money to give grants to any company that wants to take the route on, it is a crying shame these councils could not input 10 million towards Wrexham and Shropshire to keep the company running. This proposal has not been thought out and devised by boys on the job who do not know theri stuff.

Rob, Telford

"I think someone hasn’t done their homework, unless the train is shunted at Wellington there will not be a route from Telford " has already been pointed out, Wellington is in Telford. To keep everyone happy they could just rename the station "Telford West" although I doubt that would go down too well in Wellington....


but surely it would sound more up market to call it Shrewsbury East.

nova burgo

true though it that would just confuse the people of wellinton more, Wasnt it called Telford West already once


Oh dear. Firstly Wellington is in Telford. Secondly the 2 and a half hour journey time is from Shrewsbury and trains would run Shrewsbury - Wellington - Stafford... Telford Central station wouldn't be involved in this scheme.

nova burgo

well technically it would run Shrewsbury- Wellington (Telford West) - Newport - Stafford


3300 bhp is definitely over-revving

It's not about bypassing Birmingham, it's about bypassing ALL the routes between Oxley Viaduct and the junction at Rugby - which is the section 'protected' from long-distance express service competition under the WCML franchise. In a similar way other sections are protected so nobody else can run London -Liverpool/Manchester/Scotland express services.

This was the carrot to get Virgin to part-fund and build the Pendolinos - a carrot anybody else taking on the WCML franchise will insist on retaining after having seen the impact Grand Central and Hull Trains have had on the East Coast franchise.

kerry joyce

good on them , i support this idea,

dr beaching ruined the network - now the fuel is getting expensive, its time to roll it back to reclaim our railways

xx kez