Calls to re-open Market Drayton's old railway line

Calls have been made to re-open a town's old railway line.

Former Market Drayton Train Station
Former Market Drayton Train Station

Owen Meredith wants a feasibility study to be carried out into re-opening the Market Drayton branch line, or similar route, to connect Newcastle-under-Lyme.

It is believed the line served the Shropshire town between 1863 and 1963.

It was at the junction where three railway lines met – two of them, forming the Great Western Railway route between Wellington and Crewe, were met by a line from Stoke-on-Trent on the North Staffordshire Railway.

Mr Meredith, who is standing for Newcastle-under-Lyme at the General Election, said: “I want to see a feasibility study into re-opening the Market Drayton branch line or similar route to connect Newcastle with Stoke and HS2.

"There needs to be a proper assessment into the old Market Drayton branch line.

"Some of the track still exists but has been turned into a cycle track or is overgrown.

"The majority of the track line could be brought back into use relatively easily.

"In some places the track has been built on so that would be harder to re-open.

"Newcastle is one of the largest towns in the UK without a railway station.

"Transport Secretary Chris Grayling is also keen on the idea of a feasibility study.

"Being realistic I would not expect anything to be put in place until the end of the decade, start of the next one, but there is a real opportunity here."

Map of former Market Drayton line

Previous attempts have been made to re-open Market Drayton's disused railway line.

The Market Drayton Railway Preservation Society asked town councillors to support their plans to re-open the line which would have run from the old station in the town to Audlem.

They wanted to re-open the line as a steam railway to run to Sych Farm near the A53.

But at the time councillors were worried what effect a level crossing may have on the busy A53.

The society believed that by opening up the line, it would bring tourists and business to the area.

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