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

By James Pugh | Market Drayton | News | Published:

Calls to re-open a town's old railway line have received further backing.

People in the Market Drayton area say they would welcome the return of a railway connection to the town – despite raising doubts it will ever happen.

It comes after Owen Meredith, who is standing for Newcastle-under-Lyme at today's General Election, said he wants a feasibility study to be carried out into re-opening the Market Drayton branch line, or similar route, to connect Newcastle-under-Lyme.

Andrew Stanley, of Soudley near Market Drayton, said he would like to see the old line reinstated to connect the town to places such as Crewe and Telford.

Mr Stanley said: "It would be better, and probably easier, to re-open line through Audlem to Nantwich and on to Crewe to connect with HS2.

"I regularly go to Glasgow/Edinburgh and this option would be very handy.

"I currently have to drive to Crewe to get the West Coast Main Line so it would be far better for me."

But he added: "I am not a railway expert but I can't see it happening in my lifetime."

Despite supporting the re-opening of the Market Drayton line, Councillor David Minnery, Shropshire councillor for Market Drayton, believes it would be "highly unlikely".

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"All of the land has been sold off and some bridges have been removed," he said.

"Of course it would be a wonderful thing to have a rail connection for the town and in my capacity as cabinet member for finance I will speak to Shropshire Council officers to see if it is viable for us to be involved."

It is believed the Market Drayton 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.

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Mr Meredith said: "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."

James Pugh

By James Pugh
@JamesP_Star

Shropshire Star Business and Farming Editor.

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