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Petition calls for reopening of Shrewsbury to Stafford railway line

Telford | News | Published:

A petition has been launched calling for the reopening of railway lines linking Shrewsbury to Stafford.

More than 160 people have signed the petition, calling for a new Shrewsbury to Walsall service, calling at Wellington, Newport, Stafford and Rugeley.

Oliver Ashton, who has launched the petition, said it was sparked after it took him an hour and a half to get to a job interview in Cannock.

He says the journey would take just 43 minutes, if the former line was reinstated.

Telford & Wrekin Councillor Eric Carter, chairman of the Shropshire, Telford & The Marches Strategic Rail Group, said the plans were something he had long had an ambition for.

He said that due to housing developments on the site of the former line, it may be difficult, but was something he was passionate to keep pressure on.

He said: "I'm not saying we can't do it, I'm saying it would be difficult but everything in life is difficult and we should have ambition.

"When I was cabinet member for transport between 2007 to 2011 we reinstated the Telford international freight terminal and I thought that would give us an opportunity to link with the Wellington to Shrewsbury line.

"But over the past 20 years, there has been development and there are particular problems between the Donnington Depot and Newport where houses have been built."

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Councillor Carter said he had also recently had meetings with councillors in Stafford over proposed housing developments to the west of Stafford station, which would affect any potential line between Newport.

Currently, the former line is a cycle path and walking route but Councillor Carter there is still a chance he could be developed in the future, with a Newport station close to the Audley Avenue business park.

He said: "I have asked if they can stop it going ahead or if they could build a tunnel or a bridge or something so it could still be possible in the future.

"This is something I'd like to keep trying to do.

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"I am very keen to see if we can do it and will keep up the pressure."

It comes after it was announced in October that Stafford railway station will become an "HS2 hub" linking Staffordshire and Shropshire to the super-fast network.

It was also claimed the move could have a knock-on effect on the surrounding network, with plans to electrify the line between Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton and further proposals to extend that route directly to the new hub in Stafford.

The new railway link from Stafford could connect our region to London Euston in just 53 minutes.

The plans were last looked at in 2011, when Shropshire, Telford and the Marches Strategic Rail Group put together £230 million plans to reopen the Telford to Stafford train line.

See the petition at petition.parliament.uk/petitions/173560

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