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Old Shropshire railway lines could be reopened under new plans

By Jonny Drury | Transport | Published:

A number of train lines and railway stations in Shropshire and Mid Wales which were shut in the Beeching Cuts of the 1960s could be reopened under a new project.

The Department for Transport has confirmed it is actively working with a number of groups to explore the possibility of reopening old rail lines in the region.

Stations like Oswestry and Ellesmere in Shropshire, and Carno in Mid Wales were stations to feel the hit from the Beeching Cuts.

Now avenues are being looked at, a year after transport secretary Chris Grayling encouraged those in the public and private sector to submit proposals for potential projects to regenerate old lines.

A Department for Transport spokesman said: "We are continuing to grow the rail network to deliver improvements for passengers, unlock new housing and support the economy, including by exploring opportunities to restore previously lost capacity.

"We have received a wide variety of proposals to enhance the railway from across the public and private sector, and are working with promoters to explore opportunities to reopen routes cut under Beeching.

"This is on top of exploring reopening the Northumberland Line for passenger use, supporting the reinstatement of stations on the Camp Hill Line, developing new rail links to Heathrow and a new station at Cambridge South."

The spokesman said that due to the confidentiality issues around its market-led approach, the department was not yet in a position to release details of the proposed projects, but hoped to be able to provide more information in the year ahead.

What were the Beeching Cuts?

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The Beeching Cuts came after the UK's rail system had run up an annual operating loss of £86.9 million, and, including other charges, the deficit stood at £135.9 million.

As a result of Dr Richard Beeching's report, The Reshaping of British Railways, 4,000 route miles were removed from the system on cost and efficiency grounds, leaving Britain with 13,721 miles of railway lines in 1966. A further 2,000 miles ere lost by the end of the 1960s.

The Oswestry and Llanfyllin line from Gobowen disappeared, as did the Nantwich to Wellington route passing through Audlem and Market Drayton.

Buildwas, Bridgnorth and Much Wenlock, as well as Ellesmere, Market Drayton and Much Wenlock, all disappeared from the British railways map.

It is unsure if any will be involved in the latest explorations into closed lines, and it would be impossible for some, including Ellesmere, which was recently subject of a planning application for houses.

Jonny Drury

By Jonny Drury
@JonnyDrury_Star

Senior reporter covering Oswestry and Mid Wales.

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