Plea to Government to reopen Oswestry-to-Gobowen rail line

A disused railway line in Shropshire could re-open for tram-trains as part of the Government's pledge to restore 'Beeching Lines' closed in the 1960s.

Oswestry railway station
Oswestry railway station

North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson says the line between Oswestry and the mainline at Gobowen could be returned to service relatively easily.

He has already met with Transport Minister Grant Shapps and will meet with the Department of Transport in the New Year to discuss the plans in more detail.

The 2.5-mile line is owned by Cambrian Heritage Railways whose volunteers and their predecessors have been working towards opening the line for many years.

Although the organisation is currently concentrating on re-opening the stretch of railway between the town centre and Weston Wharf to the south, its long term ambition has been to reconnect Oswestry to the mainline at Gobowen.

Mr Paterson stressed that the Oswestry to Gobowen infrastructure was very largely in place.

"Oswestry was a railway town from the 1860s with regular services to Gobowen," he said.

"Passenger services ended in 1966 with occasional quarry trains running until 1988.

"Cambrian Heritage Railways is convinced that a community tram-train could be run on the existing rails at a relatively low cost owing to the existing infrastructure.

"Barring a very small section where only the track bed remains, all the tracks, aggregate, sleepers and bridges are in situ and could be put into service quickly."

He said he was delighted to see the Conservative Manifesto pledge to restore Beeching lines removed from the rail network in the 1960s.

"But while many of the projects to be considered under the scheme will be to rebuild long-demolished routes from scratch, The Oswestry-Gobowen infrastructure is very largely in place and its re-opening with a tram-train could be a comparatively straightforward, easy win.

"From 2020 Gobowen station will have a direct service to London so a local link to Oswestry would be of enormous benefit to local residents."

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