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Re-opening rail lines

Reopening rail lines across the country would go a long way to improving public transport and tackling rail overcrowding.

Below are some lines and stations suggested by members of the public that people are campaigning to have reopened - or have protected from development so that they can be reopened later.

Read the top 12 most important and viable rail reopenings that we endorse.

Our work to protect and reopen rail lines and improve train travel relies on donations; please consider supporting us.

We want your help: If you have a photograph of a closed line or want to suggest a line be added to this list, please email us: campaigns@bettertransport.org.uk.

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The Leven LineSouth East
South West
East of England
East Midlands
West Midlands
Yorkshire & the Humber
North East
North West
Wales
Scotland

South East

  • Aylesbury & Bicester - Bletchley [Note: In December 2011 the Government agreed to support the reopening of the rail link between Oxford, Bicester, Aylesbury, Milton Keynes and Bedford]
  • Haywards Heath - Horsted Keynes
  • Shanklin - Ventnor
  • Uckfield - Lewes
  • The Tunbridge Wells link via Tunbridge Wells West to Eridge, connecting to the Uckfield - Lewes line. This would reconnect the cross-country line from Kent to East Sussex
  • The 'Cuckoo Line', Polegate to Tunbridge Wells
  • Guildford - Horsham via Cranleigh 
  • Horsham - Shoreham-by-Sea
  • Campaign for Better Transport logo Princes Risborough - Oxford
    We think this line is a priority. This 20-mile link would have stops at Cowley and science and business parks. Only the section to Cowley is intact as a freight-only line. The 2017 Budget gave a small amount of funding to consider reopening.
    Find out more about Princes Risborough - Oxford
  • Oxford - Fairford via Witney
  • Aylesbury - Rugby
  • Didcot - Newbury - Southampton 
  • Bourne End - High Wycombe 
  • Maldon - South Woodham Ferrers or Hatfield Peverel
  • Shenfield East curve. This would enable trains to run directly from Southend to the County town of Chelmsford
  • Hythe and Fawley: Totton – Hythe – Fawley
  • Westerham to Dunton Green
  • Hall Farm Curve
  • Chessington South - Epsom / Leatherhead
  • East Grinstead - Three Bridges
  • Polegate - Pevensey
  • The Windsor Link Railway; phase 1 would connect Slough to Waterloo via Windsor
  • The Hundred of Hoo Railway: Gravesend to Thamesport
  • Banbury - Verney Junction
  • Paddock Wood - Cranbrook via Horsemonden and Goudhurst (extending possibly into Cranbrook Town and on to Tenterden via Benenden and Rolvenden as per the original plans for the line)
  • London's Marylebone Station - Leicester (the Great Central London Extension - this could link to the West Coast mainline.)
  • Fareham - Gosport
  • Winchester - Alton
  • Crystal Palace (High Level) line
  • Brentford - Southall Crossrail Link
  • Old Oak Common - Hounslow (London)
  • Brockenhurst - Ringwood (and beyond)
  • Camberley - Woking (via the Sturt Road chord)
  • Alton - Fareham (the Meon Valley Railway)
  • Cheltenham - Swindon - Andover
  • Lydd - Appledore / Ashford
  • Campaign for Better Transport logoBML2
    We think this line is a priority. This is a proposal to create a second Brighton Main Line to London. This major project would increase resilience and capacity and support the economy of a number of settlements.
    Find out more about BML2

South West

  • The Henbury Loop Line in north Bristol (currently freight-only)
  • Okehampton - Tavistock - Bere Alston
  • Portishead - Bristol 
  • Stratford - Cheltenham (South West, West Midlands)
  • Axminster - Lyme Regis
  • Exmouth - Budleigh Salterton - Sidmouth
  • Yeovil - Taunton
  • Chard Junction - Chard Town - Taunton
  • Exeter - Bude
  • A railway line linking Yeovil Junction station to the Westbury-Weymouth line [Note: in December 2015 trains began running between Yeovil Junction and Pen Mill stations for the first time in 50 years!]
  • Newton Abbot - Moretonhampstead
  • Exeter - Newton Abbot (Teign Valley Line)
  • Frome - Radstock
  • Somerset and Dorset Railway, from Bath to Bournemouth
  • Banbury - Cheltenham
  • Barnstaple - Ilfracombe
  • Barnstaple - Bideford - Great Torrington
  • Taunton metro proposal
  • Barnstaple - Taunton
  • Bodmin - Bodmin Parkway
  • Tiverton - Tiverton Parkway
  • Brixham - Churston - Paignton
  • Swindon - Marlborough, linking with the Berks and Hants line
  • Weymouth Quay tramway
  • The Strawberry Line: Clevedon to Cranmore
  • Halwill - Padstow (North Cornwall Railway)
  • Brent - Kingsbridge (Kingsbridge branch line)
  • Minehead - Taunton
  • Bridport - Maiden Newton
  • Gwinear Road - Helston
  • Newquay - Chacewater
  • Yelverton - Princetown
  • Barnstaple - Braunton (proposed light railway)
  • Cirencester - Kemble 
  • Salisbury - Verwood - Bournemouth
  • Portishead - Clevedon
  • Cheltenham - Swindon - Andover
  • People have also suggested the following stations for reopening: Stonehouse, Bristol Road; Charfield; Berkeley; Broadclyst; Codford; Corsham; Wootton Bassett Junction

East of England

  • Northampton - Bedford
  • March - Wisbech and potentially on to King's Lynn
  • Hitchin - Bedford
  • Spalding - March
  • Watford - Croxley Green
  • Cambridge - Bedford
  • Cambridge - St Neots - Huntingdon
  • Norwich - Wymondham - Fakenham - Little Walsingham - Wells Next The Sea
  • Saxmundham - Leiston
  • Dunstable - Luton
  • Beccles - Haddiscoe
  • The Nicky Line, Hemel Hempstead - Redbourne - Harpenden
  • The Alban Way, St. Albans - Hatfield
  • Watford - Rickmansworth (the Ebury Way)
  • Sudbury - Haverhill - Cambridge 
  • Kings Lynn - Hunstanton
  • Aylsham - Coltishall
  • Sheringham - Holt - Fakenham 
  • Wivenhoe - Brightlingsea
  • Newmarket - Ely
  • Stratford-upon-Avon - Bedford (The Stratford Upon Avon & Midland Junction Railway)
  • Chappel & Wakes Colne - Halstead
  • Witham - Maldon
  • Rugby - Peterborough via Market Harborough
  • Peterborough - Northampton
  • Buntingford - St Margarets
  • The North Weald and Ongar link at the end of the Central Line
  • Dunstable North railway station. Dunstable - Leighton Buzzard line
  • King's Lynn - Dereham
  • Bishop's Stortford - Braintree
  • Cromer - Mundesley-on-Sea - North Walsham 
  • Kings Lynn - Fakenham
  • Black Bank Station - Cambridgeshire
  • People have also suggested the following stations for reopening: Six Mile Bottom; Finningham

East Midlands

The Leven Line

  • Northampton - Bedford
  • Northampton - Market Harborough, via Brampton, Brixworth, Lamport and Kelmarsh
  • East Lincolnshire Line, Grimsby - Louth - Alford - Boston
  • The Lincolnshire Loop Line: Boston - Tattershall - Kirkstead - Stixwould - Southrey - Bardney - Five Mile House - Washingborough - Lincoln (The former Tattershall railway station is pictured, right)
  • Mablethorpe loop line, Louth - Grimoldby - Mablethorpe - Sutton-on-Sea - Mumby Road - Willoughby
  • Wellingborough - Higham Ferrers
  • The Kirkstead and Little Steeping Railway
  • Stratford-upon-Avon - Bedford (The Stratford Upon Avon & Midland Junction Railway)
  • London's Marylebone Station - Leicester (the Great Central London Extension - this could link to the West Coast mainline.)
  • Shirebrook - Ollerton (extension of the Robin Hood line)
  • Leicester - Burton-upon-Trent (currently freight-only)
  • Rugby - Peterborough via Market Harborough
  • Peterborough - Northampton
  • Matlock - Buxton
  • Bourne - Sleaford (- Cranwell)
  • Ullesthorpe - Rugby
  • Lutterworth - Rugby
  • Butterley - Ripley - Derby
  • People have also suggested the following stations for reopening: Bawtry; Little Bytham; Wingfield

West Midlands

  • Hampton in Arden - Whitacre Junction
  • Kenilworth - Berkswell
  • Longbridge - Frankley
  • Leek - Stoke
  • Rugby - Southam
  • Walsall - Lichfield
  • Redditch - Evesham - Ashchurch
  • Hereford - Brecon via Hay on Wye
  • Shrewsbury - Bridgnorth (linked with the Severn Valley railway line)
  • Shrewbury - Ironbridge via Ketley
  • Wellington - Stoke-on-Trent via Market Drayton
  • Stourbridge - Dudley - Walsall 
  • Oakamoor - Alton Towers
  • Frankley - Rubery - Hunnington - Halesowen - Old Hill - Windmill End - Dudley
  • Stratford-upon-Avon - Bedford (The Stratford Upon Avon & Midland Junction Railway)
  • London's Marylebone Station - Leicester (the Great Central London Extension - this could link to the West Coast mainline.)
  • Stratford - Cheltenham (South West, West Midlands)
  • Stratford-upon-Avon - Long Marston (then connecting to Honeybourne on the Worcester-London line) 
  • Stafford - Uttoxeter
  • Rugby - Peterborough via Market Harborough
  • Walsall - Water Orton (the Sutton Park Line, currently freight only)
  • Welshpool - Oswestry
  • Shrewsbury - Stafford
  • Worcester – Bromyard – the Shrewsbury and Hereford Railway line
  • Oswestry - Whitchurch
  • Nantwich - Market Drayton
  • Cheadle - Cresswell
  • People have also suggested the following stations for reopening: Madeley; Admaston

Yorkshire and the Humber

  • Harrogate - Leeds (via Wetherby)
  • Harrogate - Ripon - Northallerton
  • Malton - Pickering 
  • Swinton/Mexborough - Cudworth
  • Silkstone - Wath - Mexborough
  • Hadfield - Penistone - Deepcar (Woodhead route) (Yorkshire and the Humber, North West)
  • Redmire - Garsdale (Yorkshire and the Humber, North West)
  • Darlington - Richmond
  • York - Pocklington - Market Weighton - Beverley - Hull
  • Leeds - Otley - Ilkley
  • Spen Valley line from Low Moor to Thornhill
  • Hull - Hornsea
  • Hull - Withernsea
  • Hull - Little Weighton - North Cave
  • Skipton - Grassington
  • A cross-city rail link for Bradford between Interchange and Forster Square stations
  • Addingham - Ilkley
  • Selby - Driffield
  • Saltburn - Loftus (currently only a freight line)
  • Brancliffe - Kirk Sandall (South Yorkshire Joint Line, currently only used for freight)
  • Keighley - Queensbury via Thornton
  • Brockholes - Holmfirth
  • Anchor Pit Junction - Pickle Bridge junction (linking Huddersfield and Bradford)
  • Starbeck - Pannal
  • Armley Canal Road station - Leeds/Shipley line
  • Kirkburton Station - Huddersfield to Heaton Lodge line 
  • People have also suggested the following stations for reopening: Hambleton; Altofts; Methley; Esholt

North East

  • Hexham - Bellingham (Border Counties Line)
  • Haltwhistle - Alston (Alston Line)
  • Hexham - Allendale
  • Alnmouth - Alnwick (the Aln Valley Railway is currently relaying track along this line to reopen it as a volunteer-run heritage railway)
  • Ferryhill - Pelaw (Leamside Branch)
  • Ashington Blyth and Tyne 
  • Bishop Auckland - Howden le Wear - Crook 
  • Middlesbrough - Guisborough
  • Stockton - Ferryhill
  • Washington, Tyne and Wear - Consett
  • Durham - Bishop Auckland
  • People have also suggested the following stations for reopening: Horden; Belford; Gilsland

North West

  • Bolton to Bury
  • The short chord at Carnforth (allowing direct running between the Furness Line and the Dales Line)
  • Halton Curve (this line will soon reopen! Work began in July 2017)
  • Southport and Cheshire Lines Extension Railway (a reader suggests re-laying the track bed from Old Roan to Woodvale, and building an extension access line to Ainsdale to link it with the Northern line of Merseyrail)
  • Manchester - Sheffield 
  • Matlock - Buxton 
  • Penrith - Keswick 
  • Carlisle - Galashiels (Waverley Route)
  • Partington - Glazebrook
  • Skipton - Colne (North West, Yorkshire and the Humber) 
  • Burscough - Burscough Curves
  • Deeside ind park - Sealand - Saughall - Blacon - Chester Liverpool Rd - Newton - Northwich
  • Wigan - Coppull - Euxton 
  • Sandbach - Northwich, including a new Middlewich station (This line is currently open for freight traffic and passenger diversions only). 
  • North Mersey Branch Line, Anfield - Bootle - Aintree
  • Waterloo Tunnel, Waterloo Dock - Edge Hill Junction
  • Wapping Tunnel, King's Dock - Edge Hill Junction
  • Canada Dock Branch Line, Bootle Canada Dock - Edge Lane
  • St Helens Central - St Helens Junction 
  • The Wigan Junction rail line from Lower Ince to Glazebrook, with a new station at Wigan (Wigan Central) combining North-western and Wallgate
  • The North Liverpool Extension Line
  • Skelmersdale - Liverpool (the Skelmersdale Branch line)
  • Marple - Bredbury - Stockport
  • Warrington and Stockport Railway
  • Marylebone - Manchester Piccadilly
  • Rochdale - Bacup
  • Bacup - Rawtenstall (plus Stubbins station)
  • Poulton-le-Fylde - Fleetwood
  • Rawtenstall - Manchester Victoria
  • Rose Hill (Marple) - Macclesfield
  • People have also suggested the following stations for reopening: Manchester Mayfield; Carr Mill; Beeston Castle and Tarporley; Blackpool Central; Liverpool St. James; Speke; Liverpool Exchange

Wales

  • Amlwch branch
  • Blaenau Ffestiniog - Trawsfynydd
  • Caernarfon - Bangor
  • Beddau - Pontyclun
  • Hirwaun (or Aberdare) - Glyn Neath
  • Criccieth - Caernarvon (or Bangor)
  • Merthyr (or Dowlais) - Brecon, Builth and Machynlleth
  • Pontrilas - Hay on Wye
  • Barmouth to Ruabon
  • Penarth to Barry direct route (parallel to Vale of Glamorgan route)
  • Hereford - Brecon via Hay on Wye
  • Porth - Maerdy
  • Neath - Glynneath -- with Glynneath then linking up with Hirwaun and Aberdare if the line to Hirwaun is reopened
  • Brynmawr-Abergavenny
  • Mold - Chester
  • Tidenham - Hereford (Wye Valley)
  • Llangollen - Wrexham
  • Denbigh - Caerws - Bangor on Dee
  • Aberystwyth - Tregaron - Lampeter - Carmarthen
  • Mumbles Tramway (Swansea Bay)
  • Afon Wen - Caernarvon (and on to Bangor)
  • Welshpool - Oswestry
  • People have also suggested the following stations for reopening: Caerleon; Swansea Landore; Peterston-super-Ely

Scotland

Note: Scotland is covered by our sister organisation, Transform Scotland, but readers of our website have suggested that the following lines be reopened:

  • Hamilton - Bothwell - Glasgow/Edinburgh
  • Thornton - Leven in Fife
  • The Waverley Line beyond Tweedbank to Hawick
  • Dunblane - Callander
  • Dunfermline - Alloa
  • Dumfries - Castle Douglas - Kirkcudbright - Stranraer
  • St Andrews - Leuchars

Campaign for a reopening

If you think a rail line or station near you should be reopened, get in touch with us. You could also work with campaigning groups in your area.