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Railwatch 076 - July 1998

Growing clamour for rail return

Rail campaigners have been looking to both the rail reopening conference and the Government's White Paper on integrated transport to give them a boost.

More than 100 delegates attended the conference in Cambridge.


A discussion paper on Stansted-Braintree reopening was circulated after a new survey of the route by RDS member Andrew Hoines.

The new initiative was prompted by plans to expand the capacity of the largely single carriageway A120 east of Stansted Airport.

Reopening the line would link up with existing railways at both ends and revolutionise the currently poor public transport in the area with both new local and regional direct links.

Since closure, nature has reclaimed much of the route, which has also been developed by Essex County Council as the Flitch Way, a linear walking and cycling route. While some sections and structures have been removed, much of the route from Takely to Braintree survives and the B183 road overbridge west of Takely station is intact.

The railway bridge over the River Roding is intact, but closed, presumably for safety reasons (low walls and high drop).

At Great Dunmow, the disused railway trackbed has been incorporated into the Dunmow bypass and the station and viaduct crossing of the River Chelmer have long been demolished.

There appears to be sufficient space alongside the bypass and underneath two overbridges to fit the railway along more or less the original alignment. But this area seems to be one of the biggest obstacles for the new railway to negotiate.

Braintree station area is being refurbished, with only a single platform remaining. Through running would still be possible with the current layout. Sufficient space remains to reinstate a second platform on the original site.

If you can help the campaign, contact Andrew Hoines on 01920 468 796 or by email to: ACH39310@glaxowellcome.co.uk


At the other end of England, Cedric Martindale has been running virtually a one-man campaign to reopen the Penrith to Keswick line for years, reports the TR&IN consultancy newsletter TR&IN TIMES.

A rail link would give Lakes residents a fast link to the West Coast main line. Bus links also have a role to play and currently 80% of rural areas of Cumbria have no bus service.

"Putting on a bus is cheap and easy because there are no road building costs to meet," say the local group. "But only rail provides a long-term solution."

Contact Cedric Martindale on 01228 525342

A-Z of Rail Reopenings

The latest book from RDS details the success of the rail renaissance. And editor Alan Bevan predicts: "Rail still has immense latent potential to provide fast, safe, attractive public transport to relieve our congested, polluted and dangerous roads."

A-Z is an essential reference source and inspiration for anyone who wants to see more people and freight back on the railways.

Railtrack has ordered copies of the book for its managers. It is the only easily available reference book on the subject. More copies were sold after a promotion in RAIL magazine and Modern Railways.

Most of the cost of this book was met by a generous donation from an RDS member. If you want a copy, send £7.90 (post included) to RDS Sales, 89 North Wallington, Fareham, Hants PO16 8TJ.

Local councils have been the key players in getting many of these stations reopened. Now county councils and metro-politan authorities have statutory responsibility to develop public transport.

There are still many glaring examples of much needed rail stations including Kenilworth, Wantage and Corby, along with many routes in need of reopening to serve such towns as Alloa, Washington, Dudley, Caernarfon, Dunstable, Tavistock , Ebbw Vale, as well as many other stationless communities.

A great many hopes and expectations now rest on the proposed strategic rail authority.

Note: contact details (postal and email addresses, along with telephone numbers) in old editions of Railwatch out of date. Click CONTACT US for latest contact details.

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