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£10k study into railway reopening

Pro-rail campaigner Fraser Pithie. Photo: Mark Williamson.
Pro-rail campaigner Fraser Pithie. Photo: Mark Williamson.

A STUDY to look into the economic impact of the reinstatement of the Stratford to Honeybourne railway line is to be carried out.

Five councils, two train operating companies, and two pro-rail groups will fund its £10,000 cost, the Herald has been told this week. Its findings will be published by the spring, or early summer.

The cost of the economic impact study will be shared between Stratford and West Oxfordshire district councils, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire county councils, and operating companies Great Western Railway and London Midland.

User groups Stratford Rail Transport and Cotswold Line Promotion Group will also contribute.

A meeting will take place in two weeks at the headquarters of Worcestershire County Council, which is leading the study on the basis that much of the length of the route is in its area, to set out the terms of the study.

Fraser Pithie, secretary of the Shakespeare Line Promotion Group, said: “This is about getting it looked at, to see whether it flies or should be dismissed.

“Dismissing the railway without obtaining the facts undermines potential support for local businesses and the future amenity and quality of life in south Warwickshire, north Gloucestershire, east Worcestershire and indeed Stratford itself."

It has also been confirmed that pro-rail campaigners will meet with Network Rail bosses to discuss the reinstatement at the end of the month.

The meeting with Network Rail has been called to discuss the omission of the line’s potential for reinstatement from both the Western, and the West Midlands and Chiltern route studies — both of which were published last year. The line, which closed in the 1970s, crosses the boundary between the two.

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