Government announce Yorkshire rail schemes that could receive 'reverse Beeching' funding
The Department for Transport has confirmed that seven Yorkshire proposals are included in a list of 50 rail restoration schemes across the country.
Earlier this year the government invited bids from MPs and councils who believed they had a strong business case to re-open a line or stations as part of the £500million Restoring Railways fund.
The project was nicknamed the 'reverse Beeching fund' as it was expected that many of the submissions would concern routes closed in the 1960s as part of the British Rail cuts programme led by Dr Richard Beeching.
The deadline has now passed and an expert panel will now consider which proposals should be awarded funding, with a decision expected by the end of the summer.
Seven schemes in Yorkshire have been shortlisted. They are:-
York to Beverley - the Minsters Line
The Minsters Line, which linked York and Beverley, closed in 1965. Beeching felt that many passengers used it for travel between York and Hull, and that it had become a duplicate route, with the intermediate stations underused.
Beverley and Holderness MP Graham Stuart and the Minsters Rail Campaign group submitted a bid to re-open the line, with stations in the population centres of Market Weighton and Pocklington, which have grown since the route's closure. They argue that much of the trackbed is still there - including the Hudson Way cycle and footpath - while there could be diversions around parts of the original route that have since been developed. Stations would be built on the outskirts of the towns as 'railheads' to encourage commuters to park and ride.
The campaigners are motivated by the increase in congestion on the main road into York and further population growth forecasts for the 'dormitory' towns as property prices in York rise.
Read about the Minsters Line reinstatement campaign in more detail here.
Upper Wensleydale Railway - the Hawes branch
One of the smaller proposals is for the re-opening of the Hawes branch of the Wensleydale Railway by a local campaign group. The line ran from Hawes Station to Garsdale Station, which is on the Settle to Carlisle Line and was then known as Hawes Junction Station.
Passenger services ended in 1959 and the route was lifted in 1964. Hawes Station remained derelict for many years until the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority bought the site in the 1990s, and it is now part of the Dales Countryside Museum.
The trackbed still exists and passes through isolated farmland. Campaigners argue that resinstating it would provide rail connections from Hawes to the Settle and Carlisle Line, allowing passengers to access Skipton, Leeds, Carlisle, and other parts of the main rail network. Tourists could also travel from Hawes - a popular visitor destination - onwards to the Three Peaks.
The reinstatement would also complement the Wensleydale Railway heritage line's ongoing ambitions to link their western terminus at Redmire back to Garsdale, and their eastern terminus at Northallerton to the East Coast Main Line. A through route from Hawes to Northallerton would then be open.
Sheaf Valley stations
Sheffield's MPs are behind the bid to re-open stations in the city's western suburbs. They want Heeley and Millhouses to be reinstated and capacity to be increased at Dore & Totley Station.
The stations at Heeley, Millhouses and Beauchief, along with three of the four platforms at Dore & Totley, shut in 1968. The stations were on the Midland Main Line between London, Nottingham and Sheffield's extension from Sheffield to Chesterfield.
Heeley was demolished, although the subway remains, and the buildings at Millhouses were cleared in the 1980s. Dore & Totley lost its Midland Main Line platforms, but remains a single-track halt on the Hope Valley Line between Sheffield and Manchester.
As the line between Sheffield and Chesterfield is still operational, the MPs have argued that reinstating a local stopping service would reduce congestion into the city on the Abbeydale Road and Ecclesall Road corridors. Passengers using these stations could also commute to Manchester via the Hope Valley Line connection at Dore & Totley.
A daily train service on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway
The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway has been run as a heritage line since the Midland Railway's branch from Keighley Station to Oxenhope closed in 1962.
Running a commuter service between Haworth, Oakworth, Oxenhope and Keighley - which has mainline connections to Bradford and Leeds - was suggested back in 2011 and a feasibility study began, but the plans were scrapped because local councils weren't willing to subsidise the trains.
Now a bid has gone in to run a daily passenger service aimed at commuters rather than visitors to the heritage railway, which does not run trains on weekdays outside of the peak summer season. There is already a scheme that entitles local residents to discounted travel on the line on Saturdays.
The KWVR's managers had previously warned that extensive subsidies would be required to maintain the diesel locomotives that would be used and that more paid staff would be needed, as the heritage railway is run mainly by volunteers.
A new station to serve the Advanced Manufacturing Park at Rotherham
The Advanced Manufacturing Park near Rotherham is a major employment growth area but there is currently no rail link.
There has also been extensive housing development on former colliery land near the village of Waverley, and Rotherham Council are keen to open a new station to serve the growing village as well as the business park, which is home to Rolls-Royce and McLaren.
The station would likely be sited on the nearby line between Sheffield and Cleethorpes.
South Yorkshire Joint Railway
The SYJR was a mainly industrial line built to serve the mines and steelworks around Rotherham and Doncaster. Passenger trains were withdrawn in 1929, but the route is still in use today for goods traffic. At its peak, there were connections to eight collieries.
The 30-mile route, though short, connects to several other lines that lead to larger towns and cities. It runs from Kirk Sandall, near Doncaster, to Dinnington.
There were only three passenger stations - Dinnington & Laughton, Maltby and Tickhill & Wadworth - none of which were particularly close to the communities they served, and usage was never high. The service ran from Doncaster to Worksop using several lines.
Rother Valley's MP, Alexander Stafford, has led the bid to re-open the three stations, arguing that the communities along the freight line are poorly served by public transport.
New train services between Barton-on-Humber and Sheffield
North Lincolnshire Council have bid for funding to subsidise a new train service that would allow passengers from Barton-on-Humber to travel to Gainsborough, from where they would be able to catch direct services to Sheffield.
This would be achieved by diverting the existing Barton to Grimsby and Cleethorpes trains up a freight-only section used by traffic heading to Immingham docks. There have never been passenger trains using this path before.