Up to £50,000 has been set aside in Rishi Sunak’s Budget for a business case to be formed – the potential precursor to an in-depth feasibility study.
And, while plans to reopen the 40-mile Minsters’ route still remain tentative nearly 60 years after the line fell victim to the Beeching cuts, Beverley and Holderness MP Graham Stuart says this week’s announcement is a significant boost.
“This is fantastic news for the local area, and although this is only the first step it demonstrates there is recognition of the benefits this project could bring,” declared Mr Stuart, a former International Trade Minister.
“If we were in the South East, there’s no way that two cities as important as Hull and York wouldn’t have a decent rail link to help boost tourism and make it easier for commuters to get into work. It’d give my constituents in Beverley and Holderness more frequent services into the city centre and let them travel westwards without having to change at Hull. ”
He added: “Of course there will be kinks to work out, some people who’ll benefit from the scheme more than others, but that’s what the feasibility study and business case is for: to iron these out.
“We’re lucky to have the cross-party support of local MPs and councils along the length of the line and I will be looking to build on this support.”
MPs said to be backing the bid include Dame Diana Johnson (Hull North), Emma Hardy (Hull West & Hessle), David Davis (Haltemprice & Howden), Julian Sturdy (York Outer) and Rachael Maskell (York Central).
The project is also being supported by international engineering firm AECOM which is involved with the redeveloping the Northumberland Line connecting Newcastle and Ashington via Blyth.
The proposed East Yorkshire line would branch off the existing Hull-Scarborough line, which passes through Beverley.
It would stop at Market Weighton, Pocklington, Stamford Bridge and Haxby before arriving at York, and would also serve Cottingham and Hull.
And it could improve access to the Yorkshire Wolds after their designation as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Six decades since Beeching axe
THE York to Beverley line was first given the green light in 1846.
The first leg from York to Market Weighton opened the following year.
However construction of the second phase was delayed for 17 years by the downfall of railway financier George Hudson, the then Lord Mayor of York, and deteoriating economy.
The route was recommended for closure in the 1963 Beeching report and closed in November 1965.
The Minsters’ Rail Campaign was established in 2001 to promote the re-opening of the line.
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