The Campaign for Better Transport has called on the Government to invest in a programme of rail reopening schemes.
The £4.8 billion investment would initially create 33 new lines with 72 new stations, allowing an additional 20 million passenger journeys a year. CBT calls for ‘a new methodology to identify and prioritise those projects which bring the biggest benefits to the country’.
CBT’s report, The case for expanding the rail network, considered 224 potential reopening projects and developed a list of 33 ‘Priority 1’ schemes for which a clear case can be made. Within these, a first phase would focus on projects on the existing network, primarily conversion of freight-only lines, for delivery from 2020-25, with a second phase of larger and more complex projects running from 2026-35. Other projects have been categorised as Priority 2 (feasible but requiring further development) or Priority 3 (not currently feasible).