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Reopened Railways & New Lines

86454 Views 362 Replies 87 Participants Last post by  Ming13
Is there a definitive list of lines that have been reopened, newly built in the UK in recent years? I heard on the radio that the UK has the fastest expanding European network but I find that hard to believe. It would nice to see how much of the damage of the cuts has been reversed.

A partial list:

Airdrie-Bathgate Rail Link
Waverley Railway Project
Stirling-Alloa-Kincardine rail link
Glasgow Airport Rail Link
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The UK railway network is indeed expanding and the most impressive thing are the usage figures (for both passengers and freight carried). Over 1.2 billion passengers in 2007 - highest since the demobilisation in 1946 and far higher than the "good old days" of the 20s and 30s. Even more impressive when you consider that the network is about half the size of back then.

The white heat of British railway growth is shown clearly in this 2007 study by the TOCs themselves - YEAR GROWTH REPORT-1.pdf

Anyway, back to the issue of newly reopened lines:

Telford Railfreight Terminal, Shropshire (re-opened line from Wellington to Donnington)
Ebbw Vale Line, South Wales (re-opened line from Cardiff to the Airport there)
Also many of the cut lines are now successful heritage railways, which are expanding in line length and numbers.
There is a plan to reopen the line from Harrogate-Ripon, which once was the main route from Leeds north, of course displaced by the ECML now. But it's at least a decade off I'd say. 2014 at the very earliest- that's pushing it.

The Wensleydale Railway has been reopened and theres a plan for further reopening that is likely to go ahead. It's using historic stock so is ore of a tourist railway I think, but seems to be encouraged as a commuter railway too.
The Wensleydale Railway is a joint heritage/"real" line (though privately owned and run). Quite an interesting project really.
A few years ago now, but the Larkhall branch on the Argyle line in Glasgow reopened in 2005, along with the extension of the Maryhill line to Anniesland.
In England the only recent lines I can think of are the Broad Street viaduct (East London Line extension) and Sunderland-South Hylton (Tyne & Wear Metro extension), plus a few short sections of recent tram schemes involve reusing old lines. We'll shortly have Kettering-Corby reopened to passenger services.

England has a slighlty better records with new/reopened stations.

But I think "fastest expanding" refers to passenger numbers, not mileage.
Great thread.

It says alot that most of the reopened lines have come with devolution in Scotland and Wales, thus proving my point that centralised systems are a disaster for localised services.

Stoke before nationalisation had the Staffordshire Knot railway network after nationalisation it was all shut down.

Anyway back on topic, there is currently a railway survey being conducted to open the Fleetwood to Poulton railway line:

The last survey said it would cost 15 million pounds to reinstate the railway line as the track bed is still there and until recently was regularly maintained.

Giving Fleetwood access to the national railnetwork would be a big boost to the town.

Apart from that line, one other line I would love to see open is the Woodhead Tunnel in Sheffield, this would have a huge benefit in taking pressure of the national network.

On the heritage railway front, the Welsh Highland Railway are making good progress in re opening their line:

(again this is a project that has been supported by the Welsh Assembly).
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Kettering - Corby is due to open in December

Some more that are in the planning stages (and have been for years...)

Bere Alston - Tavistock (near Plymouth - being financed by a housing developer in Tavistock)

Uckfield - Lewes This one crops up from time to time. It might have a chance because it is a way of relieving pressure on the crowded London - Brighton main line

Colne - Skipton there is a well organised campaign to reopen this line

Bicester - Bletchley (including connection to Aylesbury) An extension north of Aylesbury is actually under construction at the moment.
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The Preston Docklands railway reopened about 3 years ago for 2 purposes:
- A new heritage line as part of the Ribble Steam Railway Museum.
- Weekly freight train to Total Bitumen as part of their strategy to take their wagons off the road
Absolutely fascinating thread. I never knew there was so much fervour for reopening old lines! But this is great.

A couple of notes about my area. The reinstatement of Uckfield to Lewes is a great idea, and the re-linking to Tunbridge Wells a great idea. Unfortunately there is a supermarket blocking the route at Tunbridge Wells West, making this probably impractical. Uckfield to Lewes is still an OK idea - there is a half hourly double decker bus route that I often use and there is definately the potnetial passengers required. As a diversionary route for the Brighton mainline to Eastbourne I don't feel it's appropriate as it's a little circuitous, but the East Grinstead - Lewes route is, and this is the Bluebell railway line, and the trackbed is almost entirely intact with no supermarkets. I would love to see this line reopened, taking 2 fast trains per hour off the Brighton mainline. Two slight diversions would be required to be built south of Horstead Keynes due to stupid housebuilding, but not by much as there are empty fields next to the old line (where they didn't build the houses - it beggars belief that in open countryside they built on the old railway line - I know why, but its still stupid!)
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We should really have a track bed bank as they do in America. Maldon in Essex has been completely cut off from the network with the track being replaced by dual carriageway. Is there any sense to replacing small branch lines with guided bus ways?
And there was a lot closed even before 1961.

As I said I didn't know there was so much interest in getting old lines reopened, did a little searching, found this page - has a download of disused railways in southern england for google earth or maps.
Wouldn't it be amazing to see the railway restored to the extent it was in 1961? Looking at that map, in my area anyway, theres a few things to note. I mentioned the reopening of the line to Ripon in the future; if the line was reopened all the way to Northallerton to an electrified high speed standard, it would extend the MML north (providing MML is electrified), being a secondary London-Leeds and beyond route. If electification could happen for the Leeds-Carlisle line, there would then be a second London-Scotland route, bypassing the congested English section of the WCML.

There were lots more lines than the 1961 map shows; clearly many had closed by then.
Check this out for probably the most comprehensive network map, with all disused railways and stations listed. Unfortunately it doesn't include Manchester and northwards.
^^ You may have forgotten the link.
There's so many closed lines! :fiddle: Fantastic find Logosen! Thanks. :)
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