Friday, 14 August 2020

York to Beverley Rail Line Study

PLANS to re-open the railway line between York and Beverley have taken a another step forward.

East Riding of Yorkshire Council has pledged up to £20,000 to help fund a feasibility study into the restoration of the line.

The re-opened line could provide a good alternative York to Hull route

The route is currently on the Department for Transport’s (DFT) shortlist for a potential £50,000 of Government funding after Beverley MP, Graham Stuart, submitted a bid with the backing of East Riding of Yorkshire Council and the Minsters Railway Campaign Group earlier this year.

The Government funding is to be used for economic evaluations of the railway lines which were axed as part of ‘Beechings cuts’ to see which lines would be the most beneficial if reinstated.

The grant would cover the majority of the cost of a feasibility study into the York to Beverley line, with the council funding the shortfall of up to £20,000.

If the study shows the line is viable, it will be added to the DFT’s work programme and all future costs for the line’s restoration will be met by the Government.

Wolds Weighton councillor, Leo Hammond, who has led East Riding’s campaign said: “I am absolutely delighted that, with the help of Council Leader, Councillor Richard Burton, I have been able to secure this money. The reopening of the line would be a huge benefit, not just for my Wolds Weighton Ward, but for the whole East Riding and wider Yorkshire region; bringing in additional investment and jobs, whilst providing a big boost for the local economy.”

The route – which would branch off the existing Hull-Scarborough line to the north of Beverley and also serve Market Weighton, Pocklington, Stamford Bridge and Haxby – would provide significant relief to the congested A1079 for commuters and tourists, boosting job opportunities and tourism in the region.

If the line was built again, a new alignment would have to be found to take into account modern development over the original trackbed. The section between Market Weighton and Beverley has also become the Hudson Way cycle path, and whether to preserve it would pose a dilemma for sustainable transport champions, although it would not be impossible to provide both the rail line and the cycle way side by side. 

New stations along the Minsters Line would better serve the modern passenger by operating as railheads on the outskirts of towns and villages, with extensive park and ride facilities for commuters driving from their homes to catch the train into York or Beverley.

This is the aim of the Minsters Rail Campaign, whose members have identified new locations for stations that reflect current needs.

The line could also speed up journey times - currently the 38-mile trip takes two hours by bus. 
Roads in the area are heavily used by tourists bringing all day congestion to local routes.
Commuters currently face major congestion so they would be encouraged to leave their cars at home or at park & ride locations.

Pocklington Station

The new alignment would skirt around towns rather than passing through the middle of them. Information published by the office and Beverley and Holderness MP Graham Stuart has asserted that some of the track would be laid on 'reclaimed farmland' and mostly follow the original route, with some necessary diversions around new house building. Much of the land is in local authority ownership, so acquiring it would not be difficult.

The DFT is due to announce which lines are to receive funding by the end of Summer.