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To: Chancellor of the Exchequer
Reinstate more railway lines in England
A few years ago, the then Chancellor of the Exchequer agreed to fund station opening/reopening on existing railway lines by allocating £25m annually. This is sufficient to fund approximately three stations each year.
I would like the current Chancellor to agree, in his Autumn Statement, to allocate £150m annually for reinstating rail routes eventually to all settlements of 15,000 residents and over in England. £150m would be enough to open approximately ten miles of railway annually on a rolling programme.
Why is this important?
In hindsight, it is recognised that the Beeching closures in the 1960s went too far as many larger settlements lost a very valuable lifeline to the national rail system leading to an explosion in motor vehicles for leisure and work and an equal increase in new road expansion and air pollution.
The City Region hubs of commerce are now gridlocked in the peaks leading to high levels of air pollution from wear dust and exhaust emissions.
430,000 tons of tyre dust alone is produced annually from 50 million tyres. Particulate size less than ten microns become airborne and inhaled by all mammals and are small enough to reach the deepest parts of lungs causing pulmonary and coronary disease. Tyre wear dust also has a carcinogenic and mutatogenic effect on tissue cells contributing to 50,000 premature deaths annually from road traffic pollution.
Many closed railway lines within urban areas are now essential in reducing city and town centre congestion and pollution.
It is a known fact that bus usage has reduced at the same rate as rail footfall has increased in the last ten years to a point where more rail routes are desperately needed to increase capacity and opportunity to use rail. Rail is the preferred mode of transport in urban and inter urban travel and as such can encourage modal shift away from car by reducing travel time.
There has been an increase in new rail route investment in Scotland and Wales, in the last fifteen years but not in England outside London.
The Campaign for Better Transport has identified routes in every Region in England that would benefit local communities by being reinstated increasing connectivity and social inclusion with the rest of the UK.
The Government would do well to take notice of Campaign for Better Transport's list of preferred reinstatements.