Rail Minister: Beverley-York railway 'has potential'Tue 1st December 2020
Graham Stuart, MP for Beverley and Holderness and parliamentary sponsor of a bid for funding to help restore the direct rail route from Beverley to York, has said that he remains ‘optimistic’ about the project’s future, despite the proposal being initially turned down by the Government.
Back in June, the MP submitted a bid to restore the 32-mile length of track from Beverley to York to the Department for Transport’s Restoring Your Railway Fund. Billed as an opportunity to reduce traffic along the A1079 – boosting job opportunities and tourism in the area – the project has been rejected at the second funding round.
In total, 111 bids have been submitted by 219 MPs, all of which have been evaluated by a panel chaired by the Rail Minister, Chris Heaton-Harris MP, which also included the Chair of Network Rail, Sir Peter Hendy, and Isabel Dedring – the former London Deputy Mayor for Transport.
Despite this setback, the Rail Minister has described the proposal as having ‘potential’, and there will be an opportunity to strengthen the bid before submitting a revised case to the next round of funding. There remains strong local backing for the scheme in the area with East Riding of Yorkshire, City of York, Hull City and North Yorkshire County Councils all expressing their support, as have York MPs Julian Sturdy and Rachael Maskell and Humber MPs Dame Diana Johnson and David Davis.
Graham said, “This is of course disappointing news, particularly after the hard work of the Minsters Rail Campaign and East Riding Council to work up and submit the bid back in the summer.
“But this is definitely not the end of the line. Support for the project is still there, and there’ll now be opportunities to strengthen our bid and submit an even better case in a future funding round with the help of feedback and workshops from the Government.
“I will continue to do all I can to support this bid as I want to see greater investment into infrastructure in our area.”
Success in the Government fund would mean the Department for Transport covering up to 75% of the costs of carrying out extensive transport and economic studies so that a comprehensive business case can be created. Future funding to develop projects would be subject to agreement of the business case.
The proposed Beverley-York line would branch off the existing Hull-Scarborough route which runs through Beverley, with stops at Market Weighton, Pocklington, Stamford Bridge and Haxby – which has just been successful in the Government’s New Stations Fund.
Graham added, “The most recent census indicated that about a quarter of East Riding residents commute to either Hull or York, so I really think this train service would provide a popular alternative to the congested roads and sparse bus services we have at the minute.”