Rail campaign facing ‘serious obstacles’: MP

East Yorkshire MP Sir Greg Knight.
East Yorkshire MP Sir Greg Knight.

A campaign to resurrect the Beverley to York railway line now faces “serious obstacles,” according to East Yorkshire MP Sir Greg Knight.

Mr Knight says that, in his view, there is no chance of re-opening the line in the near future, and that there is only a very slim chance that the line will ever be re-opened because of the huge costs now involved.

His comments are a blow to The Minsters’ Rail Campaign, which has been campaigning since 2001 to re-open the line.

He said: “The railway should never have been closed. It was a marginal decision at the time, I understand, but with the advent of new technology and more efficient trains, I believe it would have remained viable.

“Some very important stretches of the line have now been built upon, most notably in Market Weighton, Pocklington and Stamford Bridge. This has created serious obstacles for any campaign seeking to reopen the line, not least one of cost.

“The issue was looked at by the last Labour government who concluded that reopening the line was not financially viable. I do not think the present financial climate means there is a realistic hope of this line being re-opened.”

The Minsters’ Rail Campaign wants the East Yorkshire, Beverley and York MPs to join a committee to try and move the project forward.

Mr Knight says he is happy to meet with the campaigners but they should not underestimate the challenges that they face. Campaigners are currently seeking funding to pay for a feasibility study into the re-opening of the railway line, and have approached York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership for funding.

The proposed railway line would include stops at Pocklington, Market Weighton and Stamford Bridge. It is expected to cost around £300million.