One of the most significant events in recent railway history occurred in early September but was lost in the overwhelming news of the migrant crisis and the marking of our Queen’s longest reign.
The event I refer to is the opening of the first new railway line in over a century – the Borders Line between Tweedbank and Edinburgh in Scotland.
At around 30 miles and £300m it almost parallels the scope and cost of the Minsters Rail Line between Beverley and York, which many detractors say will never happen and is too expensive.
Many of the people who oppose the Minsters Line do so because they will be directly affected by trains running near their homes, yet I understand that the building of the Borders Line has resulted in an increase in development near the line because of the convenient form of travel it offers.
The aim of the Minsters Rail Campaign is to see a sustainable mass transit system established across the East Riding, a half hourly rail service through the day between Hull and York linking Cottingham, Beverley, Market Weighton, Pocklington, Stamford Bridge and Haxby with the national rail network coupled with bus feeder services to villages near the main stations and adequate parking at each station to facilitate an integrated transport service.
The Carlbro Report of 2005, commissioned by the East Riding of Yorkshire Council to look at the feasibility of reopening the line, concluded with such statements as “the value of benefits of the scheme are estimated at greater than the total value of the costs” and “this study has determined that the project is feasible”. It also found that the line would “reduce traffic on the A1079 and A166”, “improve tourism in the area” and “provide better access for employment, health and education”.
Yet there are still people who oppose it. Why? The Minsters Rail Campaign is continuing to lobby for the project and has recently received support from MPs in York and Beverley who will try and establish a cross party group to further our aims.
If you are interested in helping you can join the campaign at www.minstersrail.net or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Facebook and Twitter.