General election 2019: Towns stranded by 1960s railway cuts 'will be reconnected' under a £500m plan


Commuters in the North, however, might suggest that the money would be better spent improving the creaking Northern Rail system

Friday, 15th November 2019, 12:01 am Updated Friday, 15th November 2019, 10:14 am Boris Johnson pledged to spend GBP500m to reconnect to the rail network such places as Ashington, Seaton Delaval and Blyth (Photo: FRANK AUGSTEIN/POOL/AFP/Getty)

Towns and villages left stranded by railway closures in the 1960s will be reconnected to the network under a GBP500m plan to boost communities "that have been left behind", Boris Johnson has said.

Sign up to our Politics newsletter

The i politics newsletter cut through the noise

Mr Johnson pledged to spend GBP500m to reconnect to the rail network such places as Ashington, Seaton Delaval and Blyth in the North East of England, and Skelmersdale, Thornton-Cleveleys and Fleetwood in the North West.

Johnson woos voters with rail pledge

Dr Richard Beeching's reports of 1963 and 1965 called for the closure of thousands of miles of railways (Photo: Potter/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty) A report released yesterday showed that fewer than half of trains ran on time on the busiest routes, while passengers are still waiting for replacements for Northern Rail's dilapidated Pacer trains. The Beeching cuts were based on recommendations in two reports by Dr Richard Beeching in 1963 and 1965.

These reports led to about 4,000 miles of track closures because they indicated that transporting freight by road was cheaper. Receive more election analysis every weekday lunchtime by signing up to the i on politics newsletter here The Government committed itself to reopening rail routes in 2017, including the "Varsity line" between Oxford and Cambridge.

The money will be put used to rebuild some disused stations and restore rail lines, focusing on areas where between a third and two-fifths of inhabitants do not own a car. However, the amount of money made available has been questioned because it falls well short of the amount needed to reopen many of the highest-priority rail lines. Mr Johnson said such as areas had "for too long... been overlooked and left behind.

We will invest in these communities and help people put the heart back into the places they call home." Travelling to and from work is taking longer, with the average daily commute lasting 59 minutes last year, more than five minutes longer than a decade ago, according to figures from the Trades Union Congress.

Read More

Read More

General election 2019: Labour pledges free full-fibre broadband to every UK home and business by 2030

Fact check

While transport pressure groups will welcome the extra rail investment, it is a far less than what was called for by the Campaign for Better Transport.

The charity estimated that GBP5bn over five years was needed to make a substantial difference to communities, opening 72 stations, generating 20 million extra passenger journeys and bring more than 500,000 people within walking distance of a station.

You may also like...