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Rail operators call for reopening of Beeching lines

Train operators have proposed a £500 million expansion of the UK rail network, which would see the creation of 14 news lines and up to 40 new stations.

The Association of Train Operating Companies unveiled the proposals in a report, called Connecting Communities, which calls for Network Rail and local authorities to prioritise investment in these routes.

ATOC suggests that a number of the rail lines closed due to the Beeching report in the 1960s could be reopened to potentially serve a million people, who currently have no access to the network.

The areas which could benefit include Cranleigh in Surrey, Brixham in Devon, and Fleetwood, Rawtenstall and Skelmersdale in Lancashire.

The proposal would also see the reopening of Leicester to Burton line.

According to the report, the new connections could be implemented from 2014 and would be operational within five to 10 years.

ATOC chief executive Michael Roberts said: “Providing attractive new services and easier access to the rail network will encourage passengers to switch to rail from other, less green, modes of transport.”

“Many past studies have looked at re-opening old railways but this one looks first at the market, not the map, analysing where people live and where they want to travel.”

“We have established that there is a strong business case for investment to bring a number of towns back onto the rail network.”