Tony Lloyd, Member of Parliament for Rochdale, welcomes successful first step in application to restore the Bury–Heywood–Rochdale rail line.
Tony Lloyd said, “Today’s Government announcement that Rochdale and Greater Manchester had been successful in its bid to the ‘Restoring Your Railway Ideas Fund’ will allow for Transport for Greater Manchester, working with Rochdale, to work up a business plan aimed at the reopening and improvement of some 6 miles of railway between Bury and Rochdale.
“This isn’t the scale of investment we need in our rail system but it is a step on the route of getting some high quality rail investment in the borough.
“Metrolink services and the rail service from Rochdale to Manchester provide transport to the city centre, but it does not provide the kind of connections we need to get around the city region, in particular, from Rochdale and Heywood to Bury.
“The current public transport offering between Heywood and Manchester city centre is provided by bus services but during the busiest times of the day this journey can take more than one hour, limiting the borough’s residents’ access to the many jobs located there.”
The ‘Restoring Your Railway Fund’ aims to reinstate axed local services and restore closed stations. The Department for Transport will work with Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) to agree research remits and appropriate joint governance and timescales.
The Greater Manchester five-year delivery plan, which was published last year by TfGM, shows the Bury–Heywood –Rochdale route to be of key consideration with the corridor highlighted as being suitable for intervention. TfGM are also currently undertaking a tram-train pathfinder project in this area.
Notes for editors:
Ten bids have been announced to receive a share of a £500,000 Restoring Your Railway ‘Ideas Fund’ to develop proposals to build or reopen railway lines and stations, including those closed following the Beeching cuts of the 1960s. (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/re-opening-beeching-era-lines-and-stations)
Bury, Rochdale and Oldham are connected to the regional centre of Greater Manchester by the Metrolink Network. This network was developed by replacing existing railway lines across Greater Manchester with light rail, metro-style services and over thirty years has developed from concept through to carrying 45 million trips per year.
Heywood station was closed to normal passenger services in 1970 and since 2003 has been used by the East Lancashire Railway, as an important heritage railway tourist attraction.
The Restoring Your Railway scheme could help us provide low carbon, rapid transit connectivity between the four North Manchester towns of Bury, Heywood, Rochdale and Oldham, facilitating connections from Heywood to Manchester City Centre with the rail services from Castleton and Rochdale, or with Metrolink services from Bury.