Government announces cash to develop passenger rail link between Ashton-under-Lyne and Stockport

The government has announced funding to develop proposals to reinstate a passenger rail line between Ashton-under-Lyne and Stockport.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak today unveiled the contents of his Autumn Budget and spending review in the House of Commons.

The Budget includes £500m to restore transport services lost in the Beeching cuts of the 1960s and improve local connectivity.

Of this, £650,000 has been earmarked to pay for feasibility work on 13 proposals for new lines and stations reinstating passenger links.

In Greater Manchester this would see up to £50,000 distributed to develop early stage proposals for an orbital rail link between Ashton in Tameside and Stockport.

The idea was taken to government by Denton MP Andrew Gwynne,Ashton-under-Lyne MP Angela Rayner and Stockport MP Navendu Mishra last year.

A formal bid was put forward by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) and Stockport council, but with the backing of Tameside council.

It had proposed two options – a heavy rail service between Stockport and Manchester Victoria via Denton and Reddish South, and a light rail service connecting with the existing Manchester-Ashton Metrolink line at Ashton Moss in the north, and with the proposed Stockport-East Didsbury line in the south.

These proposals also opened the possibilities of new stations along the line at Audenshaw, Thornley Lane and Heaton Norris.

Reacting to the news, Mr Gwynne today tweeted: “Absolutely delighted that Ministers have approved the Restoring Your Railways bid for the line through Denton and Reddish South.”

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He said that TfGM will now get the funding to draw up technical plans for the line.

“Reopening this missing link would be transformative for Tameside and Stockport,” the Denton and Reddish MP added.

Currently public transport connections between Tameside and Stockport are limited to bus only.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said: “Today’s Budget delivers a stronger economy for the whole of the UK with the North West receiving support to drive business growth, boost the local economy and help working families with the cost living.

“The Liverpool City Region and Greater Manchester will receive almost £1.8 billion in investment to expand and enhance local transport networks, providing funding for projects such as next generation Metrolink tram-train vehicles, and battery power for rolling stock to expand the Merseyrail network.”

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