Corsham Station plan on track

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: John Thompson of Wiltshire Council, PMP Michelle Donelan who compiled the survey, Railway Minister Stephen Hammond with, standing,  council chair Ruth Hopkinson and long-time campaigner Anne Lock John Thompson of Wiltshire Council, PMP Michelle Donelan who compiled the survey, Railway Minister Stephen Hammond with, standing, council chair Ruth Hopkinson and long-time campaigner Anne Lock

Corsham could have a working railway station again within five years, according to railway minister Stephen Hammond.

Mr Hammond MP visited the town on Thursday to discuss reopening the town’s abandoned station with campaigners and gave his backing to the scheme.

He said: “The community’s case I have heard today is one of the most powerful cases I have heard.

“There is a revitalisation and regeneration of the town, but there are also more people coming to live here.

“We need to make sure the business case is properly worked out, and Network Rail and the operator are involved, but it could go ahead in somewhere between five and seven years.”

The town’s station was closed in 1967, and residents and councillors have worked for more than 30 years to see it reopened.

Their campaign has been boosted by the mayor of Bristol’s plans to improve the wider Bristol area network, and has received the support of Wiltshire Council and the Swindon and Wiltshire LEP, a network of local businesses working to promote economic growth in the county.

Corsham Town and Wiltshire councillor Phillip Whalley was at the meeting. He said: “I think there are a lot of things coming together now that really makes it exciting.

“We are probably in a better place now that we have been for 10 years.”

Town councillor Anne Lock has campaigned to reinstate the town’s station for almost 30 years, and said she was pleased to be invited to meet with the minister again.

She said: “It is very positive, and it’s nice to think that the minister has gone back to London with some of the detail from our historic surveys, which show the need for a station here.

“It’s great that all our local MPs are working together on a joint case for this area and are all singing from the same hymn sheet.”

The minister was invited to the town by Conservative parliamentary candidate Michelle Donelan. She said: “Corsham is a community that is growing, and on the doorstep it’s something people are passionate about.

“It was a good morning, and the minister was very much on board with helping push this through.

“We need to drive this forward and make sure the momentum carries on.”

Duncan Hames, Lib Dem MP for Chippenham, said: “I sent the minister a letter in November about the station and he was kind to acknowledge in his most recent response that I have a long-standing support of the campaign.

“We are a lot more optimistic in Wiltshire that we can turn around an old narrative of the decline of the railways, and I am committed to seeing a renaissance of the railways in the UK.”

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