A RAILWAY station could be ready for Corsham as soon as 2019, according to the chairman of the town’s train group project.

More than 60 years after the station closed, momentum towards reopening it is accelerating down the track following the formation of a working group in the town late last month.

Corsham Town Council, MP Michelle Donelan, Corsham Institute and the TransWilts Community Rail Partnership among others formed in late March to build a compelling region-wide case for reopening the station.

Forecasts from a Wiltshire Council study, the Atkins report, indicate that a Corsham station could carry up to 400,000 passengers a year with an identified for journeys to and from Bath, Bristol and Wiltshire too.

Cllr Peter Pearson, who is chairing the group, said: “We cannot accelerate any more than we are. It is progressing nicely. At the earliest it could be ready for 2019 but more realistically between 2019 and 2021.

“This would be a hugely beneficial project to Wiltshire and further afield. We have a strong economic case here. A report will go to National Rail, who would fund it, in about 16 weeks.

“This has been in the public eye ever since it closed but now we are taking action. We are at stage two with the Governance for Rail Investment Projects (GRIP) process. It will not happen overnight but positive steps are being made.”

The need for a station could be accelerated with the news that Corsham has been earmarked to have a £40 million Ministry of Defence cyber security hub – creating jobs, more investment and a potential influx.

Ms Donelan said: “We are really delighted by the amount of support we have received, both from Westminster and closer to home, the process is accelerating along nicely.

“Surveys have shown record levels of demand for wanting a station, more than 80 per cent. On top of the MOD news, there is a huge case for this anyway.

“We do have a very pro-rail government. It is about persuading Network Rail that this is a viable but also a profitable enterprise and service. I have mentioned this several times in Parliament. We are trying to set up a meeting with the department of transport again.

“This is a local and a regional campaign with a lot of benefits and there is a lot of good will behind this project. I am confident we can push this forward but it is not an easy process, it is costly, time consuming but very worthwhile.”

Wiltshire Council said after the Atkins report: “An initial analysis indicates it could be viable to introduce a new hourly train service between Bristol and Swindon to serve a new Corsham Station, with possible extensions to Oxford or Cardiff.

“Four possible service options have been tested: a new service from Bristol Temple Meads to Swindon; a new service from Bristol Temple Meads to Oxford; a new service from Cardiff Central to Swindon and an extension of the MetroWest service from Bath Spa to Chippenham.”