RAIL campaigners fighting for the re-opening of the Honeybourne line say they are getting the backing to get them back on track.
Worcestershire and Gloucestershire County Councils have both given their support to the reinstating the ‘missing link’ – a six mile stretch of line from Stratford to Honeybourne – which could create a South Midlands orbital line.
Both authorities based their support on the need to provide relief in towns like Stratford from the ever-increasing number of vehicles on rural roads.
Campaign group Stratford/Worcester/Oxford (SWO) also believe the line is needed in light of proposals to build some 5,900 new homes at Long Marston.
A Gloucestershire County Council spokesman said: “The provision of frequent public transport services to Stratford and Honeybourne would provide a sustainable alternative to the car for residents and employees travelling for the proposed development.
“Reinstatement of the line would provide a strategic link from the North Cotswold line to the Midlands opening up the possibility of direct services from Stratford to Oxford and London in the east or to Worcester in the west.”
And Worcestershire County Council said it would expect the construction of a new railway station at Long Marston as part of the solution to the problems of traffic on inadequate rural roads in the area.
SWO spokesman Fraser Pithie said: “We are really pleased that both Gloucestershire and Worcestershire County Council’s can see the compelling case for reinstatement of the line. The need for it due to the planned major development at and around Long Marston is in itself justification enough.
“With the line’s reinstatement Stratford station has the potential to bring in many more visitors direct to the town centre shops and businesses who also surely deserve the support from greater connectivity and infrastructure.”
The group argue re-opening the line would have huge economical benefits as well as providing a direct line to both Worcester via Evesham, and Oxford via Moreton-in-Marsh.
The line closed in 1976 due to then financial constraints on British Rail.
In October, SWO welcomed chancellor George Osborne’s announcement of government plans to establish a National Infrastruture Commission to look at the local and national benefits arising from greater public transport connections.