Demand from local residents and businesses for improved rail transport has long been heard – and joint working between two local councils and four local MPs has moved this dream a little further down the tracks.
An outline bid for funding for a feasibility study on proposals to re-open the line between Leek and Stoke has been jointly submitted to the Government by MPs Jack Brereton, Jonathan Gullis, Karen Bradley and Jo Gideon, Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, the lead authority, as part of the Restoring Your Railway Fund.
Councillor Sybil Ralphs, Leader of the District Council and Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said: “It’s been a long-standing ambition of mine – shared by many, many others – to see rail services brought back to Leek so this joint work between local councils and MPs to put forward a detailed bid for a feasibility study is a welcome step forward.
“There is still a long way to go to secure the necessary funding to re-instate the line but I know that doing so will really help to level up our community by enabling local residents to access the mainline rail network and offering visitors a great way to visit the Moorlands without the need for a car.
“It’s an exciting project and I’m pleased that through our partnership with local MPs and Stoke-on-Trent City Council we are working together to ensure communities across North Staffordshire gain from the very real benefits re-opening the line would bring.”
The bid has received the backing of Network Rail and Northern Rail, County and parish councils and key businesses in both the Moorlands and Stoke including those in the aggregates industry.
The outline proposal sets out why the line should re-open – the next stage would be funding to commission a formal feasibility study to look at how the line would operate, the location of the stations and the type of service that would operate.