Local communities are to get improved access to rail services in England and Wales thanks to a £20m fund which will help towards the cost of building new stations.
The new stations fund, which was announced last year by the Department for Transport and opens for bids today, is designed to provide vital additional funding for ‘shovel ready’ projects which can be brought quickly into use for the benefit of passengers and the economy.
Organisations such as local authorities, passenger transport executives and train operating companies keen to boost economic and connectivity by providing new stations are all being encouraged to submit bids.
Robin Gisby, managing director of network operations at Network Rail, said: “Rail is absolutely vital to the economy, connecting people with jobs, bringing friends and families together and helping businesses move goods from ports and airports to our high streets.
“As more and more people decide to travel by train, it is important we not only expand capacity where it is needed but also improve access to rail travel. This fund will provide a welcome boost for all those who wish to see better rail links in their community.”
Proposed new stations must be at a sufficiently developed stage and the plans supported by train operating companies and Network Rail. While the £20m will contribute towards the cost of scheme construction, bidders must have available a portion of match funding of the project cost.
Applications will be assessed by a cross-industry panel including representatives from Network Rail and the Department for Transport. Details of the application process can be found at www.networkrail.co.uk/NSF. The closing date for submissions is 25 February 2013.