Restoring Your Railway Fund

Updated 27 October 2021

This guidance was withdrawn on

This fund is not accepting new proposals, as of November 2021. An update on progress made by projects supported by the Restoring your Railway Fund was published in 2022.

Applies to England and Wales

Policy overview

In January 2020, the government pledged £500 million for the Restoring Your Railway Fund to deliver on its manifesto commitment and start reopening lines and stations.

Since the launch of the fund, the Department for Transport (DfT) has invited MPs, local councils and community groups across England and Wales to propose how they could use funding to reinstate axed local services and restore closed stations.

More than 50 years since the Beeching cuts of the 1960s, when thousands of miles of both track and stations were closed, Restoring Your Railway is supporting projects that have the potential to level up opportunity across the country. Towns and communities across England and Wales, left isolated when their railways were closed, are closer to having their connections restored.

From November 2021, the fund is not accepting new proposals. The focus is now on realising the benefits of existing schemes to regenerate local economies and improve access to jobs, homes and education.

A summary update of the progress of schemes in the Restoring Your Railway portfolio was published in June 2022.

Funding is split into 3 categories to support different projects at different phases of development. The categories are:

The Ideas Fund

Through the Ideas Fund, we are supporting the development of projects to restore lost rail connections to communities.

DfT is funding 75% of costs, up to £50,000, of successful proposals to help fund transport and economic studies and create a business case. Future funding to develop projects is subject to agreement of the business case.

The government has also announced £100,000 of funding for a feasibility study on reinstating the Fleetwood-Poulton line.

Ideas Fund bids

Three rounds of the Ideas Fund have been held, in January to March 2020, April to June 2020, and January to March 2021. Across these rounds, 141 unique bids were received, with some schemes re-submitted to multiple rounds following feedback. Including re-bids, a total of 199 bids were received. Thirty-eight bids have received funding to develop a strategic utloine business case. A list of all bids and a list of bids that have received funding are available.

A list of all bids and a list of bids that have received funding are available.

Decisions for funding were made by the Ideas Fund expert panel, which comprised:

  • The Rt Hon Chris Heaton-Harris MP – then Rail Minister, DfT (Chair)
  • The Rt Hon Simon Clarke MP (rounds 1 and 2) – then Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG)
  • Luke Hall MP (round 3) – then Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, MHCLG
  • Sir Peter Hendy – Chair, Network Rail
  • Jackie Sadek – Chief Operating Officer, UK Regeneration
  • Isabel Dedring – former Deputy Mayor of London for Transport

Sponsorship and promotion

Applications to the Ideas Fund were sponsored by one or more Members of Parliament whose constituencies would benefit from the scheme. Groups promoting schemes include:

  • local government
  • community groups
  • heritage railways
  • local enterprise partnerships
  • other interested parties

Advanced proposals

Funding has also been made available to accelerate the development and delivery of schemes with strong existing business cases and other schemes that already have supporting analysis and are seeking a larger sum to progress further.

Two of the schemes in this category, the Dartmoor Line and the Northumberland Line, are the most advanced schemes in the portfolio.

On 20 November 2021, the Dartmoor Line between Okehampton and Exeter officially reopened for year-round services for the first time in nearly 50 years, marking the first reopening under the programme. This was made possible thanks to over £40 million of Restoring Your Railway investment.

In January 2021, £34 million of funding was announced to progress plans to reopen the Northumberland line to passenger services between Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Ashington by the end of 2023.

Other high potential schemes funded through the advanced proposals category are being supported to reach the next appropriate stage of rail project development, through the usual process for rail enhancements within England and Wales.

Proposals for new or restored stations

Funding worth £32 million was provided for a third round of the New Stations Fund, which closed on 5 June 2020.

The fund is a pre-existing approach which since its inception in 2014 has invested £40 million over 2 rounds for the delivery of 10 stations across England and Wales. The fund provides up to 75% of the cost of building new stations and helps to give local communities improved access to rail. The New Stations Fund has already delivered 8 new stations across England and Wales.

Six railway stations have been successful in gaining funding to support their construction. These stations are to be completed within CP6 with a deadline for completion by April 2024. Two further railway stations received further funding to develop their proposals.

Further information, including details of the funded proposals, can be found on the New Stations Fund section of the Network Rail website.

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