By Daniel Mumby for the Western Gazette
A LANGPORT group’s plans for new “sprinter” trains ferrying passengers to Taunton and Castle Cary has been warmly greeted at a conference in London.
Christopher Maltin traveled to the capital this week on behalf of Transition Langport, which is backing the Western Gazette‘s Back On Track campaign to restore rail services to Somerton and Langport.
Since returning from the conference, he has reiterated his call for a feasibility study into new stations for the Langport area.
Mr Maltin was one of more than 130 delegates at the Rail Station Regeneration and Development event, which focussed on the economic and community benefits that railway stations can bring.
In between the numerous guest speakers – including Network Rail managing director Nigel Biggs – Mr Maltin was able to present his proposals for “sprinter” trains to ferry passengers from a new station at Langport.
He said: “We at Transition Langport were delighted to be represented at the conference.
“All the major players from the rail industry were there, and the theme which came across again and again was that regenerating and developing railway stations provided the key to regenerating and bringing prosperity to any area.
“Everyone was supportive of the aims of the Somerset District and Circle Line, and some very significant speakers and delegates at the conference pledged their support.”
The Somerset District and Circle Line is the transport task force of Transition Langport, which is seeking to use former London Underground trains to transport passengers to faster trains at Taunton and Castle Cary.
The trains would run on electric motors powered by locally-produced biomethane, and could eventually serve Bristol and Bath on the existing circular line.
Speaking earlier this month, Mr Maltin said: “Two passenger carriages would have another carriage attached to them, which would contain the biomethane and a generator.
“The biomethane fuels an engine that runs the generator and you get the electricity to power the train.”
Following the conference, Mr Maltin reiterated his desire for an independent feasibility study to be conducted into the prospect of new stations in the area.
He said: “It is essential that we raise enough money to pay for an independent feasibility study into the re-opening of railway stations as an integrated part of this sustainable and environmentally friendly community transport system.
“Completion of this study (assuming the recommendations are positive) will give us access to the New Stations Fund already set up by the Government to provide the money to re-open old railway stations.”
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced in his summer budget that the New Stations Fund would be renewed this year, with £20 million up for grabs to build new stations or re-open old ones.
More information about Transition Langport’s vision for the Somerset District and Circle Line can be found at www.somersetdistrictandcircleline.com.
To register your support the Back On Track campaign, cut out and fill in the petition slip in the Western Gazette and send it to the address provided, or sign one of the many petitions which are in shops across Somerton and Langport.
Read the original article in the Western Gazette here.