Our vision is that the Somerset District and Circle Line will provide an integrated sustainable transport system to serve the local community. The service will employ lightweight stopping trains powered by renewable energy.
We are in the process of forming a Community Interest Company. Initially, 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 SD&CL access to the New Stations Fund already set up by the government to provide the money to re-open old railway stations.
The envisaged sequence of events is as follows:
Form the Community Interest Company
Raise the money (Local and County Councils please note) to pay for an independent Feasibility Study into the advantages of re-opening local stations in this area
Submit the study to the government with an application to release money from the existing New Stations Fund
Re-open previously closed station(s) using money from the New Stations Fund
Incorporate stopping at the re-opened station(s) in the timetable for through trains
Re-open more local stations
Introduce a new service using the refurbished District and Circle Line trains powered by biomethane
As members of Transition Langport we expect that the independent Feasibility Study will recommend the re-opening of Langport station, our reasons being as follows:
Problems created by the closure of Langport railway station
- Closure left a gap of more than 28 miles between Taunton and Castle Cary – the longest section without a station between London and Penzance
- Langport and Huish Episcopi lie in the centre of a large area of central Somerset denied easy access to the rail network
- Nearest stations at Taunton, Castle Cary, Bridgwater and Yeovil Junction are all 12-15 miles away
- No bus to Castle Cary station, or to Taunton station which is a half mile walk from the bus station…
……so most people drive!
Opportunities for re-opening Langport Station
- The main rail line through Langport remains in full service and the previous station site has remained largely undeveloped
- Unusually, almost the entire population of Langport and Huish Episcopi is within walking distance of the station, unlike e.g. Castle Cary Station (as illustrated by the next slide)
Reasons for re-opening Langport Station
- Since the Beeching cuts, the population of Langport and Huish Episcopi has more than doubled – from 1,722 in 1961 to around 3,500 today, with 4,000 looking possible by 2020
- Rapid growth in rail use nationally – passenger numbers at Castle Cary, for example, have almost doubled from 152,000 in 2002/3 to 275,000 in 2011/12
- Bow Street is still the only road through Langport and is too narrow and unsafe for today’s heavy traffic flows on the A378