Government's "Restoring Your Railway" Funding in Full Swing with First Round Winning Bids Announced

Test Train on Borders Railway (Borders Railway)The Department for Transport is inviting 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.

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

  1. 1. the Ideas Fund, to restore rail services (other than rail station creation or restoration)
  2. 2. accelerating existing proposals, to increase development of a previously submitted rail proposals
  3. 3. proposals for new or restored rail stations

Ideas Fund
Through the Ideas Fund the Government are seeking proposals for projects to restore lost rail connections to communities. This could include:

  • 1. upgrading a current freight line to include passenger services and restoring stations on it - such as the line to Ebbw Vale in South Wales
  • 2, restoring track and services to an old alignment - as is being done between Bicester and Bletchley
  • 3. modifying an old route due to construction or other unavailability over the original route

DfT will fund 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 would be subject to agreement of the business case.

Any application for the Ideas Fund must be sponsored by one or more Members of Parliament whose constituencies would benefit from the scheme. The group promoting the scheme may include:

  • 1. community groups
  • 2. local government
  • 3. local enterprise partnerships

4. or other interested parties.

A "lead promoter" is required to assist in:

  1. 1. specifying the train services sought
  2. 2. identifying what benefits the scheme might bring

Applications must make clear what the local support is for a scheme and whether there is any opposition.


The Ideas Fund Panel comprises:

  • Chris Heaton-Harris MP - Rail Minister (Chair)
  • Simon Clarke MP - Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government
  • Sir Peter Hendy - Chair, Network Rail
  • Jackie Sadek - CEO UK Regeneration
  • Isabel Dedring - Former London Deputy Mayor for Transport

  • Successful bids for the First Round of the Ideas Fund

Ten bidders for the first round of the Ideas Fund have been successful in their application for funding to enable them to progress their proposals towards developing a business case:

  1. 1. Reopening Meir Railway Station between Stoke-On-Trent and North Staffordshire
  2. 2. Passenger services on the Barrow Hill line between Sheffield and Chesterfield
  3. 3. Passenger services on the Leicester to Burton (Ivanhoe) Line
  4. 4. Reinstatement of branch lines on the Isle of Wight
  5. 5. Reinstatement of passing loop between St Albans Abbey and Watford Junction (Abbey Line)
  6. 6. Reopening of Wellington and Cullompton stations
  7. 7. Passengers services on the Bury-Heywood-Rochdale Lines
  8. 8. Regular passenger services on the Clitheroe to Hellifield Line
  9. 9. Reinstatement of rail access to Devizes via a new station at Lydeway
  10. 10. Passenger services on the Totton-Fawley (Waterside) Line

Future Ideas Fund funding rounds

The June 2020 funding round is progressing with the deadline for full applications by 19 June 2020.
There will be a third funding round in November to enable as many communities as possible to take advantage of the support provided.