To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what process the Government will use to decide which rail routes and stations closed after the Beeching report are re-opened; what the Government's timeframe is for that process; and if he will consider reopening (a) the Woodhead line, (b) the direct Derby to Manchester line (via Bakewell), and (c) Millhouses station in Sheffield, Hallam constituency.
This Government has been clear that our ambition is to level up local economies across the country, improving access to jobs and education and boosting the wider region. Improving connections across the rail network is obviously an integral part of that.
The Secretary of State wrote to all England and Wales MPs outlining the process and inviting them to contact him by 28 February if they wished to bid for the first round of study funding for schemes in their constituencies. Outline proposals needed to be submitted by 16 March for initial assessment.
For those bids already put forward as part of the Beeching Ideas Fund – such as for the Derby to Manchester line – these are currently under consideration by the Panel of ministerial, local authority and rail industry representatives. We have adapted the process so it is consistent with the Government advice on COVID-19 and a virtual panel chaired by the Minister of State is examining bids on paper in the first instance. We are keeping applicants up-to-date on the timetable.
For those who have not yet applied to the Ideas Fund there will be another round in June and another in the autumn. We published a progress update on gov.uk on 27 April and my department has written to all MPs about future rounds.
For proposals for reopening or new stations that are sufficiently advanced the third round of the New Station Fund closes to applications on the 5 June.