Corsham Station site from Potley Lane Bridge (Photo Trevor Porter)
A NEW funding bid for train stations in Corsham and Wilton have been submitted to the Department for Transport. Wiltshire Council have bid for funding to develop feasibility studies for the two proposed stations as part of the DfT’s Restoring Your Railway Ideas Fund.
The proposed new two platform station for Corsham would connect the Great Western Main Line with potential links to London Paddington, Bristol, Swindon and Reading.
It would also reduce traffic in the town as it would provide easy access to and from the MOD Corsham site, according to the council.
The goal in Wilton would be the creation of a four platform station adjacent to the park and ride site. The station would give rail users an easy link to Salisbury and access to services across the south of England – including sustainable access to Stonehenge, Cranborne Chase and national cycle routes.
Cabinet member for highways, Bridget Wayman, said the two bids would improve rail links in Wiltshire. "However, it's important to state that these are early days for each of the bids," added Cllr Wayman. "If one or both are approved at this stage by the DfT in the next few months, we will be given funding to take the bids to the next step, which will see the preparation of strategic outline business cases. Only then could we start to get an indication of whether the bids will be a success, but we have submitted comprehensive bid applications, so we have high hopes. Both submissions are an excellent example of partnership working, with local council members, council officers, MPs and the town councils all working closely with other stakeholders to create these strong bids."
If approved the local authority expects the Wilton station project to cost around £20m which it would hope to complete between 2024 and 2029. The Corsham bid is expected to cost between £10m and £15m to see complete.
Cllr Wayman continued: "Implementation of the station would be dependent on securing a suitable train service, which will involve work with the rail industry and key partners along the line."
Both bids have seen support from MPs including Michelle Donelan and John Glen, as well as six other MPs from across the region, rail companies, Corsham Town Council, Bath & North East Somerset Council, Bath Spa University, Chippenham Town Council and MOD Corsham.
Chairman of Corsham Town Council, Steve Abbott said it was important that the case for a new train station in Corsham was put forward but was cautious about setting hopes too high. We're not alone and there's lots of competing bids going in. I'm not optimistic about this bid but I'm optimistic about the longer term that something will change and we can have a train service in this town."
A similar funding bid for research toward restoring services to the Great Western mainline including a new station at Corsham, Royal Wootton Bassett and East Swindon was not picked up under the same DfT scheme last year. It's making sure we put our case forward and maybe one day our time will come," Cllr Abbott added.