The Return of the Railway for Longhope?

An ambitious plan to bring the railway back to Longhope, nearly 50 years after it was axed by Mr Beeching, is set to hopefully become more than a dream. A new company has been reinstated, The Wye Valley Railway Company, under the directorship of Peter Smallwood, and together with the right financial backing to the tune of £300 million, believes it could come to fruition in the next few years. He envisages trains running from the British Rail junction at Grange Court, once more through Blaisdon, to Longhope, and then on to a new station named Mitcheldean Lea (to replace the former Mitcheldean Road Station), and then to Ross-on-Wye. From Ross-on-Wye he hopes to build a branchline to Tintern to reinvigorate tourism in the Wye Valley once more. Mr Smallwood claims that it would create hundreds of new jobs and bring big financial rewards in the form of thousands of new tourists to the area. Not only this, it could alleviate some of the road problems associated with the daily commute to Gloucester each day.

He says that he is very optimistic about the venture and has had plenty of positive feedback from all the people of the area, and even Forest MP, Mark Harper, has backed the idea in principle. He has made contact with Infrastructure UK, a division of the Treasury, who have asked to have a meeting to go over his plans.

His plans for Longhope are to bring the old station back to life! Several months ago Mr Smallwood contacted this website to explain his ideas and to ask whether we thought that the parishioners of Longhope would benefit from his novel idea. We pointed out that several houses have now been built on the course of the old line since 1965, and the remains of the old station is now in private hands. Not only that, his biggest problem – which he acknowledged – was how to cross the busy A4136 Longhope bypass with his railway, to take it alongside Velthouse Lane to Blaisdon.

What do you think of his idea? Do you think he is mad in this age of austerity to try and build something costing so much money? Or do you think it will bring more people and jobs to this area? Do you fancy having your home bulldozed for the sake of a railway? Will there be a Park and Ride at Longhope so people can catch the train into Gloucester? Let us know your thoughts, and we may publish the repeatable ones!!

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