New rail stop for Stafford

A new railway station just outside Stafford may be on the cards as part of a planned high speed rail "bypass" for the area.

train-station.jpgA new railway station just outside Stafford may be on the cards as part of a planned high speed rail "bypass" for the area.

The Government has promised to consider having such a "park and ride" stop, dubbed Stafford Parkway, to the north of the town on the new proposed route.

Stone MP Bill Cash has been pushing for the move, arguing that it would reduce traffic congestion and improve access to high speed rail travel.

He said: "Such a station would allow commuters to reach high speed trains without having to face, and add to, the congestion in Stafford or Stoke-on-Trent as they travel to the station."

The Minister for Rail, Tom Harris, has now written to Mr Cash saying that such a stop is being considered.

But he said considerations would have to balance the likely traffic to be generated against the disadvantages that could arise to longer distance business as a result of an additional stop.

Mr Cash said: "I welcome the assurance of the Minister that a Parkway station is being considered. I believe that it is vital to the economy and the people of the Stone constituency and beyond.

"It will link most of Staffordshire, east Shropshire and parts of the North West Midlands directly to the national and European high speed network."

The news follows Network Rail's recent announcement that it had plans afoot to expand the country's rail network.

It is proposing five new high-speed main lines, including the "bypass" route to the north of Stafford.

Stafford's Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate Jeremy Lefroy has also welcomed news of a possible Parkway station.

He said: "We now have to convince Network Rail and the government of the benefits of the station."

Mr Lefroy, who is a member of the national Railfuture organisation which campaigns for better railways throughout the country, said the UK tended to be too short-term in its planning for transport.

"There is every chance, within a few years, we will be seeing trains direct from Glasgow or Manchester to Paris and beyond. They will inevitably use the Stafford bypass route," he said.

"With a 'Stafford Parkway' station in place, probably with longer platforms to accommodate the 18-coach Eurostar/TGV trains, passengers from Staffordshire and further afield within the West Midlands will have direct access to the Continent.

"This could also be very important in winning over passengers currently travelling by air. It should not reduce the number of services calling at Stafford station, as it will be opening up a new market for rail travel."