Transport group sets out pitch to build Northampton's-own 'park-and-ride shuttle train'

"It can be done - it must be done as development is raining down across the areas"

Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 7:00 am
A transport group wants a disused railway line to be put to work as Northampton's own shuttle link to Brackmills.

A transport group has set out its reasons why a derelict trainline in Northampton should be used to build a park-and-rise shuttle into town.

Many of Northampton's residents might not know about the disused Brackmills track. It runs out the bottom of Northampton railway station and pivots under Towcester Road before it runs all the way to Great Houghton and beyond. But it hasn't carried passengers in decades.

But one group - the English Rail Transport Association (ERTA) - says the line should be dusted off and put to work to create a shuttle train to link the town centre, the Waterside Campus and Brackmills Industrial Estate.

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They have published a brochure to drum up support for their plans and set out how it could be done.

Chairman Richard Pill previously told the Chronicle & Echo: "With the creation of a park-and-ride parking lot, people could even park outside of town and shuttle into the town centre of the line and take the pressure off of the urban area.

"There might not have been a business case for it before but that was before the 500 new homes were approved.

"With the heavy traffic that affects Northampton so often, it really could give people so many more options."

The disused line used to operate as part of the Northampton-Bedford but was shut down in 1962.

Richard says the existing route could be brought back to life and put to work as a shuttle service between town centre and Great Houghton - with stops to connect Brackmills, the Waterside Campus, Far Cotton, and the 500 new homes set to come in that area.

The ERTA has also previously found an ally in the CEO of Brackmills Sara Homer, who in 2020 said she would do "anything she can" to get the shuttle train plan heard by the borough council.

Richard told the Chron: "Northampton has unique issues, but is no island. It is wanted as a place of significance, but also what it could contribute to other areas if the radial rail links were better.

"It can be done - it must be done as development is raining down across the areas and unless we act now [...] we lock-in congestion and associated blights.

"Thinking big does not mean HS2 costs and values. Thinking small starts local and sees the wider potential."