Cambrian group appoint consultants for railway restoration
THE group driving the restoration of the railway to Oswestry has appointed two consultants to outline the vital business case for the line to Gobowen.
Cambrian Heritage Railways (CHR) has instructed Stantec UK Ltd and Allan Rail to develop the Strategic Outline Business Case (SOBC) for the route from Oswestry to Gobowen.
Roger Date, CHR chairman and spokesman, said they were awarded the contract for how they intended to ‘unlock’ the potential for the line in their pitch.
He said: “We look forward to working with Stantec Ltd and Allan Rail over the next few months.
“We were impressed with their submission and they clearly have a great deal of experience in this type of work and appreciated the uniqueness of this potential project in that the line of route is not part of the national rail network.”
The proposed project would reconnect Oswestry and the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital to the main line at Gobowen, with plans for very light rail units to operate.
The appointments follows up the Department of Transport’s (DofT) announcement in late 2021 that CHR was one of 13 successful applicants to Restoring Your Railway Ideas Fund third round of finance, aimed at reopening lines and stations.
CHR says the SOBC will identify the case for transport investment in the Oswestry and Gobowen area, set objectives for that investment and generate, develop and appraise a range of options which could deliver those objectives.
This will include consideration of a comparatively low cost and innovative ‘Very Light Rail’ solution, and will provide CHR with a firm evidence-based case for investment which will be presented to the DofT in the Autumn of 2022.
Stephen Canning, Stantec project manager, added: “We, together with our long-term partner AllanRail, are delighted to have been appointed to deliver this important study.
“This SOBC offers an opportunity to blend both a community-based case for investment and potentially innovative transport solutions which will maximise the social and economic benefits to Oswestry and Gobowen.”
Councillor Vince Hunt, chairman of Shropshire Council and also of the project Stakeholder Steering Group, said: “It goes without saying that I share the delight that has already been expressed that the project has taken another step forward.
“There are a number of people that have put so much work and effort into progressing this and I thank them for their dedication and vision.
“This if successful would change Oswestry for the better and make it more prosperous.
“I urge everyone to get behind this.”