Here we'll bring you the latest news, with updates on progress and information about forthcoming events
The Cirencester Community Railway Project was accepted into the Department for Transport's Restoring Your Railway Ideas Fund in December 2020.
Alongside several other projects we were offered £50,000 to develop our business case and establish contacts with the appropriate people and bodies to drive the project forward.
Most of the other projects are focussed on improvements to the existing rail netwrok, like reopening old stations. We are aiming to be the flagship project for the concept of setting up a Very Light Rail service to link a town with the rail network. We foresee a big demand for this type of zero-carbon public transport system, as there are many towns which currently have no rail connection, but are not far from a main line station.
Our objective is to have the service in place in time to make it easy for people to cut down their journeys by car. Timescales depend very much on funding of the development, and on a smooth passage through the planning process, and we're pleased to say that the Town Council and CDC have been extremely positive and supportive at all levels.
We're told that technically, with support from the DfT and at County level, the VLR train could be open for business by 2024 - but we're not promising it will go that smoothly!
We have now submitted our Strategic Outline Business Case, and we await the review by the DfT's specialist Panel of Experts. If they like it, they will fund the next stage - the Outline Business Case - which will go into much more detail and work with planners to develop the design.
In the meanwhile, our rail consultants, Engineering Integration Limited, are working on the Secondary Phase of our Feasibility Study, which we are aligning with the needs of the OBC to maximise efficiency.
We are also helping Cotswold District Council draft the specification for an in-depth study of transport options in the Cirencester area, focussing largely on the Cirencester - Kemble link but also addressing the need for an integrated public transport system to include the villages too. We will ensure the study takes full account of the urgent need to offer solutions to the climate crisis and to meet the UK's Net Zero carbon targets.
It's all very exciting, and we have been talking to various local organisations to explain the idea. You can find a video of our presentation on the website of the Cirencester Science & Technology Society.
We're hoping to be able to organise a public consultation meeting in the centre of Cirencester in the next few months, so if you're interested you can come and tell us what you think of the idea. We're keen to hear all the pro and con aspects, so that we can get the best possible service for the maximum number of people!