The following from Fraser Pithie of SWO was published in the Stratford upon Avon Herald on 1 October 2015:
It is welcome news that Stratford on Avon District Council are making a bid for the Local Enterprise Partnership to fund a comprehensive study into the re-instatement of the Stratford-Honeybourne railway line that would, if re-opened, provide direct trains services to Oxford, Reading and London Paddington as well as to Worcester and the new Worcestershire Parkway which will enable journeys to and from the South West and South Wales without the need to go north 25 miles to Birmingham and change stations.
Let’s see what the report says, let’s ensure adequate mitigation to protect properties near the line in Stratford and the Greenway is maintained in any proposals and their cost but let’s not engage in Lib Dem alarmism about “heavy freight trains” and using terms such as ‘horrified’. Such comments are ill informed as the Cotswold line (Worcester-Oxford) is not able to take "heavy freight trains”. Let’s deal with the real issue, the communities to the south and west of Stratford stand to experience the impact of some 5,900 extra homes and the need arising from that for people to travel to/from employment. With the possibility of part private funding towards re-instatement of the line SDC is right to bid to get the concept properly investigated so it can be properly considered.
For those that dismiss the idea or even getting a detailed study completed you are accepting some 7,000 to 9,000 more vehicles and the journeys they will make through the local communities to which I refer. Think about it, if you could board a train at Long Marston and get to your work in Birmingham, Worcester, Oxford or beyond why would you take the car? Let’s also consider that the new routes opened by the re-instatement would also provide a significant opportunity to increase footfall with visitors into Stratford’s town centre, something many of the town’s retailers would welcome particularly with the severe reduction by Chiltern Railways of direct London/Stratford services from October.
It’s noteworthy that Worcestershire County Council, Mid Worcestershire’s new MP, Nigel Huddlestone, and the Managing Director of Great Western Railway (formerly First Great Western) will not be waiting for the report as they all vigorously support reinstatement because they can see the potential. For those that are interested in more detail on re-instating the line it can be found on www.suawoox.com