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[27 JUL 00] RUGBY GROUP NEWS
Southam Backs Rail Link - But Will It Ever Happen?

Southam councillors back the plan to take lorries off the road and get Rugby Cement freight on the rail.

But the district council leader fears it may never get off the drawing board, and lorries will thunder through the area for decades to come.

Rugby MP Andy King is backing the project for Rugby Cement to reopen the railway between the Long Itchington works, which is being closed, to the enlarged main site in Rugby.

He said it will save lorries using the rural roads between Southam and Rugby for the next 45 years.

Cllr Bob Stevens, leader of the Stratford District Council (covering Southam) and county councillor for Southam, likes the idea, but is not sure it will stack up financially.

He said the idea has cross-party support, but added:

I think most people are behind this, other than a few people at the Model Village (Long Itchington) who are worried about the noise as the trains go by their house. But we are not sure it will happen.

I think when we had Rugby Cement, we were dealing with a local company that cared about the environment, but things have changed.

He remembers trains using the freight link as late as 1986, but now the line stands empty and is used by walkers. 

There was a scheme to develop the redundant line as a cycleway between Rugby and Leamington.

Some hope a renewed rail link could see passenger services between Rugby and Leamington, although few doubt that would be viable. 

So much of the land in the Leamington has been lost to development and the urban Rugby end could soon be transformed into a relief road.

Cllr Stevens said:

The negotiations are continuing and should be complete by the end of next month. We do welcome the idea of the rail line. 

"The county council has given them (Rugby Cement) until the end of August to say if it wants the line.

I not sure that people really think it will happen, but it would save all those lorries on the road.

The Long Itchington plant closed in May and work continues as part of the wind-down until the end of August and then all material will be taken to Rugby, either by road or rail.

The old site is likely to make way for a mix of housing and industry, and some hope a country park will also be included in the new planning brief being drawn up by Stratford District Council.

SEE: [25 JUL 00] RUGBY MP BACKS RAIL LINK TO SOUTHAM
  

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CWN / Business / Newswire / Rugby Group Plc / 27 Jul 00

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