Cambrian Heritage Railways (CHR) is pleased to announce that they have awarded consultants Stantec UK Ltd and Allan Rail the contract to develop the Strategic Outline Business Case (SOBC) for the route from Oswestry to Gobowen.

The proposed project would reconnect Oswestry and the Robert Jones & Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital to the main line at Gobowen. It is envisaged that the line would operate very light rail units as currently seen on the Stourbridge branch line.

This follows the announcement by the Department for Transport late last year that Cambrian Heritage Railways was one of the 13 successful applicants to Round 3 of the Restoring Your Railway- Ideas Fund. The Fund is aimed at reopening lines and stations in order to reconnect and level up communities by giving access to jobs, homes and education.

The consultants will prepare an SOBC, which 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.  The SOBC will provide CHR with a firm evidence-based case for investment which will be presented to the Department for Transport in the Autumn of 2022.

Cambrian Heritage Railways (Main Promoter) spokesperson Roger Date commented.

We look forward to working with Stantec Ltd & 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.

Stantec Project Manager Stephen Canning commented:

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.

Cllr Vince Hunt, Chair of Shropshire Council and Chair of the Stakeholder Steering Group for this project commented ‘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.

Alice Bulpin (Network Rail), Philip Hulse (RJAH), Jacob Wing (DfT), Joe Bubb (Shropshire Council), Cllr Vince Hunt, Adele Nightingale (Oswestry BID), Roger Date (CHR).

Adele Nightingale (Oswestry BID), Alice Bulpin (Network Rail), Roger Date (CHR), Philip Hulse (RJAH), Joe Bubb (Shropshire Council), Jacob Wing (DfT) & Cllr Vince Hunt.

Artist Impression.