A RAIL user group has carried out a survey revealing the reopening of six miles of disused railway should be considered to ensure better transport links.

The Shakespeare Line Promotion Group (SLPG) online survey found more than 94 per cent of Stratford upon Avon Town Centre businesses and more than 800 rail users have said in response to an online survey that they want local authorities and stakeholders to get an Economic Impact Study (EIS) done into reopening six miles of disused railway. Reinstating the disused line would enable reconnection with the Worcester and London mainline at Honeybourne, and potential direct trains using these services.

The rail user group, which works with and is supported by the Cotswold Line Promotion Group, has highlighted what they describe as a notional value of more than £20m in additional income to South Warwickshire being potentially available per year from reopening the line, which was closed after a derailment at Winchcombe in 1976.

"We need to confirm the economics, and the only way to do that is by an economic impact study into reopening the disused section of the line" Fraser Pithie, secretary of SLPG said at a recent meeting.

"Trains could also service the new Garden Village housing development at Long Marston where a total of some 6,000 new homes are being built and by rail would be within around 50 minutes of Birmingham.

"One of the key elements that are needed before any reopening could take place is for the two remaining sections of single track along the Cotswold line to be redoubled. We believe an EIS on reopening Stratford-Honeybourne, if positive, could help the Cotswold Line Task Force with the business case they are building to get the redoubling done by Network Rail," the secretary added.