Wiltshire Council has welcomed proposals by the new mayor of Bristol to reopen Corsham railway station.
George Ferguson, the independent elected mayor of Bristol, has approved funding for major improvements to the Bristol area railway network, which includes provision for a new station in Corsham.
His proposals still need to be approved by Bristol Council before the bid goes before the Department for Transport, but, if successful, could mean the reopening of the station, which closed in 1963.
Wiltshire Council has strongly supported the proposal. Dick Tonge, the cabinet member for transport, said: “We welcome this promising news about what has been one of Wiltshire Council’s priorities for many years.
“We are looking forward to working with the greater Bristol area consortium to help make this a reality and bring rail travel back to Corsham.
“After many years of disappointments, we really hope that the opening of Corsham station can happen this time. We very much support this exciting project.”
Corsham residents and town councillors have campaigned to reopen the station for many years.
Wiltshire councillor for Corsham Peter Davies, who also sits on Corsham Town Council, welcomed the news.
He said: “That would be wonderful. It’s something that I have been working towards for the last 25 years and it’s something that the people of Corsham desperately need and desperately want, in order to get in and out of the city without having to deal with all the congestion.
“We had the station designed, we had the plans passed and everything ready to construct the station, then the Government pulled the plug on the Bristol to Oxford service, so we had to stop.
“We are all ready to go. All we want is a train to service to stop at Corsham and we will be willing and able to get it built.”
Mr Ferguson has pledged £1.8 million of Bristol Council funds to develop the business case for the scheme, which would require £94 million of Government funding.
He said: “This is something around which the transport lobby seems to be agreed.
“It’s making use of current infrastructure and adding to it in places.
“Over the next 10 or 15 years, it enables us to make a more integrated approach to our transport and will, hopefully, lead to an integrated transport authority in the long term.”
The news comes as Transport Minister Norman Baker outlined plans to devolve decision-making on major local transport schemes to local transport bodies from 2015.