TRAIN passengers in Bury have been given a boost with the announcement that a former rail line, closed under the Beeching cuts in the 1960s, has moved a step closer to reopening.

Bury North MP James Daly has helped to secure a share of £500,000 to develop plans and proposals for the reinstatement of the Bury – Heywood – Rochdale line.

The funding will be used to explore the feasibility of the project in more detail, after the Department for Transport decided the project was worthy of further consideration.

Mr Daly has worked with local groups, including Transport for Greater Manchester, to develop the initial bid, making the case to ministers and officials in Whitehall that the project should progress to the next phase and receive financial support.

The project is part of the Government’s £500 million Restoring Your Railway Fund, delivering on Conservative pledges to reopen many of the lines and stations that were closed in the 1960s – known as the Beeching cuts. The restoration of many of the Beeching lines is a core component of the government's agenda to invest in infrastructure to increase economic growth and opportunities across the whole country.

Mr Daly said: “While the Government is protecting lives and livelihoods in the coronavirus outbreak, never has the Conservative Party and the Prime Minister’s agenda to level up and invest in infrastructure been so important.

“I am delighted that we will now receive Government funding to develop proposals such as this one in more detail, which will bring huge benefits to people living and working here.

“Good transport links are essential, and I hope this funding marks the first step in getting this project off the ground as quickly as possible.

"I will work with all stakeholders, including the East Lancs Railway, to deliver this exciting project for Bury."

The line is currently home to the East Lancashire Railway and the discussions to date have centred around the possibility of restoring mainline services via the route.