Home > Avon Rail Link
Updated 26 April 2018, 13:30

Avon Rail Link - Stratford to Long Marston

Avon Rail Link Map

The Six Mile Missing Link

Our aim is the reinstatement of the six mile missing rail link between Stratford-upon-Avon and Long Marston.

We are delighted to report that the "GRIP 3" Business Case Study, undertaken by Ove Arup & Partners, has declared that reopening the six-mile 'missing link' south of Stratford-upon-Avon to Long Marston and via the freight branch to Honeybourne is feasible and has a sound business case.

Avon Rail Link News

26/4/18 The question of reinstatement was discussed at a meeting of Stratford-upon-Avon District Council on 24 April, within the scope of the Stratford Area Transport Strategy (SATS). A video recording of the meeting can be viewed here. The relevant discussion commences at 13 min 53 seconds and Councillor Roger Vaudry expresses firm support for reinstatement at 1 hour 39 minutes.

A vote was taken on the SATS, but without the projected Eastern Relief Road. It was passed with 28 councillors voting in favour, four against and one abstention.

11/07/16 Stratford-upon-Avon District Council adopted the long-awaited Core Strategy, which is of importance to the potential reinstatement of the Stratford-Honeybourne route. The Inspector’s Report contains a considerable amount on this topic. It can be found here.

26/06/13 Connecting Stratford - Enhanced Business Case for North & South Connections to Stratford - See report >>

08/06/13 Computer Simulations of how rail link through Stratford would impact on residents and roads - see below

28/11/12 ARL Summary Booklet (updated with Ove Arup report)- See booklet >>

02/10/12 GRIP Report to Stratford-upon-Avon District Council - See report >> Warning - 11Mb!!

14/04/12 ARL Survey - more detail - Results >>

21/10/10 THE AVON RAIL LINK - a report by independent consultants JMP has also been prepared. Download and read the ARL - SLPG Report >>

Request a copy of the ARL case paper by post >>


The campaign to reopen the line between Stratford-upon-Avon and Honeybourne now has its own dedicated website. Just click here for the latest news. Existing reports etc. remain available here.

Stratford-upon-Avon's dead-end rail terminus is a serious impediment to the rejuvenation of tourism and business development in the town. Other popular, thriving destinations, such as Bath, Bristol, Cambridge, Chester, Edinburgh, Oxford and York have a good range of through services which help to maintain their status and prosperity.

Stratford-upon-Avon is seriously disadvantaged by its lack of rail services, particularly from the west and south. In these times of traffic congestion, rising fuel costs and parking restrictions, not everyone opts for road travel. This is reflected in the national increase in demand for rail travel.

Fortunately, Stratford-upon-Avon can still revive its tourist lifeblood, by reopening a six-mile single-line railway southwards from the existing station. The proposal for an Avon rail link represents an initiative to reinstate this rail route between Stratford-upon-Avon and Long Marston:

  • Rejuvenating tourism
  • Reducing road congestion and parking problems
  • Catering for the growing number of rail users
  • Facilitating travel for employment, shopping, health, education and leisure purposes.


A reinstated line is needed:

  • To increase tourist flows into Stratford-upon-Avon
  • To reduce traffic and alleviate parking in the town
  • To alleviate the impact from the planned housing development in Long Marston and to provide new commuter and school travel opportunities from the development
  • To regain and expand tourism from Oxford and the Thames Valley
  • To develop leisure traffic between Stratford-upon-Avon, Evesham and Worcester (including the possibility of a circular route via Kidderminster and Birmingham)
  • To alleviate road congestion caused by events at Long Marston (the Global Gathering and Bulldog Bash)
  • To provide a diversionary route when the Oxford-Hatton line is not available
  • To provide a faster route from the South-West and Gloucester via Worcester
  • To provide a more direct route for stock movements to and from Long Marston storage facility
  • To provide a new route to Broadway, Cheltenham Spa, and Oxford
  • To expand the scope for steam excursions to the Cotswolds
  • To encourage more special trains to use the Stratford and Cotswold routes


Reinstatement of a single track railway would enable a new Stratford-upon-Avon - Moreton - Oxford - Thames Valley service for a fast and more attractive tourist route, and a new local service for Long Marston, where the potential new settlement would benefit from an easy, fast and direct rail service for commuters, students and shoppers. The railway would particularly help reduce to road traffic into Stratford and through the villages of Long Marston, Welford-on-Avon, Binton, & Clifford Chambers.

The ample width of the Greenway enables a single line, with suitable fencing, to co-exist alongside the cycleway/footpath which would remain throughout; -as also would the café coaches. Consultants Halcrow have confirmed the rail reopening is entirely feasible and noted that the ambient noise level along Seven Meadows Road is dominated by 24 hour road traffic. Instead of a level crossing, traffic conflicts at Evesham Place could be avoided by a rail dive-under. No main line freight trains are expected to be re-routed via Stratford given undue mileage, gauging and pathing constraints; and no trains would operate at night.

New train services

These would

  • Help boost Stratford-upon-Avon's tourist economy
  • Help meet the increasing national demand for rail travel
  • Provide good rail services assist social inclusion
  • Be sustainable and environmentally friendly.



Follow the links below to see two computer simulations of what a reinstated single track railway through Stratford would be like, avoiding a level crossing and in a trench to minimise noise impact on residents.



Some official views

  • “Long Marston is on the disused railway line into Stratford-upon-Avon which would give opportunities for rail transport” – Warwickshire County Council, October 1990.
  • “Long Marston is on a major international tourism route; i.e. London – Cotswolds – Stratford-upon-Avon – Birmingham – Warwickshire County Council, March 2004.
  • Stratford-upon-Avon “should embrace changes including reopening the line between Stratford and Long Marston” – Stratford Town Management Partnership, January 2006.
  • “The Local Transport Plan would support a rail link if there are quantifiable benefits for Stratford-upon-Avon” – Warwickshire County Council, March 2006.
  • Reopening of the line is an essential element in a transport strategy and for a “World Class Stratford” – Stratford Town Management Partnership, 2007.
  • The absence of plans to reinstate the Honeybourne-Stratford railway “represents a missed opportunity to deliver a step change in rail provision in the local area” – Warwickshire County Council, February 2009.

What has been done recently?

A case paper and a report were produced in 2010..

Funds for a "GRIIP" business case study were raised in 2011, and a survey of local residents carried out.

Avon Rail Link October 2011 Survey Results >>

July 2016: Stratford-upon-Avon District Council has adopted the long-awaited Core Strategy, which is of importance to the potential reinstatement of the Stratford-Honeybourne route. The Inspector’s Report contains a considerable amount on this topic. It can be found here.

What is the next step?

A business case study has now been completed by Messrs. Arup and submiited to Stratford-upon-Avon District Council for consideration. - See report >> Warning - 11Mb!!

© Shakespeare Line Promotion Group 2005 - 2018 - all rights reserved.