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Northampton, UK

Bringing railways back to town: Improving Daventry's sustainable transport connectivity

Bringing railways back to town: Improving Daventry’s sustainable transport connectivity

In mid-2020, 13-year-old Harry Burr launched a campaign to open the railway station in his local village, Weedon Bec, just outside of Daventry, in order to serve the latter, which is one of the largest towns in the UK without a railway station, with a population of over 25,000. The campaign was known as the Weedon Station Project, and would be located on the congested West Coast Main Line.

The campaign grew rapidly, attracting attention from across the country, including from the press, Train Operating Companies, and Local Authorities. In late-2020, Harry took the step to rename the campaign, after consultation with industry colleagues, to Daventry Parkway Project (DPP), to better reflect the economic purpose of the railway station.

To pursue new campaigns and projects, Harry took the step to launch a transport campaign group called Sustainable Transport Northamptonshire (STN). The organisation later rebranded as Sustainable Transport Midlands (STM), and took DPP on as one of its campaigns.

During this time, Harry took on the dual role of Chief Executive Officer of STM and Project Director of DPP, and continued engaging with industry, including Network Rail, who gave a damning analysis on Daventry Parkway, saying that even post-HS2, it would be a struggle to stop trains at the location given the extreme capacity constraints on that section of the West Coast Main Line.

Coupled with the proposals for Rugby Parkway, located near the Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal (DIRFT), on the lesser-constrained and better-served Northampton Loop, the campaign required a rethink, and in early-2022, Harry appointed a new Project Director to take the new ‘Daventry Transport Development Group’ forward, which would act as a working group to review and assess options to improve Daventry’s sustainable transport connectivity.

These options prior to assessment were laid out in a ‘Project Report’, dubbed ‘Improving Daventry’s Public Transport Connectivity’, and is now archived on the Enroute website as research, on this very page. Unfortunately, the committee was unable to make considerable progress as Sustainable Transport Midlands suffered staff shortages amid changes for it to rebrand and remodel to become what we know today as Enroute.

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