PEOPLE in the Langport area could soon catch the train without having to leave the town under proposals to re-open the railway station.

A campaign to revive stations in Langport and Somerset 50 years after they were closed under the Beeching Axe has received encouragement from a member of the Cabinet.

David Warburton, Conservative Parliamentary candidate for Somerton and Frome, has handed a survey showing hundreds of locals back the idea to Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin and discussed potential funding.

When the stations were shut in the 1960s, it left a gap of over 28 miles between Taunton and Castle Cary, making it the longest section of railway without a station between London and Penzance.

Mr Warburton said: “I took the results of our local railway survey to Patrick McLoughlin in Westminster and showed him the overwhelming enthusiasm and support from local people for this proposed scheme.

“Re-opening the stations at Langport and Somerton would be hugely beneficial for the area -expanding railway links is good for business, for commuters, for retail, for our communities, for families and of course tourism.

“Boosting rail travel also reduces traffic congestion and emissions - it’s really a win-win situation for all.”

Mr McLoughlin said: “This is an important initiative and I encourage David and other local campaigners to collate the case and apply for funding from the New Stations Fund. It would seem that there are clear benefits to local people and industry in and around the area.”

Connecting to the existing stopping service from Bristol to Castle Cary would allow a two-hourly two carriage service to run in each direction in a circle covering Bristol-Bath-Westbury-Castle Cary-Somerton-Langport-Taunton-Bridgwater-Bristol.

The new network would establish access to the main rail network at Taunton or Castle Cary, and allow rail commuters a straightforward route to Bath, Bristol or Taunton.