PRIME minister Rishi Sunak has failed to provide clarity to Somerset residents on the fate of a long-running bid to build a new railway station near two growing towns.

The towns of Langport and Somerton were originally served by trains on the Taunton to Castle Cary line, but their stations were closed in the 1960s during the Beeching cuts.

In February 2022, the Langport Transport Group, supported by its stakeholders, including Somerset Council, submitted a strategic outline case (SOC) to the Department for Transport (DfT) – but it has received no update on the proposal since July 2022.

Sarah Dyke – who was elected MP for Somerton and Frome in July 2023 – raised the issue during prime minister’s questions (PMQs) in the House of Commons on Wednesday (March 13), calling on Mr Sunak to “provide confidence” in the project and give an urgent update on the business case.

Mr Sunak merely responded that funding had been made available for numerous projects following the cancellation of the High Speed 2 rail link from Birmingham to Manchester back in October 2023.

He added that prioritising the use of this additional funding was down to “local leaders”.

The government announced its £500m restoring your railway fund in January 2020, asking MPs, local councils and community groups to put forward proposed for reinstating axed local services and restoring closed stations.

The Langport Transport Group submitted a bid as part of the ‘ideal fund’ element of this fund and was awarded £50,000 to develop and submit the SOC.

Speaking towards the end of PMQs, Ms Dyke said: “My constituents in Somerton and Frome, working together with the Langport Transport Group, submitted a robust strategic business case to the government in July 2022 for the reopening of a railway station in the Somerton and Langport area.

“Such a train station would connect over 50,000 people to the rail network, boost the local economy and support local people to reduce their reliance on cars. Almost two years on, they are still waiting for a response.

“Does the prime minister support this project, and can he provide confidence to my constituents that their hard work to drive this vital project forward has not been futile?”

Somerset County Gazette: Mr Sunak responds to Ms Dyke's question.Mr Sunak responds to Ms Dyke's question. (Image: Parliament Live)

Mr Sunak responded: “Conservatives in the south west are rightly championing the reopening of local stations.

“Cullompton and Wellington will be among the places that receive funding as a result of our decision on HS2.

“It is because of that decision that we have now freed up billions of pounds of funding to invest in local transport across the country, and local leaders will be put in charge of that money to prioritise their local needs.”

Wellington railway station is expected to be operational by September 2025, with the Department for Transport (DfT) stating that the project would be “funded to delivery” (pending a final business case approval) following the HS2 announcement.

In order to secure the delivery of the station, Somerset Council has voted in principle to use funds from local housing developers to deliver the access road to the site if it cannot be delivered on time as part of a planned development of 220 new homes.

Ms Dyke had previously raised the lack of progress on the planned station in November 2023, during a parliamentary debate on the government’s levelling up agenda.

Speaking after PMQs, Ms Dyke said: “I was pleased to have an opportunity to raise this important issue with the prime minister on behalf of my constituents, but I’m extremely frustrated by his typically ineffectual response.

“People living in the Somerton and Langport area deserve better. They deserve access to the rail network, which passes through the heart of their community, a boost to the local economy and support in reducing their reliance on cars.

“The Langport Transport Group and Somerset Council submitted a very cogent business case to the DfT and it’s unacceptable that they’ve been waiting for an update since July 2022.

“It’s time to get this vital project off the ground, which is why I’m launching a petition giving residents the opportunity to express their support for the proposed station and putting pressure on the government to give it the green light.”

The SOC is understood to have identified two possible locations for a new station – one in Somerton, and one near Langport.

Both of Langport’s original railway stations have seen been redeveloped, with the Langport West site becoming the Westover trading estate and the Langport East site being redeveloped into new homes.

Somerton’s original station lay down Station Path near the town centre, with the only evidence of its existence today being a 350-metre long siding.

In addition to restoring mainline rail services to these towns (run by Great Western Railway), a new Somerton station could also support “rapid train recharging” facilities, allowing electric train operator Go-op to run electric commuter services across Somerset.

To sign Ms Dyke’s petition for the new railway station, and to receive regular updates on her campaign, visit