Hoo Peninsula railway station impression

UK: Plans to reintroduce a passenger service on the freight-only Isle of Grain branch on the Hoo Peninsula have been put on hold, with Medway Council citing ‘high inflation, significantly increased construction costs and pressures on public spending’.

In 2019 Housing Infrastructure Fund support for upgrading the Hoo peninsula’s roads, rail connectivity and environmental infrastructure was agreed to support the development of 10 600 new homes.

The £63m rail project envisaged the installation of passing loops on the single track line and the construction of a station near Sharnal Street.

Initial plans had also included electrification and the construction of a chord at Higham to enable trains from Hoo to run to the Medway towns, but this was dropped in favour of a battery powered service to Gravesend.

However, cost inflation, especially of construction materials, means the original budget is significantly less than the expected cost.

The council is now exploring options to improve bus services and the road network. The land for the station will be protected to enable the rail project to be revived in the future.

‘For every major project, we keep our costs under constant review, and it is evident that currently we would not be able to deliver a sustainable rail solution with the funding available’, said council leader Alan Jarrett on March 24.