HOPES of restoring a direct railway connection between York and Hull have been given a major boost.

The Government has agreed to help fund a feasibility study and detailed business case for re-instating a line from York to Beverley, which was closed as part of the Beeching cuts.

The proposed line would branch off the existing Hull-Scarborough line, which passes through Beverley, and would stop at Market Weighton, Pocklington, Stamford Bridge and Haxby before arriving at York, and would also serve Cottingham and Hull Paragon Interchange.

A bid sponsored by Beverley and Holderness MP Graham Stuart will now receive support from officials at the Department for Transport as well as funding for 75 per cent of the cost of creating a business case, up to a maximum of £50,000.

Mr Stuart said the business case was the first step towards developing more detailed proposals, which might lead to the Government and the private sector providing financial support for the delivery of the project.

“This is fantastic news for the local area, and although this is only the first step it demonstrates there is recognition of the benefits this project could bring," he said.

“If we were in the South East, there’s no way that two cities as important as Hull and York wouldn’t have a decent rail link to help boost tourism and make it easier for commuters to get into work.

"It’d give my constituents in Beverley and Holderness more frequent services into the city centre and let them travel westwards without having to change at Hull.

“Of course there will be kinks to work out, some people who’ll benefit from the scheme more than others, but that’s what the feasibility study and business case is for: to iron these out.

“We’re lucky to have the cross-party support of local MPs and councils along the length of the line and I will be looking to build on this support as work progresses.”

He said MPs who had written to support the bid included York Outer MP Julian Sturdy and York Central MP Rachael Maskell.

Mr Sturdy said the announcement was 'very welcome news' for York and the wider region and showed that the Government was committed to investing in projects that would make a real difference to local people.

He said: "I have been campaigning for the reopening of the York to Beverley line since I was first elected and commend the tireless passion of local supporters of this project, without whom this bid would not have been possible.

“With the reopening of the York to Beverley line being key to ensuring the feasibility of a new station at Haxby, it is no coincidence that the two proposals have both received Government backing and I look forward to continuing to advocate for both schemes as we enter the next phase.”