Maldon is one step closer to being reconnected to other parts of the country by rail.
In February, the Government announced the establishment of a £500 million Restoring Your Railway Fund, to look into the possibility of reopening routes closed following the Beeching Report in 1962.
The report recommended closure of the whole line between Braintree and Maldon. Although the campaign to retain the Braintree to Witham service was successful, the Witham to Maldon section was not and the last passenger train left Maldon on September 6, 1964. Only freight trains continued until April 1966 and the track was removed in 1969.
Following closure of the line, the section of track into Maldon East station was used for a road into the Fullbridge area and the section linking Maldon East and Maldon West became the route of the Maldon bypass.
Following an invitation to submit applications for the restoration of services which were axed as a result of the Beeching Report, Maldon MP John Whittingdale submitted an one in conjunction with Maldon District Council for the restoration of the Maldon to Witham railway line, which was also supported by Witham MP Priti Patel and by Essex County Council.
Following an initial assessment, this proposal has now progressed to the second stage and a more detailed case is being submitted.
Mr Whittingdale said: “Since the line from Maldon to Witham was lost in the 1960s, the town has grown considerably with increasing levels of traffic congestion and pollution.
“A restoration of the line connecting Maldon with the Greater Anglia rail network would save travellers time and money, reduce congestion on the roads and improve the environment.
“I am most grateful to Maldon District Council for the work that they have put into developing this plan and am delighted that it has moved to the next stage. I very much hope that it may eventually lead to Maldon being back on the rails.”