The deputy leader of Essex County Council has voiced his support for a railway connecting the east of the county and Stansted Airport.

It raises the possibility of the council backing a new line that may follow the route of the Bishop’s Stortford to Braintree branch line.

The line was single track with passing loops at Bishop’s Stortford, Dunmow, Takeley, Rayne and Braintree.

Goods sidings were provided at Hockerill Halt, Takeley and Easton Lodge to supply US Air Force bases at Stansted and Easton Lodge, at Dunmow and Felsted for use by the sugar beet factory as well as general use, and at Rayne.

The line closed to passengers in 1952, but remained open for freight use before closing completely in 1972.

In answer to questions over what action the council is taking to secure government funding – launched to fund feasibility studies of closed routes that could be restored – deputy leader Kevin Bentley said he has already instructed officers at Essex County Council to find out further clarification guidance with respect to the £500 million funding that the government has announced.

He said officers have also undertaken a review of projects thought to be seeking funding and an initial review of closed lines in Essex to consider scope for reopening.

He said: “The Government has announced further funding into rail links, we have no east west rail links in Essex. We used to have and I have already asked officers to start looking at that, particularly the connection between the east and Stansted Airport, as well as connection running down to the south of the county.”