Support is growing for the restoration of derelict Leicestershire railways | So Good News
An abandoned passenger railway line in Leicestershire has been backed to be restored by local business leaders.
The Ivanhoe Line was closed to passengers in the 1960s when British Railways chairman at the time Richard Beeching rejected it in his infamous eponymous report.
The 50km route links Burton-upon-Trent with Leicester and was recently awarded funding for development as part of the Government’s £500m rail regeneration programme.
The East Midlands Chamber (EMC) is now supporting the Campaign for Reopening the Ivanhoe Line (CRIL) in its bid to revive the route.
EMC CEO Scott Knowles said: “Following the monumental effort by the CRIL team of volunteers to reopen this historic railway line, bringing the project into the scope of Network Rail is a welcome development and will raise hopes that it can be brought to life .
“While there is still a long way to go, bringing this vital rail route back to life will boost the economy of the many communities along the route.
“Meanwhile, the proposed Leicester South station will complement Leicester City’s plans for an expanded King Power Stadium and wider development plan.”
Network Rail has also committed to funding a detailed study of the construction costs and benefits as part of a business case.
If the business case believes reopening the line is viable, the campaign believes restoration of the line could start within the next two years and would like to see it take its first passengers by 2026.
A Network Rail spokesperson said: “We welcome the opportunity to work with all stakeholders along the line to further develop the business case to justify the reopening of the Ivanhoe Line to passengers, based on the work done so far by CRIL.”
In June, CRIL saw the project selected from 39 schemes as a fine to proceed to the next stage by the Ministry of Transport.
As it stands now, the business case discusses four stations along the route, with Coalville, Ashby, Gresley and Leicester South, but campaigners want five more stations to reopen along the route. These are Drakelow & Stapenhill, Castle Gresley, Moira, Ellistown and Meynell’s Gorse.
CRIL Business Relations Manager Stacey Ash said: “The decision to take our project to the next stage is a fantastic boost for the communities along the Ivanhoe Line, who can benefit from improved journey times and better connectivity across the region, regeneration of the areas surrounding the stations and a healthier environment.
“We now need to engage even more closely with our local stakeholders, including businesses and residents, to help us understand their needs so we can fully articulate the benefits a reopened Ivanhoe Line will deliver.”
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