Ivanhoe Line return moves 'much closer' in bid to bring passenger trains back to Swadlincote area - as minister gives green light

By The Editor

18th Jun 2022 | Local News

Passenger trains could soon return to the Swadlincote and South Derbyshire route. Photo: CRIL
Passenger trains could soon return to the Swadlincote and South Derbyshire route. Photo: CRIL

Rail Minister Wendy Morton today (Saturday) announced that the case to re-open the Burton to Leicester railway line to passengers has been approved to the next stage.

That would mean the possibility of trains running through the Swadlincote area once more - for the first time since the line was closed for public use in 1964 - has moved a step closer.

Part of the scheme would see a new railway station planned for Castle Gresley.

The Minister has announced that she will support 10 proposals to re-open closed passenger lines in England - and the Ivanhoe Line is one of them.

It is a proposal submitted by CRIL (The campaign to reopen the Ivanhoe Line) - the long-time supporters for the re-introduction of passenger trains through Ashby, Coalville and South Derbyshire, for the first time since the line was closed in 1964.

Funding will be provided for Network Rail to lead the next stage of development work in collaboration with CRIL.

This will be released in a phased approach.

A CRIL spokesman said: "Work will be assessed as it progresses to support decisions on continuing development towards a full Outline Business Case - and the decision to proceed with implementation.

"The Department will continue working with CRIL and Network Rail on the development of this scheme, and are in touch with Douglas McLay and Bruce Wakley (CRIL) regarding next steps."

Minister Wendy Morton said: "The Department's assessment considered the strategic and economic case presented, deliverability of the scheme and infrastructure requirements, with a focus on the transport issue and strength of case for intervention.

"This scheme presents significant potential to improve connectivity for communities along the route of the Ivanhoe Line and I look forward to seeing it progress."

CRIL Spokesman Douglas McLay added: "We are delighted with this announcement which brings the re-opening of the Ivanhoe Line much closer.

"Passenger services on the Line would provide real value for the relatively modest Government investment needed.

"The reopening of this railway would give a real boost to the often forgotten populations of South Derbyshire and North West Leicestershire.

"We look forward to working closely with the Department for Transport and Network Rail to deliver a railway service which meets the needs of local people"

CRIL was formed by the late Geoff Bushell in 2019.

He tirelessly raised awareness and support for the reopening of the Ivanhoe Line and formed a team of volunteer specialists to support him.

He gained the public support of all nine first and second tier local authorities along the line, as well as all the local MPs, all of whom continue to support the Campaign.

The proposal to restore passenger services between Burton on Trent and Leicester, and to communities along the route, was included in the first phase of the RYR programme following a submission by CRIL.

CRIL received government and local authority funding to prepare a Strategic Outline Business Case (SOBC) which was submitted to the Department of Transport in May 2021.

This SOBC now has full DFT support.

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