11:33 Thursday 05 December 2013

New calls to reopen historic railway line

Written byRICH GUTTRIDGE

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FRESH calls have been made to reopen a historic railway line to passengers in Burton and South Derbyshire.

Two MPs in the region have written to the Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin encouraging him conduct a feasibility study into reopening the former Ivanhoe Line, which runs from Burton to Leicester and has not served passengers for half a century.

Heather Wheeler and Andrew Bridgen, who represent South Derbyshire and North West Leicestershire, say more services are needed in the region and believe reviving the line, which is now known as the National Forest Line, would also boost the economy.

It is not the first time calls have been made to resurrect the former Ivanhoe Line, which serves freight trains but has not carried passengers since the 1960s.

In 2009, the Association of Train Companies recommended reopening the line and building new stations in Castle Gresley, Ashby and Moira.

But the project has yet to come to fruition, thought to be largely down to the £50 million it would be likely to cost.

Mr Bridgen said: “North West Leicestershire has historically been overlooked when it comes to public transport investment as we have no railway station. With the growth in population together with the tourist interest in the National Forest, it is time for the Department of Transport to have a good look at this proposal and get passenger trains on the line again.”

Mrs Wheeler added: “South Derbyshire and North West Leicestershire, at the heart of the National Forest, are fast growing districts in the Midlands so all the help we can get to take traffic off the roads and give commuters, shoppers and tourists an alternative way of travelling will be of great benefit both economically and for our quality of life.”

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