Ivanhoe Line reopening campaigners ask for election candidates’ support

The Campaign for the Re-opening of the Ivanhoe Line urge local parliamentary candidates to pledge their support ahead of the general election.

Andy Weekes 3 comments 3 Min Read
Leicester station // Credit: Janine Booth

Campaigners to re-open the line between Burton-on-Trent and hope all the parliamentary candidates in the constituencies along the route will pledge their support.

The Campaign for the Re-opening of the Ivanhoe Line (CRIL), which began in 2019, has been backed by the seven MPs who held these seats until the general election was called last month.

If CRIL are successful, new services will provide a vital rail link for the East Midlands, connecting Coalville, Swadlincote and Ashby-de-la-Zouch to the cities of Leicester and Derby.

Track worker renewing track crossing in Burton
Track worker renewing track crossing in Burton // Credit: Network Rail

Network Rail initially recommended reopening the line between Burton and Coalville, with services starting along the existing route from Derby.

This first phase has received the backing of the Department of Transport.

This means that there are a total of nine parliamentary constituencies along the full proposed route.

These are:

  • Burton and Uttoxeter
  • Derby North
  • Derby South
  • Hinckley and Bosworth
  • Leicester North
  • Leicester West
  • Mid Leicestershire
  • North West Leicestershire
  • South Derbyshire

CRIL hopes that candidates will pledge their support for such an important local issue, as well as clarifying their party's position on the Restoring Your Railways Programme.

This Programme, which is crucial to funding the full Ivanhoe reopening project, is part of the current government's levelling-up drive and helps to finance community rail projects.

However, CRIL have found no reference to Restoring Your Railways in any political parties' manifestoes ahead of the 4th July election.

Formed five years ago, CRIL was the brainchild of Geoff Bushell. Along with his team of volunteers, Geoff persuaded all local authorities and MPs along the route of the case for reopening the line.

Although Geoff died in 2020, CRIL remains committed to carrying out his legacy of reopening the whole route from Burton to join the Midland Main Line Leicester.

The support of local MPs has been critical to us in developing the Business Case to get the first phase opening to Coalville funded, and to our work to get subsequent phases through to Leicester underway. Funding is in place within the government for this work to go ahead. It is essential that this funding is preserved when the new government is formed if there are not to be further delays to work on the Line starting . Our supporters can do their bit by asking their local candidates to support the Campaign at every opportunity.

CRIL Spokesman Douglas McLay
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  • To assist in this or any similar project, lets have a law which states that if any railway or part of a railway has in the past carried passengers, then it may do so again without further inquiries or legislation being required to do so. A one page bill to cut through mountains of bureaucracy and delay! The only thing that would then be required is to make the cost benefit case for the railway between all interested parties. Such railway projects would then be immune to the think tanks, focus groups, nimbys SUSTRANS etc and most of all from government interference! In my opinion, this could then be extended to any rail route whose trackbed is not interrupted by buildings for more than 10% of its length whether or not any of the track remains in-situ. Those buildings would then be liable to compulsory purchase but at market rates.

  • This sounds far to sensible to ever happen! It will require about 50 years of forming committees and sub committees and think tanks and focus groups – all on massive expenses – and of course fact finding visits to every country in the world – on full expenses of course – followed by a 10 year 1,000 page report and then another 50 years discussing the report…etc, etc, etc….before they eventually say NO.

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