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East Midlands Chamber News

Campaign for Reopening the Ivanhoe Line gets East Midlands Chamber backing - as it seeks help from businesses


A campaign to reopen a passenger railway line between Burton upon Trent and Leicester has been backed by East Midlands Chamber as it begins to engage businesses in the project. 

The Campaign for Reopening the Ivanhoe Line (CRIL) has led a movement to restore the 31-mile line, which was sacrificed in the 1960s and 1970s as part of the Beeching Cuts – when British Railways chairman Dr Richard Beeching closed thousands of stations and hundreds of branch lines to make the nationalised railways profitable again.

In May this year, the Government announced a £500,000 fund to help conduct feasibility studies on whether 10 routes could be reopened, including the Ivanhoe Line – with stations proposed in towns and villages such as Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Coalville and Moira.

The CRIL, which has the backing of authorities including North West Leicestershire District Council, has now begun to engage with businesses along the line to strengthen its case - with the Chamber now urging members in those areas to get involved. 

Geoff Bushell, chairman of the group, said: “We are naturally excited by the project being shortlisted, but we now need to move to the next phase and ensure that businesses in the region are aware of the benefits the line will being to them.

“We have the support of four local MPs and all the local authorities alongside the line and we believe this represents the best opportunity in recent years to install rail as a transport mode of choice.”

Campaign for Reopening the Ivanhoe Line is promoting the business case of rail route

The CRIL aims to build focused groups of the companies that may benefit from their location around one of the eight proposed stations – which are in Drakelow & Stapenhill, Castle Gresley, Moira, Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Coalville, Ellistown, Meynell’s Gorse and Leicester South.

It has recruited Stacey Ash, who has more than 30 years’ experience in investment management, as a business liaison manager.

He has started to engage with relevant companies to explain the benefits a station can bring, both to commercial operations and surrounding communities.

Stacey will look for these companies to lend support and add their weight to the strategic outline business case that the group is preparing to present to the Department for Transport as part of its Restoring Your Railway initiative.

Benefits to businesses highlighted by the CRIL include:

  • Improved journey times across the region
  • Better connectivity via national rail routes
  • Better access for customers and employees
  • Regeneration of the area around the station
  • Creating a healthier environment

Stacey said: “Although we have just started to engage with industry, early feedback is positive, with Amazon and the National Forest Company among those stepping up to support the campaign, and we hope this will snowball as we start to get the message further afield.

“Engaging with members of East Midlands Chamber is a natural route for us to follow as part of this process and we hope members will be keen to lend their support.”

East Midlands Chamber chief executive Scott Knowles said: “Reopening this historic railway line would provide a major boost to the economy for the many communities along the route by opening up further connections with the rest of the region and country.

“It was a positive step to see the Government provide funding for the feasibility study and it’s important that businesses now engage with the project to highlight its viability.”

CRIL wants to speak to businesses that are willing lend their support to the project for the region. Interested parties can contact Stacey Ash at crilbusinessliaison@gmail.com. For more information on the CRIL, visit www.ivanhoeline.org.