Kate Griffiths MP has welcomed the news that plans to reopen the Ivanhoe railway line between Burton and Leicester have moved a step closer to becoming reality, with the Secretary of State for Transport, the Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP, pledging further cash to develop the proposals.
The Government has this week approved a £50,000 grant from its rail Ideas Fund for the Campaign to Reopen Ivanhoe Line (CRIL) to produce a business case for the line to operate passenger services.
The Ivanhoe line is a railway branch line which runs from Leicester, through south Derbyshire, to Burton upon Trent, but is currently used for freight transport only, having been closed to passengers since 1964.
There is now growing optimism, as part of the Government’s programme to reopen disused railway lines, that the long-running campaign to reopen the line will succeed. The Ideas Fund is part of the Government’s Restoring your Railways programme, which is designed to improve local transport links, and is a key part of the Government’s levelling-up agenda.
The Department for Transport and Network Rail will now work closely with CRIL to develop plans and to make the case for reopening the line to paying passengers.
Kate Griffiths, MP for Burton, who meets regularly with CRIL, has been urging ministerial colleagues to back the plans, and has welcomed the funding announcement.
“I want to say thank you to all those who have been leading the CRIL campaign over many years to get it to the stage it is now.
“In particular, I want to pay tribute to the late Geoff Bushell, who passed away last autumn, and led the campaign for many years. I am sure he would have been delighted to see the project reaching this crucial stage at which we have been given a significant sum of money by the Government to produce a business case for reopening the line.
“Although there is still a long way to go to in making this project a reality, this funding is a vote of confidence from the Government that the Ivanhoe line can work, and it is now down to us locally to prove that case for its reopening.
“I will be continuing my efforts as the MP for Burton to convince ministers of the benefits the Ivanhoe line would provide for our communities.”