The picture shows the last special train to travel over the Ivanhoe line, this was the “Three Panniers” rail tour of 2017 that travelled from Leicester to Burton on Trent on its way back to Tysleley via Wychnor Junction. Attempts have been made in the past by various groups to run a special charter over the line purely in support of a restoration of passenger services. The last such attempt occurred in 2017 when Railfuture collaborated with East Midland Trains, however, after fruitful beginnings this failed to materialise. It remains an objective of CRIL to organise a charter train that would carry out two return journeys between Burton and Leicester on a Saturday, when the line is unused, using rolling stock as close as possible to the type that would operate the first restored passenger services. The landscape has changed, we are in contact with the Network Rail department that handles such operations and have contacts within Train Operating Companies that have expressed a willingness to explore the possibility. There is a long way to go, and many discussions to be had, before this can become a reality. However, should this materialise, we can promise that our members will be the first to know and be given first option to buy tickets. Watch this space!
Moira station opened in 1849 and closed in 1964, the station building survives and is now a private dwelling. In it’s day it served the communities that surrounded the Rawdon and Donisthorp pits of which very little trace remains today. The area has changed dramatically since those days with the emergence of the National Forest, with the attractions at Conkers and the National Cycling Centre, together with Moira Furnace and the Ashby Canal project. Thousands of visitors arrive each year by car and it is proposed that a station is reopened to service this growing tourist demand as well as the local community and businesses. Both the National Forest Company and Ashby Woulds Town Council are in support of a new station. On the 11th November the Chair of CRIL, Geoff Bushell, presented the case at a council meeting and it has been agreed that the council will work with the group to identify a suitable site. Previous feasibility studies of the line have omitted a station at Moira due mainly to constraining the service level to week days only. We at CRIL believe that the line will be heavily used at weekends for leisure and tourism and that this will provide further justification for the restoration of a passenger service.
The feasibility study committee met for the first time on Thursday and was attended by CRIL members and representatives of the supporting Councils resulting in a constructive discussion. This is just the start of a lengthy process and a follow up meeting has been planned in the New Year. Our sincere thanks to NWLDC for kindly allowing use of their meeting rooms for this purpose.
We are delighted to announce that multiple local county and district councils have jointly funded a new feasibility for the re-opening of the Ivanhoe Line.
The funding, totalling £60,000 will be used to engage a rail consultant to write a new feasibility report with the historic context of the 2009 and 2016 reports that we believe had omissions. For instance, the 206 report did not look at future housing development and used an out of date demand model.
The feasibility study will be commissioned in 2020 and should be finished within the year. We will then have an “oven ready” project to take to Government which will enable us to lobby much more effectively.
CRIL would like to thank all councils who have supported this important stage of our journey.
Local press are reporting that Amazon are getting interested in the prospect of the Ivanhoe Line opening.
Amazon employs thousands of staff at its “fulfilment centre” and getting them there by rail would not only make the commute more reliable, it would also take traffic off the road.
We have yet to have face to face talks with the global giant, but will be offering to do so in the New Year.
If we’re going to create a railway for the 21st Century, it makes sense to equip it with rolling stock to suit.
We’ve long trumpeted the fact that the Ivanhoeline snakes its way through the beautiful National Forest – a visionary project that seeks to plant 20 million trees across an area once ravaged by open cast coal mining.
To compliment this transformative project, we’ve got really hooked on the idea of hydrogen powered trains.
Thes have been in development for some time. The concept is that hydrogen is stored under pressure within the vehicle instead of diesel. The hydrogen is then run through a fuel cell which creates electricity. The train thus becomes and electric train, but without the necessity to build overhead gantries which are extremely costly.
Initial trials show that these trains can be extremely quiet – a significant benefit now that many houses have been built backing onto the line.
We’re talking to rail operators and research groups about this concept and think the Ivanhoe line could be a great test bed for such technology.