Burton to Leicester Railway (Ivanhoe Line) Reopening Gets The Green Light

Our Full Press Release Follows:

Rail Minister Wendy Morton today announced that the case to reopen
the Burton to Leicester Railway line to passengers has been approved to
the next stage.


Today the Rail Minister, Wendy Morton MP, announced that she will support 10 proposals to reopen closed passenger lines in England. One of these is the proposal submitted by CRIL (The campaign to reopen the Ivanhoe Line) to reopen the railway from Burton to Leicester to passengers.

Funding will be provided to Network Rail to lead the next stage of
development work in collaboration with the Campaign to Reopen the Ivanhoe Line (CRIL). This will be released in a phased approach,with the work assessed as it progresses to support decisions on continuing development towards a full Outline Business Case and the decision to proceed with implementation.

The Department will continue working with CRIL and Network Rail on the development of this scheme, and are in touch with Douglas McLay and Bruce Wakley (CRIL) regarding next steps.

Wendy Morton said “The Department’s assessment considered the strategic and economic case presented, deliverability of the scheme and infrastructure requirements, with a focus on the transport issue and strength of case for intervention. This scheme presents significant potential to improve connectivity for communities along the route of the Ivanhoe Line and I look forward to seeing it progress.”

CRIL Spokesman Douglas McLay said “ We are delighted with this announcement which brings the re-opening of the Ivanhoe Line much closer. Passenger services on the Line would provide real value for the relatively modest government investment needed. The reopening of this railway would give a real boost to the often forgotten populations of South Derbyshire and Northwest Leicestershire. We look forward to working closely with the Department for Transport and Network Rail to deliver a railway service which meets the needs of local people”


CRIL (The Campaign for the Re-opening of the Ivanhoe Line) was formed by the late Geoff Bushell in 2019. He tirelessly raised awareness and support for the reopening of the Ivanhoe Line and formed a team of volunteer specialists to support him. He gained the public support of all nine first and second tier local authorities along the line, as well as all the local MPs, all of whom continue to support the Campaign.

The proposal to restore passenger services between Burton on Trent and
Leicester,and to communities along the route, was included in the first phase of the RYR programme following a submission by CRIL. CRIL received government and local authority funding to prepare a Strategic Outline Business Case (SOBC) which was submitted to the Department of Transport in May 2021. This SOBC now has full DFT support


East Midlands Chamber

As part of our business outreach, we’ve engaged with the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce, the second largest Chamber in the UK, to help showcase what the re-opening of the line will mean.

EMC have kindly published a short article about the commercial importance of the line, which you can read here.


Business Liaison

One of the distinguishing features of the Ivanhoe Line is that it is intended for both commercial and leisure use. Along the 30 mile length, there are thousands of businesses that will benefit from having better transport links for both their employees and customers.

So we’re delighted to welcome Stacey Ash to our team as our business liaison officer.

Stacey has a career in financial services spanning over 30 years. He moved to Church Gresley in 1993 and has been keen to see the Ivanhoe line reopen to passenger traffic ever since. He is currently Chairman of Swadlincote 41 Club, a member of CRIL and Railfuture and is passionate about the campaign. He is married with three children.

We’re looking forward to having businesses back what we’re doing and give us an even stronger voice as we compete nationally to get our line re-opened.

Financial Political

We are winning!

We are delighted to announce that we have been one of ten campaigns selected from a field of sixty entrants to receive central Government support for the “Restoring your Railways” fund.

In a letter copied to our Chair, Geoff Bushell, Chris Heaton-Harris MP, Minister of State for Transport confirmed that a panel including the Minister for Regional Growth and the Chair of Network Rail had agreed our submission was worthy of funding and additional work.

We will be “agreeing potential research remits and joint governance and timescales”, which in everyday language means that there is still a long way to go. However the selection of our bid makes it clear that we have a credible case which warrants both greater support and scrutiny than ever before.

We would like to thank all members of the team for their incredible hard work in putting together the twenty-page bid with so much care and attention to detail. It is just so exciting to see all the effort pay off.

We’ll be keeping everyone updated in the months ahead, and if you want to get priority information, please consider becoming a member of our group and supporting us financially for the day to day running costs we incur.

Financial Political

Local Councils Fund Feasibility Study

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.


Amazon Gets Interested

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.

Rolling Stock

Hydrogen Trains

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.