Another Abandoned UK Passenger Line Is Set to Reopen – Why Not The E&N?

Another long a long abandonment of passenger services, the once called Ivanhoe line is set to reopen for passenger service.

The Leicester–Burton upon Trent line is a freight-only railway line in England linking the Midland Main Line south of Leicester to the Cross Country Route at Burton-on-Trent. The line closed to passengers in the 1960s.

Prior to 1964 the railway line was a direct passenger link between Burton on Trent and Leicester, but it was closed to passenger services under the Beeching Closures.
Now the area around is growing faster than in many other areas of the UK and a passenger railway is needed urgently.

At present the line is run only for slow-speed freight, mainly ballast trains from Bardon Quarry.  We are lobbying for the realignment and upgrading of the track bed to allow light passenger trains to run a half-hour peak service. The estimated cost to open the approximately 45 km route is about £50 million (CAD $85 million). Put another way, the cost to reopen the line for passenger traffic would amount to under $2 million per km!

Reopening abandoned rail lines or upgrading little used rail lines for passenger service makes sense has it is extremely cost effective as most of the civil engineering is intact or still in use.

This is a lesson our federal and provincial politicians have yet to learn.


Leicester to Burton Ivanhoe railway line return ‘likely’, says expert

The line was closed in 1964 as part of the Beeching Cuts

A return to service for Leicestershire’s Ivanhoe Line “looks like” it will go ahead, according to an expert.

Ben Le Vay, a journalist who has written numerous books on the railways of Britain, said that the signs looked promising for a return to service to the Leicester-to-Burton railway line, with its chances looking better than ever.

The respected author, writing in the Express, said the line’s return was mirrored up and down the land by other railway returns.

“More than 150 towns and villages have been put back on the network, one by one,” he said.

“While massive, controversial, eye-wateringly expensive rail schemes like the HS2 link to the Midlands and North, and London’s Crossrail, have hogged headlines and funding, these small reopenings are arguably far more important to their local areas,” he wrote.


“In the Midlands, it looks like the Ivanhoe Line will go ahead – from Leicester to Burton-on-Trent – putting maybe seven towns back on the tracks,” he said.

Mr Le Vay’s comments came as campaign group Sustainable Transport Midlands (STM) unveiled plans for major railway returns which would benefit Leicestershire. Among these was a plan to return passenger services to the Ivanhoe Line which was one of the casualties of the 1964 Beeching Cuts.

The cuts have meant the likes of Coalville and Ashby have been without railways stations for nearly 60 years, but STM said its plans would mean both towns would get them back.

Coalville would also benefit from stations at the nearby Stephenson Industrial Estate, while Sinope and Moira would also gain a station

Plans to get the line up and running again last year hit the buffers after campaign group the Campaign to Reopen the Ivanhoe Line (CRIL) missed out vital government funding despite the backing of several politicians.

No official word on the line’s return has been made ever since, but despite this, Mr Le Vay said there had been “a change of mood” from the public and government in recent times, meaning campaigners should not give up hope.

“All over Britain, railway lines and stations closed under the savage cuts of the 1960s are slowly being reopened – to great rejoicing in those lucky communities,” he wrote.

He added: “A lot more needs to be done. But at least it’s on the right lines. All this would make Thomas the Tank Engine’s Fat Controller beam with pride.”

Leave A Comment