Ashby Rail Campaigners Urge Local Businesses To Back Bid - After Gaining Support From East Midlands Chamber

By Graham Hill

6th Oct 2020 | Local News

Photo: Campaign to Re-Open The Ivanhoe Line
Photo: Campaign to Re-Open The Ivanhoe Line

The Campaign To Re-open The Ivanhoe Line is being supported by East Midlands Chamber - and urging businesses along the route to get involved in the bid.

Those companies are being made aware of the benefits a newly re-opened line would bring.

Campaigners have made huge progress this year in their aim to see a return to passenger trains running from Burton to Leicester via Ashby and Coalville.

The 31-mile line was closed as part of the 1960s Beeching Cuts.

But the line remained open for freight trains and the Government this year announced a £500,000 fund to see whether routes such as the Ivanhoe Line could be opened.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps raised hopes when he mentioned the line by name during a televised coronavirus briefing.

CRIL has the backing of authorities including North West Leicestershire District Council and is now engaging with businesses along the line to strengthen its case.

Geoff Bushell, CRIL chairman, told East Midlands Chamber News: "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."

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 told East Midlands Chamber News: "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 [email protected].

For more information on CRIL, visit Ivanhoe Line

     

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