Campaign to extend Robin Hood train line in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire is back on track
The drive to extend the Robin Hood train line to Warsop, Edwinstowe and Ollerton is firmly back on track.
For Sherwood MP Mark Spencer who has led the long campaign for an extension, says the Government’s Department of Transport and Network Rail has at last produced an estimate for the cost of the work.
The exact figure has not been disclosed, although it is understood to be about £40m.
Mr Spencer said: “To finally get an estimate is a big step in the right direction.”
He has now written to fellow Conservative MP, Mansfield’s Ben Bradley, in the latter’s new role as leader of Nottinghamshire County Council.
The message, which was co-signed by Bolsover MP Mark Fletcher, urges the county council to bid for government cash through its new Levelling Up Fund for the Robin Hood Line extension.
Mr Spencer added: “Securing the support of the county council is vital in demonstrating the scheme’s viability.
"Extending the line would improve connectivity across the north of Nottinghamshire.
"In towns like Ollerton and Edwinstowe, improved rail links would encourage businesses to invest here and create lasting jobs. Our high streets have so much to offer.”
The extension would also help the tourism and leisure market, attracting new visitors to the area, said Mr Spencer.
He said: “The tourism sector in Edwinstowe includes world-class facilities like the RSPB Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre.
"And improving access to our towns would give small businesses the boost they need to thrive even more.”
The six-mile (9.7km) extension would run from Shirebrook, and most of it would follow a freight branch line that was used to carry coal to High Marnham power station.
After the power station was closed in 2003, the line was kept open and maintained as a test track for train-driver training.
It was back in 2009 that the county council first commissioned a feasibility study to extend the Robin Hood Line along the route.
About two miles of new track would be required, while stations at Warsop, Edwinstowe and Ollerton would need to be revived or freshly built.
The view at Westminster is that the extension has a good chance of getting the go-ahead, given the Government’s so-called Levelling Up programme and its desire to regenerate areas towards the north – encouraging jobs and investment.
Mr Bradley told Chad: “I am very supportive of the extension. I want to see it happen and it’s in the mix in terms of options.
"But it is important to say that there’s a lot of work to do to assess and prepare bids to the government’s Levelling Up Fund, and we are only allowed one.
"Therefore, I can’t make a firm public commitment to do anything at this stage.”
Mr Fletcher is an enthusiastic advocate of the line extension, saying it would ‘have huge benefits for Shirebrook and the east of my Bolsover constituency’.
He added: “It would improve tourism by connecting more places into Shirebrook and bring more people to the town, helping to regenerate the town centre and attract potential employers.
"The extension would make the town a more desirable place to live, improving transport links and increasing demand for housing and development, which is hugely positive.
"I’m also keen to improve public transport and reduce people’s dependence on cars.”