Fears Mansfield could become 'commuter town' with plans for direct train to London

Residents have expressed mixed views about potential plans for a direct Mansfield-London train service.

Mansfield Railway Station.
Mansfield Railway Station.

The idea is being investigated alongside the reopening of the Maid Marian Line in Ashfield.

Although plans to reopen the Maid Marian Line have missed out on funding from the Government’s Restore Your Railway scheme, the Government is giving money to investigate its opening further.

Currently the line – linking the Robin Hood Line at Kirkby with the main Nottingham-Sheffield route at Pye Bridge – is only used by freight trains, but campaigners want to see it reopened to passengers, with stations potentially serving Selston and Pinxton.

The reopening is now to be investigated as part of the wider Toton Masterplan, with the East Midlands Development Corporation to be given £2 million over two years to draw up the next steps.

Government letters confirm the reopening will be investigated alongside plans to potentially introduce a direct rail link between Mansfield, Toton and London St Pancras in the future.

Mansfield MP Ben Bradley said: "It's really promising to hear Government referencing this direct London connection, as it's something I've been floating with them since the Autumn. It's important to say that it's early days and will likely take several years, but if we make the right progress on the major investment and station plans at Toton, including the Maid Marian Line, then there's every chance we can make it happen.

“When other places have secured that direct rail connection it's made a huge difference to their local economy and opportunities. Corby in Northants is a good, recent example and they've seen a huge amount of investment as a result.

“I know it can be frustrating that projects like this can take some time to deliver, and we'd all like instant results of course, but what we're building here in terms of major projects and investments will make a huge long term difference, and change lives.

“I've always talked about Levelling Up as fundamentally being about bringing better, well paid jobs to the area, ensuring that we're providing local people with the skills to take advantage of those jobs, and then also the transport infrastructure to get to them.

“A direct rail route like this would help us to tick all of those boxes."

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Mansfield District Council has also welcomed the news, with hopes the move will improve social and economic prospects for the town.

Councillor Stuart Richardson, portfolio holder for regeneration and growth said: “The council will always be keen to consider and discuss plans to improve the local infrastructure and better connect the town nationally.

“Being able to travel conveniently, frequently and in a cost effective way will undoubtedly improve the social and economic prospects for local people.

”Even if the plans are a long way off, having a dedicated improved connection to London opens up more sustainable transport links to communities and gives access to jobs and training through the construction of the network.

“It would stimulate housing and other investment to the area and provide opportunities for the visitor economy.”

Your views

Following a previous report by your Chad, residents took to social media to air their views on the potential new time-saving service.

But some were wary that the new direct line may see Mansfield turning into a commuter town.

Anthony Pounder said: “Levelling up or providing quicker access for those living in Mansfield and other such places to get to London and work? Turning Mansfield and the like into commuter belt while keeping the work in London. Is Mansfield really being held back by not having a direct rail service to London in this era of Zoom/Teams?”

Steve North responded: “It seems an unlikely scenario, but if it did happen it may bring more money into Mansfield. You can imagine the bankers at Goldman Sachs converting all those houses on Newgate Lane and Gladstone Street in loft apartments. You wouldn’t be able to move for coffee and soft furnishing shops.”

Dave Bramwell said: “David Cameron promised to extend the Robin Hood Line to Ollerton and Edwinstowe, but has it happened? I'll believe this proposal when it's actually running, which I very much doubt it will.”

Shaun Lee sarcastically added: “Fantastic news. Finally linking the two major Industrial and financial hubs of the UK – London and Mansfield. Can't wait.”