Transport Secretary Grant Shapps revealed his Integrated Rail Plan for the North and Midlands – confirming the HS2 eastern leg between Birmingham and Leeds, via the East Midlands, was being shelved.
However, the IRP says: “We will look to exploit any linkages with other investment in Nottinghamshire, including the proposals for the Robin Hood Line extension and reopening the Maid Marian Line.”
The Robin Hood Line, between Nottingham and Worksop, via Mansfield and Ashfield, would be extended to serve Ollerton and Edwinstowe, while the Maid Marian Line, a route between Pye Bridge and Kirkby currently only used by freight trains, would link the Robin Hood Line with the main Nottingham-Sheffield railway line.
Ashfield Council has been at the forefront of the bid to reopen the Maid Marian Line, linking the district to Ilkeston and beyond.
Coun Jason Zadrozny, council leader, said: “This is fantastic news. Today sees our dream become a reality.
“We’ve always said that reopening the Maid Marian Line to passengers was a no brainer – that’s why we’ve campaigned for this for seven years.
“Reopening mineral lines like the Maid Marian Line to passengers is incredibly cost effective. If our bid has indeed been successful, will see between 1.1 million and 1.4 million rail journeys a year.
“I pay tribute to those at Ashfield, Bolsover and Mansfield Councils behind the bid – we worked incredibly hard together.
“We are obviously disappointed about the HS2 connection no longer coming to Toton, but the investment in East Midlands Parkway will provide a gateway to the rest of the country and beyond.
“This will see the old mineral line reopened from Kirkby, through Pinxton and into Derbyshire. The opening of this line will offer opportunity for positive connectivity for residents, commuters, and visitors.
“Especially with the potential of new platforms at Selston parish and King’s Mill. It’s a real game changer for the district.”
Coun Matthew Relf, council cabinet member for planning and regeneration, said “The opening of the line will create new journey opportunities for residents to access education and training.”