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.
Coun Ben Bradley, Mansfield MP and Nottinghamshire Council leader, said: “It says in the letters the Government also considering the longer-term connectivity of that all the way down to St Pancras, including a Mansfield to St Pancras line.
“That’s good news because it means they have given us £1m to do the planning work through the corporation as part of the Toton Masterplan.
“And it means the DfT is actively working with us on it, instead of it being a one-off bid – it’s a structured plan where we will work with the Government to bring it through.”
The investment will allow officials to work out how they will change their plans to factor in a regular railway hub, rather than infrastructure for high-speed transport.
Coun Bradley said it is 'hard to say’ whether the funding change will bring the Maid Marian scheme forward any quicker, or cause a delay.
But the Ashfield Independents, the ruling group on Ashfield Council which submitted the failed Restore Your Railway bid, fear the scheme could be delayed ‘by a decade’.
And Coun Matthew Relf, council portfolio holder for regeneration and growth, said the council’s plans were more than just linking the line up with Toton, but opening up other routes and reducing traffic.