Ambitious plans to run a passenger rail service through Warsop for the first time in nearly 60 years are being drawn up by local councillors.
The proposal will be the centrepiece of the parish council’s ‘neighbourhood plan’ - a blueprint for developing the village - and councillors insist there is a realistic possibility that Warsop can be linked up with the Robin Hood Line, which runs between Worksop and Nottingham.
Re-opening the line was one proposal by Mansfield District Council put to Nottinghamshire County Council’s transport and highways committee last year, but was not selected as an approved scheme by the Local Transport Body.
But with the new solar farm development on the old Welbeck Colliery requiring a rail link for freight purposes, parish councillors say passenger services could ‘piggyback’ the plans.
Warsop councillor Phil Shields, who also sits on Mansfield District Council said: “It would be massive for Warsop if we could get this rail link.
“There was an industrial line when the pit was open, but if the new development at Welbeck needs a rail line, there’s no reason why we couldn’t piggyback this and have a commercial line.
“It would help bring people in to Warsop, and ease transport issues on the A60.”
Mr Shield’s view was echoed by Warsop Parish Council chairman, Coun John Kerr, who also sits on Mansfield District Council.
“It would be a great opportunity for the people of the parish, a lot of people do not have cars and use public transport,” he said.
“The roads are chock-a-block most of the time, and getting into Mansfield can be a nightmare.
“A train line would be a huge bonus for the people of Warsop.”
The Robin Hood Line is operated by East Midlands Trains, and runs services through Mansfield, Sutton, Kirkby, Mansfield Woodhouse, Shirebrook and Langwith.
To include Warsop would mean taking an eastern diversion along what is known as the Dukeries section of the line, to pick up passengers before returning back along the line to re-join the Robin Hood Line.
Warsop had a passenger service which ran from 1897 to 1955, running infrequent trains to Mansfield, Shirebrook, Nottingham, Chesterfield and even Lincoln.
The line was closed to passenger services in September 1955, though summer holiday excursions to and from the East Coast continued to call until September 1964.
The lines were still used to transport coal from Welbeck Colliery up until its closure in 2010.
And with the infrastructure of the line still in tact, along with Warsop’s old station building near to the bridge over the A60, the councillors are adamant it is achievable.
“The possibility is very good because the solar farm is pushing to get it open again- it’s the obvious way for them to bring material in,” added Coun Kerr.
“I would like it to go through Meden Vale and eventually, maybe Edwinstowe.”
The move is being backed by Mansfield mayor, Tony Egginton, who said: “Re-establishing the Dukeries Line going out to Edwinstowe and Ollerton from Shirebrook and Warsop is one of our priorities now when it comes to rail travel following the re-opening of the Robin Hood line.
“It would help significantly with transport to major tourism destinations of the Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre and the Center Parcs complex.”
The plans are also gathering support among the retail community.
Bev Lilley, who has run The Fashion Shop on High Street for more than three decades, said: “Any kind of development in Warsop is good news,
and it’s great for Warsop to have a vision.
“It might take some people out of the village but it would also bring them in, it could be two-way thing. There’s never been a railway here in our lifetime.
“Any development would be beneficial.
Colleen Walker, from the Warsop Workingmen’s Club, also on High Street, added: “The nearest railway station is Mansfield Woodhouse and then Shirebrook, Warsop has as much to offer. If Langwith has got a railway stop, then why not help bring people in to Warsop?”