The Ivanhoe line extends for 30+ miles from Leicester to Burton-on-Trent. It closed to passengers in 1964 following publication of The Reshaping of British Railways, and is currently a freight route used by stone trains from quarries at Stud Farm, near Markfield, and Bardon Hill.

Over the years, various groups have tried to get the line reopened to passenger trains, without success. The promoter of the current reopening scheme is the Campaign to Reopen the Ivanhoe line (CRIL).

The scheme has the backing of Burton MP Kate Griffiths.

“We have the support of four local MPs and all the local authorities alongside the line and we believe this represents the best opportunity in recent years to install rail as a transport mode of choice.” – Geoff Bushell

[CRIL] has recruited Stacey Ash, who has more than 30 years’ experience in investment management, as a business liaison manager. He has started to engage with relevant companies to explain the benefits a station can bring, both to commercial operations and surrounding communities. Stacey will look for these companies to lend support and add their weight to the strategic outline business case that the group is preparing to present to the Department for Transport as part of its Restoring Your Railway initiative.

Source: Amazon backs reopening rail line to passengers, by Helen Kreft, on DerbyshireLive website.

Obituary: Geoff Bushell

It is with great sadness that we announce the loss of our Chair, Geoff Bushell, to Covid-19 on Saturday 7th November. Geoff was the inspiration and driving force behind the Campaign to Re-Open the Ivanhoe Line (CRIL).

Starting with a meeting in a pub in late 2018, Geoff used his gentle powers of persuasion to form a team of volunteers and garner the support of hundreds of people keen to see the Ivanhoe Line open to passenger traffic.

Source and full obituary: CRIL website.

Proposed stations

Leicester South

Meynell’s Gorse

Bagworth & Ellistown (aka Ellistown)

Coalville

Ashby

Moira

Gresley (aka Castle Gresley)

Drakelow (aka Drakelow and Stapenhill)

The home page of the Campaign to Reopen the Ivanhoe line website states:

Proposed stations are Drakelow, Gresley, Moira, Ashby, Coalville, Bagworth & Ellistown, Meynell’s Gorse and Leicester South, a new station adjacent to the King Power Stadium and other sports stadia. We will also propose an integrated plan that interacts with bus services and makes use of park & ride facilities. Although we are primarily concerned with Burton to Leicester, once opened this line will have great potential which an ambitious operator could exploit. Although we are primarily concerned with Burton to Leicester, once opened this line will have great potential which an ambitious operator could exploit.

The Campaign for Better Transport has identified the line as a priority 1 candidate for reopening, and the Campaign to Reopen the Ivanhoe line has made a successful bid for an award from the Restoring Your Railway Fund to progress their proposal towards the business case stage.

A major challenge lies at the Leicester end of the line, where the junction with the Midland Main line faces south, towards Market Harborough, rather than north, towards Leicester. The north-facing junction has been removed and the land is now occupied by commercial properties.

If trains from Burton-on-Trent are unable to run into Leicester station without reversing at Knighton South Junction or elsewhere, the reopening scheme is a non-starter.

We have been informed that Leicester City Councii, the owner of the commercial development, is prepared to demolish some of the buildings to enable the reinstatement of the north-facing curve. The work would take about three years to complete.

Leicester and the missing Knighton North Junction

Map credit: New Popular Edition Maps (1940s and 1950s).
Location of the Ivanhoe line

© OpenStreetMap contributors | OpenStreetMap copyright notice | View interactive map
East Midlands Rail Refranchising Map, 2007

Source: Ivanhoe line Stage II, Scheme Re-Appraisal, Scott Wilson on behalf of Leicestershire County Council (pdf—2009).

Further reading

Amazon backs reopening rail line to passengers, by Helen Kreft, on DerbyshireLive website

Campaign to Reopen the Ivanhoe line

The future of the railway: Are we on track for a Beeching part 2? on The Telegraph website

Ivanhoe line Stage II, Scheme Re-Appraisal, Scott Wilson on behalf of Leicestershire County Council (pdf—2009)

Leicester–Burton upon Trent line – Wikipedia

Leicester – Burton Rail Passenger Service, Final Report, by AECOM for Leicestershire County Council and North West Leicestershire District Council – May 2016 (pdf; 80pp)

Leicester to Burton Ivanhoe railway line re-opening takes a step forward, on LeicestershireLive website (May 2020)

RailUKforums – Ivanhoe line discussion thread (2016)

Reinstatement Of The Ivanhoe line, on The Anonymous Widower website