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Rail line extension appeal

Posted onPosted on 20th Dec

NOTTINGHAMSHRE County Council is calling on the Government to support the next stage of a feasibility study which is looking at extending the Robin Hood Line passenger train service to Ollerton.

A letter has been sent to MP Claire Perry, parliamentary under-secretary of state for transport, asking the government to part-fund the latest phase of the study, which the Council started in 2012.

The County Council was the prime mover behind the scheme to reopen the Robin Hood line from Worksop through Mansfield to Nottingham in the 1990s.

To help secure the reopening the Council invested £6 million from its reserves and the reopened stretch has been a huge success, carrying more than one million passengers a year.

In 2012 the Council commissioned the initial feasibility study from Network Rail, costing £60,000, to look at what work would be required to re-open the existing freight line from Shirebrook to Ollerton to passengers.

The Council is now about to commission the next phase of the studies which are expected to cost around £200,000 – and is calling on the government to make a firm commitment to the Robin Hood Line by funding 50% of the cost.

“So far Nottinghamshire County Council alone has paid in full for all the development work on this scheme,” said Coun Kevin Greaves, chairman of the transport and highways committee.

“We are willing to invest a further £100,000 (i.e. 50%) from our 2014/5 budget to commission half of the ‘next steps’ work on this scheme.

“Unfortunately, because of reductions of almost 50% in the government’s Integrated Transport Measures capital grant — from which the Council is committed to spending £50,000 to improve the Nottingham to Lincoln service — the availability of funds to support work on the Robin Hood Line as well is much less likely.

“We have, however, been very encouraged by recent statements made by Claire Perry in which she said she would assist in putting together a business case for extending the Robin Hood Line, which could be put to Government.

“We are now hoping that the government will confirm that this is a real commitment to funding the next phase of work equally between the County Council and DfT, with the government matching the Council’s £100,000 which we have already pledged.”