The picture shows the last special train to travel over the Ivanhoe line, this was the “Three Panniers” rail tour of 2017 that travelled from Leicester to Burton on Trent on its way back to Tysleley via Wychnor Junction. Attempts have been made in the past by various groups to run a special charter over the line purely in support of a restoration of passenger services. The last such attempt occurred in 2017 when Railfuture collaborated with East Midland Trains, however, after fruitful beginnings this failed to materialise. It remains an objective of CRIL to organise a charter train that would carry out two return journeys between Burton and Leicester on a Saturday, when the line is unused, using rolling stock as close as possible to the type that would operate the first restored passenger services. The landscape has changed, we are in contact with the Network Rail department that handles such operations and have contacts within Train Operating Companies that have expressed a willingness to explore the possibility. There is a long way to go, and many discussions to be had, before this can become a reality. However, should this materialise, we can promise that our members will be the first to know and be given first option to buy tickets. Watch this space!
Moira station opened in 1849 and closed in 1964, the station building survives and is now a private dwelling. In it’s day it served the communities that surrounded the Rawdon and Donisthorp pits of which very little trace remains today. The area has changed dramatically since those days with the emergence of the National Forest, with the attractions at Conkers and the National Cycling Centre, together with Moira Furnace and the Ashby Canal project. Thousands of visitors arrive each year by car and it is proposed that a station is reopened to service this growing tourist demand as well as the local community and businesses. Both the National Forest Company and Ashby Woulds Town Council are in support of a new station. On the 11th November the Chair of CRIL, Geoff Bushell, presented the case at a council meeting and it has been agreed that the council will work with the group to identify a suitable site. Previous feasibility studies of the line have omitted a station at Moira due mainly to constraining the service level to week days only. We at CRIL believe that the line will be heavily used at weekends for leisure and tourism and that this will provide further justification for the restoration of a passenger service.
The feasibility study committee met for the first time on Thursday and was attended by CRIL members and representatives of the supporting Councils resulting in a constructive discussion. This is just the start of a lengthy process and a follow up meeting has been planned in the New Year. Our sincere thanks to NWLDC for kindly allowing use of their meeting rooms for this purpose.