Telford Steam Railway consults on Ironbridge Power Station site plan
Telford Steam Railway is looking for support to lay fresh track to one of the county's prominent heritage locations - the former Ironbridge Power Station, in Buildwas.
The railway, an expanding heritage trust, was today holding a consultation to discuss plans to run services from Lawley to the former power station site, as part of long-term proposals to attract more tourists and generate income.
Trustees have launched a £1.5 million project to lengthen the line by crossing the A4169, which is being funded by its successful Polar Express franchise.
Now the railway is showcasing the blueprint so that members of the public, and transport service partners can study the proposals and add ideas.
The organisation has also launched a new website to promote the plans and it has proved a success so far, with more than 3,000 hits on the first day it was running.
It hopes to pull in 100,000 visitors and generate £2m in annual turnover if the tourist attraction, which currently runs from Lawley Village to Horsehay & Dawley, can be extended to the gorge, a World Heritage Site.
Telford Steam Railway spokesman and trustee Phil Neal said: "The potential to develop and extend the steam railway is enormous and it is vital for people to respond to the consultation.
"We launched the steamingtoironbridge.co.uk website because we ran out of bandwidth on the regular website and we had 3,000 hits on the new site on its first day in operation. The support from the public has been fantastic so far.
"We are due to set up a link in a format for people to respond online which will follow in due course.
"Members of the trust will be at the consultation event to answers questions and hand out information leaflets."
The event will be open from 2pm to 7pm today.
Ongoing work will see the track extended from just over half mile in length to 1.5 miles when contractors re-lay it from Horsehay to Doseley in 2019 as part of the proposal to connect to Network Rail’s line to Ironbridge.
There are hopes the heritage railway will eventually take over a disused track between the power station and Lightmoor Junction, linking up with its existing stations at Lawley and Horsehay.
The trustees will also need to successfully apply for planning permission to extend from Doseley to Lightmoor.
They would then need to install a bridge it has already acquired above the A4169 and lay the track from Doseley to Lightmoor.
In 2015 Ironbridge Power Station was closed by E.ON after 46 years in operation.
The steam railway hopes to work in partnership with the the power station's new owners, mining reclamation group Harworth, Network Rail and Telford & Wrekin Council to see the dream become a reality.
The attraction currently operates each Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays.