Shropshire Star

Ironbridge to Birmingham railway line is 'closer than ever'

A railway linking the Ironbridge power station site with Birmingham and beyond makes more sense than ever, according to a councillor.


Eric Carter, a councillor in Newport and chair of the Marches Strategic Rail Group, said the track was already in place and that its revival would bring a whole new group of people in The Gorge.

Councillor Carter has called for the railway to be reinstated since the Harworth Group bought the former power station for an undisclosed sum earlier this year.

But after the group held a stakeholder meeting last week, he said the opportunity feels closer than ever.

"This is one of the most important things that could happen in Ironbridge in terms of its potential future and growth," he said.

"That huge 158-acre site has so many opportunities and we need to maximise that with the developer."

Eric Carter

Councillor Carter said reopening the line would benefit both tourists and local people.

He said: "There was a survey done a few years ago and The Ironbridge Gorge was seen as one of the top 20 destinations that should be linked up to the main line. Nothing has happened since then, but we have an existing line. We haven't got to create the tracks, they run to Birmingham.

"We can advertise to people in London what they can come and visit. We've got a wonderful site with all those museums together, but the opportunities for Ironbridge are limited due to parking. You can't create a multi-storey car park in a World Heritage Site, but there can be a park and ride facility next to a railway link."

Councillor Carter said people already living in the Gorge would be able to use the station to travel.

He said: "It would attract businesses to the area, but it would also attract people to go to work by rail as well as by road. That would take the pressure off the M54.

"All these things are common sense. It sounds like we're trying to achieve the impossible, but we're not. It needs to be done, and Harworth are the right people to take this forward, to encourage growth jobs and retail, but also the growth of Ironbridge itself.

"It's something we're focussing on as the strategic rail group and don't want to miss the opportunity."

The power station was closed in November 2015 and demolition plans, including the destruction of its four pink cooling towers, were submitted by former owners Uniper last year. The regeneration plans are due to be submitted next year.

Members of the public will be able to share their thoughts at a public consultation event on October 11.