Shropshire Star

Railway from Ironbridge to Telford could be reinstated, developer says

Railway lines connecting Ironbridge with the mainline to Birmingham could be reinstated, the owners of the power station has said.

Ironbridge cooling towers

Harworth said that there would be work involved to get rail services back to the Gorge – but that it is possible.

Stuart Ashton, head of planning at Harworth, said it was one of the main things people had spoken with them about.

His comments come as a consultation into the future of the former power station begins.

People are being invited to give their thoughts on how the site could be used in the future.

"There's been a huge interest in if we can use the railway line again, from steam railway groups to other passenger groups that want to get the line active," Mr Ashton said.

"Not only is it a tourism route for people to come into the Gorge, but also is there is the possibility that people could use it to get to Telford and beyond instead of using their car."

Mr Ashcroft said it was more than just a pipe dream.

"It's something that could potentially happen. Once you have a line that's in, it's easier to deliver it than if you haven't. The line next to the cooling towers goes all the way to Telford – there's some work to do but it's not huge amounts of work to get it active again.

"We would try to get some sort of commercial activities around a rail halt, and people would come into the Gorge, and then you're only a short distance from Ironbridge itself."

His comments come a Telford Steam Railway, based in Horsehay, announced its plans to lay fresh tracks into the Gorge.

The railway, an expanding heritage trust, said the move could pull in 100,000 visitors and generate £2m in annual turnover if the extension happens.

Councillor Nicola Lowery, ward member for the Ironbridge Gorge, backed the plans.

"The reintroduction of rail into the former Power Station has received support from many local residents and is being considered by the new owners Harworth as part of their consultation on the former Power Station site," she said. "It has been an utter pleasure work with this group since 2015 and to see them go from strength to strength by sheer hard work, energy and passion for a project they believe in.

"The individuals at Telford Stream Railway are testament to what can be achieved if you think big and put everything into achieving your dreams”.