Rail line from Ironbridge could link back up with Telford Central
A railway line in Ironbridge could be reconnected to the mainline at Telford Central and beyond thanks to a newly announced government scheme, councillors have said.
A newly announced "Strategic Vision for Rail" could provide a significant opportunity for the people of Telford, said Ironbridge Gorge ward member Councillor Nicola Lowery.
The plan, which was released last week, details the government's intention to bring the organisations that run the track and the trains closer together, as well as opening routes to unlock housing and development investment.
Councillor Lowery said: "I greatly welcome this news because we need to plan for the future and ensure we invest in our rail networks to expand to meet growing demand, harness new opportunities and the coming generation of improvements, whilst continuing to find more sustainable solutions and improve journeys. This announcement provides significant opportunity for Telford & Wrekin.
"“New connections and stations can support locally-led development and provide communities and people with new opportunities. This provides a golden opportunity in relation to the Ironbridge Power Station, as there is an existing rail link from the former power station up to the A4169 which connects to the main line to Telford Central, which potentially could enable a rail connection into our World Heritage site."
Councillor Lowery said she had been working with current owners Uniper, as well as Telford & Wrekin and Shropshire councils to ensure all is done to help make the railway viable.
"This truly is a unique and golden opportunity to expand our sustainable transport links and create an iconic project that would have significant benefits for the wider region," she said.
Councillor Eric Carter, Chair of Marches Strategic Rail Group and Borough Councillor for Newport South & East said: “I welcome the opportunity this announcement gives us to continue to work with all partners to reopen redundant lines, particularly the Ironbridge Link and closer to home potentially Newport to Stafford.
"This announcement from the Secretary of State is good news for Telford & Wrekin and will provide further opportunities for our ambitions to utilise and secure a rail link into the Ironbridge power station.
"I and Councillor Lowery continue to work with Telford Stream Railway in exploring wider connectivity to other areas of the Borough and supporting them in their efforts and feasibility studies. This is part of our wider effort’s to expand our rail links and I look forward to continuing to work with partners in our endeavours to make these ideas a reality.”
Councillor Peter Nutting, leader of Shropshire Council said: “The Ironbridge Power Station is included within Shropshire Council’s Economic Growth Strategy and the Council continues to work proactively to safeguard the rail network for future use. At our recent meeting, myself and Councillor Lowery discussed the potential of the rail network and as a Council we are committed to encouraging the use of rail as part of any scheme that comes forward in the future as part of a wider proposal to secure a positive use for the site."