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Banging heads against a brick wall over re-use of rail lines

Readers' letters | Published:

I read with interest Mike Crump’s letter ‘Time to change track over broken railways’ in the Shropshire Star, August 31.

Just over a year ago I suggested and wrote to my MP, Telford and Wrekin councillors and the Department for Transport setting out my ideas on the re-use of the mothballed freight line from Madeley Junction to the former Ironbridge Power Station – see my letter below:

‘I refer to the above article in the Shropshire Star Friday August 5, 2016 edition. Whilst I fully agree with the Telford and Wrekin councillors supporting a plan that would see a heritage railway come to Ironbridge, I feel strongly that the bigger picture should be looked at.

Here we have a unique opportunity to re-use the existing freight line for a passenger service from the main Shrewsbury to Birmingham line to the World Heritage Site at Ironbridge.

I have looked at this real possibility and reckon that with new railway stations at Madeley Junction near to Stafford Park, Stirchley, Madeley Academy near to the proposed connection with the heritage rail link, Coalbrookdale near to the Iron Museum/ Enginuity, Ironbridge (site of the original SVR station) and the Blists Hill Museum, the line could be re-used.

I realise that new stations at Ironbridge and Blists Hill would involve a rail extension and a River Severn crossing but the whole project would cost a fraction of the current HS2 cost of £56 billion and bring huge benefits to Telford and Wrekin and Shropshire.’

It may be worth considering in the overall plans for the former Ironbridge Power Station that potential passengers to the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage site, could use a system similar to the successful pre-Metro Stourbridge Shuttle to lessen the infrastructure maintenance costs. In any case the impact on these structures will be far less than the previous heavy freight traffic usage.

Reopening the existing redundant line from Ironbridge Power Station to Lightmoor Junction for passenger services would support the objectives of the Telford Steam Railway, to extend and provide heritage steam railway services from its Lawley Park and Ride terminus to the Ironbridge Gorge and intermediate stations. The sustainable access strategy and rail access strategies will identify short, medium and long term proposals that could be made to improve access to and within the Gorge and will consider the needs of residents, visitors to the area and the long term future of Ironbridge power station - see attached plan.

When will this government and Telford and Wrekin Council realise that the future of this world should not rely on the motor car? I had negative and unenthusiastic responses from all sides and feel that Mr Crump and the like are ‘banging their heads against a brick wall’.'

Peter Hassall, Shifnal

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