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Future should not rely on cars

Readers' letters | Published:

I refer to the letter by Mike Crump ‘Think long term on future of railway line’, June 26 edition of the Shropshire Star.

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, like Mr Crump, and have been advocating for some time now, that the bigger picture should be looked at by the new owners of the power station.

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.

When will this government and Telford and Wrekin Council realise that the future of this world should not rely on the motorcar?

Peter Hassall, Shifnal

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