A long-running plan to re-open a railway line to passenger trains has moved forwards, with hopes that people could soon be able to ride from Kirkby-in-Ashfield straight to the proposed High Speed Rail 2 station in Toton.
Ashfield District Council is now looking to get more information on the finer details of how the project would work, and what the economic benefits would be.
The proposal involves re-opening and upgrading a freight-only line, which would allow passenger trains to run between Kirkby-in-Ashfield via Pinxton and Selston to Langley Mill and Ilkeston, and then on to Toton and Nottingham.
The council, which is run by the Ashfield Independents, has now asked companies to bid for a contract to put a full detailed report together.
The winner of the council’s tendering competition will then create an economic report which can be presented to the Government and transport bosses from HS2.
Ashfield’s planning boss, Councillor Matt Relf, said there would be several benefits to re-opening the line, and that the project is being supported by a host of organisations.
The councillor, who represents the Sutton Junction and Harlow Wood ward for the Ashfield Independents, said “The proposed line would link Mansfield and Ashfield to the Toton station hub for HS2.
“Along with the wider economic benefits HS2 is intended to bring regionally and nationally, it forms part of a gateway scheme into the hub that is currently being looked into by the HS2 Board.
“The proposal would use existing track on both passenger and freight lines to connect to the hub and would make significant savings on journey times from Mansfield, Sutton Parkway and Kirkby Town Centre over car journeys.
“It is part of a suite of proposals that are aimed at providing connectivity across the region for businesses and residents. It presents an opportunity to capture economic benefits for the district and further support development associated with our train stations.
“By looking at master- planning opportunities and the increased frequency of trains to serve our businesses it has the potential for Ashfield to access national and European markets by train and or plane without the use of a car.
“As well as promoting the economic benefits, Ashfield is keen to promote initiatives that are sustainable and have the potential to improve air quality across the district.”