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The Ivanhoe Line was the name given to local passenger services operated on the Midland Main Line between Leicestermarker and Loughboroughmarker between 1993, when three intermediate stations were re-opened, and June 2005, when the separate Leicester–Loughborough service was withdrawn. Intermediate stations on the route are now served by East Midlands Trains' hourly service between Leicester and Lincolnmarker.

History

After phase one of the Ivanhoe Line was completed in the mid 1990s it was originally planned that phase two would extend the line west to Burton upon Trentmarker on the current freight-only line via Coalvillemarker and Ashby-de-la-Zouchmarker. However this development now looks unlikely, in the short term at least. The Conservative Party released a brief of their plans for the reopening in 2006, however this is thought by many to be political spin.The report published in December 2008 assumed that the total number of passenger journeys would be 150,000 per annum, each paying £3.15 per journey. It also assumed that no-one would use the line at week-ends, even though it runs via the successful tourist attractions of the National Forest. This equates to an assumption that just over 300 return journeys would be made daily, and only during the week. Yet according to the latest travel to work plans, some 4000-6000 car journeys occur daily on the Coalville to Leicester corridor, and 6000-8000 per day from the south. Thus about 12000 car journeys takes place along part or all the rail track; it is not coinsidered credible that only 2.5% would be attracted on to the train. There is therefore a widespread belief that the report's economic assumptions were wrong.

The Association of Train Operating Companies have applied for funding for the reopening of this line. Leicestershire County Council once again ruled out the move to re-open the line because they claimed it would cost £50m and require a £4m annual subsidy, although previous reports have shown the subsidy required to be far less, and that after the initial investment the line would make money.

Today

One station on the Derbymarker - Birminghammarker line, Willingtonmarker, was constructed in the mid 1990s with Ivanhoe branding and painted in the according blue livery. However, as a result of the failure of the Burton upon Trentmarker - Leicestermarker development to go ahead, it is a curious anomaly, separated from the Ivanhoe Line scheme.

The towns and villages served by the line are listed below.

Local passenger services on the route are currently operated by diesel multiple units of Classes 153, 156 or 158.

Trains use the slow lines from just north of Leicester to Loughborough, previously used almost exclusively for freight, so as well as the rebuilding of the three intermediate stations, work was also required to build a new third platform at Loughborough facing the Down Slow, and also a new crossover and signal south of Loughborough so southbound trains could cross from the Down Slow to the Up Slow.

Whilst Barrow and Sileby have two platforms (and limited access for disabled passengers), Syston has a single platform serving both directions. Syston station will be rebuilt around 2013 during a Leicester area re-signalling scheme as part of Network Rails Route Utilisation Strategy for freight.

Future

The intermediate stations are only capable of taking a two-coach train, and this has led to overcrowding on some services, in particular now the service is extended to Nottingham and Lincoln. The latest Route Utilisation Strategy for the East Midlands makes recommendations for platform lenghening.

East Midlands Parkway railway stationmarker has now been built on the route. Charnwoodmarker's local plan anticipates a station at Thurmastonmarker.

References


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