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Leicestershire County Council has voted not to proceed with reopening the Ivanhoe line linking Leicester with Burton-on-Trent via Coalville and Ashby de la Zouch, following advice from council officers that the project does not represent value for money.
Local people will find it difficult to understand the sort of accountancy that deems a project that would contribute so much to the regeneration of the north west Leicestershire coalfield, as well as providing access to a major new tourist attraction (the national forest), to be poor value for money - especially when they see the enormous success of the very similar Robin Hood line in neighbouring Nottinghamshire.
Council leader Harry Barber has promised to ask deputy prime minister John Prescott for a meeting so that he can tell him of the difficulties being faced by local authorities in providing rail services.
It is clear there has to be a radical shake-up of financial arrangements. Councillor David Bill of Hinckley and Bosworth Borough, a staunch friend of RDS, is also working hard to save the Ivanhoe project.
However, the cause was not helped by the failure of both Leicestershire County or Leicester City councils to mention the Ivanhoe line in their submissions to the RUCC on refranchising of local services.
The RDS branch asked for reopening of the Ivanhoe line to be specifically included as a condition of any new franchise agreement.
As a small compensation for abandoning the Ivanhoe line, the county council is now proposing improvements to local services on the Loughborough-Leicester- Nuneaton route.
RDS would want to see the opening of a new station at Croft as part of any improvement project, although we have concerns about capacity on the heavily used Leicester-Nuneaton section.
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