Major step forward for plans to open railway stations in Killamarsh, Eckington, Staveley and Whittington

The bid to re-open railway stations in Killamarsh, Eckington, Staveley and Whittington has received a major boost this week, with the Government announcing that the Barrow Hill line will move forward to the next stage of funding and development.

Monday, 20th June 2022, 10:12 am

A high-level proposal to re-open the Barrow Hill line was first submitted last year by a consortium of local councils and Lee Rowley MP, as the parliamentary sponsor.

Lee Rowley said: “After much campaigning, our local area will now have the opportunity to progress to the next stage and develop these ideas in more detail – with the hope that, in time, we might be able to open the stations once again.”

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Looking southbound along the Barrow Hill Line from Cavendish Place, Barrow Hill.

“This is brilliant news for North Derbyshire,” said the MP, who has campaigned over the last year, including meeting the Minister for Rail a few months ago, on the matter.

“Bringing back passenger services to places like Killamarsh, Eckington and Staveley would be another brilliant example of levelling up in action in places like ours – real infrastructure improvements which will bring real benefits to communities up and down the line.”

“I’m delighted that the Government has allowed us to move to the next stage. It’s still early days and there are no guarantees, but having the opportunity to develop these proposals further is fantastic – and will give us to the potential to bid for re-opening these stations in the future. Thank you to everyone involved – now back to work to see if we can do this!”

The Barrow Hill line is part of the Government’s “Restoring your Railway” initiative which seeks to re-open closed passenger lines across the country. A Strategic Outline Business Case was submitted in mid 2021 for evaluation and, as part of the national announcement today, the proposals have been allowed to progress to the next stage of development.

The route, also known as the ‘Old Road’, was the original North Midland Railway line between Chesterfield and Rotherham.

In its heyday, thousands of passengers used the railway regularly, with stations open at Whittington, Barrow Hill, for Staveley, Renishaw, for Eckington, and Killamarsh.

However, it closed to passenger traffic more than 60 years ago, although the route remains in use for freight trains and some non-stop passenger trains.

But now plans are under way to build new stations and reopen the line to regular passenger services.

Huw Bowen, chief executive of Chesterfield Borough Council, said: “This is a fantastic step forward towards the reopening of the Barrow Hill Line for passenger trains. If completed this will create new and positive opportunities for our residents and businesses and aligns well with other significant investments currently being made by the council and our partners.

“Not only would this act as a catalyst for further private investment in the Staveley Works corridor, improved public transport links make a real difference to the everyday lives of local people – increasing the ability of residents to access jobs and education, and opening up new leisure opportunities for Staveley’s communities.

“Chesterfield borough will in time become an important regional transport hub. The £25.2 million Staveley Town Deal includes funding support for a new railway station at Barrow Hill and a new rail industry innovation and training centre at Barrow Hill Roundhouse which will further encourage the growth of the rail sector around Staveley. In Chesterfield town centre, our station master plan sets out the council’s ambitions to transform a key gateway into our town centre.

“We will continue to work closely with our partners in Derbyshire and South Yorkshire to support the development of this ‘Restoring your Railways’ project through the next phases.”

Cllr Steve Clough, Chairman of Killamarsh Parish Council added: “What a great day for Killamarsh! As a Parish, we have been very supportive of these proposals. There’s obviously still a long way to go, and I know that we can’t count any chickens, but having the ability to go to the next level of detail will be hugely welcomed in the village. I very much hope we might be successful in the future once these plans have been fleshed out.”

Cllr Carolyn Renwick, Cabinet Member for Infrastructure and Environment at Derbyshire County Council and Chair of Eckington Parish Council commented: “I’m hugely pleased that the proposals for the Barrow Hill line can move to the next stage of development.

"We’ve been working closely with partners on this for months and I’m looking forward to seeing if we can develop a detailed proposal which will allow the Government to green light the re-opening of this line after so many decades.”