MP urges minister to back plans to reopen Barrow Hill Line to passengers
A Derbyshire MP has stressed his support for plans to reopen a North Derbyshire railway line to passengers.
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.
Huge economic and tourist opportunities
Mr Rowley, Conservative MP for North East Derbyshire, said: “While we are still in the very early days of the proposal, I am very happy with the progress we have made so far.
“The scheme presents huge economic and tourist opportunities for North East Derbyshire and so many communities across the constituency would greatly benefit from the improvements in connectivity the scheme would bring.”
In January 2020, the Government announced a new £500 million Restoring Your Railway fund and invited councils and community groups to propose how they could use funding to reinstate axed local services and restore closed stations.
The Barrow Hill scheme was then one of 10 shortlisted to progress to the next stage and a group comprising councils, the Sheffield City Region, Mr Rowley and others have been working on a strategic outline business case.
That proposal was submitted in February and a decision is due in the summer on whether it can progress to the detailed business case stage.
He said: “Following on from the announcement of Town Deals for Staveley and Clay Cross in the March Budget, this is yet another demonstration of the Government’s willingness to support our communities.
“There is a long way to go and no guarantees, but I will keep making the case in Westminster for this huge opportunity for North East Derbyshire.”