Step forward for plans to reopen Barrow Hill Line near Chesterfield
Plans to reopen a north Derbyshire railway line to passengers have taken a step forward.
A proposal to reopen the ‘Barrow Hill Line’, between Chesterfield and Sheffield, via Barrow Hill and Killamarsh, has been submitted to the Department for Transport as MP Lee Rowley throws his weight behind the bid.
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.
Mr Rowley, North East Derbyshire MP, said: “The reopening of the line has captured the imagination of residents over the course of the last eight months and there is a huge groundswell of support to take this project forward.
“Reopening the line would be strategically important for North East Derbyshire and its future prosperity and I am pleased to be able to support a scheme that offers so much to my constituency and its residents.”
Restoring Your Railway fund
In January 2020, the Government announced a new £500-million Restoring Your Railway fund and invited councils and community groups across England and Wales 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 since May 2020, a group comprising councils, the Sheffield City Region, Mr Rowley and others have been working on a strategic outline business case.
That proposal has now been submitted and a decision is awaited on whether it can progress to the detailed business case stage.
Mr Rowley said: “This is still a long way off if it does happen, and there is no guarantee, but even bidding for these kind of opportunities is a big step forward for us in North East Derbyshire.
“I’m going to Westminster to make the case for reopening and I hope we may be able to progress to the next step.”