Ilkeston StationBrief History;
Ilkeston is a town situated on the South-Eastern border of Derbyshire. It has a rich industrial heritage in coal, mining, iron works and textiles all of which have disappeared in the last few decades.
Before the recent works it was known as, ‘The Biggest Town in UK without a Railway Station’
. However, at one time Ilkeston was a railway town with three stations!
Beeching & The Closure of the Stations;
In 1955, under Labour’s British Transport Commission, there was a proposed £1,240 million to be spent restoring the infrastructure through a series of maintenance projects with the plan to put railways back into competition with other forms of transport such as cars and buses.
By 1962, the Modernisation Plan was in crisis due to factors like operating losses and inflation rising etc. The British Transport Commission found itself with debts of £104 million which resulted in reports being commissioned detailing a series of railway cuts in a bid to recoup some of the losses, ‘The Reshaping of British Railways' (1963) and 'The Development of the Major Railway Trunk Routes' (1965), written by Dr Richard Beeching and published by the British Railways Board.
It was decided as part of the ‘Beeching Cuts’, that the least used lines and station would be closed, completely withdrawing all services. As a result, over half of the country’s stations were shut down which made 5,000 miles of track redundant including all three of Ilkeston’s Stations;
- Ilkeston Junction and Cossall Station- Opened by the Midland Railway in 1847 on the Erewash Valley Line, closed entirely in 1967 and became a scrapyard and wasteland.
- Ilkeston Town Station- Was on a branch leading from the Midland Railway’s Erewash Valley Line, closed in 1947 and was later demolished and a Tesco supermarket was built in its place.
- Ilkeston North Station- Opened by the Great Northern in 1878 as part of its Derbyshire and Staffordshire Extension, closed to passengers in 1964, then to goods in 1968 and was later replaced by a police station.
In 2013, Derbyshire County Council saw the potential for benefits in building a new station in Ilkeston. A new station on the site of the old Ilkeston Junction station could cut commuter times into Nottingham, open up job opportunities along the line for people living in the town and help boost the town’s economy.
This funding was offered as part of the Government’s New Stations Fund. However, this project was delayed due a discovery of a rare species- the Great Crested Newt. 171 newts had to be removed at a cost to Derbyshire County Council of £74,120. It was a timely procedure due to strict monitoring rules such as the site needing to be free of newts for five days before progressing with work.
Works started officially on 4 April 2016 and the station was substantially complete by 6 February 2017. On Sunday 2 April 2017, history was made and the station was open to the public. Crowds gathered to welcome the first train in 50 years
to pass through Ilkeston!
160,000 passengers a year are expected to use the new station initially, rising to 250,000 over time. A commute to Nottingham will take 15-20 minutes, as opposed to 40-60 by road, with similar time-savings to Sheffield.