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Ilkeston's new railway station due to open in April

PUBLISHED: 00:00 07 March 2017 | UPDATED: 12:47 07 March 2017

Artist's impression of the completed station

Artist's impression of the completed station

geoff ford

Following a long campaign to put Ilkeston back onto the railway network map, the town's new railway station is due to open to passengers on Sunday 2nd April

Following a long campaign to put Ilkeston back onto the railway network map, the town’s new railway station is due to open to passengers on Sunday 2nd April. The £10 million station will provide a rail link along the existing line between Ilkeston and Nottingham to the south-east and Alfreton and Chesterfield to the north. Ilkeston once had three railway stations but when the last one at Ilkeston Junction closed in 1967 it became the largest town in the country without a railway station.

The new station at the junction of Station Road and Millership Way, is close to the site of the former Ilkeston Junction station. The station was originally scheduled for completion in October 2014 but work on the project has been delayed by a series of problems. The Environment Agency raised concerns over potential flooding of the station car park and revised plans looked like adding over £3 million to the original £6.5 million budget. While Derbyshire County Council were investigating where other savings could be made, a routine environmental survey uncovered a colony of great-crested newts (an endangered species protected by law). Natural England was unable to trap and safely remove them before they went into hibernation in late 2014 so it was spring 2015 before any serious work could begin on site.

‘The new station at Ilkeston will make a real difference to the local area when it opens, and will help secure economic growth across the region by linking people with jobs, and businesses with people,’ said Sir Patrick McLoughlin, MP for Derbyshire Dales and Transport Secretary at the time he visited the site to watch the demolition of the old station building in March 2015.

Further problems were encountered during the construction of the station. ‘More recently, it was the ground conditions for the foundations of the platforms,’ explained Nick Sandham of Network Rail recently. ‘We’re through that and the platforms are now in place. We’re looking forward to the opening of the station.’ Construction was completed in January when the final piece of the new footbridge was put into place. Since then the car park areas have been surfaced.

The new station should take pressure off bus services and help alleviate rush hour congestion. It is also hoped that jobs and growth in the local economy may benefit by attracting trade into the town. A study has named the local Cotmanhay area as one of the most economically deprived in the country, and a 2010 report concluded that Erewash Borough had the highest rate of unemployment. With car ownership low and limited bus services, a rail link will help residents to seek work outside Ilkeston while bringing in potential shoppers for the high street and local market. It is estimated that 160,000 people may use the new station annually. A formal opening ceremony is set to take place later in the year.

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