On Sunday 2 April 2017 Ilkeston Railway station is set to open after many years of local campaigning by local residents and a wide range of other organisations.
Whether you want to travel south to Nottingham and London or north to Sheffield, Manchester and Leeds, this will be made a whole lot easier for people in and around Ilkeston, Trowell, Cotmanhay, Cossall & Awsworth and so on.
As a strong supporter of public transport and a regular user of rail services I hugely welcome the new station at Ilkeston. Though you do not have to be a frequent rail traveller to realise the huge long term benefits this will bring.
Road traffic congestion in Derby and Nottingham is growing rapidly and a recent item in the Nottingham Post identified a very well-known local hot spot for traffic hold ups being the A610 affecting thousands of us locally.
Whilst of course in itself trains running to and from Ilkeston will not overnight reduce traffic local congestion, making public transport more accessible is a massive step forward and provides a great sustainable investment model for the future.
And it’s the future which is really important as plans are developed during the next sixteen years for the Hs2 station at nearby Toton and also the Tram extension from Phoenix Park in Nottingham. You can find more information about this here.
It’s worth considering for a moment the national picture concerning railways. The contribution of rail to the UK economy as highlighted in a report in 2014 showed that then the rail industry in Great Britain and its supply chain employed over 200,000 people, generating a turnover of £3.9bn in tax revenues.
Of course, there are also huge environmental and social benefits too with the rail sector playing a significant role reducing CO2 emissions.
Don’t forget too that increased rail travel lowers the numbers of people killed or seriously injured on the transport network in Great Britain (relative to what would be expected to happen if those journeys were made by car or lorry) by up to 950 a year, valued at £330m annually.
So young or old, car owner or not, commuter or retired, better local public transport is a win-win for us all.
Let’s celebrate the investment and make good use of the new trains to and from Ilkeston.