Ironbridge Railway Trust Bid to Government Fund for Rail Re-Opening

16th March 2021

The Ironbridge Railway Trust has made a bid to the government’s ‘Restoring Your Railway Ideas Fund’ to examine re-opening a historic rail link to support the important visitor economy of Ironbridge World Heritage Site and the wider Severn Valley.

With a vision for post-COVID 19 prosperity for the multiple attractions that make up a ‘Shropshire-Worcestershire String of Pearls’ along the Severn Valley from Ironbridge to Bridgnorth, Bewdley and Kidderminster, the Trust’s bid has received a wide welcome.

MPs Lucy Allan, Phillip Dunne, Mark Garnier and Daniel Kawczynski, whose constituencies cover the railway corridor, have sponsored the bid, with Shropshire Council, the Marches Strategic Rail Group of local authorities, Worcestershire County Council and Wyre Forest District Council supporting it.

Building on the one-off opportunity of the re-development of Ironbridge Power Station, the Trust envisages re-opening a community railway from the Power Station to the Iron Bridge, across the World Heritage Site to Bridgnorth, and from there connecting to the successful Severn Valley Railway.

Along with other organisations’ ambitions for expanding the Telford Steam Railway and passenger services on the Ironbridge-Coalbrookdale-Madeley line, the scheme could sustainably unlock growth in the visitor economy that could not otherwise be accommodated on the roads of the Gorge or the rural Severn Valley.

The re-opened route would offer new public transport capacity, a test bed for modern, green rail technology, as well as heritage trains forming part of historic attractions of the Gorge and the Severn Valley.

The Department for Transport is expected to announce the results of the Restoring Your Railway Ideas Fund competition in the summer, and the Trust has specialist railway regeneration consultants ready to start in preparing the strategic case for the scheme if the bid is successful.

Peter Lyons, Chairman of the Trust said: “The Restoring Your Railway fund is a real opportunity for the Trust and its stakeholders to assess the potential for rail public transport to grow the Ironbridge and Severn Valley Corridor’s tourism and visitor economy, whilst protecting precious historic and natural environments which highway-based growth could damage.”

Councillor Eric Carter, a member of Telford and Wrekin Council and Chairman of The Marches Strategic Railway Group said: “An Ideas Fund study will provide us with key evidence of the value and feasibility of the Trust’s exciting proposal to support the attractions of Ironbridge, the Severn Valley and our market towns and beautiful countryside which make Shropshire and neighbouring Worcestershire the country’s principal inland tourist counties.”


Ironbridge & Broseley station. From a painting by John Austin.