IRONBRIDGE GORGE: proposals for an alternative access solution for visitors and tourists to the World Heritage Site

An historic Shropshire rail link, lost for decades, could be back in action as part of a community project in Ironbridge Gorge and the wider Severn Valley.

A local group, the Ironbridge Railway Trust, wants to reinstate a derelict stretch of the old Severn Valley railway line providing a modern yet nostalgic public transport link for the more than 1 million visitors who come to the World Heritage Site each year.

Making the World Heritage Site more accessible through green public transport and an enhanced accommodation offer is key to a vibrant future for Ironbridge’s important visitor economy, particularly in the recovery from COVID-19.

At the same time conserving the precious and sensitive environment of the Gorge and the Severn Valley is vital, given its local roads and steep geography will not support major growth in traffic or car parking, for such would only destroy the very thing that the visitor has come to see.

The Trust proposes a re-instated rail link from a Park & Ride station in the former Power Station site at Buildwas directly to the historic Iron Bridge itself and the multiple attractions along the line’s route within the World Heritage Site at Jackfield and Coalport.

Offering an ideal connection from the M54 and the M6 corridors, the rail service would support sustainable growth of the Ironbridge economy, ambitions for more environmentally-friendly traffic management in the town, flood-resilience, and offer future potential to develop onwards to Bridgnorth.

The Trust proposes that the service would be operated both with heritage trains and modern environmentally friendly passenger units, with the energy storage technology used by the Parry People Mover which currently runs on the nearby National Rail Stourbridge Town branch.

The Trust is preparing to make a bid in November 2020 to the government’s ‘Restoring Your Railways’ fund which, if successful, would finance a full study of the feasibility of the plan. The Trust is in discussion with Lucy Allan MP whose support we have for this bid, other local MPs and key stakeholders including Shropshire Council, Telford & Wrekin Council and the Ironbridge Gorge Museums.

Peter Lyons, Chairman of the Trust said “As a “Gateway to the Gorge” we believe the rail link can be an innovative and imaginative part of the regeneration of the Ironbridge Power Station site, building on and going further than current proposals for the site.”

Councillor Eric Carter, a member of Telford and Wrekin Council and Chairman of The Marches Strategic Railway Group said “The Trust’s exciting proposal can help us sustain and grow the Ironbridge tourism economy, which along with our many other attractions such as Cosford RAF Museum, the Severn Valley Railway, our market towns and beautiful countryside make Shropshire the country’s principal inland tourist county.”

John Parry, MD of Parry People Movers Ltd said “This will be a sensational opportunity to develop the World Heritage site sympathetically and for a joint Ironbridge Railway Trust/PPM solution to be recognized internationally as a model for environmental, economic and community improvement.”


  1. The railway line between Buildwas, the Iron Bridge, Jackfield, Coalport and Bridgnorth, which was part of the Worcester-Shrewsbury ‘Severn Valley Branch’ of the original Great Western Railway, was closed by British Railways in 1963. From Bridgnorth the line was later re-opened to form today’s successful Severn Valley Railway to Bewdley and Kidderminster.
  2. The Ironbridge Railway Trust was formed in 2005 by a small group of professionals with experience in tourism, railway operations, regeneration and architecture. It gained charitable status in 2009 with the purpose of promoting a sustainable transport link into the World Heritage site at Ironbridge by advocating the re-instatement of the old standard gauge Great Western Railway line.
  3. Parry People Movers Ltd. (PPM) is a British company manufacturing lightweight trams and railcars that use flywheel energy storage (FES) to store energy for traction, allowing electric systems to operate without overhead wires or third rails, and railcars fuelled by small gas, diesel or hydrogen engines.
  4. The Government’s ‘Restoring Your Railways’ fund is seeking a third round of bids in November 2020 for funding support for feasibility studies of railway re-openings. The web site notes “Investing in transport links is essential to levelling up access to opportunities across the country, ensuring our communities are better connected, local economies flourish and more than half a century of isolation is undone. The Department for Transport has launched a £500 million Restoring Your Railway Fund. We are inviting MPs, local councils and community groups across England and Wales to propose how they could use funding to reinstate axed local services and restore stations.”

Ironbridge Railway Trust


6th October 2020

Chairman – Peter Lyons

Vice Chairman – David Flavell

For further information please contact our Press Officer Cllr Eric Carter 07852 239 957