We propose a park and ride shuttle rail service from Buildwas to Ironbridge which can be operated at a frequency necessary to meet expected demand – and up to every 15 minutes during high season. A mixture of modern, cost effective, battery electric or diesel shuttle trains, and historic steam train equivalents on peak days, is envisaged.

Tourism forms an increasingly important part of both local and national economies. The numbers of tourists worldwide are expected to double to 1.8 billion per annum by 2030. As a consequence, several tourist destinations are already showing signs of being overwhelmed, in some cases reducing the value and appreciation of the attraction. Longer life expectancy, increased wealth and the ease and affordability of travel are some of the reasons contributing to the increase. The Ironbridge Railway Trust proposals anticipate the increasing demands of visitors to the Gorge and provide a sustainable and sensitive solution to cope by helping to develop “responsible” tourism within the Gorge.

The quality of the local heritage is at the very heart of the Ironbridge Gorge and the Severn Valley corridor. The area is of local, regional, national and international importance, however, public transport and the available accommodation requires enhancement to match the high expectation of modern visitors as well as environmental and conservation agendas. Making its attractions more accessible to visitors, whilst not destroying the very things they come to see, is key to conserving and developing the sensitive environment of the Ironbridge Gorge. Reinstatement of the railway link would create a major new “non-intrusive” public transport artery capable of encouraging a significant shift from road for existing demand, whilst providing capacity for future growth.

This is indeed a unique if not sensational opportunity to develop the World Heritage site sympathetically and for the development to be recognised internationally as a model for environmental, economic and community improvement.