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East Midlands Trains and Derbyshire County Council will be celebrating the success of newly-opened Ilkeston station along with the local community and rail industry partners on Thursday 13 July.
To mark 30,000 passenger journeys made to or from Ilkeston station since services started just over three months ago, there will be a day of commemorative events and celebrations.
Jake Kelly, Managing Director for East Midlands Trains, said: “We’re delighted to welcome the local community to this afternoon event and really looking forward to meeting everyone and listening to their stories from the past three months since the station opened, or even the past fifty years.
“We know how much the station means to the local community which is proven by the fact passenger numbers have already exceeded expectations. We wanted to put on this special event and invite as many different rail industry partners along too to celebrate the station’s success so far.
“On the day itself we will be unveiling the winners of a school poster competition, watching our first ever school station adopters demonstrate their gardening skills as well as being joined by stallholders from organisations as varied as British Transport Police, Liberty Leisure, the Canal & River Trust and local County and Borough councils.”
Derbyshire County Council contributed more than £2.83m to the project and, following a successful bid from the council, the Department for Transport contributed a further £6.674m. £1m was also contributed by Nottingham Housing Market Area.
Councillor Simon Spencer, Derbyshire County Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Infrastructure said: “Derbyshire County Council recognised the need for a train station in Ilkeston and was instrumental in setting the case for the New Stations Fund to get the Government funding needed to help make it a reality.
“Passenger figures for the station in the first three months were better than expected based on experiences from station openings elsewhere. This shows we were right to push for a station in the town – which has at last lost its cache “the largest town in Britain on a passenger railway line without a station.
“As well as improving access to jobs, training and education for Ilkeston residents and attracting more people to the town to access its facilities, the station will help to reduce congestion on local roads – particularly to Nottingham – and will support economic growth and vibrancy by helping the town accommodate up to 2,700 new houses.”
Rob McIntosh, Route Managing Director for the London North Eastern and East Midlands Route at Network Rail, said: “It’s absolutely fantastic that so many people are choosing to use Ilkeston station to travel.
“Not only does the station offer more choice to passengers, it improves transport links and connectivity throughout the whole region, which will bring economic growth to the area.
“We’re delighted that the people of Ilkeston have welcomed the station with open arms and, through working closely with our partners, we are able to provide a network which meets the needs of the economies and communities our railway serves.”
Paul Barnfield, Regional Director, of Northern Rail, said: “It’s fantastic to have been able to bring rail services back to Ilkeston and the surrounding area.
"We are delighted to have been a part of this process – alongside colleagues from East Midlands Trains and Network Rail – and look forward to serving our customers for many years to come.”
Maggie Throup MP, Member of Parliament for Erewash, said: “The first train to arrive at Ilkeston Railway Station for over 50 years back in April was a truly historic moment in the life of our town and already we are beginning to reap the benefits.
“I am delighted that so many local residents are embracing rail travel and believe that this is just the start of a wider movement to improve the town. One thing is for certain, Ilkeston is on the up!