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Passengers lined-up as the first train to stop at Ilkeston in more than 50 years pulled into the town’s new £10m station today.
The station, built by Network Rail in a project led by Derbyshire County Council, stands off Millership Way and Coronation Road on the site of original Ilkeston Junction and Cossall Station – which closed on 2 January 1967.
It means the town is no longer the largest town in Britain on a passenger railway line without a station.
Ilkeston couple Rebecca and Dylan Thorley and their children Fred (9) and Stan (7) were at the front of the queue to board the first train – the 9.45am Northern Trains service to Nottingham.
Rebecca said: “It’s great to have a station in Ilkeston again.
“We’ll definitely use it to get to Nottingham. We can walk to the station from home and it beats sitting in traffic and trying to find a parking space in the city. The kids were so excited to ride on the first train.”
Trains calling at the station are being operated by East Midlands Trains – which will manage the station – and Northern Rail.
Passengers can catch direct hourly trains running north to Chesterfield, Sheffield and Leeds and south to Nottingham. Some trains will also go to Liverpool and Norwich.
Derbyshire County Council’s Strategic Director for Economy, Transport and Communities Mike Ashworth said: “It’s great to see the first train pulling into Ilkeston after so many years without a station.
“The county council decided to push for the £10m station to make commuting into Nottingham, Chesterfield and other towns along the line quicker for local people, opening up more opportunities for education, jobs and leisure.
“We hope it will mean more people travelling into Ilkeston too and encourage more businesses to set up in the town to boost the local economy.”
Around 160,000 people are expected to use the station in its first year.
Network Rail’s Rob McIntosh, route managing director for the London North Eastern and East Midlands, said: “We have worked closer than ever with our partners to achieve this significant upgrade to the line which will connect Ilkeston to key towns and cities across the full breadth of country by rail for the first time in a generation. These greater transport links will bring significant economic benefits to the whole region and demonstrate the vital role rail plays in generating growth, creating jobs and developing housing. I’m delighted that after so long, Ilkeston can once again celebrate having a main line station which will meet the needs of the communities and economies our railway serves.”
Passengers can buy tickets from machines placed on the two platforms.
The station also features waiting shelters and customer information screens, two car parks – one with 90 spaces on the east side of the tracks and another on the west-side for disabled drivers, motorcycles and bicycles, a taxi rank and drop off and pick up point.
Lawrence Bowman, Commercial Director for East Midlands Trains, said: "It's great news for customers that the new station is open and offering regular train services to help them commute to work, travel for leisure and links to major cities. This is a landmark day for this town and we would like to thank our partners and the local communities for their support in getting the station opened today."
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.